Olympia - December 17, 1997 - State Attorney General Christine Gregoire urges Washington State University Cougars, alumni and supporters to be wise consumers in the scramble for the few remaining tickets to the 1998 Rose Bowl game.
"Cougar fans have waited 67 years for this opportunity, and to keep this dream-come-true from turning into a nightmare, consumers and travel agents need to thoroughly understand what they are buying and selling," said Gregoire.
The Attorney General said there are lessons to be learned from 1994 when Wisconsin went to the Rose Bowl for the first time in more than 30 years. The demand for tickets exceeded the supply from reliable sources such as the university and Rose Bowl, and fans had to rely on secondary ticket sources.
"Wisconsin fans and travel agents learned some very painful lessons when they discovered that certain ticket brokers were unable to deliver the game tickets they had promised." Gregoire said. On game day, travel agents had to break the news to some very disappointed and angry customers that they would be left standing outside the stadium at kickoff time.
Many Wisconsin travel agents suffered severe financial loss and damage to their professional reputations. They had contracted with ticket brokers to secure blocks of game tickets. When it came time to actually deliver the tickets, some travel agencies were told they couldn't have them unless they paid their brokers more money than originally planned. Other agents discovered the tickets they had anticipated for their customers were simply never available in the first place.
Most tickets and accompanying travel packages are being offered legitimately. However, if people have an opportunity to purchase a ticket, Gregoire encourages them to keep these precautions in mind:
- Before spending your money, make sure you either have the tickets in hand or a written contract stating when and where the tickets will be made available.
- Keep all receipts and written information.
- Determine exactly how much the trip is going to cost and precisely what you are getting for your money.
- Determine if the words "tickets available" mean that actual game-tickets are included in the total package.
- Get the specific name and location of the hotel where you will be staying. Call the hotel and verify that reservations have been made.
- Use a credit card if possible. That way, if tickets don't come through, consumers have additional protections through their credit card companies.
- Use a reputable local travel agency. That way, if anything goes wrong, you can at least find the company.
- If you buy tickets from a stranger on a street-corner, you're on your own..
"The supply of tickets through WSU and other official sources like the Rose Bowl have been exhausted," said Gregoire. "Those still available are being offered through re-sellers or people willing to sell their tickets to the highest bidder."