Complaints to state over phantom Super Bowl tickets hit 120

More than 100 Washington residents have asked the Attorney General’s Office for help getting their money back for Super Bowl tickets they never received.

Hundreds of football fans paid brokers for tickets to the NFL championship game but never saw the tickets because in most cases the brokers never had the tickets in the first place.

The Attorney General’s Office responded to the complaints in February by asking victims of the so-called “short sales” to register their complaints so investigators could look into the brokers who reneged on ticket sales.

Since the agency announced its investigation in February, it has received 120 complaints about the short sales as of Tuesday, which violate Washington’s Consumer Protection Act.

“There appeared to be a pattern that brokers were selling tickets they didn’t possess,” said Peter Lavallee, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office.

The office is trying to help ticket buyers recoup their financial losses not only from undelivered tickets but also for travel costs for fans who went to Arizona for the Feb. 1 game thinking they had tickets.

Generally, brokers sell tickets at retail price early but wait until the week of the game to buy the tickets for resale because the street prices usually drop. They take credit card orders online and then buy tickets at last-minute clearance prices.

This year ticket prices did not drop. On game day, the cheapest tickets were close to $10,000, leaving brokers with the option of either disappointing their customers or losing money. Fans who thought they had tickets but learned at the last minute they didn’t were out of luck once the last tickets were sold.

Neither the National Football League nor Arizona’s Attorney General are taking action in the cases.

Complaints in Washington State can be filed by visiting www.atg.wa.gov and clicking the “Consumer Complaint” button or calling 800-551-4636 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays.