Better Business Bureau warns of sports fan merchandise scams

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COLUMBIA - As hockey fans gear up for the Stanley Cup, and baseball players hit the ground running, many find themselves on the market for sports fan apparel. The Better Business Bureau warns that some of the websites offering heavily discounted professional team merchandise may not be what they seem.

Sean Spence of the Mid-Missouri Better Business Bureau said there are thousands of suspicious websites related to sports memorabilia that sell lookalike apparel, claiming it’s the real thing. Poor quality, inaccurate sizing and orders that never arrive are some of the problems buyers run into with these websites.

Because you cannot touch or see the specific item you’re buying online, it can be tough to avoid these scams. He said it is important to be wary of a few specific things.

“Look very closely at the website and see: Is the language is good? Are the logos seemingly good? Does it look like an authentic professional created this website?” He said, “Very often you can spot things that just aren’t quite right.”

One way to avoid online scammers is to shop at local retailers.

Gabrielle Smith, assistant manager at Cardinals Clubhouse in the Columbia Mall, advised shopping at stores or on websites that have contracts with professional teams and leagues.

The Better Business Bureau offers a more extensive list of tips for online shoppers looking for authentic sports apparel and products.