FBI Probes Complaints About Ticket Broker

FBI Probes Complaints About Ticket Broker
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

As the FBI in Louisville, Ky., continues an investigation into whether customers who bought ticket and hotel packages for this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) were duped by an online service, those planning to attend the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) have been warned to check out third-party sellers.

The FBI said it is seeking victims of potential fraudulent activity associated with the purchase of tickets or ticket packages for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) from the online brokerage DerbyDeals.com.

"The Louisville Division of the FBI has received information alleging an online ticket and hotel package scam involving DerbyDeals.com," special agent Mary Trotman posted on the agency's website. "Anyone who believes they were defrauded by DerbyDeals.com should please contact the Louisville Office of the FBI at Louisville.ls@ic.fbi.gov."

DerbyDeals.com lists a New Albany, Ind., address as its offices. The FBI became involved because of the different states and jurisdictions where ticket buyers were located.

The Better Business Bureau serving Louisville said it had received dozens of complaints from fans across the country who claimed they had lost anywhere from several hundred dollars to $10,000 for Derby tickets and race packages.

A release from the BBB serving Greater Maryland warning against similar incidents associated with the May 17 Preakness said the Kentucky investigation has uncovered losses in excess of $100,000. The BBB also said the owner of the DerbyDeals.com website was charged with attempted theft in 2010 for failing to deliver on promises to customers; the charges were dropped after the website owner made restitution to customers.

"When considering a third-party ticket vendor, check their Business Review at bbb.org for general business background information, the resolution experience of past complainants and BBB accreditation," the BBB of Greater Maryland said in a statement. "In the last 12 months, the BBB system handled 2,137 complaints against ticket brokers and event ticket sellers. To protect yourself against ticket fraud, BBB suggests payment by credit card. If something goes wrong, you can contest the charge. Unfortunately, that might not get you into the Preakness, but it will help minimize your loss."

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