“It’s really unfortunate when our guests come in, and you really find out how much they paid for something,” said Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Spokesman Tom Garrity.
As thousands of people file into Balloon Fiesta Park over the next several days, some tickets are not like the others.
“We have received a number of calls from people who bought tickets thinking that they were going to have either a box seat or some kind of preferred lawn seating, and we don’t have that,” said Garrity.
Third-party ticket resellers are getting creative and making false promises.
“They see that somebody is giving a Balloon Fiesta package of, you know, music fiesta and meet with Lee Brice, Gondola Club, and you throw in a concierge for the day – that’s just too good to be true,” said Garrity.
While some fiesta-goers paid $50 for a $15 ticket, others ended up shelling out as much as a couple hundred dollars for that same ticket. It’s something locals and repeat visitors know to keep an eye out for.
“I’m very cautious when I go online because you know you do get scammed out there a lot,” said a woman visiting from Missouri. “It helped with my cousin Randy ’cause he lives here.”
Authorities said the safest place to buy everything you need for the fiesta is through the official Balloon Fiesta website and not from any third-party vendor site.
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“There are some folks out there who are really bad actors in this particular space, where they will take advantage of people’s lack of knowledge of Balloon Fiesta,” said Garrity.
Unfortunately, once the damage is done, it’s out of their hands.
“It’s really about ‘buyer’s beware,'” said Garrity.
Fiesta officials also said general admission tickets rarely sell out, so guests should be able to buy tickets on-site on the day of the event.