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Packer ticket seller faces restrictions

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news New Richmond, 54017
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

A former Somerset man illegally selling Green Bay Packers Tickets on the Internet as www.lambeau-tickets.com has agreed to comply with an order issued by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

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In addition to not using the Web site, Ben C. Huettl agreed not to sell any tickets or receive payment for the tickets unless he has the tickets in his possession and is free to sell without encumbrance at the time of sale or payment.

The order disclosed that Huettl "misrepresents he had tickets available and will deliver the tickets several weeks before game time, when in fact he has no tickets available and is unable to know when he will have tickets to deliver."

More than 20 Packers fans in Wisconsin and other states complained to DATCP about Huettle. The state agency was successful in getting refunds for all of them.

When Packers tickets became more valuable late last season, Huettle emailed customers who purchased tickets previously and cancelled the tickets saying the customers were fraud risks according to their credit card companies.

The order from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says that "In fact, there was no problem with the customers' transactions, and this statement was untrue in all aspects."

Consumer Protection alleges Huettl wanted to sell the tickets to others for a higher price.

The National Football League also had Huettl transfer the domain name lambeau-tickets.com to NFL Properties. In addition, Huettl agreed in writing to never again use images "from NFL games on any webpage including NFL member Club logos, helmet designs and the name 'Lambeau' in connection with any business Huettl owns or operates that offers goods or services connected with football."

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The Green Bay Packers and DATCP Secretary Rod Nilsestuen offer advice to NFL ticket buyers across the country.

"We appreciate Wisconsin Consumer Protection for its investigation of illegal ticket sales -- which not only hurt Packers fans in Wisconsin but also those in other states," says Mark Wagner, Green Bay Packers ticket director.

"We are teaming up with the Packers to offer ticket buying advice to NFL fans all across the country," says Rod Nilsestuen, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Wagner cautions fans about counterfeit tickets that appeared late last season:

• Avoid buying tickets from unknown persons outside the stadium where stolen and counterfeit tickets often surface. If you DO buy tickets outside the stadium, buy from only licensed vendors and write down their name and license number.

• If you purchase tickets from a secondary seller, utilize a reputable source.

• Examine the tickets closely, including the special printing of the word "Packers" in white ink on the ticket back.

Secretary Nilsestuen has this general advice for fans looking for tickets:

• Be careful buying tickets on line and from newspaper classifieds.

• Don't deal with sellers who do not reveal their exact address and telephone numbers.

• Don't deal with sellers without a permanent business location.

• Don't send persons or companies you don't know cashier's checks or money orders for tickets.

• Before paying any money or giving a credit card number, determine if the seller actually has tickets.

• Ask the seller to fax you a copy of the tickets being sold, if possible.

• Where possible, pay by credit card to protect your rights in disputes. Don't give your credit card number on the phone unless you know whom you are dealing with.

• Where possible, purchase tickets or packages from an Official Source of the team involved.

• Don't get on the plane without having official game tickets.

• Verify that the travel agent you are dealing with is a member of a trade association such as the American Society of Travel Agents.

• If you are buying from a ticket broker, make sure they are members of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB). A list is available at www.natb.org

• Deal with brokers who are bonded. The NATB site reveals which ones are.

For more information, call the toll free hotline of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: 1-800-422-7128.

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