The most asked question by far when it comes to penny auctions is “Are they legit?”, “Do they scam you?” or something similar. The answer is easy, no. They don’t. However, there are literally hundreds of penny auctions popping up weekly, these new penny auction sites can often be scams.
On penny decisions we will try our best to look out for these sites and warn you about the dangers. It’s because of sites like these that give penny auctions a bad rep.
Some of the big players in the industry such as Zbiddy, Dealdash, Beezid etc are perfectly legit sites. Sure, they are harder to win. But at least you will know that you are bidding in a safe environment, these penny auctions wouldn’t risk their reputation as we touched on in our penny auction strategies post. Because of the guaranteed security, most users will flock to these sites which does increase the competition. Newer penny auction sites can be significantly easier to win due to this reason – a much lower user base. However, it is very important you research the site thoroughly before joining.
Here are some things to look for when it comes to unsecure websites from Bu.Edu
Things to look for in a secure website
When visiting a website that asks for sensitive information such as credit card numbers or your social security number, the first step you can take to securing your privacy is creating a strong password (link to infosec site). Equally important is verifying that any information you enter on this site is transmitted and stored properly. Once your information is entered online, it is transmitted as plain text for anyone to intercept. To avoid this, make sure that the website is encrypted over a secure connection.
One such sign to look for is in the URL of the website. A secure website’s URL should begin with “https” rather than “http”. The “s” at the end of “http” stands for secure and is using an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection. Your information will be encrypted before being sent to a server.
- THE LOCK ICON
Another sign to look for is the “Lock” icon that is displayed somewhere in the window of your web browser. Different browsers may position the lock in different places, but a few examples of what it may look like can be found here:
The most common way penny auction sites scam is either by using a “bidding robot” which we will touch on later or simply not sending out the items that you won. The only way to really find out if a penny auction is doing this is by researching the site. Although this can in most cases be very difficult because it’s such a new site, there won’t be much information available. So in these cases, it’s just not worth the risk.
You can also usually tell by the ‘feel’ of the site, if the interface is really simple and basic and doesn’t look anything special then the site is probably a pop up penny auction site. Having said that, you can find some really nice looking sites that look very legit and welcoming only for them to be the complete opposite so approach with caution.
So this question really is asked a lot, here is a similar question from yahoo answers – Are penny auctions legit?
I recently won an Apple iPad For 8.47. You can get good deals but be very careful as you may understand you can get swept up in the bidding process. My luck, I kept watching it and waited until the bids got slower and used the snipper to my advantage.
I also did it on a early Sunday morning maybe there weren’t a lot of people bidding. Like I said be careful, it does get addicting. Like I said I paid $8.47, total. Also, it takes approximately 6 weeks to receive your winnings.
My advice if you do want to bid, keep watching the particular item and watch for patterns and keep in mind that there are a lot of people bidding and they may not care they huts through in $100s of dollars on top of what they are bidding towards. And yes, the bidding company does keep your bids even if you don’t win unless there is a promotion. Do your research it can work to your advantage if you play it right. Good luck!
Another question from the airliners forum:
JBirdAV8r wrote – I haven’t really looked at them much but I’ve heard the advertisements (IMHO deplorably geared towards suckers).
I -think- the gimmick with them is that you buy a “bid package” for hundreds of dollars that enables you to bid online for the “incredible” deals. Then you bid in small increments until the auction ends. Sounds good in theory until you realize that there are thousands of other people who’ve paid for that enormous “bid package” and want to put it to good use and will each be bidding hundreds of times on many items to recoup that massive up-front investment. So yes, I’m sure some products sell massively under retail, but those bid packages MUCH more than make up for any individual loss on a product.
It seems to be perfectly legal but a little too close to gambling for my taste–the odds are definitely with the house. I’d say the people that run it are making a killing.
Just remember the age-old caveat: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
This guy raises some good points, the truth is… these penny auction sites use advertisements that usually give the impression that you have a very very strong chance of winning items for next to nothing. Whilst that is possible, it’s also pretty unlikely too. This tends to draw people in and when they don’t win an item like the advertisements said they would… they scream scam! scam! scam!
So lets move on these so called “bidding bots”, here is a quote from the better business Bureau
BBB’s nationwide have received many complaints about these types of auction sites. The majority of these complaints concern being charged during trial periods, poor customer service, and in a few cases consumers allege that the site they used employed bots to place bids in order to drive up prices. – See more at: http://www.bbb.org/blog/2011/06/penny-auctions-unless-you-win-you%E2%80%99re-probably-wasting-time-and-money/Some comments:Many people are always looking for a “trick” to winning at penny auctions. Unfortunately, there’s no real trick involved. Winning a penny auction requires patience, timing, strategy, and yes, skill. Once again, we recommend that you do heavy research into a site, its auction formats, and its bidders before deciding to invest. What time of day do auctions seem to end at a lower price? Which bidders will keep bidding no matter what? How do the sites’ timers/auto-bidders work?
Many users claim that some penny auction sites use ‘bidding bots’ to keep their auctions alive, we feel that it would be almost impossible to conclude that a penny auction site is using a bot due to nature of how the bidding system works, heres a quote from yahoo:
The use of bidding bots is also a big problem.
Bots are commonly used for tons of different reasons. Spammers use them to create thousands of fake accounts on sites to spam users. For penny auction sites, some owners actually use bidding bots against their customers and bidders. These bots will make a bid at the very last second of an auction to ensure that the actual bidder loses to the bot. Therefore, a penny auction site can reap all the proceeds from the auction without actually losing anything to bidders. This practice is rampant and extremely unfair for legitimate bidders. Source – Yahoo
Again, there is no proof provided. The people that claim these sites use bots are usually people that didn’t win an auction and are upset about it. Sure, new penny auction sites may well use bots like this if their auctions are ending at a very low price. If that’s the case then it boils down to choosing the right penny auction site again, if you fear that you’re getting scammed then we highly recommend choosing one of the bigger penny auction sites.
Heres an interesting news story on penny auction legitimacy issues.
It follows a news reporter that trys out penny auctions and has some interesting results.
This video has some great tips and is a great example of why penny auction sites are legit. It’s a really good watch if you are struggling to win penny auctions.
Here are some comments from the video:
Alex Evans – “Wow thanks a lot”
XBALLERX007 – “sometimes it works to be very aggressive on single bid only auctions like bidding right after someone has bid then people become afraid and don’t bid. I also use the bid o matic for only a couple of bids and sometimes people just don’t want to bid against a bid o matic and that is sometimes how i usually win”
Here are some more links which look into the legitimacy of penny auction sites.