Deals, Deals, Deals! Or Rip Off City?
Deals, deals, deals, they say! I’m talking about penny auctions. You’ve seen them, right? They advertise during football games on ESPN or on late-night television, when you’re too tired to think about what they’re really saying.
Sites like Skoreit and MadBid say they’ll let you in on the chance to enjoy sweet deals on expensive electronics and gold jewelry; but are they legit? No, says Sarah McDaniels, a sexy technology expert who writes for Kingofhowto.com.
“The Better Business Bureau has listed penny auctions in its top ten list of online scams,” she said. “These sites promise great bargains; but they are ultimately designed to take advantage of consumer ignorance.”
“Each time you place a bid on an item, you lose that bid whether you win the auction or not,” McDaniels said. “Ultimately, these sites don’t offer ‘deals, deals, deals,’ as they say; instead, they strive to take advantage of their membership.”
McDaniels says almost all penny auctions exist to profit from consumer ignorance.
“Each time you place a bid, most of these sites either reset the auction timer or add a few seconds; so more people can make a bid,” she said. “This gives the companies more opportunity to profit from an auction at the expense of its members. In the end, they can make thousands off an item that sells for just a few dollars.”
According to McDaniels, although penny auctioneers profit when bidders fail, they aren’t necessarily doing anything illegal. Still, she says there are all sorts of complaints centered on the suspicion of fake bids.
“Do a simple Google search, and you’ll see current and former members complaining about shills that make fake bids on behalf of the companies, themselves,” she said. “If this is true, members really have no chance, and even if it’s not; the fact that people are worried about it demonstrates that members aren’t satisfied with their experiences and are worried that the companies are screwing them over.”
Ryan Lawrence is a special contributor to TheMansWebsite.com. He is an online/print feature writer, SEO copywriter and interview expert.