-- legit?

This is a weird auction site and it seems like it’s potentially a scam. Has anyone used it? Is it really what it claims to be?

The site’s pretty misleading. The auctions they post on the front page all have absurdly low bids – but the trick is, any bid extends the auction, so nobody bids on anything until right before it expires. Then it goes up and up. And since you’re paying to place each bid at 75 cents each, it’s basically a chicken match with anyone else watching the auction.

I guess the best way I would put it is pretty much like an auction slot machine, but the random chance changes depending on who else is playing.

Who knows if there are shill bidders on top of that… I’d guess there very well could be.

These sites have been around in Australia for years. One I saw some time ago auctions homes and cars. However the Australian ones work like this:

*The winner in each auction is the bidder who bids the ‘lowest unique bid’ or ‘lowest unmatched bid’, after the Required Number of Bids has been reached. Each bidder must register (for FREE). An Administration Fee is charged for each bid placed.

Following is an example of how the ‘lowest unique bid’ is determined:

     Auction Item:                          BP Fuel Card
     Recommended Retail Price:      $100.00
     Required Number of Bids:         100
     Administration Fee:                  $2.00 per bid

At the conclusion of the auction (when the Required Number of Bids has been met) the lowest ten bids might be as follows:

Bid 1 $0.01
Bid 2 $0.01 – Bids 1 and 2 are the lowest bids, but are not ‘unique’
Bid 3 $0.02
Bid 4 $0.02
Bid 5 $0.03 – WINNER – this is the lowest ‘unique’ bid
Bid 6 $0.04
Bid 7 $0.04
Bid 8 $0.05 – ‘Unique’ bid, but not the lowest
Bid 9 $0.06
Bid 10 $0.06
Bid 5 will be the successful bid as it is the ‘lowest unique bid’. This bidder would pay $0.03 for the BP Fuel Card PLUS a $2.00 Administration Fee = $2.03 for $100.00 worth of fuel from BP! Note that this bidder may have made more than one bid and therefore may have paid more than one Administration Fee.

It sounded too good to be true…

My wife found one of these type of sites the other week here in Australia.

While the site itself seems completely ‘legit’ in terms of running as advertised, and actually having these goods to give to the winner bidders, and from my research seemed on the up and up, the underlining premise though will screw you and AFAIC is dodgy as all hell.

If you win an auction, you will be buying the item for well and truely under retail value. However the amount you spent on your bids will probably make it more expensive.

The lure is to people who don’t think the process out properly and just see these headlines of $1,000+ electronics going for <$100. And don’t consider that some of these ‘auctions’ can quite literally go for days, with the bid being jacked up by 2 cents each 15 seconds or so, and each bid, costing you 50 cents or whatever. It can run up your costs very quickly.

I let my wife buy 20 bucks worth of bids as a learning exercise. Then those bids ran out very quickly on something or other she bid on.

A big dnager I think is that because you don’t get your bids back if you don’t win an item, I can see people getting dragged in, saying I just need a couple of more bids to get this thing, I’ve already soent 50 bucks in bids, I just need a few more is all, and going on and on and pumping huge sums in.