You’ve probably seen an ad for Quibids.com on TV – where you’re told “thousands of customers save up to 95 percent” on popular products like tech gadgets and home appliances. The site claims its bidding system will have you scoring items that cost a huge amount of money for below $100. It seems kind of like eBay.
Then, you immediately write the site off as a scam. Is it really a scam, though? “Penny auctions” like Quibids may seem shady, but you have to dig deep to figure out what’s really going on behind the scenes.
How does Quibids work? In a promotional video on Youtube, Quibids offers a guide that explains their website. Your first step is to purchase bids, and there are three sizes to choose from. A pack of baby bids, which is 45 bids, costs $27. The beginner pack (75 bids) is $45. The standard bid pack (300 bids) is $180. Each individual bid is worth $0.60.
Once you’ve purchased your bid pack, you can go find an auction for an item and bid on it. A clock counts down the time you have left to bid, and the price starts at zero. Every time a bid is placed, the auction price goes up in increments $0.60. Sound confusing? It’s about to get worse.
In the final seconds of an auction, the clock will reset to 20 seconds every time someone places a new bid. Quibids says “this gives other bidders the opportunity to top your bid.” If you ever think life isn’t fair, this can be your proof.
If you just so happen to win the auction, you must pay the auction price and shipping costs for your item.
Quibids also contains a “Buy it Now” function like eBay, but you have to use your bid points instead of money. The system subtracts your bid money from the retail price of the item. This method also lets you get the item for a smaller price.
So why do people have such a problem with Quibids? They have been sued under allegations of illegal gambling, and people think its ads are misleading. It advertises prices for items in terms of Quibids cash, not actual U.S. dollars.
Customers also have a hard time understanding its system. When they blow all their bids on an item and don’t win, they get angry. People also become upset when they realize time is added to the clock in the final seconds, unlike eBay. They also go for big-ticket items right away, and become surprised when they realize how many people bid on it.
So regarding Quibids themselves, the company isn’t a scam. But every time people don’t review their terms, Quibids wins money and the people get… well, an overbearing sense of shame. Unless you really know how to succeed at penny auctions, be careful when using Quibids!