Over the last year, advertisements for penny auction sites have blanketed the web. Google, Facebook and Yahoo are overflowing with ads from Quibids, Beezid and others, promising consumers deep discounts on everything from big screen TVs to designer handbags. Penny auction sites are engaged in the dubious business of selling “bids” for auctions in which the site itself is the only consistent winner. At best, penny auctions appear to be a new form of online gambling disguised as “fun bargain hunting”. At worst, some penny auction sites are outright scams.
Beezid.com is a large penny auction site bent on aggressively pursuing new customers. However, in the process Beezid has made some enemies, not the least of which are the members of the SiteJabber community. To date, nearly 100 SiteJabber members have reviewed Beezid, giving the site a dismal 1.5 out of 4.0 stars. Complaints range from unprofessional customer service to non-delivery of winnings to accusations of outright fraud and rigged bidding.
SiteJabber user Alan F. explains: “I have spent many hours watching the bidding on this site. Here is what I learned: the people who spend the most money bidding never win! There is always ‘somebody’ (or something) that swoops in at the end and wins the auction for just a few bids. Also, on several occasions my bid was not accepted even though there was a second or two left on the timer. Funny how it NEVER happens early in the bidding, but ALWAYS happens when CaptainBidMaster comes in at the end and places two or three bids, winning the auction.”
Other reviewers offer insight into the site’s potential profits at the expense of its “customers”. Daniel G. surmises: “We’ve all accepted that business needs its profits. But check this out: A 900.00 laptop was bid up to 55.00. OK so at .70 a bid, increasing the total up .01, that makes for a minimum of 5500 bids….at .70 a bid we are talking a Beezid take of $3850.00!!!!! That’s right, By the way…this item was still in play, it was at 55.00 at 8pm on Sunday. Bad bad bad business model….excellent for gambling addicts.”
Enter Ms. Lohan. Beezid apparently purchased a celebrity endorsement from Hollywood starlet Lindsay Lohan. Even while sitting at home on house arrest after being found guilty on misdemeanor charges of jewelry theft, Lohan reportedly received more than $25,000 (the exact amount has not been disclosed) plus $10,000 worth of credit to be used on the site – all for the 18 second spot. So while consumers are being hurt, Lohan and Beezid’s owners are sitting pretty on top of a mound of other people’s hard-earned cash. Of all the endorsements Lohan could have made, why oh why did she choose Beezid? We can only give Lindsay the benefit of the doubt, and guess that she didn’t do her homework first. So Lindsay, if you’re reading: be sure to check SiteJabber reviews before endorsing an unfamiliar website. It could be a real lemon.
SiteJabber is a consumer protection service which helps people avoid fraudulent websites and find good sites. You can use SiteJabber to review, complain about and report fraud on websites, as well as research unfamiliar sites. SiteJabber is made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation and was named a Top 100 Website of 2010 by PC magazine.
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