“EARLY BLACK FRIDAY! iPads & More Selling for Under $40.”
So reads the ad on FoxNews.com and other sites across the internet today.
The ad links to an advertorial on a site called LifeFactopia titled “Pay Just Pennies For Brand New Products.”
What’s an advertorial? It’s an advertisement designed to look like a legitimate article. Generally sites are paid by the company the article is about to post it on their site. Advertorials are usually pretty easy to spot due to their promotional nature.
This particular advertorial is a promotion for (you may have guessed this already)… Quibids.
Quibids is an online auction site – but it’s not your average auction site… we aren’t talking eBay here.
With Quibids, bids are placed with Quibids “pennies”. Each Quibid penny costs the bidder 60¢. That 60¢ is charged to the bidder every time they make a bid.
In a normal auction, if you don’t win the item, you don’t pay.
That’s not the way it works at Quibids.
If a bidder bids on an item 20 times, they have spent $12 (20 x 60¢), whether they win the item or not. At the same time though, that bidder has only raised the “price” of the item by 20¢.
It turns out to be an amazing deal… for Quibids!
Let’s say an iPad on their site “sales” for $25 at the end of an auction. That $25 represents 2500 bids (one Quibid penny at a time).
That means Quibids has raked in $1,500 (2500 x 60¢) for that $499 iPad!
SWEET – if you are Quibids.
Quibids makes out even a little better than that though. When a consumer wins an auction, that means they get to pay the final “auction-end-price” for the item.
If, for example, an iPad is bid up to $25, the winner has to pay that price, on top of the amount they spent on the bids, to purchase the item.
The advertorial on LifeFactopia states “But what happens to all the people who bid in an auction but didn’t win? They actually have a Buy Now option, to purchase the product at the listed price, minus the value of the bids they placed.”
That sounds great – you get to buy it at the listed price just because you bid on it!
Oh – wait a minute. The “listed price” mentioned is the FULL retail price of the item – not the price that the auction ended at.
Paying full price isn’t exactly what you are at an auction for, is it?
Perhaps if a shopper is planning on purchasing an item for full retail anyway, and wants to play on Quibids to see if they can get a deal, and will buy it from them anyway if they don’t win, it *might* prove worthwhile.
But will you be able to lose and just go ahead and buy it at full price right then… or will you be tempted to try for a deal again on the next auction? And then again and again, perhaps chasing those previously lost funds because you’ve already put so much into it?
Trust me – the house always wins in that situation.
Quibids has been accused of false advertising, of faking testimonials, and of being a gambling site.
Surprisingly though, the Better Business Bureau gives Quibids an “A” rating.
The BBB’s review almost reads like an advertorial itself!
At one point it says “QuiBids is part of a next generation of auction sites in which participants purchase bids, then pay those bids toward the item of their choice.”
“Next generation of auction sites”?
Yeh, that sounds like an unbiased report! They might as well say it’s the wave of the future!
The BBB goes on to say that 1277 complaints have been filed and all have been resolved. In their review, they mostly blame consumers for the complaints, saying that the problems were “misunderstandings” that “could have been avoided if the bidders had read and understood the auction site’s design and policies.”
That may well be true – but it’s odd that the BBB doesn’t mention the accusations of false advertising, false testimonials, and gambling that Quibids has faced.
Nor do they mention the fact that, as Consumer Reports puts it, “for all those contented people who click their way to an amazing deal, countless others end up spending a lot of cash only to end up empty-handed.”
Doesn’t it seem like the BBB, who’s stated mission is “to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust,” would mention the controversial aspects of Quibids?
I think it’s very strange that they don’t. And I cringe for consumers when I see those Quibids commercials on TV talking about what great deals everyone is getting.
Have you used Quibids? What was your experience like?
Are you surprised by the BBB’s “A” rating and positive review of Quibids?
Let us know in the comments section below – and follow me by email for all the latest news for shoppers!