Have you seen those cool, catchy, DealDash commercials on TV?
Maybe the one where they say a $1000 iPad sold for $42.29?
Or a $500 Playstation 5 sold for 50 cents?
But it begs the question – is it real? Is DealDash legit… or a scam?
Let’s lay out the facts.
DealDash.com is a – bidding fee – based penny auction site.
As a bidding fee auction, DealDash is VERY different from a regular auction site like eBay.
On eBay, if a bidder is outbid, they don’t pay anything. Only the bidder that ‘wins’ the auction pays.
On DealDash – every – bidder pays a bidding fee – every – time they bid.
The cost? 60¢ per bid at full price, though they often have discounts and auction off bid packs for less.
Each time a bid is made, it raises the price of the item by 1¢.
So, let’s say you purchase a pack of bids for a discounted rate of 30¢ per bid, and start bidding on an item when it costs a dollar.
With your first bid, you spend 30¢ to raise the auction price by 1¢ (that’s the max you can raise it with one bid).
But you are immediately outbid. Now the item is $1.02 (your bid and the other bidder have raised the price by 2¢ with those bids).
You want the item, that’s why you bid in the first place. So you bid again, and are immediately outbid again. Now you’ve spent 60¢ – whether you end up winning the item or not.
If you end up bidding 20 times, you’ve spent $6, and raised the price by 20¢.
If you bid 50 times, you’ve spent $15 – whether you win the item or not – and raised the price of the item by 50¢.
Thirty, forty, or more (perhaps many more) people could be bidding on an item.
But only one person will ‘win’ and get to pay the auction price (plus what they spent on bids). Everyone else will have spent their money on bidding fees and won’t receive anything at end of the auction.
The big variable here is not knowing when other people will stop bidding.
In a regular auction, there is a limiting factor. People will (normally) stop bidding once the cost of the item is more than it’s actually worth.
With DealDash, that limiting factor is gone. The real worth of an item is taken out of the calculation. The bidding fees are the expense – and the more a consumer has invested their money in trying to get the product, the more reluctant they will be to stop bidding. No one wants to leave money on the table, but there’s no telling just when the auction will end. It’s like a spin of the wheel – which is why many say DealDash and similar sites are gambling sites.
DealDash claims to have a no-lose system. If a losing bidder decides to buy the item at DealDash’s buy-it-now price after losing an auction, the bids placed during that auction are returned to the bidder.
However, the buy-it-now price is often higher than regular retail prices. For example, a Nintendo Switch Lite Console on DealDash at publication time has a buy-it-now price of $243, when it can be purchased at Amazon, Target or Walmart for $199.
The important thing to know about DealDash is that everything is explained in the fine print. The costs and the way that the ‘auction’ works is spelled out very clearly in their terms. The devil is in the details – those who read through all the information carefully will know what they are getting into.
Even the fact that DealDash manipulates their auctions based on the user is written into their terms.
Users have reported that it’s easy to win small items when their account is new, and that may be a way that DealDash hooks users into thinking they can go for bigger items (spending more on bids) and be just as successful. They have also said that it seems like DealDash manipulates auctions in other ways.
And it’s true. DealDash discloses it in their terms and conditions, which say they may:
“…limit accounts from winning an excessive amount of auctions… limit some auctions to users of comparable skill… limit which auctions are available to particular users based on any factors deemed appropriate by DealDash in its sole discretion, including experience of the user, historical success of the user, demographic factors, prior bidding and spending activity, and other factors… may limit certain auctions to less experienced or successful users…” (edited for brevity, but the meaning unchanged)
Can you imagine eBay including something like that in their terms and conditions?
So is DealDash legit or a scam?
If that question is based on them doing exactly what they say they do (in the fine print) we’d have to say they are legit.
Is DealDash a good deal for shoppers on a tight budget that are trying get a great deal on something?
And are the DealDash commercials on TV misleading?
Based on the commercials, one could easily be misled into thinking that DealDash is just a normal auction site, something like eBay, and that bidders are getting ridiculously good deals, like a PlayStation 5 for 50¢, a good mountain bike for $11, and the like.
But in reality, that hides the gambling aspect of the site.
The idea that DealDash is just a regular auction site is an illusion.
Have you used DealDash?
Tell us about your experience in our comments section!
- Originally published 11/08/2013, updated with current details: 1/14/22