- legit or a scam?The emails with links to began pouring in this week.

In them they list some incredible deals – the new iPad Air for just $13.68. A Sony Bravia 55″ LED HDTV for $32.54. A Canon Rebel T3i for just $23.77.

And how about this… a brand new Microsoft Xbox One for just $31.66!

Who wouldn’t jump at a deal like that?

Ok, maybe pretty much anyone that did a bit of investigating beforehand.

The first thing we wanted to find out – just who is this company?

With a name like HotCloseouts2013,com,  it’s obvious they haven’t been around for very long. Or at least the name hasn’t been around long. No one would be interested in if it was 2012 or 2014.

The HotCloseouts2013,com spam we’ve been receiving looked suspiciously like the spam from a penny auction site we covered last month called Zbiddy.

Buttressing up that suspicion was that links in the HotCloseouts2013,com spam took us to the same fake newscast video that Zbiddy’s spam took us to.

And, though Zbiddy is not mentioned in HotCloseouts2013,com’s FAQ or About page, there are several videos and images on the site that are branded Zbiddy.

So without a doubt, HotCloseouts2013,com is Zbiddy in disguise.

But does that make HotCloseouts2013,com legit… or a scam?

Well, Zbiddy, and by extension HotCloseouts2013,com, are ‘penny-auction,’ or ‘bidding-fee-auction,’ sites. Some people consider them a scam based on that fact alone.

They promote themselves as being auctions, but they they are not what most online shoppers think of when they think of an online auction. They are nothing like eBay.

With Zbiddy/HotCloseouts2013,com, bidders pay 60¢ for each bid they place. Each bid raises the “price” of the item by one penny. Place 20 bids on an item and you pay $12 (20 x 60¢) – whether you win or not.

We’ve published several articles about similar ’bidding-fee-auction’ sites recently. You can read our stories about Quibids and DealDash to learn more about how these types of websites operate.

Needless to say though, the “sale prices” offered in these emails are very misleading. The prices advertised are not how much shopper is actually paying for the item, as they don’t include the bidding fees that have been paid.

They also don’t mention how much those that lost the auction – and aren’t getting anything at all – are paying.

Have you been receiving these HotCloseouts2013,com emails?

What do you think of penny/bidding fee auctions? Are they legit, or a scam?

Let us know what you think in the comments section below!