Paying to bid in an online auction for heavily discounted goods does not necessarily guarantee a bargain.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has received a number of complaints about ‘bidding fee auctions’, also known as ‘penny auctions’. This type of auction is held on websites such as quibids.com.au, bidking.com.au, bidrivals.com.au and pennyauctiononline.com.
Participants pay a non-refundable fee each time they bid, whether they are the successful bidder or not. The price of the item rises with each bid. The last participant to bid when the time limit expires gets the item.
But the final bid is not the total cost. The total cost is the final bid price plus the cost of bidding – with each bid costing up to 95 cents on some sites, bidding can be an expensive exercise.
If you plan to take part in these auctions, carefully read all of the terms and conditions, and keep the true cost in mind.