The Internet is rife with bargain websites that claim to offer consumers the chance to score discounts on name-brand merchandise. Unfortunately, not all of these deal sites are reputable. One site called Z Biddy claims to provide members a chance to nab cheap products; however, several online reviews complain of a zBiddy scam. Before you sign up, get the FTC's take on penny auctions.

FTC issues a warning

Recently the Federal Trade Commission issued a report warning consumers about penny auctions like QuiBids, DealDash and According to the FTC, these so-called bargain websites typically charge substantial fees just to sign up, with members having to pay each time they place bids on any given auction. The FTC warns that many of these penny auctions employ bait-and-switch tactics and are known both for late deliveries and complete delivery failures.

The agency also warns that, even when consumers win one of these auctions, they end up paying much more than they expected. For example, the FTC says that a $50 winning bid may end up costing five times as much if a consumer needs to place 200 bids to win a chance to buy the item.

Is zBiddy legitimate?

There are numerous online reviews complaining about a zBiddy scam in which many current and former members accuse the site of using automated software to make fictitious bids on behalf of the company. Some have suggested that receives less traffic than bidders, which may suggest that not every bid you see originates from human consumers.

What consumers should know

There's really no way for consumers to know if the supposed zBiddy scam described by disgruntled members is real; however, it is clear that the FTC does not endorse the company. If you do decide to risk your money at this penny auction, you'd be well-advised to follow the FTC's recommendation to thoroughly read over the company's terms of service.

According to both the FTC and Better Business Bureau, most consumer complaints center on a failure to understand how these bargain websites operate. If you're looking for some high-risk excitement, this site may be to your liking. On the other hand, if you are interested in consistent discounts, you should probably look elsewhere.