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Is TheSmartBid a Scam or Are Penny Auction Reviews Unfair?


In our continuing report on bidding fee websites, we’ve taken a look at many different companies. While some have been accused of using misleading or unethical strategies to deceive consumers, others enjoy high ratings from the Better Business Bureau. Currently, you’ll find numerous online penny auction reviews complaining about a supposed TheSmartBid scam. Before you invest a single penny at this site, learn what our tech expert has to say.

A Little Background

Penny auctions have taken a lot of heat from some major consumer advocates. According to technology expert Sarah McDaniels, users should know that these sites can be risky.

“Recently, the AARP and Federal Trade Commission both issued troubling consumer reports warning that many penny auction websites use unscrupulous strategies to take advantage of customers,” she said. “The FTC warns that some of these companies use automated bots, known as shills, to make fake bids on behalf of the companies themselves.”

McDaniels says this unscrupulous strategy can drive up prices and prolong auctions.

“The longer an auction lasts, the more people can get involved,” she said. “This generally encourages bidder failure and increases profits for the companies.”

Are TheSmartBid Reviews Fair?

A quick online search reveals numerous reviews complaining about an alleged TheSmartBid scam. According to McDaniels, this company is not alone.

“It’s difficult for consumers to know who to trust, because many online reviewers are just mad that they lost money and want to slander the penny auction,” she said. “That said, many of these companies do use deceptive tactics.”

Recently, QuiBids conducted a third-party audit to prove it didn’t use shills to scam consumers. Ultimately, the Better Business Bureau awarded the company an A- rating because of this. On the other hand, TheSmartBid.com has not conducted a similar audit; however, it has also earned an A- rating from the BBB.

“If you are dead set on participating at a penny auction, your best bet is to trust the BBB’s ratings,” McDaniels said. “Just know that this type of bargain-hunting is high risk. You are probably going to lose money no matter where you play.”

Not All Bid and Buy Penny Auction Sites Legitimate


In its continuing series focused on consumer-related tips and warnings, KingofHowTo.com has taken a look at numerous online shopping platforms. Ultimately, we’ve found that not all bid and buy penny auction sites offer users a fair chance to acquire discount merchandise.

According to our in-house technology expert, Sarah McDaniels, while some sites have taken steps to raise their reputations in the eyes of consumers; others continue a business-as-usual approach that has drawn warnings from some reputable organizations.

“When they first came out, penny auctions were almost synonymous with the word scam,” McDaniels said. “In response to numerous complaints, both the Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau issued reports warning consumers that many of these sites use deceitful techniques to rip their customers off. Now some of these bid and buy sites are taking steps to prove they don’t scam their users; however, many haven’t followed suit.”

McDaniels says the FTC has warned that many penny auctions use shills or automated bots to make fake bids that drive up prices and prolong auctions. This inevitably increases bidder failure, which ultimately pads company profits. That said, some companies are attempting to separate themselves from their competitors by proving they don’t use these types of strategies.

Recently, QuiBids paid Grant Thornton, a very reputable accounting firm, to conduct a neutral, third-party audit of the bid and buy website’s business model. In the end, Grant Thornton found that QuiBids did not use automated bots to cheat its customers; and the BBB chose to upgrade the company’s rating in response. Unfortunately, according to McDaniels, few penny auctions have followed QuiBid’s lead.

“Right now, consumers really don’t have any way of knowing which sites use shills and which do not,” she said. “There are some sites that attempt to uncover this sort of unscrupulous activity by comparing total human visitors by the total actual bids to see if there is a notable discrepancy. That said, if consumers really want to be sure they aren’t getting cheated, they can either avoid these types of sites altogether or review the BBB’s ratings system to see if the particular company has conducted any sort of audit.”

Hard to Win Penny Auctions: Consumer Reports


Bidding fee auctions have become popular with consumers looking to compete with other users for the right to purchase bargain merchandise. Unfortunately, a recent investigation by Consumer Reports revealed that most people find it hard to win penny auctions, thanks to a variety of reasons.

The Nature of the Game

According to Consumer Reports, bidding fee auctions are difficult to win, because they are set up that way. In order to place a bid, users must pay cash. What’s more, every single time an auction receives a new bid; more time is added to the auction, allowing more users to get involved. Many sites now also offer automatic bidding options which will make bids on behalf of users until the auction reaches a certain price. This can make it that much more difficult for consumers to win penny auctions, especially since automated bids are made by computers which never tire out.

Shady Tactics

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission warned consumers that many companies utilize automated bidding software to make bids on behalf of the companies, themselves. Often referred to as “bots” or “shills,” this software is typically used to lengthen auctions and drive up prices.

Recently, QuiBids voluntarily underwent a third-party audit which determined the company did not use such tactics; however, few companies have followed suit. In response to a recent feature focusing on negative SkoreIt reviews, KingofHowTo.com was contacted by the company’s CEO Joe Crivello, who asserted that his company did not use shills or bots to cheat its customers. That said, Crivello admits his company has not undergone any sort of third-party audit, leaving consumers to guess whether SkoreIt does in fact operate fairly.

What Consumers Should Know

Although Consumer Reports warns that most people do not win penny auctions; it does have some tips consumers can use to keep from getting ripped off. According to the magazine, users should think of bidding fee auctions as a form of entertainment and always be prepared to lose money. They should also only bid at sites that offer tips and advice, unlimited refunds and provide “buy-now” features. The consumer advocate also encourages users to research each company using a Google search and reports from the Better Business Bureau.

Is SkoreIt a Scam? No, says Company CEO


Recently, KingofHowTo.com published a series of consumer news features that put penny auction websites under the microscope. In response to one particular article, we were contacted by SkoreIt.com Chief Operating Officer Joe Crivello. Despite numerous online reviews complaining about a supposed SkoreIt scam, Crivello insists his company is honest with its customers. Before you spend a single cent at any bidding fee auction, you should know all sides of the story.

Penny Auctions Under Fire

Recently, some powerful organizations decided to speak out about the potential pitfalls associated with bidding fee auction websites. The Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau and AARP have all issued reports warning consumers about these so-called bargain websites. According to each organization, many of these companies use shady tricks to scam users; however, Crivello says these warnings do not apply to SkoreIt.com.

“It is important to note that the FTC, BBB and AARP have not indiscriminately warned consumers against penny auctions,” Crivello said. “Instead, they have warned consumers about the unscrupulous practices of some of our competitors: warnings which are simply not applicable to SkoreIt. Specifically, their concerns tend to focus on shipping delays, hidden costs, misleading terms and poor customer service.”

Despite Crivello’s statement, the fact is that the FTC, BBB and AARP have warned that most consumers tend to lose money when they participate at penny auctions. According to the FTC, because bidders are forced to pay for the right to bid, they lose money even if they don’t win the auction. Additionally, the FTC states that even winning bidders often end up paying more for an item than they expected.

Is SkoreIt All that Different?

The FTC has warned consumers that many penny auction websites use automated software known as “bots” or “shills” which make bids on behalf of the company. According to Crivello, his company does not employ this type of strategy, and he says all SkoreIt.com employees are contractually bound to never place bids on any company auction.

Recently, QuiBids underwent a third-party audit performed by Grant Thornton, which determined the company did not use shills; however, according to Crivello, his company has not taken similar measures to prove that every auction is fair.

“SkoreIt has not conducted an audit with Grant Thornton, although we are evaluating that and similar options for continuing to demonstrate our commitment to the fairness of our auctions,” he said.

What Consumers Should Know

Many consumers are attracted to penny auctions, because they represent a form of high-risk, high-reward entertainment. That said, consumers should be wary of companies that might use unscrupulous strategies to encourage bidder failure. According to Crivello, consumers shouldn’t be worried about a SkoreIt scam, because it’s in his company’s best interest to provide a positive experience to its users.

“We believe that customer education is one of the most important things that we can dedicate our time to,” he said. “Accordingly we have built a detailed help section on our website. We also send our new customers helpful pointers via email, if they choose to opt in for them.”

Ultimately, without third-party audits, consumers have no way of knowing which penny auction is truly on the up-and-up. Until Crivello’s company invests in this sort of in-house investigation, users will either have to take the CEO’s word or choose to spend their money elsewhere.

SkoreIt Reviews Prompt Response from CEO


Recently, KingofHowTo.com published a report shedding light on some online complaints regarding SkoreIt.com, a popular penny auction operated by Vesuvius Technologies. In response to these negative SkoreIt reviews, we were contacted by the company’s Chief Operating Officer Joe Crivello, who sought to educate consumers on the supposed differences between his company and some other bidding fee auctions.

Online Complaints

These days, penny auctions are getting a lot of attention for leaving many consumers unsatisfied; however, according to SkoreIt.com CEO, Joe Crivello, his company shouldn’t be lumped in with a few unscrupulous competitors.

“We are disappointed that some of our competitors have been dishonest with their customers,” he said. “But like any industry, one should not paint all penny auction businesses with the same brush.”

A quick Google search yields several unflattering SkoreIt reviews; however, according to Crivello, most are published by disgruntled bidders who make unfounded allegations.

“We spend most of our time thinking about how we can improve the bidding experience,” he told KingofHowTo.com. “Like any business, we are financially incentivized to provide a consistently positive experience for our customers.”

Is SkoreIt all that Different?

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau and AARP issued reports warning that many penny auctions attempt to scam consumers by using automated software to make fake bids that cheat users. According to Crivello, these warnings shouldn’t apply to SkoreIt.com.

“We believe our Fair Bidding Policy offers the strongest promises and best protection in the industry,” Crivello said. “In it, we agree to never engage in any form of bot bidding of any kind. All of our employees are personally contractually bound to never bid on any SkoreIt.com auction.”

Despite Crivello’s statements, consumers should know that both the FTC and the BBB have advised that most people who participate in penny auctions tend to lose money. That said, the BBB has issued good reviews to certain companies based on what it calls a low volume of complaints relative to similar businesses of the same size. According to Crivello, his company has earned positive recognition from the BBB, which should trump any so-called unfounded online SkoreIt reviews.

“We ship items to winning bidders quickly,” he said. “We clearly disclose the terms of our auctions; we do not hide or obscure costs and we are accredited by the BBB with an excellent A- rating.”

HappyBidDay Scam? Penny Auctions a Bad Deal: FTC


Allowed to operate for years without much scrutiny, penny auctions have fallen under a microscope of late, thanks to some powerful organizations that have begun warning consumers about potential rip-offs. One site, called Happy Bid Day calls itself the #1 discount auction site on the web; however, there’s plenty of Internet chatter regarding a supposed HappyBidDay scam. Before you play, learn what some consumer advocates are saying.

The Low-down on Penny Auctions

Just a few months ago, the Federal Trade Commission issued a report warning consumers about bidding fee auction sites similar to Happy Bid Day. According to the federal agency, since users must risk money to place every bid, they tend to come out on the losing end more often than not. Recently, both the Better Business Bureau and AARP joined the fight to educate consumers by issuing their own reports warning about the use of automated software to cheat unwitting users.

Is HappyBidDay a Scam?

According to the BBB, many penny auctions use automated bots to place bids on behalf of the websites themselves. This drives up prices, prolongs auctions and encourages bidder failure; all of which help the companies earn greater profits than they normally would. While there’s no way to know if HappyBidDay.com uses similar strategies; the company is not accredited by the BBB, and the organization has currently placed a consumer alert on Happy Bid Day, because “mail sent to the business was returned by the U.S. Postal Service.”

Are there Any Reputable Penny Auctions?

The FTC and ARRP warn bargain-hunters to stay away from bidding fee auction sites; however, many consumers who view the websites as contests may enjoy participating in what they see as a form of high-risk entertainment. The BBB has awarded some auction websites with an A rating, including QuiBids, which recently underwent testing by a third-party auditing company that determined the website did not use automated bots to cheat its users.

If you want to risk your money at one of these sites, but are worried about a potential HappyBidDay scam, you’d be well-advised to look for an auction site that has earned a high rating from the BBB. That said, don’t expect to have a high success rate; as most participants end up losing money in the long run.