Is TheSmartBid a Scam or Are Penny Auction Reviews Unfair?By Nathaniel Hutchinson on June 13, 2012 with 0 Comments
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.”