Warning about online penny auction

Published: Jul. 1, 2010 at 10:10 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2012 at 6:33 PM EDT
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By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A warning tonight from 12 on Your Side about an online penny auction called 'swipe bids dot com'. We got calls from a few unhappy customers.

The company seemed eager, initially, to answer our questions and address complaints. Today though, we're still waiting for an official statement. 'swipe bids dot com' has an 'F' rating with the Better Business Bureau for 'not' responding to customer complaints.

"My best deal Mac book pro, $19.62" and "A $350 dollar camera. We paid...It was just under 15 dollars" are testimonials found on 'swipe bids dot com's' website along with big money saving claims - that customers will never pay more than the value of the item up for auction.

Penny bids on high dollar merchandise caught Jimmy Lewis' attention.

"I expected to find a $300 cell phone maybe at $50. Instead I spend $150 and got nothing," he said.

Jimmy says he was misled by a confusing registration process that requests your banking information.  He disputes the $150 membership fee debited from his account.

"They're not giving me money back. I battled with them for 3 days now, on line, on the telephone, still saying they won't refund me," said Jimmy.

Jimmy says a company rep told him: "Sorry, our pages are clearly marked indicating the fee and no refund." It's there, but in tiny print.

"They start off telling you, you have 3 minutes to register due to high demand today. You skim thru the page, but you don't really read into it," added Jimmy.

The B.B.B. has a complaint file against 'swipe bids dot com', containing roughly 140 complaints. Gallagher believes bidding customers are putting themselves in a risky place.

"You gave somebody access to your credit card, perhaps to your bank account, and good things will not happen," said Tom Gallagher with the BBB.

Jimmy Lewis is among a lucky few. He disputed the charge and his bank provided a refund.

"We're very concerned about this. They don't give you an address in Utah and then tell you they're located in Colorado and you find out they're located in Canada," said Gallagher.

Again, we're still waiting for a company statement. The only response we have from 'swipe bids dot com' is a two sentence email that says, "We love to answer any questions, so ultimately the customer's experience can be a positive one." 

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