7 Top Online Auction Sites

Shopping auction sites requires a few caveats—beware of designer knock-offs, check the feedback ratings on sellers carefully, only pay through secure options like PayPal. Once you’ve got the cautions out of the way, however, there’s the possibility of finding some truly great deals, even on items that are rare or one-of-a-kind. Also there’s the thrill of being the top bidder—if you enjoy that sort of thing (and we kinda do). Check out our reviews of these sites so you’ll know where to begin.

7 Top Online Auction Sites for Designer Goods

eBay.com. Of course you knew we’d get to this one sooner or later . . . and there’s probably not much we can tell you that you don’t already know. It’s the behemoth of online auction sites, and if you’re looking for something—anything—you will most likely find it here. The deals, however, aren’t quite what they used to be. We remember the days of actually getting designer and brandname goods for, almost literally, a song—now, with lots of eBay “businesses” and “buy now” options, the prices just aren’t as good as they used to be. Still, it’s no fuss, no muss—easy to find items, easy to bid, and pretty darn trustworthy payment options.

OnlineAuction.com. Lots of apparel, lots of handbags, a huge list of detailed categories. Okay, we like—but a few random clicks didn’t bring us much in the way of super-hot deals (there were several Juicy Couture handbags for example—which would be super except the prices weren’t much different than if you bought them directly from Juicy Couture). That being said, if you don’t mind browsing quite a big, OnlineAuction.com is a site that appear to have a good reputation and an extensive number of sellers.

CQout. When, at first look, we see more than 44,000 apparel items available, our heart rises just a little. And upon further inspection, oodles of cool shoes (Chanel, Fendi, Christian Louboutin, handbags (Gucci, Hermes), and apparel, with current bids well within the realm of affordability. Jackpot! The downside? Many of the items would be coming from abroad (the site is based in the UK) meaning pretty high shipping costs. However, if you find a fab designer deal on the cheap, the additional shipping still might be worth it . . . just watch your budget carefully. And there is a “local only” tab to sort out auctions closer to home, meaning in the US—the pickings are much slimmer, but many sellers offered free shipping.

ShopGoodwill.org.  We’re just going to come right out and say it—we love Goodwill. We love the stores, and we love the online site, mostly because this is the first auction site we’ve come across that when we clicked on women’s apparel, we came up on the first page with a mink coat and a vintage black, rhinestone studded dress. Okay, so we weren’t in the market for either, but it made us feel like we might really find something here. A little further searching turned up a few things more in our price range, like a Dooney and Burke handbag with a starting bid of $5.59 and a pair of new Nine West Black Leather Pumps (in a hard to find size 10 yet!) at $11 with 12 hours to go . . . Our favorite part is that being items sold through Goodwill organizations throughout the country, we’re pretty confident that the namebrands we’re bidding on are authentic items, not cheap knock-offs. And it’s for a good cause.

Webidz.com. Webidz gets pretty high marks from lots of the online auction site reviews we read, and they had a reasonable amount of apparel. But designer stuff? Not so much. We searched for a few designer names (Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Burberry) and came up with 3 items total, none of which were particularly tempting deals even at the starting bids. But, if you’re in the market for, say, sports memorabilia, toys, books, and collectibles, this just might be the site for you (the “sports memorabilia” category alone boasts more than 28,000 items . . . )

uBid.com. When clothing items are relegated to the “Everything Else” category, we know this isn’t exactly a site made for fashionistas (the day we looked there were only 45 apparel items, total)—so if you’re just looking to pick up designer apparel on the cheap, skip it. However, if you’re looking for computers, electronics, fine jewelry and watches, however there are plenty to choose from, with lots of auctions that didn’t even have reserve prices.

PropertyRoom.com. A police auction site, PropertyRoom.com is just what you might imagine, featuring items that have been stolen, seized, found and otherwise acquired by more than 1,100 law enforcement agencies that are involved with the site. Of course, designer goods are on the docket, but just don’t expect to find a specific item you have your heart set on. Instead, think of it as an adventure—one never knows when 200 Burberry handbags might be seized by authorities in Des Moines, for example (it could happen!). And we’re pretty sure the transactions are reasonably secure.