What: Kathryn reviews the penny auction shopping site OohILove.com, which gets you to spend more money than necessary by appealing to your competitive nature.
The Review: So here’s how the site works. You buy bid credits- sold in 30 to 800 bid packs for a $1 per bid- which gives you the right to “bid” on an item. Every time you place a bid (even via the automatic bidder) you use a credit, which means you’re paying $1 to bid on an item (versus eBay which is free). So let’s say a Louis Vuitton Speedy bag is shown at auction for $3.50 (this is an example of a real price you can find on the site). You bid on the bag (costing you $1). After you bid the auction price increases by $.02 and the time of the auction increases by 10 seconds and you can keep doing this until the auction ends, paying $1 every time you place a bid. So, if you use 100 bids to purchase the Louis Vuitton Speedy at $3.50, you pay $103.50 for the bag, which is a great deal for a high end designer handbag.
However, according to reviews from other users it can take $50 to $100 in bids to score an item AND many accuse the site of using fake bidders to increase the price (thus causing you to bid more). While I can’t confirm or deny this, I do suggest that you read about the site here and here before signing up for the site. The site does have a fair return policy, you can return unworn/unused items within 14 days, and guarantees authenticity, which doesn’t happen on eBay. Regardless, it’s a pretty smart business idea. Just think- add the $50 or dollars you spend on bids across 100 other bidders and the site makes $5,000 off of a $700 handbag.
Verdict: Maybe. Before you bid, do a quick search to find out what the piece is selling for on other sites (including eBay) and make sure to add the cost of bidding to your maximum price, so you don’t pay more via bids than the item is actually worth.