QuiBids: Scam or One Heck of a Deal?

by stacie on December 22, 2020

If you follow my musings either here or over at Smart Mom Deals, you know I’m pretty deal savvy and often on the lookout for fantastic savings.

And I never pay retail. Ever.

So when I heard CC over at I Love to Gossip talking about the steals she was getting on QuiBids, I was definitely curious. For one, she was grabbing gift cards for pennies on the dollar. And second, she lives and works in the same community I do, so I can’t imagine she’d be misleading.

And she wasn’t.

But on my quest to duplicate her success, I found out a few things that I thought were worth sharing.

Penny Auction Sites are Everywhere

Look around. You’ll start noticing popup ads advertising Kindles that have just sold for $15 and iPads that have just sold for $43. Too good to be true? Definitely. Enticing? Most certainly. It’s easy to get sucked in and also to get taken for a sucker.

You Have to Make an Initial Investment and You’re Not Guaranteed a Win

The reason penny auction sites are able to “sell” goods for so little money is because you have to make an initial up-front purchase of “bid packs.” So, for example, at QuiBids you must first purchase a minimum bid pack of 100 bids for $60 before you can start bidding; the more up-front bids you buy, the larger your investment but the smaller your per bid price. However, you also need to realize that you’re buying the right to bid on products.

EXAMPLE: So, let’s say you invest $60 to get started (this is the only option when you first sign up for QuiBids) which gives you 100 bids at $0.60 each. You now have 100 rights to bid. Next, you enter an auction for A $10 Wal Mart gift card.  You bid on the gift card 8 times (using 1 bid each time @ $.60/each) and you up the ante by a penny each time. The winning auction price is $.16. If you win this auction, you’ve spent $4.88 (the bids you purchased 8 x $0.60) + $0.08. So, your $10 Wal Mart gift card cost you approximately 50% of its face value. If you didn’t win the auction, you don’t get your bids back; you’ve just lost about $5.

Auctions Extend When There’s a Last-Second Bid

You do have to be the last person to bid to win the auction, obviously. However, QuiBids (and I suspect many other penny auction sites) will extend the time of the auction by a few seconds when last-second bids are placed. If you’re aiming to purchase something, you need to be sitting right in front of your computer until the clock hits zero. You can use the option for Quibids to place bids for you, but that always makes me nervous.

It’s Easy to Get Sucked In

Because we’re an immediate gratification kind of society, it’s easy to look at the bids on a $25 gift card to Target and justify bidding just one more time. “Well, the bid is only at $.50 cents. Of course I’ll pay $.51 cents to win a $25 gift card to Target!” All the while forgetting that each time you click “bid,” it’s really costing you another $.60.

You Have to Do the Math First

Just like with any other shopping you do, you have to set a budget first. You have to know what your break-even point is and when it no longer becomes a deal to you. Know that, once that $10 Wal Mart gift card hits around $.16, you’re coming perilously close to purchasing it for full price.

Start Small

While the QuiBids banners will lead you to believe that it’s super easy to get started and that folks are winning iMacs for $14, it’s not that simple. The QuiBids system is confusing and easy to get totally irritated with, especially if you’re used to eBay where if you don’t win, you’re not out anything. When you’re facing the prospect of losing money and not gaining a thing, it’s easy to be a little more jaded towards the system.

If You Get the Hang of It, You Really Can Grab Good Deals

But I mean this sincerely: if you don’t have an extra $60 kicking around to start messing with QuiBids, don’t try to come up with it. Especially if you’re competitive like me. I want to win, so I know that I will continue bidding, even when it means I cross the line of breaking even. Sure, there are good deals to be had (the $100 Wal Mart gift card that sold for $0.76 and only took 5 bids (at $.60 each) was a steal! But again, it took patience and persistence to get the hang of the system.

Have you used QuiBids or another penny auction site? What do you think of it? Have you won any fantastic auctions? Lost your shirt? Discuss below.

photo credit: QuiBids

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Pinchus Rose December 22, 2020 at 12:48 am

For all they’re worth, they just take too much of my time to be worth the effort. Sometimes I’ll just buy for the real price in the real store, just to get myself out of there and home fast.

Living The Scream December 22, 2020 at 8:40 am

I so appreciate these tips! I have been curious about these kind of sites for a while. Your advice made a lot of sense and I think I am the type of person that would get totally sucked in and lose track of the money I am spending. I am so glad you wrote this,

Adventures In Babywearing December 22, 2020 at 9:40 am

My MIL has been asking me about this and I keep telling her it’s too good to be true (which would totally be the case for her- she would not get it!)


Penny W. December 22, 2020 at 1:50 pm

I’ve been seeing a lot of television advertising for this site, so it was starting to raise my interest. Now that I understand the system, it helps me decide if it’s for me. I think it will depend of the item being auctioned.

Thanks for the simple explanations, they helped!

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