When people hear "online auction" they immediately think of eBay. With good reason; this enormously well-known online auction site boasts millions of users across several countries and sells thousands of items every day.
However, there are alternatives to eBay. As it has grown in size, so too have a variety of complaints. From rising fees charged to their sellers, to prices that are driven up by large numbers of buyers, other online auction sites have started nipping at the heels of eBay.
When looking at online auctions, there are a number of factors you'll want to consider. Some of these include:
Ease of Use. If the website is too confusing or difficult, you won't want to use it. Stick with one that feels right to you.
Selection. You want to be able to find the items you're looking for. If you can't you're going to try another site. Choose one or two online auctions that consistently give you the results you want.
Dependability. With online auctions, you need to trust the person that your dealing with. The best sites give you some feedback about your potential seller or buyer, so you know whether you want to do business with them.
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best online auctions available today. We hope these reviews help you fine what you're looking for online!
Disclosure: We pay our reviewers and we are compensated for our reviews. Click here for details.
eBay is the standard-bearer of online auction sites. By far the largest and most widely used auction site, it is generally a wonderful place to buy and sell new and used items. It has a solid reputation as a safe and secure environment.
eBay has over 32 main categories to choose from. They sell anything and everything. Books, toys, home/garden supplies, cars, and yes, even homes are sold on this site!
eBay's web site is very friendly to new users. There is a site map that will answer any question a customer or seller could possibly have. There is also a transaction problem link and an emergency contact link, for those rare occasions if a problem does arise.
To help you avoid problems, eBay makes extensive use of a feedback forum and rating scale. For each buyer and seller, you can easily view comments posted by users from past sales - both positive and negative. This is a great way to weed out any unsavory sellers or buyers.
With over millions of items and literally hundreds of thousands of sellers, your savings on an individual item could run from a lot to very little. It all depends on the number of buyers that are interested in the item you're pursuing. As for payment, most sellers take paypal, direct payments, checks, or cashiers checks. Setting up a paypal account is very easy. A person just needs a credit card or bank account number.
Paypal is a very secure site and has become very widely used, even outside of eBay.
Many people earn a full-time income just through buying and selling on eBay. There is great work-from-home potential here. The nice thing is, as new products are introduced into the marketplace, the opportunities for making money with eBay continue to expand. This is definitely worth looking into if you're comfortable with online buying & selling, or are interested in a new sideline career where you can
be your own boss.
eBay is a world-class online auction site. If you have never visited eBay, or have browsed it but never purchased anything with it, you are missing out on a great buying experience. They earn our highest rating.
Liquidation is an online auction website that specializes in bulk auctions of a large variety of products. They purchase surplus inventory from hundreds of stores across the country and action off this surplus to business and individuals through a typical online auction process.
The main page of the website contains several items that gave us an immediate sense of legitimacy. Prominently displayed is an accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, a notice that they are a publicly traded company, and a short video clip of a story featuring their business on popular ABC news program Nightline. The video clip was particularly informative due to the fact that their business model is clearly defined
during the brief news article. The spot describes how Liquidation purchases inventory from 7 of the top 10 retailers in the country and hundreds of other manufacturers and then auctions the goods off to the public at discounts up to 40%. EVP Casey Roy is interviewed and clearly explains how his business model has led to bringing about a "second economy" for millions of Americans through this online buying and selling of bulk surplus.
This mention of a second economy is part of what we noticed was a focus on the opportunity for customers of Liquidation not only to purchase goods at a discount, but to make money reselling it to the public. On the main page are three testimonials from clients claiming that buying and selling from Liquidation is their primary source of income. This sets Liquidation apart from the many other online auction websites where
the focus is solely on the customer getting a personal bargain on discounted goods.
The website itself is easy enough to navigate. You can register for free if you want to setup an account for frequent purchases, but you don't have to register to take part in an auction. The categories are clearly outlined and easily chosen from a drop down menu, and you can also search auctions by location. (presumably due to the focus on bulk buying where a client may have to have hundreds of items shipped or retrieved.)
The customer service page has telephone numbers for customer support, seller support, direct/bulk sales and also an option to talk online via live chat to a service representative. There were a few small issues like the categories and locations resetting after each search, but overall it was easy to find everything needed and a snap to quickly located current auctions for what we were looking for.
Liquidation gets high marks for its huge selection of products, ease of use, and value to the customer. We feel it is a very good site for anyone who wants to either find a good deal for themselves on an item, or to make money purchasing and selling in bulk.
Founded in 1997, uBid currently has over 5 million registered users. This auction site features brand name merchandise that is discounted anywhere from 20 to 80% off regular retail price. uBid features new, overstocked, and refurbished merchandise. On any given day there are approximately 200,000 items for sale. Only established businesses are allowed to sell on this auction site, thereby reducing any problems of
fraud or selling counterfeit items. uBid has a 100% guarantee no-fraud promise. There are no listing fees, which is a nice plus.
uBid is easy to navigate, with very clear categories and a helpful question and answer section. Finding items is a breeze and the search facility works like a charm. uBid also supplies one-click actions to such helpful features as Auctions Closing This Hour and Items That Include Free Shipping.
In addition to the traditional auction, uBid has two interesting auction formats - Mega Auctions and Express Auctions. Mega Auctions are used to sell quantities of items - such as 20 watches or 100 suitcases. This is a convenient format for power sellers and buyers. Express Auctions are used for quick sales - they only last 20 minutes! Every 20 minutes, from 9am to 3pm, items are put up to bid and sold within
that 20 minute timeframe. So if you don't have the time or inclination to monitor an auction stretching over days, you can pop in to check out the items in the Express Auction.
The fact that uBid has 5 million registered users compared to eBay's 150 million carries with it both positive and negative aspects. First, the negative - the amount of merchandise being sold is far less than eBay. Try running a search for designer clothing, or a hard-to-find item, and chances are you're likely to come up empty. On eBay you can find anything and everything; the uBid universe is much smaller. On the other
hand, because uBid has far fewer registered users, you have far less competition when bidding on items. This means you can usually buy items for less than you can on eBay. The trick, of course, is finding those items in the first place. For example, while uBid may not have a limited first-run edition of a 1955 bestseller, they do have an ample supply of new electronics including computers, cameras, games, and bluetooth devices.
uBid is perfect for customers wanting steep discounts on general merchandise. You will not be able to find a first edition book or rare antique on this site, but you will definitely find solid deals on popular merchandise like electronics. If you have not registered with uBid yet, you are missing out on some very good deals.
eBid is the second-largest online auction site in England. Started in 2000, they have since expanded into the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Ireland markets.
eBid is a visually very busy site. It is easy to become overwhelmed and confused when trying to find your way around the interface. In some ways it reminds us of a Vegas billboard gone amuck. There always seems to be an advertisement that is either flashing or moving on the screen at any given second.
Many sellers seem to have never sold before, which makes us leery, especially when they are selling Rolex watches. In fact, on eBid's main page most of the FEATURED sellers have never sold. The most any of the featured sellers had sold was only 17 items. Also, because of its origins, a great many of the sellers are located outside of the US. In addition to the high number of "new" sellers, this raises our concerns
for the chance of fraud and counterfeit issues.
eBid encourages buyers to sign up for "PPPay" for payment options. This is obviously a holdover from their European roots, as PPPay works only with accounts in Euros or British Pounds. Why does eBid encourage PPPay? What you may not know is that eBay, a direct competitor to eBid, owns Paypal. So by using Paypal, you are helping to fund eBid's main competitor. In reality, while PPPay is a reliable payment service,
it doesn't fully support the U.S. buyer. American users will need to use Paypal or another form of payment.
eBid has 60 minute auctions, happy hour auctions, front page auctions, free auctions, standard auctions.... the list goes on and on. In this case we believe that more is not always better. The variety of auction types can be confusing if you're just interested in trying the auction site. Also, the volume of items being sold seems to be on par with Overstock Auctions, so buyers may not be able to locate hard to find or
very popular items.
While eBid may have a better reputation in England, its transition to the U.S. is confusing and somewhat lacking. If you do take a look, be prepared to take an aspirin afterwards for your headache.
Bid Here is a "penny auction" website that focuses on individual auctions of items for extremely low prices. The main page of the site directs the customer to sign up, top your account with bids, choose an auction and WIN!
Immediately we were interested to find out what "top your account with bids" meant. We noticed at least two links on the main page advertising “free bids” and after poking around a little more we discovered that "topping your account with bids" means paying for them. After some free bids that each customer receives for registering with Bid Here, you must pay 60 cents per bid in "bid-packs"
of 100, 500 or 1000. If you want to start with 1000 bids you're going to need to lay out $600 before you even get started. What's worse is, if you don't win the auction you're bidding in, you lose the money for the bids you spent on the auction. This means the more bids you have to use to win an auction, the less savings you're really seeing on that item. Moreover, if you don't actually end up winning any auctions, you'll literally be paying money for nothing.
When we went to the "need help" page, there was only an option to send an e-mail to customer support. No telephone number, no list of contacts, no address or any way to contact anyone other than an anonymous e-mail. This was a red flag for us since there seemed to be no easy way to speak with anyone from Bid Here. Also of note was that, at the time of this writing, links to testimonials and "real member
reviews" were broken. Curious to see what anyone who had used Bid Here had to say about the service, we searched the internet and found many complaints from customers of actions ending earlier than stated, difficulty receiving merchandise when they did win a bid, and "bid-packs" that they purchased not hitting their account in a timely fashion.
Our recommendation is to look for an auction website ranked higher. When there are so many free online auction sites, we don't see any good reason to pay for hundreds of bids that may not end up resulting in winning anything. Combine that with the fact that the website seems incomplete, the customer service lacking, and the public feedback less than stellar, you'd be better off going elsewhere for your online auction activities.
Top 3 Tips For Buying In Online Auctions
Online auctions have really skyrocketed in popularity. Any item that you could ever wish to own is probably being sold in an online auction. In the clothing category alone, over 2 million items are being auctioned off at this moment. New merchandise, used merchandise, rare merchandise, even “celebrity” merchandise - it's all there. Did you know that there have been over 50 books written on how to get the best
online auction experience? For those of you who have never had the pleasure of shopping in an online auction, we'll walk you through 3 basic tips for your success.
First, do your research! When going to an online auction site, you'll be able to type in the item you are looking for, or can narrow the search by selecting categories and choosing from there. Be as specific as possible. Take, for example, clothing. If you know the brand, size and even line you are looking for, this will make your search much easier. Then, research the seller. Is this someone was has mostly
positive feedback or have they had problems shipping their items? This is easily viewed online. Reputable online auctions have built a solid reputation as safe places to buy and sell. That's why most all transactions from both seller and buyer are given feedback. Look for such seller qualities as a fast shipper, item as described and good communication. Be wary of a seller who has a lot of negative feedback. You may be getting the best price, but you might be sacrificing its good condition.
Second, visit the online auction site often. There are a couple of reasons for this. In the unlikely event that what you're looking for is not being sold, check back. Take, for example, one of our reader's experiences they had with wanting to purchase a particular item.. The first time they looked, there were none being sold. They checked back a few days later and there were 5 being auctioned off.
Another good reason for checking the online auction site often is that you'll usually get a better deal. Here is another example; one of our readers wanted to purchase a set of books called America at School from American Girls. One month, this book set was going for over $100 dollars. They kept watching and looking. Two months later, they purchased the book set for $26.00 at the very same auction site. Not
a bad deal. Often times in online auctions, items are sold for more than what the buyer is willing to pay. Keep looking and you could get that bargain buy that you're looking for.
Third, wait to bid. This is the single most important fact to buying in online auctions. Many new buyers bid too early (the amount you have purchased or sold is usually available to the general public). This backfires for two reasons. One, it causes the price of the item to increase, because seasoned shoppers know to wait until the last few minutes to bid. Two, it also triggers a competitive aspect to buying.
It's pretty common for two new buyers at an online auction to get into a bidding war a day or two before the auction closes. Then, at the last minute, another buyer will bid and win the merchandise. The exception to this rule of course is if you are unable to be at a computer when the auction closes. Then you just have set your highest bid and hope for the best.
Remember, you win some and you lose some, but that’s the fun of online auctions. Good Luck and remember to have fun!
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