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Many auction platforms exist to help people buy and sell items like household products, furniture, antiques, electronics, collectibles, cars, and clothing. Online auctions allow people to find unique products that might be nearly impossible to get elsewhere. Not only can sellers get the best price for their items, but buyers can score good deals too!
In an online auction, people place products up at a starting price and anyone can bid on the item, continually increasing the price as they do so. There is a timeframe when bidding is open, and once it closes, the person who has offered the highest amount of money "wins" the bid. This has become a popular hobby for many people who seek out collectibles and other hard-to-find products as they compete with others for the chance to own them.
Friday, June 18th
No doubt when you hear the words "online auction", eBay is the first company that comes to mind. They are a global leader in the ecommerce world and have connected millions of buyers and sellers throughout the world. There are over 1.6 billion active listings on eBay at any given time and 183 million registered buyers.
Whether you're looking for new or used items, eBay has you covered with over 34 categories. You can buy or bid on sporting goods, fashion items, household products, toys, business supplies, music equipment, and even cars. You could spend as little as $1 at eBay or as much as a few hundred thousand dollars depending what you're in the market for. Either way, it's easy to browse categories as well as search for items. It's fun to explore new products on eBay's site because it is so easy and there are so many things to discover.
Easy Registration Process
Getting started on eBay is as simple as providing your name, email address, and password. Once you are ready to buy or sell, you'll connect your bank and/or credit cards to make payment transactions. As a seller, you can list products for free and only pay up to a 14.35% final value fee and $0.30 per order once you've sold an item. Payments process quickly through either PayPal, credit/debit cards, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.
Since 1995, eBay has become such a large-scale company and so popular worldwide that people have turned to it full-time to create businesses of their own. People run their shops from home and find great success selling items through eBay. It is a solid way to shop small, while also making shopping easy and convenient.
Fantastic Ratings, But Lacking Customer Support
Since eBay is such a huge company with hundreds of thousands of products bought and sold each day, there is no doubt there will be hiccups and reports of unhappy customers for one reason or another. eBay holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and the usability, reliability, and number of listed products surpasses their competition. However, if there was one main complaint to be aware of that is common among users of the site, it's that customer service is difficult to reach.
Look No Further
When it comes to having success with listing products and finding niche items, you can't choose a better online auction site than eBay. Their seller and customer base is so high that it's one of the top places to shop. They've won multiple awards for their workplace environment, responsible business practices, inclusion policies, and more. It was an easy decision to give our highest rating for online auction sites to eBay.
Invaluable has an air of classiness that matches the fancy, expensive pieces that are auctioned off on their site. They are an online marketplace that specializes in selling fine art. Invaluable was launched in 2009 and is currently headquartered in Boston with global offices in the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, and Australia. They've been featured by the Boston Globe, Art News, Architectural Digest, Tech Crunch, and the Wall Street Journal.
Business Or Auctioneer's License Required
Invaluable is different from most other online auction sites because they do not allow individuals to consign art on their platform. In order to sell, you must have a proper business or auctioneer's license. For individuals interested in consigning art, they recommend contacting one of their auction houses to see if they are accepting consignments.
Expect To Pay High Prices
The categories of items available through Invaluable include fine art, decorative art, jewelry, collectibles, furniture, Asian art and antiques, guns and firearms, wines and spirits, and more. You can find beautiful, dainty earrings up for auction or buy a 1931 Ford truck. Since Invaluable primarily deals in art, you can easily expect to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a majority of the items on their site.
Timed And Live Auctions
There are three ways to purchase art from Invaluable. You can participate in a timed auction, which means an item is up for bidding for a set amount of time and available for absentee bidding only. Whoever has the highest bid when the time runs out wins the lot in a timed auction. Live auctions allow you to watch an auction in progress and participate until the item is sold off at the highest offer. The third way to obtain art from Invaluable is to buy products open for immediate sale at their listed price.
If there's an artist you like and are interested in collecting their work, Invaluable provides an artist database that allows you to search through their artists at auction and see how many of their items are currently available. You can also view pieces they've sold in the past to get an idea of how much their work goes for.
High Customer Satisfaction
Invaluable has a D+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which is alarming. However, in this case we wouldn't heavily weigh this rating since it is based off of a failure to respond to the one and only complaint given on the BBB's website. Customers who have reported experiences other places online have great things to say about the company. They share that it is an honest, easy-to-use, and enjoyable platform to purchase beautiful items.
Good Option For Fine Art
If you have a taste for timeless, "invaluable" art that you can't find at the store, we highly recommend using this platform. They have numerous high-end clients like Sotheby's, Freeman's, Bonhams, Phillips, Tajan, and others. This is a good indication that Invaluable is reputable and offers high-quality items that are in demand. If you're shopping around for fine art, we recommend giving Invaluable a try.
DealDash began in 2010 and specializes in selling overstock and liquidation inventory for up to 90% off retail price. You'll find the latest Apple products, fashion items, kitchen appliances, gift cards and more. In order to fund the discounts they provide, customers must pay to purchase bids that are used to try and win auctions.
Unique Bidding Process
To use DealDash, you have to purchase bids for $0.12 a piece. These are used to place bids on items you're interested in. When bidding through DealDash, each bid raises the price of the item by $0.01 and the auction clock restarts from 10 seconds. If no new bidders place an offer before the clock runs out, then the last bidder wins that auction and pays the final listed price. Paying for bids helps DealDash continue offering products for up to 90% off, but it also means you might lose quite a bit of money without receiving any products. The only way to get your bid credits back is to purchase the item you were bidding on from the DealDash store (for a price similar to what you'd pay for full retail value).
Pay To Play
The sign-up process at DealDash requires a username, email address, password, and credit card information. Since using the platform costs money to begin with, you'll be providing payment information upfront. Your new account will cost $30, which equates to 250 bids at $0.12 each.
The video explaining how DealDash works says that bids cost $0.60 each, so this does contradict the written information throughout the website. We also noticed that you can bid on packages of more bids or buy them outright for $0.60 each. This is another reason it seems that the way the DealDash process is described is not entirely accurate. Another place on the website says that bids can "normally" be purchased for $0.20 or less. Confusing.
Few Bids Placed On Products
You are able to view recent winner information on DealDash's website, which is what leads us to believe that there aren't a lot of customers who use this site. Most items retailing for around a few hundred dollars in the past few days were purchased for only a couple dollars and only 1 or 2 bidders participated. This is great for customers, but not so much for sellers who aren't getting a lot of interest in their products.
Try For Free
If you're unsure if the auction model set up by DealDash is right for you, you can try it out for free. They will honor a full refund for the first purchase within 90 days if you are unsatisfied.
Rave Customer Reviews
The general idea of DealDash almost seems like a scam because of how cheap you can get products for. Their flashy, outdated-looking website did them no favors in helping us gain initial trust. However, what sold us here was how much customers love shopping through DealDash. There are thousands of people who say they do most of their shopping here and often spend less than $10 on high-quality purchases. Who wouldn't want that? The Better Business Bureau also gives them an A+ rating, which is impressive.
Not Good, But Not Bad
DealDash falls somewhere in the middle for us when it comes to ranking among other online auction sites. If you're persistent, you might be able to get an expensive item like a Kitchenaid, iPhone, or a robot vacuum cleaner for just a few dollars (plus the cost of your bids). On the flip side, if you don't win the bid, you've lost money with nothing in return unless you pay full price for the item and get your bids back, which usually won't be worth it. Essentially, DealDash is a risk. They also don't have the customer base that the higher-rated bidding sites have, so this isn't our first choice for online auctions.
Atomic Mall has been around since 2008 and it shows. Our first impression with this site is that it is in desperate need of an update. Their homepage highlights random items like a wall shelf, alpaca fur carpet, a horse head thermometer, a Vanity Fair magazine, and a bowl for cat treats. The site is truly unappealing and made us want to shop elsewhere, but we gave it the benefit of the doubt and shopped on.
Quick Sign-up Process
To register for Atomic Mall, you'll provide your name, address, email, login ID, phone number, and choose an avatar image. Whether you're a buyer or seller, you'll use the login ID and password you create every time you complete a transaction. Atomic Mall boasts that it will take 10 minutes or less to get started buying and selling on their site.
Wide Range Of Product Categories
You can or sell anything and everything on Atomic Mall. Their main categories include books, camera and video, cellular, computers, dolls and bears, electronics, jewelry, office, pet supplies, sports and outdoor, and tools. You can also use the search bar if you have something specific you're looking for. To make things easier you can sort results by price, shipping, under $20, and new listings.
Unappealing Browsing Experience
When you select a product you're interested in, you have the chance to make an offer or buy it right away at the listed price. There are thorough descriptions of the items, but they often have different font sizes, random highlighted words, and way more information than is necessary. It made us feel like our head was spinning after browsing just a few different items.
Every once in a while, we ran into broken links on the site. For example, we found an item we were interested in and tried to make an offer, but we were taken to an invalid page. This wasn't always the case, but it was frustrating that the site wasn't 100% reliable.
Surprisingly Happy Customers
Despite our hesitations with Atomic Mall, the company gets considerably high ratings from customers. They hold an "A" rating from the Better Business Bureau and users report that they find the best prices for niche items they are searching for, their customer service is responsive, and sellers have quick success.
Better Luck Elsewhere
Although Atomic Mall doesn't seem to have many complaints from customers, there is no doubt that this won't be many people's preferred place to shop, especially when competing with top-rated online auction sites. If you know exactly what you're looking for, it won't hurt to check Atomic Mall in case they have it. However, this isn't somewhere you'll want to spend much time casually browsing. When navigating to an online auction site, we recommend first using a platform that's received a higher rating than Atomic Mall.
eBid has been in business since 2008. They have a huge list of products for sale, but their presentation is much less impressive than some of their competitors. Inconsistent font sizes, colors, and advertisements make it feel like eBid is less than professional. However, customers report overall great experiences using this site, so it's still a good option for people wanting to find unique items up for auction.
Plenty Of Inventory
There is a long list of product categories highlighting unique items like baby stuff, comics, spiritual and metaphysical products, dolls, stamps, and thousands of other interesting items. At this time of this review, there were over 2,905,000 listings on eBid. There were over 61,000 items added in just the 24 hours prior to our most recent visit to the site!
Free To Bid And Buy
To register for an account on eBid and start shopping, it doesn't cost a thing! You can place bids, make offers, or buy right away with no cost aside from that of the product you're interested in. You can either shop by category or use the search bar to find something specific.
Seller Account Options
Sellers are able to list items for free on eBid, but they will pay a 5% final value fee once an item has been sold. If you want to upgrade your account in order to post extra photos of your listings, appear in thumbnail results, and get top results, there are 6 different types of seller accounts you can choose, all with different associated fees. You can also pay to add "extras" to your account like a subtitle with the listing, have a highlighted category, bolded title, an extra photo, and more. These are silly additions that make eBid a tad more complicated than other online auction sites.
One thing we didn't enjoy about browsing eBid's website is all the advertisement banners along the top and sides of the website. We were getting targeted with ads that had nothing to do with eBid, so we were distracted and it brought the professionalism level down a notch or two.
Good, Not Great
Customers who have left reviews about using eBid say that they wish the customer base were bigger, but it seems to be slowly growing over time. Unfortunately, their membership still pales in comparison with larger online auction sites. This makes it harder for sellers to make as much money using eBid's platform. Regardless of this downside, eBid has loyal customers who say bigger auction sites could learn a thing or two from the smooth processes of eBid. The Better Business Bureau gives them an A+ rating, and there don't seem to be any red flags elsewhere that would dissuade people from using this site. eBid hasn't earned our highest rating, but it is an interesting place to check out if you're browsing around for unique products.
Due to their name, it will come as no surprise that Liquidation auctions off commercial surplus inventory. They started in 2000 and also operate a variety of other companies that specialize in reselling returned items from stores, bulk items, overstock items, and more. These companies serve retail, energy, industrial, construction, biotech, government, automotive, and scrap industries.
No Independent Sellers
Liquidation takes products in bulk from companies like Amazon, Wayfair, Target, Sony, Lowes, and Home Depot and resells them by auctioning them off. You must be a retailer, wholesaler, manufacturer, financial institution, or other type of business in order to sell products through Liquidation.
Lots Of Filtering Options
Customers can register for free and begin shopping from one of the many categories at Liquidation including clothing, computers, tools, electronics, general merchandise, houseware, jewelry, and store fixtures. You can choose to shop by lot size, which means you could order a truckload of something, a pallet, or just packages. In addition, you can filter results by the condition of the items, warehouse, seller, retail price, number of bids, auction type, and lot price.
Easy Buying Process
Once you've registered for your free account on Liquidation, you can start browsing items. You can bid on any item by entering the maximum amount you're willing to pay (after your credit card and billing info has been verified). If you are the highest bidder and win the auction, the assets will usually be shipped to you within 4 days. The process is straightforward and similar to most other online auction sites.
Poor Customer Reviews
Unfortunately, customers have bad things to say about Liquidation. Reports of receiving products that looked nothing like the pictures in the product descriptions, paying for items that never arrived, but were marked as "delivered', receiving damaged items, orders being cancelled out of the blue, and the list goes on. They have quite a few complaints on their Better Business Bureau profile as well, which is why it is shocking that they hold an A+ rating there.
Do Your Research
Liquidation is the best place we've found to buy items in bulk. Everything leads us to believe this might be a fruitful option for many people, but we are mostly worried about the customer reviews we've found. We recommend doing a lot of research on items you're interested in purchasing from here before taking the plunge, but no doubt you could score some valuable products at a great deal from Liquidation.
QuiBids is based out of Oklahoma City and was started in 2009. They have a list of different categories for products they auction off, but they primarily highlight gift cards. The site is not secure, meaning it's a little risky to provide financial information by signing up. They also need to modernize their website to make it more appealing. Getting rid of the flashy ads that hover around the site would be a good place to start.
Few Product Categories
The number of categories are few compared to competing online auction sites. There are no stats about how many products are available for auction at any given time, so it seems like the inventory you could choose from is slim here. You can find items that are up for bid by searching for them or browsing one of the following:
To take part in the bidding process at QuiBids, you need to purchase bid credits for $0.40 a piece. You'll use these to try and get items at discounted prices by offering more money than anyone else taking part in the auction. If you don't win an auction, you have the chance to still get that product at a discount through their "Buy Now" feature. You don't get your credits back by buying the product, and at $0.40 a bid, this is one of the most expensive routes to go if you're participating in an online auction.
Misleading Business Practices
At one point QuiBids was sued for being a form of illegal gambling and was criticized for having misleading advertising. The price of many products are shown in QuiBids cash, not US dollars, but they don't disclose this upfront. In 2010, there was a class action lawsuit filed against them claiming that QuiBids should disclose that the majority of people who use their site end up losing money with nothing in return. In short, QuiBids preys on customers by luring them in to bid on products they don't actually have a good chance of winning.
Take Your Money Elsewhere
QuiBids has a lousy D- rating from the Better Business Bureau. They also have bad reviews elsewhere from the very few customers who have left any feedback about the site. People say they are billed for extra bids they didn't want, don't receive items they win at auctions, and describe their suspicions that winning bidders are often bots. QuiBids is definitely not one of the most popular online auction sites out there. For a wider variety of unique items, less expensive auction bid credits, and a better browsing experience, it would be best to use one of the higher-rated auction sites instead of QuiBids.
For both buyers and sellers, online auction sites are a great place to turn if you're wanting a specific item. Whether it's an antique clock or the newest Apple watch, you'll usually be able to find them at an online auction. This gives people the chance to get their hands on products that might not be available in stores.
Before choosing an online auction site to use, we recommend you keep the following criteria in mind:
To help you identify the best online auction sites, TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked a variety of options. We hope this information helps you find new and exciting items for a great price!
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!
Select any 2 Online Auction Sites to compare them head to head
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