A couple of months ago we reported on a sudden huge advertising blitz by penny auction site Swipebids.com, which later changed it’s name to Swipeauctions.com. It wasn’t the companies themselves, but their affiliate offer was so lucrative that everyone and their brother started filling the internet with advertising.
You can read my original report on Swipeauctions.com here. Now all these penny auction and adventure shopping sites have one thing in common in my opinion, they’re all thinly veiled gambling. I have nothing against gambling, but let’s just call it what it is. You are paying for a chance to buy an item at greatly reduced cost.
Swipeauctions/Swipebids went a couple steps beyond though. They hid the $159 initial charge for bid packs in fine print that most users never saw. They only gave refunds if you didn’t win anything, but encouraged people to bid on $10 gift cards that you could only “win” one of. Most people paid $159 and got around $10 worth of stuff in return.
There are many decent penny auction sites out there For example at Bidcactus you can start with $20 worth of bids, and unused bids are fully refundable, so you can try it for a low cost. At Bidrivals, the cost of your bids can be put towards buying the item at regular price if you don’t win. And the regular prices are regular prices, if you didn’t win the Wii bundle, you could buy it for $199, the same exact price as Bestbuy.com. If you were buying a Wii anyway, why not shoot for it?
But Swipeauctions had none of these, and in my opinion tried to hide the fact that they were going to charge people $159 the instant they put in their credit card. Check out the discussion in the comments on the original Swipeauctions report here.
Not shocking to find out now that Swipeauctions has closed their doors. Apparently late last year their payment processor closed their account, likely due to disputed charges. Rather than try to find a new processor or clean up their act, they decided to close their doors.
Were they able to move millions of dollars offshore before they closed down? Are they in legal hot water? We can’t say for sure. But one thing we do know for certain. If you bought bid from Swipeauctions and never used them, your money appears to be gone for good. They are apparently only refunding people their initial $159 fee if they are still within the 90 day window where they said they would offer refunds if you didn’t win anything. If you are outside the 90 days or you bought bids, good luck.