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QuiBids.com is an American online retailer headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. It is the world’s largest retail website that operates as a bidding fee auction, also known as a penny auction. As of October 10, 2012, QuiBids was the 286th most trafficked website in the United States, according to Alexa.com. QuiBids.com is also available in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.
Matt Beckham and Shaun Tilford (now QuiBids’s chief executive officer and chief technology officer, respectively) founded the company in 2009 and launched the site from Beckham’s Oklahoma City apartment in the fall of that year. The company name is a portmanteau of the words "quick" and "bids", and is pronounced the way both words sound.
As of October 2012, QuiBids employed about 150 people. Over time, the site increased its selection of products and incorporated elements of gamification such as badges, auction statistics and games which customers play to earn voucher bids to be spent as scrip on the site.
In February 2011, QuiBids officially re-branded itself as an entertainment retail auction site, selling products such as consumer electronics, home and garden products, gift cards, sports and recreational equipment, apparel and jewelry. As of February 2013, it was reported as accredited by the Better Business Bureau. The BBB also reported that in a three-year period, consumers had filed 1,152 complaints against QuiBids, and that in 277 cases, the BBB felt that QuiBids had made a good faith effort to resolve complaint, but the customer was not satisfied with the business response. The BBB also noted that they had processed "a number of complaints from consumers questioning a $60.00 debit charged to their accounts after signing up for the company's services." The BBB summarily dismissed these complaints, declaring: "On the same web page in which users enter credit or debit card data, the sign-up form shows three times that the initial starter package includes $60 of bids. By completing the sign-up form, the user is purchasing those bids and whatever card is listed is authorized to be debited that amount."
According to the QuiBids site, customers must register an account. They must then purchase "bids" (actually rights to place bids) to be able to bid on auctions. Each auction is on a timer and bidding may begin only when there are five minutes remaining on the timer. Placing a bid deducts one "right to bid" from the bidder's account; unlike in a conventional auction, no amount is bid. A bid placed in the last twenty seconds resets the timer for another ten to twenty seconds, allowing other participants to bid, without a fixed cutoff time. Each bid increases the final auction price by a small amount (e.g. about 1 cent in the US). When the timer runs out, the last bidder in an auction wins the right to purchase the item at the final price. There are some variations, e.g., Speed Auctions with each bid adding ten seconds to the timer.
Unlike in a conventional auction, the final price is typically very much lower than the value of the item, but all bidders (not just the winner) will have paid for each bid placed; the winner will buy the item at a very low price (plus price of right-to-bids used), all the losers will have paid, and the seller will typically receive significantly more than the value of the item.
Customers who bid on an auction may, during and up to two hours after bids are declared closed, choose to buy a unit of the auctioned product at its listed retail price, less the value of the bids they had lost in the auction.
- QuiBids received a Best in Class distinction from the Interactive Media Awards in July 2012.
- The okcBIZ website named QuiBids the third best small company to work for in Oklahoma in June 2012. QuiBids finished fourth in the running for the same distinction in 2011.
- Auditing firm Grant Thornton LLP reported with "reasonable assurance" that "bids on auctions are placed by bona fide users, that QuiBids does not manipulate the bidding process to inflate the bid price or affect who wins the auctions, and that winning auctions and 'Buy Now' orders are fulfilled (i.e., shipped)."
According to Reviewopedia.com, penny auctions are a bad deal for the consumer and should always be avoided:
- Penny auction websites attract people to them by promising expensive, big ticket items at unbelievably low prices – for example, QuiBids shows a new iPad, which retails at $499 for the most basic model, selling for $22.54. But this winning bid of $22.54 is misleading. This isn’t the truth of how much it costs to win that iPad.
- The way penny auctions work is that you are only able to bid a single penny at any time during the auction. However, at QuiBids.com, you must purchase each 1-cent bid for 60 cents. So an iPad that retails for $499 but was won for the grand total of 2,254 one-cent bids (or $22.54), which actually cost 60 cents each, just sold for $1352.40. Though the person who wins the item usually has paid less than retail for what they have received, citing $22.54 as the winning bid is extremely misleading.
The Better Business Bureau has closed over 1000 consumer complaints about QuiBids.com during the last three years. Nearly 25% of these complaints were not resolved to the customer's satisfaction. The BBB does not report the number of open complaints.
In 2010 Lawrence Locke filed a class action suit against QuiBids claiming that it does not adequately inform customers of the low probability of a positive outcome or that most customers lose money overall. He also claimed that "the percentage of money returned constitutes violations of the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act and common law fraud by omission under Oklahoma law." Jeff Geurts, chief financial officer of QuiBids, claimed the suit has no merit. He explained that QuiBids allows customers who lost an auction to buy the item at full recommended retail price plus tax, shipping, and handling minus the amount the customer spent on bidding for that item. The Washington state attorney general's office studied the bidding-fee scheme and concluded that it does not constitute gambling under its state laws. It is now studying whether or not such "penny auctions" constitute a lottery.
Other federal lawsuits have also been filed claiming illegal gambling and false advertising by, among other things, misappropriating images from news websites and fabricating customer testimonials.
- Walker, Tom (6/72011). "Founders of Oklahoma City-based QuiBids earn an A in entrepreneurship, job creation". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- Oklahoma Magazine Names Quibids a Great Company to Work for. Globe News Wire. December 20, 2012.
- "New to QuiBids". QuiBids.com. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- "QuiBids blog: Real bids vs. voucher bids". QuiBids.com.
- Farrand, Jill. "Director of Public Relations". Cision. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- "BBB Business Review: QuiBids". Better Business Bureau. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
- "How Does QuiBids work?". QuiBids.com. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- How to Start Bidding. Quibids.com.
- "QuiBids.com Reviews – Legit or Scam?". Reviewopedia.com. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- "Buy Now Explained". QuiBids.com. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- These awards — based on graphic design, functionality and usability, as well as cross-browser compatibility and formal web standards compliance — make no evaluation of the underlying merit or of customer satisfaction with the product."Interactive Media Awards nominees". The Interactive Media Awards. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- Centrella, Heidi. "okcBIZ awards 2012 Best Places to Work in Oklahoma". okcBIZ. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- Staff, OKCBiz. "2011 "Best Places to Work in Oklahoma" announced". OKCBiz. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- "What to Expect on Penny Auction Sites". ABC News. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- "CONSUMER COMPLAINTS". Better Business Bureau. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- "QuiBids Class Action Lawsuit Complaint". Class Action Lawsuits In The News. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- "Penny Auctions Draw Bidders With Bargains, Suspense". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- "QuiBids.com Penny Auction Site Investigation. Is It a Scam or a Scheme? Why So Many Complaints?". GetOutofDebt.org. Retrieved 13 November 2012.