Over Christmas, I saw TV adverts for QuiBids.com and decided to give it a go, out of curiosity. It is another penny auction site. The basic concept of these types of website is that the price starts at 1p and every time someone bids, the price goes up by 1p. So if only one person bids, items can sell for as low as 1p. However, you have to pay a non-refundable fee (60p plus VAT, in the case of QuiBids.com) every time you bid.
The TV adverts offered 5 free bids, if you entered a code, and the QuiBids website offered 3 free bids, if you signed up for the newsletter. I figured I'd register, see if I could win anything with my free bids and give up, if not. However, that plan was twarted by the fact that you have to buy a 60 bid pack before you can claim any free bids. The 60 bid pack cost £36 (plus VAT), so I ended up spending £43.20 just to get started.
I went straight to the iPad auction that was closing in 30 seconds and was at only about £3. If I'd managed to win, it would have been £43.20 well spent, but I soon realised I'd probably spend all my bids and not win.
In the last 15 seconds, every time someone bids, the clock is reset, until no-one else bids. If you are lucky enough to be the last bidder, when everyone else gives up, you win the item for a ridiculously cheap price, but it's just that: luck. Bidding is effectively the same as buying 60p raffle tickets.
I did jump straight into the iPad auction without reading the beginner's guide, so I read through that and it recommended trying smaller auctions, until you are used to using the site and said that £10 gift cards are the easiest auctions to win, so I tried my luck on a £10 Amazon gift card. I won in 3 bids and the final price was 5p. Baragin, I thought. Well, not quite...
I didn't read the small print, on the auction page, which said there was a £3.99 delivery charge. That was my fault, but when I completed my purchase, I found they also charged 80p tax. I don't know how the tax on 5p can be 80p. So, my 5p win has gone up to £4.84 in total. If you add on the cost of the 3 bids (£1.80 plus VAT = £2.16), the 5p gift card actually cost me £7, which is less than the £10 it's worth, but not the huge saving it appears to be, when advertised on the QuiBids website as 'recently sold for 5p.'
Looking through the upcoming auctions, I found a £25 Amazon gift card, that also had a £3.99 delivery charge, but was advertising recently sold prices, similar to the £10 cards, so I thought that would be a better bargain, if I could get it. I won it for 51p, but it took 30 bids (£21.60) to do so. It also had the 80p tax, so the total purchase price was £5.20, but when you add on the £21.60, my £25 voucher has actually cost me £26.80.
So my conclusion is that QuiBids.com and probably all other penny auction sites (I haven't tried any others), just aren't worth it. You won't make the huge savings advertised and you're likely to end up losing money.