7 Mistakes Penny Auction Bidders Make and How to Avoid Them

Don't Be a Penny Auction Bidding Fool!

Penny auction bidders all want to obtain items for less-than-retail, after all, the site advertises this, right? It’s not always possible to win the item you want and obtain a deal, but by making informed bidding decisions you’ll be further on your way. Here are seven common mistakes that bidders make and tips to avoid them.

1. Not getting to know the site:

It’s extremely important to get to know the penny auction you plan to bid at even before you register. When you find a new penny auction site be sure to read all terms & conditions and look everything over carefully before bidding.

Be on the lookout for:

  • Read all “about us” information, terms & conditions and the site’s privacy policy, make sure they have both!
  • Cost and terms of shipping, is this even disclosed?
  • What are their payment terms? How do they want payment, how can you pay and how many days do you have to pay after you’ve won an auction? Do they use Paypal, check, money order, major credit card, something else?
  • Purchase: See if you have to pay the final bid price along with the cost of your bids spent
  • Are ended auctions displayed?
  • Any additional fees: Some sites even charge a processing fee for paying.
  • Limits: Per address, per person. Many penny auctions have limits on how many items you can win, a day, a week, a month, etc. Make sure you know before you register. On some sites your account becomes deactivated and you cannot bid more once you reach your limit, but on others you have to know or else you can spend a lot and forfeit your win.

2. Not getting to know opponents:

If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.”-Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Watching how other bidders bid isn’t always a sure way to “size them up,” but getting to know the competition is important in forming strategy and determining when to bid. Take a look at ended auctions and pay attention to the winners, does it say how many bids they’ve placed? Take note of this. Does it look like bidder X bids “goes the distance” on every auction they bid on or just a little? Users’ bidding styles can vary, one day they may only place a few bids and another day a few hundred.

3. Failure to read reviews:

Everything seems ok, but what are others saying? Google and look for user reviews, are users reporting problems, are they reporting anything? Start a thread in our forum, it’s easy!

4. Bidding too soon:

Have patience! You may want to start bidding right away from the very beginning, but this may not always be a good idea. There could still be a lot of bidders waiting to bid and you’ll soon be out of bids. Pay attention to how many bidders there seem to be bidding and watch when others are bidding. Are they bidding right away, not even letting the clock countdown, or do they wait until the last second, are they consistent?

5. Bidding too late:

Some bidders try to save bids by waiting to bid when there’s 1-3 seconds left on the timer. Often you’ll see bidders come in with only 1 second left, but just because they’ve been able to bid each time doesn’t mean they always will be and it doesn’t meant that you will be able to.These bidders may be bidding well before the timer shows 1 second left, but their name shows up later. If you’re serious about winning an auction, and have already invested quite a bit of bids that you don’t want to lose them, you would be wise to not wait until the  last few seconds before you bid.

6. Failure to do a price check:

Many penny auction sites have an MSRP listed that is way above what you could actual buy the item for. There’s nothing wrong with an auction site listing the MSRP as they see fit, but it’s really up to you to do the research to make an informed decision before you decide to bid. Personal experience: I once bid on a TV on a “buy it now” site with a displayed MSRP of $700, I didn’t want to lose my bids invested and another bidder had come in and started to bid heavily, yes I did buy that TV for the retail price. I went to check and see what I could get the item for on Amazon afterwards and it was down to $300!

7. Not having enough bids:

Bidding without enough bids is not always a good idea, unless you’re limiting yourself (which can also be important!), make sure you have enough bids to try and win. If you don’t want to stock up on a ton of bids before you start bidding make sure you are able to buy more bids as you go. You can do this by setting an autobidder and opening up a new window to buy more bids.  I was recently bidding on an item and a lot of bidders had dropped and it really seemed like it was down to just me and another bidder, they were coming in every time at 1 second, I had a few bids left. I decided to buy a few more and guess what? I won the item with only 2 of the bids from the new bid pack!

Don’t be a bidding fool!

Know the site, know your fellow bidders, know yourself! Be patient, be observant and tell us how you like a particular penny auction site in our forum!


You may also like: Penny Auction Pitfalls

Photo Credits: Some rights reserved by megarooo

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