Prospective and current penny auction site owners often ask what they should do to provide a positive experience for the penny auction bidder, so here are a few guidelines for running a legitimate penny auction site.
What Not to Do
- Never, ever, ever shill bid- Don’t use fake admin bids/bots, this can be a script or it can be the site owner bidding. against customers or users that are employed by the site to bid and are not paying for the bids.
- Never divulge users personal information to a third party. Make sure you do not fail to BCC e-mail addresses when bulk mailing.
- Never tell other bidders how many bids another bidder has.
- Never give out free bids under the table.
- Don’t false advertise, don’t use “fake news advertorials” or create shill watchdog sites.
- Never pretend you’re a customer of your own site, this is shill reviewing and is prosecutable (see United States v. Denlinger).
- Don’t inflate retail prices.
- Don’t have hidden fees or fine print, display terms & conditions in a readable font.
- Don’t auction off items you cannot afford to lose and do not intend to fulfill.
When to Invalidate an Auction
- Server side malfunctions – i.e. your site goes down or auction glitches occur causing an auction to either end prematurely or not allow all bidders an equal chance to bid.
- If collusion can be proven.
Your Obligation to Customers
- Adhere to business ethics principles: transparency, reliability, and honesty.
- Respond to customer support inquiries as soon as possible.
- Ship items quickly (within 30 days or a time frame clearly specified). If an item is back ordered or unavailable, let users know ASAP.
- Consumer privacy is your obligation..
- Describe the condition of your items, are they new, used or refurbished, make sure you clearly disclose this.
- Use correct item photos.
- Clearly post shipping costs.
- Clearly state “Bid-to-Buy/Buy-it-Now” terms.
- State your return/refund policies.
The FTC’s Tips for Buyers & Sellers:
“If you have problems during a transaction, try to work them out directly with the seller, buyer, or site operator. If that doesn’t work, file a complaint with:
- The attorney general’s office in your state.
- your county or state consumer protection agency. Check the blue pages of the phone book under county and state government.
- the Better Business Bureau.
- the Federal Trade Commission. File a complaint online at ftc.gov.” – Source FTC.GOV
This list is by no means a complete or exhaustive guide, but if penny auction owners follow this we believe that they’ll be on the right track to pleasing their customers and running a successful penny auction site.
If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations to add to this list, please, by all means, let us know!
|Some rights reserved by Steve Kay – homepage slider image credits.|