Have you tried GrabSwag.com? Did you bid and win, or should we ask, did you sign up, give them your credit card and get a $99 fee without your knowledge?
If so, you may want to check your bank statement, but next time be a little bit more careful not to give your credit card information to any site on the Internet. It seems as if there are too many penny auction sites that have been charging consumers a fee unbeknownst to them.
We just came across GrabSwag.com from a sneaky affiliate marketer who commented on the “Fly Free Thanks to the US Mint” Forbes’ article on Yahoo, on how they won so many items on the penny auction site “BidsNew.” Bidsnew.com is just their affiliate link to GrabSwag.com.
So we went to check out GrabSwag.com and found that their site isn’t much different from other penny auction sites’ questionable, in my opinion, affiliate marketing pages.
But what really gets us, is how these guys are marketing right on their very own sign up page.
From the top, GrabSwag.com claims themselves to be “the #1 Penny Auction Site.” They then show symbols for the major news networks: ABC, WIRED, The Economist, TIME, Rolling Stone, PC Magazine, Entrepreneur, MSNBC, and USA Today. Then, below, “Never Pay Retail Again! Save Up to 95%” they tell consumers to “Complete the form below and GET 10 FREE BIDS.”
By entering your credit card on GrabSwag.com you will not just get 10 free bids, but a $99 charge.
At first glance, and I really looked the page over for a few seconds longer than some consumers might, I couldn’t find the terms or a price anywhere on the page – but then at second glance I found that by entering credit card information you won’t just get “10 free bids” but a charge of $99. The price and bid pack info is nested in such a way that the unsuspecting consumer may not see what they’re getting into.
Bid amounts and “Today’s Special Offer” Pop-ups
As I tried to leave the page I got the typical affiliate marketing pop-up telling me to wait and if I stayed I’d get a special offer, they make it sound like this offer is just for today. I closed it out and went to the site again, this time the offer pop-up changed as well as the bid amount to the right of the sign-up page:
Today’s Special Offer: Get an EXTRA 25 BIDS FREE! – Wait… Before You Go: We are giving a limited number of new sign-ups 25 EXTRA FREE BIDS at no additional cost! Now is your chance save as soon as you get started at GrabSwag!” The next time I went to the site and tried to leave, it showed 50 free bids.
GrabSwag.com seems to have 3 very different sign-up pages.
On the second sign-up page, (https://signup.grabswag.com/pg2v2c.php) both generated when going to GrabSwag.com – I found that the credit card section did not even have a terms & conditions link below it as the first did:
[Click screenshots to enlarge]
Notice that there are no terms & conditions on this second, different credit card page. The $99 charge is in very small,grey lettering.
For the most part, the items on GrabSwag seem to be cheap: a precision nose & ear trimmer, bid packs, 5pc bar sets, $25- $50 gift cards, a foot bath, barbeque tool set, 5 piece wrench set and a 6 cup rice steamer are all in today’s lineup, an iPod touch and Kindle on top.
Notice how there is not a terms & conditions link under the credit card box on the last two links. Also, notice how the $99 is in very small text and grey lettering.
Take a look at the following user review of GrabSwag.com on WhoScammedYou.com, notice how the reviewer notes that the terms & conditions link was not on the page when she signed up? The 3 different versions that we found is probably why.
“I AM ABSOLUTELY LIVID!!!!!
I found a link to grabswag.com and was hoping to get more information on the items that are in the auctions and how it all worked.
I went through each website screen carefully. On the first page, it asked for general information (such as name, email address, user name and password). Once completed, I clicked the button that said “I’m ready to start winning” and was brought to the second website page. This page had information on why grabswag was better than Ebay (I beg to differ…I at least know what I’m’ paying for and when with Ebay!!!) and as you scroll down to near the bottom, there is an area where you can enter your credit card. I thought that they just wanted it in case a bid was placed…BOY! WAS I WRONG!!!
After hitting the “I’m ready to start winning” button on the second page…I was immediately charged $99! ABSOLUTELY NO WHERE did this site say there would be a charge of ANY amount at ANY TIME!!
As soon as I saw the receipt – I used the number that was listed 888-467-4217 and spoke with an Agent . I told her that I had NOT intended to purchase anything, I didn’t have the funds in my budget. She proceeded to try and sell me an option that would only be $45. I told her “No” and that I needed get my money back. After several minutes of her continually trying to sell me more – I me saying “No” again…she finally got the message and worked on my refund.
After several minutes of her entering information on her computer, she finally said that my account had been closed and that a credit of $99 would be put back on my card anywhere between 7-10 business days. Now, isn’t that convenient for them – that it takes only milliseconds for the money to come out of my account, but 7-10 days to get it back!!
I asked her to tell me where in the website the information was on the $99 charge – she said it was in the Terms & Conditions section. (Note: this section was NOT available until after they had my money). I have looked the T&C section over and have NOT found anything pertaining to charges upon starting the membership.
I believe that this company is DECEITFUL in that there is no information on any type of charges PRIOR to signing up. SHAME ON YOU!!
To make it right – PLEASE list any information about charges someplace visible on your site and let people make their own decision if they want to join or not. It’s not right to snag people’s money when they are unsuspecting.”-Source http://whoscammedyou.com/scams/3342/Grabswag_Nextown_Technologies_LLC#
GrabSwag Wrongly Displays BBB Accredited Website Badge
As you’ll see on their index and screenshots, GrabSwag.com displays the BBB Accredited badge on their index page.
However, a search on the BBB’s website shows us that neither GrabSwag nor Nextown Technologies, LLC dba GrabSwag are accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
Grabswag.com has a Webutation.com rating of 40/100 – Web of Trust rating: Very Poor
Nextown Technologies is on Twitter, their only follower, a python developer, is from Miami, FL. So we went to the FL SOS and found their business filing record: http://ccfcorp.dos.state.fl.us/pdf/98041735.pdf Dane Hofbauer is listed as the registered agent.
Domain Whois Record: GRABSWAG.COM 126.96.36.199
Nextown Technologies – firstname.lastname@example.org
7380 SAND LAKE ROAD
The address both on the domain registry info & FL SOS belongs to Regus, a virtual office provider:
We couldn’t even find GrabSwag’s terms & conditions.
I tried to find GrabSwag’s terms & conditions page. When clicking on the bottom link on the main auction page, don’t ask me how to get to it – it’s not easy, you have to close a lot of busy index page’s and pop-ups and keep trying, but it’s there.
On July 11th one person tweeted that the spam from GrabSwag.com’s affiliate ID 1014 was killing him.
We’re not too sure about the spam beyond the post we found on the Forbes article, but we do know that their exit pop-up screens and redirects to the sign up page are a bit of a headache.
What do you think of GrabSwag?
Did you find a $99 charge on your bank statement and didn’t know you would?
Let us know. You might want to report these sneaky business tactics to the BBB, the FTC and the Attorney General in your state, see our Scam Reporting Directory for more information.
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