A few months back we made a very interesting discovery about the penny auction site Ziinga.co.uk, a very disturbing finding that seems to suggest a correlation between the site and the site’s management/development company, evidence which we believe appears to suggest shill bidding.
Take a look at what we found: Does This Indicate Questionable Bidding Practices on Ziinga? Ziinga.com / Ziinga.co.uk
Today we came across a news segment from back in July of this year by the New Zealand news outlet TV NZ Fair Go. The news segment, A Zinger from Ziinga features the experiences of one bidder who states that she was charged for a three month membership to the penny auction site for a monthly cost of $120, a hefty fee that she was unaware of when she registered. Many other Ziinga users stated that they later found unauthorized charges by the penny auction site, others said that Ziinga required photo ID scans to verify identities.
The user cancelled her credit card only to receive what she said were threats from the company of a fraud investigation including a Google image street view of her New Zealand home. Watch the news segment: http://tvnz.co.nz/fair-go/zinger-ziinga-video-4986949.
Fair Go, as we have also found, states that the penny auction site is registered in Malta, with a call center in the Philippines.
The media asked Ziinga whether or not the items actually existed they replied that there were images on their website of happy customers who have won items, but have yet to furnish the news outlet with an actual satisfied customer in New Zealand.
Registration is stated to be free, BUT by registering consumers are agreeing to the following terms as found on Ziinga’s website today, 12/18/12:
In order to participate at Ziinga, you must be at least 18 years of age. Ziinga employees and their family members are not eligible to participate.
This verbiage only leaves us asking questions. Who is LouieMiranda, why did he win so many items? Why is he in the Phillippines? And why does he share the same name as an employee of Larventech? In fact, a Mr. Louie Miranda according to his LinkedIn profile is the Senior Software Engineer at Larventech, Inc, owners of the penny auction site Ziinga.
When selecting a user name, the user is subject to choosing a name that is not in any way offensive, indecent or derogatory. Additionally, a user may not select a user name that is misleading or advertises other websites. Ziinga reserves the right to change or delete user accounts that violate these conditions. It is solely the responsibility of the user to ensure that their password is kept confidential. In most cases, the user shall be liable for all activities that are undertaken using their account. Any misuse of the account may result in the user subsequently banned from participation on Ziinga.
You may cancel your account at any time by sending an email to email@example.com.
Platinum membership comes with a flat membership fee of £ 59.99 every month.
All platinum members enjoy value added benefits:
- Extra bids for bid package purchases
- Free shipping
- Free bid
- Bid-for-Free auctions
- Daily Bid Agent
Once you become a paying member, you can review the benefits and the price of your membership by going to “My Account”.
You can always cancel your membership by emailing into firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember to include your username.
All Platinum memberships come with a 3-month binding contract. Customers who breach the 3-month binding contract will be charged a cancellation fee of £ 35.00. Note that cancellation of the contract will void any free promotional gift offer.
As part of our 30-day return policy, refunds must be claimed within 30 days after the date of sign up. However, users may only be entitled to a subscription fee refund if they have not used any of their membership benefits (cancellation fee applies). If the member has already received a free promotional gift from Ziinga, that item must be returned to Ziinga’s return address in an unopened condition. Once Ziinga receives the item and all requirements have been fulfilled, Ziinga will process the refund request immediately.”
The BIGGEST problem and drawback to penny auctions and the reason why they will never ever be successful or wildly accepted by consumers is the FACT that so many of them can EASILY cheat consumers, but can they totally cheat without any recourse?
No. Not all of the sites that have scammed consumers have gotten away with it. In fact government agencies going as far up the chain as the Attorney General in a number of states, the SEC and the FTC are aware and have been involved in shutting a few penny auction sites down. See The SEC Shut Down Zeekler and ZeekRewards.com MLM Penny Auction $600 MILLION Ponzi and Pyramid Scheme, Washington Attorney General Steps Up to the Plate Holds Shill Penny Auction Accountable, are just two examples of this.
Have you bid on Ziinga? If so, what have your experiences been on this penny auction site?
Please post your review in our comments section and join us in the Penny Auction Watch Forum to discuss Ziinga and all penny auction sites.
One Ziinga user recently posted to our forum stating, “I’ve read many stories on various sites and all of them are very similar to my experience. I’ve emailed them and told them I didn’t sign up for the “platinum” membership – I’ve only “paid” for something I’ve won. They’ve replied that I should then cancel if I’m not interested. Which I did. Then the next email came informing me that I’ll be charged till March 2013. I’ve emailed my bank and said to them they should look out for any visa charges from Ziinga and don’t allow the transaction. But unfortunately we had a long weekend here and on this public holiday I’ve received a text message that my card was charged with R725.96. There was a hold on the amount which I’ve noticed and thought I would be in time to get my bank to stop it on the next working day but too late. I have no idea if my bank will be able to file a dispute and get the money back or not. Anybody else who maybe managed to get their money back? So far I’ve read that most people lost their money and no refunds were received. At first they were replying to emails within seconds. Now they don’t reply at all. (O and yes I’ve made screenprints and emailed to them where the auction was on 1sec for various bidders including my bids for a very long time – they’ve responded that I have a slow connection)”http://www.pennyauctionwatch.com/forum/penny-auction-red-flags/16891-ziinga-scam.html#post166075
Not only are Kiwis concerned and feel they have been scammed by Ziinga, we recently received the following message from a French reader:
“Vous m’avez arnaquez sur votre site ZIINGA.COM, j’ai déjà prévenu ma banque de vos transactions frauduleuses je vous ai dénoncié sur intenet, je communiquerai sur votre escroquerie sur tous les réseaux sociaus, vous j’avez pas honte aujourd”hui où tellement de gens sont dans la merde vous insistez encore plus”
Which when translated by Google reads, “
Photo Credits: Fishy by Simon Greig
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