Is HQBids a Legit Penny Auction? User Charged $49 Without Realizing It

hqbidsOne of our readers sent us a very discouraging message about the penny auction site HQBids.com, he wrote:

“I tried to find how to purchase an I Pad & found I was onto the HQ Bids site. A “FREE” site. which cost $49 US to join. Alright, I signed up, but found the whole thing stalled when I was asked for MasterCard Secure Code. It said “We will get back to you”. When? And how? Is this a scam? There doesn’t seem to be any provision to log in to bid.”

On HqBids.com ending right now there are 4 new iPads, 2 iPhones, a Google Nexus 7, PS3, Galaxy Tab 2, gold bar, Nintendo Wii Bundle, Toshiba laptop, LG 50 inch TV, xBox 360 with Kinect and dozens of new items ending soon.

Take a look at each auction and watch the bidding patterns closely… The majority, if not all, usernames are one syllable names, not common usernames.

For instance: lupo, tarpley, mclean,  deaton, christie, searle, edward, thomas, conner, to name just a few who are currently bidding.

hqbids penny auction

Alexa tells us that this site has a pretty low traffic ranking and is very popular in Kolkata (West Bengal).

 

 “Statistics Summary for hqbids.comThere are 492,149 sites with a better three-month global Alexa traffic rank than Hqbids.com. The site has a relatively good traffic rank in the city of Kolkata (#33,286), and approximately 78% of visitors to the site come from the US, where it has attained a traffic rank of 113,899. Visitors to Hqbids.com spend about five minutes per visit to the site and 67 seconds per pageview, and approximately 9% of visits to the site are referred by search engines.”Interesting?

Who owns HqBids.com? Well, the domain name registrant info is protected by “Contact Privacy, Inc.”

hqbids whois

Registrant:
Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 0126868198
96 Mowat Ave
Toronto, ON M6K 3M1
CA
Domain name: HQBIDS.COM

Administrative Contact:
Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 0126868198,

 

HQBids “About Us” page is minimal at best:

“is a free to join, members only e-commerce site. We specialize in providing our members with instant access to top brands at up to 98% off retail. All products offered for sale come with the manufacturer warranty and are the same brand new, brand name, and factory sealed products you find in stores”

Their contact info which can be found on their privacy policy page is just an address for UPS Store post office box:
Or by regular mail:
HQbids Customer Support
4798 S. Florida Ave, Suite 117
Lakeland, FL 33813-2181

hqbids address-ups-store

 

One tactic used by a lot of what we found to be questionable penny auctions has been to use news clips/interviews with winners of other penny auction sites and label them or make them seem as if the video was about their site, for instance:

hqbids register 1

Page one of the registration process states “Free sign up, No Free, NO Surprises.” Why then was our reader confused/surprised? See page two of the registration page:

Of course the page states, “We Guarantee you will win today, a bid pack purchase amount, but above address information states “Where will we ship your wins” This format has been known to confuse bidders on other now-shut-down penny auctions where Federal Trade Commission action against site owners has happened. hqbids page 2

Two complaints were filed with the Better Business Bureau in Florida:

http://www.bbb.org/central-florida/business-reviews/penny-auctions/hq-bids-in-lakeland-fl-90140637/complaints#breakdown

Another bidder posted the following review to ScamBook.com:

http://www.scambook.com/report/view/226609/HQBids-Complaint-226609-for-$49.00

“I got the starter package and as I was going to win a bid their site froze…it had nothing to do with my computer. I lost everything. What a SCAM!!! I contacted them and they try to blame my computer, bandwidth and more. They sent a nasty email back. SCAM!!!!!!!!”

Check out the bottom of the registration/bid purchase page it states “See what people are saying” below various logos of major media networks that have featured penny auctions, a majority of which actually interviewed me/Penny Auction Watch, this seems very misleading.

hqbids scam news

 

Knowing that there isn’t much information about this company, seeing the questionable bidding names and high volume of big dollar items would you bid here? Did you? Did you win? Were you confused by the sign up page like our reader was? Discuss this and all penny auctions in our forum!

 

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4 comments… add one
  • HQbids April 24, 2013, 1:23 am

    You have posted an article with many questions. Those questions could have been easily found in the FAQ, the terms and conditions, or by simply contacting our support team. As you should know, the penny auction business is very competitive and any competitor could have sent you that anonymous email. It seems like you registered for an account to view how the site operates. You should have noticed there were two payment options listed on the site. Customers have the options of using PayPal or Moneybookers. You should have noticed it was impossible for our company to charge a customer’s credit card. All transactions are initiated and processed by the customer. Our support team does not have the ability to charge a customer’s credit card. The billing page makes it clear to the customer that a purchase is being conducted. The purchase price is listed three different times on our billing page to make sure the customer is aware of the purchase being made. The billing page is followed by an order review page with complete details and the total price of the order being placed. The third and final page of the transaction process takes the customer to PayPal. Our payment process is a three steps process. We have a no questions asked refund policy on any unused credits. We have never denied any refund request for unused bids. Your claim of a customer being charged without knowledge is not possible. We have had customers with buyer’s remorse and we have never denied a refund on credits that have not been used on the auctions. If you would like to help this person that sent you this false email, please have him/her request a refund for any unused credits.

    BELOW ARE ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS: these answers are easily found in the FAQ and Terms and conditions…
    1. Questionable names: as the terms and conditions has stated: A customer’s last name is what is being shown after each bid. This means the names you see on the screen are not usernames, these are last names. What is suspicious about those last names? Usernames are unique and are used to logging in and also to differenciate between other users that share the same last names. A customer’s username is only visible to that customer while logged in. Once a customer is logged out he/she will only see her last name… please contact our support team if you have any questions on usernames/last names…

    2. Complaints with the BBB. We have been operating for three years and have only two complaints file with the BBB. The BBB indicated we take care of customer complaints seriously and have resolved any/all issues. Even the BBB acknowledged the customer was not telling the whole truth. Instead of telling your readers we do not have a bad rating nor do we have many complaints, you raised red flags instead.

    3. Our mailing address: it is not uncommon for businesses to receive mail in a secured PO BOX. Some of America’s largest corporations have customers send correspondence through a PO BOX… As you are aware, since you take advertising dollars from them, the largest penny auction site in the United States uses the same UPS store box to receive mail. The majority of internet companies do not have retail location. We do not have retail location… if the largest penny auction site does not have a retail location and chooses to use post box to receive mail, why is it you are okay with that while you have an issue with us? We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you, but our goal is to cut cost and provide savings to our customers.

    4. Domain registration: how often does a customer goes to a website and does a whois search? Customers do not care about domain registration. Most customers do not know what a domain registrar is. What customers care about is if a business is legal and where that business is located. Our website gives the customer access to contact us and we also let our customers know where we are registered. A private domain registration maybe a red flag to you, but as you know, a business’ legal registration is public records. You could have done a simple search and your question could have been answered by the state agencies.

    5. Products up for sale. We limit the number of auctions up for sale because we would like to stay in business. We do not offer too many auctions because we would like to see our customers stay engage in the products up for sale. If you care to register/read the terms and conditions you would notice that we have a bid protection feature. This feature allows every new user to purchase credits and get those credits back if they do not win within the first 24 hours. This means new customers have the opportunity to use all of their credits and have those credits added back to their account. This means auctions will end with prices. The customer also has the option to continue adding the protection feature to his/her account. This feature will continue to add free credits to the customer’s account. The combination of fewer auctions plus receiving free bids lead to auctions ending with more competition. Please contact our support team if you have further questions.

    6. Alexa rating: alexa is not used by most webmasters because it is not reliable. We hope you know, if do not know, please inform yourself that alexa is not highly regarded because it uses a special toolbar. It only measures traffic from customers who have installed the alexa toolbar. To make this clear, a site sees 10k customers a without the alexa toolbar, those 10 thousand customers will not show up in the alexa ranking. Besides the toolbar, alexa ranking can be bought for less than $5. We do not buy our ranking. Even on a bad alexa ranking we still ranked under 99k in the US and Canada. We are not sure where you get the Indian ranking from. A simple internet search will easily show you how to buy alexa ranking. The best/most reputable places internet savvy webmasters use to measure web traffic are quantcast.com, compete.com and several other places. Those sites will surprise/inform you how we rank compare to our competitors. We spend thousands of dollars daily on advertising. HQbids does not affiliate with penny auction blogs where ranting goes on unchecked. If you wish to help this customer, please tell him/her to contact our support team or read about our no questions asked refund policy on unused credits. We do not generate many complaints because we take care of our customers. Please contact our support team the next time you need answers to your questions. Posting incomplete questions does not help your readers.

    7. Questions about the “about us” page: this question does not need any answer. It is not red flag, but rather an opinion. We write our about us page as we see fit. We have not received any complaints about the about us page. Please contact our support team if you would like to know more about us.

    Reply
  • Hiram Heath August 22, 2013, 2:40 pm

    This is the way that I understood the $49.00, it is that when I placed the money in the account, the $49.00 was to be used for the bid process. Then when I won a bid the money was withdrawn from that account and I would recharge the account to bring it back up to the $49.00 level. Then when I decided to get out of the service, if any funds were left over the funds would be refunded. not a cost of joining. I would like a refund of the $49.00 due to it not being properly explained. I purchased bids twice for a total of $50.00. I do not expect any of that back.

    Reply
  • Tina E May 15, 2014, 8:08 pm

    You can NEVER WIN!!!!!! You have to stay up over 24 hours staight just to THINK about winning a bid!

    Reply
  • Dell O May 21, 2014, 8:35 am

    Crush the bid is a brand new penny auction site that is launching by 1 june 2014. They are going to revolutionize the penny auction market. Here is what they say:

    We named the site Crush The Bid because here, You’ll be playing in a “real” penny auction site that was designed to be fairer, more cost effective, more exciting and more consumer-centric.

    No Bots: CTB does not employ, use or allow any automated or robotic bidding;

    No Reserve Pricing: Auctions start at $0.00 and wherever an auction ends is where it ends. Even if it’s only $.01 (1 penny);

    No Snipers: Auctions are “locked” from the start with a maximum amount of players. You’re in or You’re out right from the start;

    * No Shills: CTB does not employ any person or mechanism to bid against players. Every player in an auction is an independent participant;
    No Manipulation: Since there are no bots, no reserve pricing, no snipers and no shills, there isn’t any pre-conceived, planned or controlled manipulation;

    No Bid Fatigue: Unless otherwise noted, all auctions last only 5 minutes, so You’re not sitting there hour-after-hour staring at an auction that doesn’t end for you until You’ve run out of money or are completely exhausted.

    Actual Penny Bids: That’s right, each bid on CTB is only $.01 (1 penny) so when you bid a penny it’s really a penny;

    Max Players: Each auction has a maximum number of players that can play so You know “before” the auction starts how many players You are up against;

    Player Identifier: Using Crush Live let’s You see every player’s location and unique screen name so You know who You’re playing against;

    Flash Auctions: Unless otherwise noted, our auctions are short so You won’t experience long bouts of bid fatigue and You’ll be able to focus more on strategy rather than trying to stay awake or walking away from an auction in the middle and missing You’re buy opportunity;

    Cash Redemption: If it’s more convenient, You can immediately redeem You’re Won Auction Items for cash right back into You’re Crush account so You can get back into playing, not waiting.

    Loser Refunds: Although the Seat Bids (the entrance fee) are non-refundable, after every auction, if you did not win, check your account…You’ll see a refund of the Auction Bids that You used during the auction.

    Crushing Referral System: 3 levels deep paying out 6%. Amazing. You can actually make a living off of just referrals.

    Reply

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