Computing Columnist: Deal Dashed?
Recently, I've seen a lot of announcements on Facebook for something called "DealDash," sharing the wonderful news that they'd scooped up an item at far less than retail. Since so many people were doing it, I had to find out what it was all about.
It's something called a "penny auction." If I've got it straight, here's how it works.
You buy a bunch of bids for $.60 a bid. They come in "packs" of 100 or more.
An item goes up for bids. Each bid increments the price $.01, but COSTS the bidder $.60. The bidding lasts a certain amount of time, and there is a "no jumper" clause, which simply means that nobody can join an auction after the price has reached $5.00. The last bid in when the clock runs out wins the item, and pays the amount of that item. The other people who bid but lost LOSE their bids (at $.60 a pop), unless they are willing to pay the full retail for the item (from DealDash, of course), in which case, their bids are refunded.
So here's my thinking: If you're going to buy the item anyway (exactly the one they have for sale) and feel that the price they're offering it at is reasonable, by all means, go ahead. Or if you have a ton of time on your hands and enjoy auctions, then you very well may pick up some amazing deals, especially on arcane little oddities that aren't really popular (that is to say, I'd avoid auctions for things like the new iPad with retinal display). Otherwise, shopping around is still a better deal.