Designer items… for just a few dollars?

Through a friend, I recently discovered oohilove, an online auction website that sells designer pieces for pennies… literally.

The site allows users to bid on items ranging from Tiffany’s necklaces to Louis Vuitton handbags. In order to bid, you must register (free of charge) and purchase bids, which cost $1 each and are available in bid packs ranging from 30 to 800 bids. Each auction starts at 0$, but every time a user bids on an item the price increases by two cents and the time of the auction is increased by ten seconds. During the final 30 seconds of the auction, the timer will stay below 30 seconds no matter how many bids are placed.

In my few weeks of perusing the site, I’ve seen tons of great items come and go. These Chanel earrings, valued at over $250, sold for just $5. Often, $100 bid packs sell for just a few dollars. Other items, like this Marc Jacobs Hobo, were auctioned off at $26.

Shipping on items valued under $100 is free, and $13 on items valued over $100. For those skeptical about the authenticity of their items, the site offers a two week cash back guarantee.

press release on PRweb.com explains the site, which was launched in December of 2009. A question answer piece on Penny Auction Watch gives a bit more insight into the site.

scathing review on SiteJabber.com, while incredibly negative, makes an important point about how the site makes a profit. For every user that buys a bid pack, the site is automatically making money, regardless of if the user wins an item or not.  It’s important to keep in mind that you’re paying money before you win anything just to bid – every time you place a bid on an item, you essentially lose $1, plus the money you shell out for the item, assuming you win. Using the automatic bidder can be dangerous, as it will cost you lots in bidding. Waiting until the very end of the auction seems to be a user’s best bet, but can also be tricky since the time of the auction continually increases the more bidders are trying to win the item.

I’m no math major, but some quick division on my blackberry calculator shows that on a Tiffany’s necklace that sold for $6.92, the site made a profit of $346. Considering the item is only worth $100, they sure are making a killing.

Currently, I’m a member of the site and was given a single free bid for joining. I used it in an attempt to win a bid pack, and lost, so I’m waiting to see if I decide buying a bid pack is worthwhile. I may buy a smaller pack just to try it out – I have my eye on a certain Marc Jacobs bag, and if it crops up again I may just have to try & snag it. I’ll keep you posted.

Happy bidding, & if you are interested in joining the site, please use my invitation page!

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February 19, 2010. Tags: , , . Fashion.

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