- Report: #729417
Report - Rebuttal - Arbitrate
Complaint Review: Pennyprizes.com
Pennyprizes.com778 E Balboa Ter Internet United States of America
Pennyprizes.com Penny Prizes, Steve Smit, Marie Smit, pennyprizes penny auctions Beware Pennyprizes publishes your Personal Information in forums & Falsely advertises 100% Risk-Free Money Back Promotions then keep your money! Internet
This was a weekend event on May 6-8 where buyers could purchase bid packs and if they didn't win any auctions throughout the entire event they were offered either double bids credited back to your account or a 100% refund of the purchase price you paid.
This "Guarantee" was posted on pennyprizes.com website under latest news, facebook page, and sent out via email with a subject line that said, "Guaranteed Wins or YOUR MONEY BACK!". Please see below for the full email received.
However, when you choose to take the refund and request your money back, they will back out of honoring their advertised guarantee. They will make up excuses, lie, and try everything they can to keep your money!
They will claim you violated their terms by having multiple accounts to try and get out of having to issue a refund. Their terms clearly state you may have 2 accounts per household. My Wife & I both signed up for separate accounts. We NEVER bid on the same items and did nothing wrong.
Pennyprizes.com allowed us both to purchase bid packs(more than once), then allowed us to use every single bid without ever notifying us about a problem with our accounts UNTIL the refund was requested.
So why did they allow us to purchase & use these bids if there was a problem? Which in turn not only drove the price up for others but caused them to use more of their bids as well. Because they have every intention of keeping your money!
Neither of us have won anything from their site, we never bid on the same items, we have separate alertpay accounts, yet all of a sudden after the refund is requested we violated their terms! Obviously something is not right here!
I researched a few items I was thinking about bidding on during this "risk free event weekend" and had decided to try the Ipad2. Well all of a sudden items are going for over 2-3 times what they had previously gone for. There were 3 or 4 bidders that basically came in and dominated most the large items. No one had a chance unless they had purchased a couple thousand bids!
Well after a little research online it appears this site has knowingly allowed users to bid using bots and did not stop it nor did they protect the other bidders not using bots. All of the other bidders including myself, have now lost any bids they placed on these auctions that they didn't win because of people using bots.
Steve, one of the owners of pennyprizes.com has stated in another forum that because they are unable to keep up with monitoring new users on their site they have allowed one particular user to open 15 accounts, who in turn won some of the auctions he/she bid on, PP then shipped some of these items before catching there was a problem and has stated all of the non-shipped items will not be sent.
It appears they knowingly fail to protect their bidders who choose to invest money with this website in turn losing it because of bots or cheaters. I'm curious and have asked this merchant several times to explain what was done regarding the other bidders that lost bids on any auction that this violator bid on... I have not received a reply and doubt I ever will.
I believe this site knowingly allows users to sign up for multiple accounts, next allows them to purchase bid packs, use the bid packs, and it isn't until they win a lot or anything of value that they suspend your account and block you from bidding. However, they keep any/all money you have paid them. Even if you only open 2 accounts which is allowed like myself.
I have also read on a separate forum a post by the owner of this site, Steve Smit, that his family is living paycheck to paycheck and he is tired of it which is why they were starting the site. If you don't have enough money to start a business then don't. Scamming customers is not the way to make money!
This refund was requested on May 7, 2011 and as of today May 14, 2011 this merchant has not issued a refund as advertised nor have they provided any details as to why except stating I have multiple accounts. Which again, I never denied having 2 accounts.
However, pennyprizes.com owner Steve Smit did find the time to share & publish my personal account information that I used to sign up on his website, with a forum he belongs to. Which I believe he happens to be friends with the owners of that forum.
Yes, the owner of pennyprizes.com, Steve Smit gave my user name, my full name, my birth date, my email address, my ip address, along with the same information for my wife. He also chose to include a 3rd account and gave out their information as well.
To sum this complaint up for those that don't feel like reading the complaint above:
1. Did merchant honor advertised 100% Risk Free Money Back Guarantee? - NO, they refused to refund as advertised.
2. Did Merchant notify me of any problems with my account before the refund was requested? NO, in fact they allowed me to purchase a bid pack, use those bids on auctions, buy another bid pack, use those bids & only after requesting the refund was there suddenly a "problem" with my account.
4. Will this site allow you to purchase and use several bid packs before informing you of any problems with your account? YES, not only will they let you purchase from their website, they will wait until you spend the bids and possibly win something before telling you there is a problem.
5. After allowing you to purchase & bid before notifying of any problems do they refund your money? NO, of course they don't because that would be the legal & right thing to do.
6. Do I believe this site operates using business practices that are dishonest, unethical, harmful to customers, & illegal? YES to all!
Not worth the time & money to try this site. Even if you do win something I wouldn't be surprised if they will find a reason to void the auction and claim you did something wrong when you did NOT.
Any of the honest sites though very few, there are some honest penny auctions, they are penalized because of sites like this one that choose to trick you into trying with 100% Risk Free guarantees & then choose not to honor that guarantee. Your money is not refunded as promised so it results in chargebacks causing other honest sites to pay the price.
Because of sites like pennyprizes.com people will eventually stop trying any of the penny auction sites.
Chargebacks have been initiated through Alertypay which is the processor they use and appears to have the same business practices as this website! I chose to start disputes now with the credit card companies as well rather than sitting here waiting on Alertypay to do the right & legal thing which is refund these payments.
To say this politely and not offend anyone reading this, my advice is STAY AWAY unless you feel like donating your money to this LESS THAN HONEST website & owners.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/14/2011 08:24 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Pennyprizescom/internet/Pennyprizescom-Penny-Prizes-Steve-Smit-Marie-Smit-pennyprizes-penny-auctions-Beware-Pe-729417. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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