Do uBid Auctions Ever End?

uBid logoI’ve been involved with eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY) for years and years and, heck, even wrote a book about online auctions back in the dotcom era. I still use eBay and even bought a classic 70’s boardgame called “The Anti-Monopoly Game” in the last week.
I’ve written about uBid (OTC:UBHI) before, but have never actually bid on a product there. From what I can tell, the site is now primarily for manufacturer overstocks and refurbished equipment, with products from reputable vendors like Garmin (Nasdaq:GRMN) and Gateway (NYSE:GTW).
But the darn auctions never end!

To expand my computing platforms, I’ve been shopping around for a Tablet PC running Microsoft Windows Vista. While there are used systems priced at just under $1000, a more typical price for a Vista-compatible Tablet is about $1300, a bit much for a humble reference platform that I’ll just be using for testing.
Enter uBid. After digging around with both Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) and some of the price comparison engines, I learned that uBid had some splendid pricing on refurbished Tablet PC computers, prices almost 40% lower than the same refurb units on the manufacturer’s Outlet site.
(yes, I’m being a bit coy because I don’t want someone else to bid on the PC I’m hoping to win on uBid. Ordinarily on an auction site you’d know when an auction will end, but, as you’ll see shortly, uBid isn’t like that. I’ll edit this a bit to be more clear once the auction does finally close, if it ever does)
At 5:30pm this evening, I checked the page and found I was the only bidder and that the auction had 90 minutes left before wrapping up. I headed off to speak at a TechStars panel on blogging, confident that I’d come home and be the proud owner of a new Tablet PC.
And yet, it’s now five hours later and uBid keeps extending the auction time in what I can only presume is a desperate attempt to either get another bidder or to have me pay the higher “buy it now” option, which will net them an additional $60. Here’s what I see when I look at the auction page now, almost four hours after the auction was scheduled to complete:

uBid: Last Chance to Bid

According to the explanation on the site, auctions are automatically extended ten minutes if there’s a last-minute bid and that these extensions can occur again and again based on bidding activity. But there are no additional bids.
So I can only conclude that uBid is trying to pull a fast one on me and that it’s not quite the fair and honest auction site I thought it was. Have you ever bought something on uBid, and if so, did you get trapped in this endless cycle of ten-minute auction extensions?
Meanwhile, if it’s still in this cycle tomorrow morning, begrudgingly, I’ll click that “buy it now” button and pay the additional $60 for the Tablet PC. But not happily.
Update: Alright, so an hour after I posted this blog entry I got cold feet and paid the “uBuyIt” to get the Gateway CX210 Tablet PC. Am I frustrated that they basically tricked me into paying more than my max bid because the auction wasn’t closing? You bet. Do they care? We’ll see…

16 comments on “Do uBid Auctions Ever End?

  1. I think the 10 minute extension is sorta nice as it doesn’t let you think you are winning an auction say on Ebay, only to get “auction sniped” by a software program at the last millisecond. I’ve invested a lot of time waiting on auctions to close on Ebay only to get sniped by a softwware program at the last millisecond. This at least lets me go in and try to keep winning it with a decent enough time to think about my new bid without time running out. As far as buying things off Ubid, I’ve bought a few and found them to be quick and efficient.

  2. You should really take a look at BiddersSite, the design is much more easy to navigate and things are clear and precise. They have no listing fees so many items are priced lower than the same users might have the same item for at ebay. Seems that these days ebay is more for the retail side of things and not so much bargain days of garage sales. While I dont sell as much, I dont mind cause it cost me nothing but some time. They also have options to let you list an item up to 10 weeks. Seems to have all the features you would find at ebay, but again seems more personalized and I got very quick answers from thier staff. Look up my store leather loft, they gave me that for free as well.

  3. Dave, I emphatize with your experience. What they did was not nice. However, let me say this. In the last 8 years or so I have bought perhaps 30 items (75% electronic, such as several desktops, laptops, PDA’s, monitors, flat screens in addition to jewelry etc.) from uBid. I am so far 100% satisfied with the way the auction was done, delivery, pricing. In addition, I’m also satisfied with 2 items that I returned, one had a problem, other I simply did not like. No problems at all. On the other hand, I bought 3-4 items on eBay. One was a Microsoft software that turned out to be a fake which I could not return. eBay says they are not responsible. Another was a PDA which did not work. A third was something that was not exactly what I saw.
    In short, it’s mainly the trusted nature of uBid that I like. However, extending that 10 minutes to several hours is truly a curveball.

  4. My experience with Ubid echoes those of L. Sert. I have bought many items from Ubid over the years, and never once had a single problem with any item. Can’t say the same for Ebay. Yes, I’ve seen them extend auctions for hours like you have commented on, but I have not lost patience. I usually don’t check till the next day. They will end the auction eventually, and you will get your item for the bidding price unless you are outbid.
    Ubid has become my number one “go-to” for electronics and such. They do carry a lot of junk in addition to good stuff, and you have to be careful on prices, but some really unbelievable deals are there for the patient.

  5. I have been a loyal ubid user since its inception-egg head at first.Never had any major problems.Most items are offered more than even twice.This sets the winning bid range.Extended time is a double edged sword,but it does give bidders a fair chance to reconsider if the product is worth the bid-Icertainly have not witnessed any overtime extending longer than fifteen minutes without bidding activity.I congratulate them on theire growth and will conyinue to support them.

  6. Well I started a search for a site to complain about how my initial winning bid was dealt with. Although this “Business Blog”? is not what I had in mind it will do to get the word out there. I spent hours searching for the perfect ring for my daughter before Christmas. After finding it and winning it for a great price (I think I was the only bidder) I was ecstatic. After about 2 weeks I emailed ubid asking where the ring was. They sent the same BS response all companies do and so I waited for a few more days. I sent a 2nd email and waited again. After the third week, after Christmas and before New Years, I finally called them. It seems that the ring, which was the only one of its kind that they had, no longer existed in thier facility. I was so ticked off. So they offered a replacement via email. The ring they offered added insult to injury, it was UGLY. Ofcourse I did not accept. They proceeded to offer me a $10.00 coupon to be used on my next order if I ordered within 90 days. Well I found another ring after searching for days and won it. My thoughts are this…although ubid seems to be on the up n up I cant help but feel as though they jipped me because they did not get a high enough bid. No one contacted me to tell me they did not have one in stock. No one called to apologize for thier mess. Did they think I would just go away? And then to offer me that ugly ring made me decide that I will use the coupon and be done with ubid. If they will do this with a lab created ring and allow auctions to never end (so they can actually get the asking price? (while bidders are spending hours hoping to win it at the end)…what will they do with a more expensive item????? I don’t trust ubid. Think I’ll try biddersite. BTW I am not an ebay fan either for other reasons.

  7. I bid on and won a 32″ LCD TV. I then went on the next day to buy a mount for the TV. About a week later they emailed me to inform me there was an “inventory discrepancy” and I would not be getting my 32″TV. They wanted to substitute a 23″ model or give me a $10 coupon good for 30 days. I complained to the BBB and got no-where. This company cannot be trusted. Go elsewhere, anywhere but Ubid.

  8. P.S.: Ubid also would NOT refund me my money for the wallmount I bought for the 32″TV. They said it was a seperate auction. So now I have a 32″ wallmount but NO TV.

  9. if Ubid were doing biz as they do here, but in China, the ‘officers’ would be quickly tried for fraud and also quickly shot-in-the-head. they have sold me ‘blems’ as ‘new’, defective electronics, etc., etc. my chief regret? trusting them too long before firing them.

  10. You know I am really frustraded with Ubid, I thought I won a laptop, the time run out, they congratulated me, gave me a total with shipping, the next thing I know is they extended the time and people kept bidding, I just got very frustrated and got out, what kind of business is this? I prefer ebay and it has come to a point where I will just buy items that is BUY IT NOW, I am really frustrated with UBID, I’ve had it, so I share this pain with other people.

  11. What’s the point of running overtime ‘after’ the auction has supposedly ended? I can see how people will fall out with that mechanism.

  12. I’m definately commenting on this quite late, but anyhow I have just got “scammed” in the same fashion. I had used UBID back in 06′ with none of these neverending bids-simple honest bid, best and highest bid at the end of the clock won. No, not with UBID, I got beat on a computer by $3 for a grand sum of $540, but now its up to $625 after the bid clock ran out. I feel that the man with the $540 bid got cheated. Now its been 30 minutes since the bid clock ran out, and the auction is still up in “overtime”. I let UBID have a piece of my mind, how can they even pretend to be a bid site? Thanks but no thanks, just angry that they changed their platform since I last used the site and wasted my time thinking that I was in a fair and honest bidding site!

  13. I have been on ebay for 15 years and because of “one” item purchased by a customer saying it was “not as described” which it was. my monies are now held on all purchases of my auctions for the next 60 days, i cannot participate in any of their specials, and their fees have gone nuts! 10 to 15% off of the top of any purchase, plus the same off of the shipping charges. if you want to put up an auction for just one or three days ebay charges a $1. insertion fee. They have gotten so big, they could care less about their small sellers that helped make them. If there was only an alternative!?!

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