uBid.com / Not honoring a winning bid
Watch out if you are bidding on uBid.com. I had a bad experience with them recently. I bid on an HP laptop. When the auction closed (in this case it did not went to overtime), uBid.com web site showed me as the winner. However, more than an hour later I received an outbid notice. I went back to uBid.com web site and it showed a new winner with a bid of $200+ higher. I complained to uBid.com. Their response is that there was a glitch in their system and they are not responsible for the mistake. I went to BBB (Better Business Bureau) and filed a complaint. uBid.com gave the same answer. One month after I sent in my rebuttal, uBid.com did not care to respond at all. BBB (Better Business Bureau) then closed my case with this conclusion “the BBB determined the company addressed all the complaint issues and made a good faith and reasonable effort to resolve them, although it appears you were not satisfied with the outcome. Therefore, your complaint is being closed at our Bureau as administratively resolved, and will be reflected as such in the company's reliability report for 36 months, the Bureau's reporting period”, which is funny for me (in particular, “administratively resolved”). So, I just want to share my experience. You can see my original complaint, uBid.com’s response, and my rebuttal below. BTW, I learned one more thing from this experience. That is, now I know who BBB (Better Business Bureau) is protecting: their company members that pay the bureau or consumers. Make your conclusion …
Consumer's Original Complaint :
I was bidding an HP Pavilion dv5t laptop on UBid.com. The auction closed at 2:00pm PST on 11/30. About 15 minutes after the auction closed, I logged into UBid.com web site and saw that I won the bid (print-out in PDF format can be provided if requested). However, at night when I checked my email, I saw an email sent by UBid.com at 3:05pm PST which says that I was outbid (email can be provided if requested). I felt very strange and logged back into UBid.com. Indeed the web site showed a new winner (print-out in PDF format can be provided if requested). I called UBid.com on 12/1. Jessica T. told me that their system had a problem and the bid went into overtime (so I lose the bid). I questioned her that if their system failed to update the web site, why it showed me as the winner about 15 minutes after the auction was closed and showed another winner a few hours later when I saw the outbid email from Ubid.com? Also I questioned her that if the auction went into overtime, the number of extra bids in overtime did not match the time frame according to UBid.com's bidding rule (auction continues if some one makes a new bid within 3 minutes). Jessica could not answer my questions and transferred my call to her supervisor Brianna N. Brianna then changed the explanation that the auction did not go into overtime. I did not win within the regular auction close time. Then I asked her why UBid.com web site showed that the auction is close and I am the winner. The answer is their system had a problem. This is an unacceptable explanation and treatment to me who followed UBid.com rules to do business with UBid.com. I asked Brianna that if I won a bid, then I would not be able to cancel my winning bid and I would be asked to carry out the contract to pay for the auction I won. I would not be able to break the contract. Why can UBid.com walk away from a contract easily by just saying "Sorry, our system had a problem" when their explanation does not make any sense??!! In addition, a vendor should be responsible for the mistake they made. But, the answer I got from Brianna is that "No, we are not responsible for any mistakes we made". I said I will complain in other places in order to get a reasonable response or treatment. She replied "Go ahead. All complaints come to me anyway." When a company is doing business in such an arrogant, dishonest, and irresponsible way, they should be banned from doing any business before they improve their behavior.
Receive Business Response :
We apologize for the experience that Mr. Ku has had. The system did have a glitch where the auction page was not updating properly but his My Page was showing the correct and current information. The customer put in a bid on 11/29/2008 at 4:16:45 PM in the amount of $513.00. There were 28 bids after Mr. Ku had put his bid in and the auction ended on 11/30/2008 at 1:58:42 PM in the amount of $712.00. The auction format goes by price then quantity and then original bid time. We have apologized to Mr. Ku and even offered a coupon due to the problems he was having. However, he has declined. Since we are a liqidator and quantity is limited we are unable to give the item to Mr. Ku as the item simply is not there. Mr. Ku was not supposed to win the auction and did not according to his My Page. Thanks Brianna
Received Consumer Rebuttal :
The explanation does not make sense and is not acceptable.
1) Attachment #1 is the print-out from uBid.com web site about 15 minutes after the auction closed. If their system was not updating properly, why did it show that the auction is closed and I am the winner?!
2) Attachment #2 is the email sent by uBid.com that notified me I am outbid. The email was sent out at 3:05:17 PM PST by uBid.com (in the body of the email and Gmail shows that it received the email at 6:05 EST), one hour and 5 minutes after the auction was closed (at 2:00PM PST). This is not right at all and does not match the explanation!!
3) After I saw the outbid email, I logged into uBid.com again. It then showed another winner!! Attachment #3 is the print-out that I saw from uBid.com web site at that time. Note that the page shows that the total number of bid is 22 ("22 Total Bids Starting Bid: $1").
With my experience and what I saw (evidenced by the attached print-outs), it is not hard to understand that the explanation does not make sense at all. A system glitch that caused "the auction page was not updating properly" does not explain any of the items (1) ~ (3) above. Therefore, it is easy to reach a conclusion that uBid.com was not following the rules they set up for the auction and was playing tricks to grab additional $200+ profit in their pocket.
As for the coupon, a $5 coupon from a company that does not do business honestly and responsibly is of no use for me.
Note that the 3 attachments #1, #2, and #3 are included in the WinZip file attachment.
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