Lexington, NC-- What if you could use a penny to buy an iPad? Turns out, you can, if you use an online penny auction. However, placing your bid will cost you more than pennies.
Here's how a penny auction works: An item is up for auction and people can bid online just one cent at a time. So the item is increased by one penny with each bid. Once the clock runs out, the last person to bid gets the items for what could be a few pennies.
But there's a catch.
You have to purchase your bids ahead of time. With the Lexington-based penny auction website, Zeekler, each bid cost you 65 cents. If you buy 100 bids that cost you $65.
That means, if you win an item in the penny auction, it may go for half the retail price or even more. However, you already spent $65 for your ability to place 100 bids.
Another catch with penny auctions, you cannot rely on that countdown clock.
"Each time somebody bids, the price goes up one cent and 20 seconds gets added to the clock so the auction continues as long as people want to bid and then when it's over, the last person who placed a bid wins the item for whatever number of pennies have been bid," explained Paul Burks, Zeekler owner.
Although, items may be posted for days, the action doesn't start until the end, since winning is all about being the last person to bid.
It's not easy to do, considering with every bid, 20 seconds is added to the clock. The bidding process goes on and on until people stop bidding and the clock runs out.
Burks told News 2 they are the number two penny auction website on the internet right now when it comes to traffic.
The North Carolina Attorney General's office told News 2 they have received a handful of complaints when it comes to Zeekler and their sister site, Zeek Rewards. A court has not yet ruled whether this operation is legal or illegal.
If you are unsure about buying merchandise from a retailer or operation, the NC Department of Justice recommends this website.
WFMY News 2