Before I get into talking about my next big purchase, I need to say something. This is both for you and for the internet in case someone has some questions and does a search. My most recent purchase came from "Caring Transitions Online Auctions" which is a franchise company that is for "Senior Relocating, Downsizing, and Estates". They sell things on their website in an auction format. You're free to purchase from anywhere, but they are pretty demanding that you have to pick the item up in person, usually a few days after the auction ends. The auction I bid on ended on Wednesday and you had to pick it up on Friday between 8 and 5. You also have to pay before you go pick it up. However, you can use a shipping service they're affiliated with for a nominal co$$$t.
I found them advertising something through Craigslist, it was a lot of dolls that I was interested in, including one that was on my wish list. It also had several that would be good to get. The auction had several days left to go so I waited before bidding. It also had a couple other bidders already going in, but I figured that I could at least try to get it. On the last day with several hours to go I placed my bid. For a while I was the highest bidder, but was outbid. I bid again, was outbid, then bid again. I was finally the highest bidder and waited for the clock to run out. The interesting thing about CT Online Auctions is that new bids add more time to the clock. I thought that this meant that if someone outbid the winner at the last second more time would be added to give a chance for the no longer winner to try and become the highest bidder again. But it's not as simple as that, at the final few minutes anytime anyone bids, any amount it adds more time. I was dealing with "Bidder1951". They would bid a few dollars every few minutes raising the price and adding more time to the clock. Let's say the auction was at 20 dollars, my max was 40. Every 2 minutes they would raise the bid by 2 dollars, then the price would be 22, then 24, then 26, ect. This would also add more time as they crept the bid forward.
And while they didn't outbid me, they came close several times. Only close, because I will admit I panicked and upped my bid several times. It was slightly more than I wanted to pay but I will say that in the heat of the moment I had to do it. Eventually I forced myself to walk away from the computer. I told myself I had done all I could do and had to step away.
I came back to find that I had won the auction.... by one cent. I had bid 70.03 and "Bidder1951" stopped at 70.02, which in all history of bidding has never happened to me. I've had auctions end with a few cents below my highest bid, but never one cent. That whole situation feels really odd to me. I did a search online for "Bidder1951" and it revealed they've been the winner of several auctions from all over the Eastern Coast, I saw New York, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Normally this wouldn't be such a concern except that these people are so strict about picking up the items in person, on random days. Also, on the auction I was watching, Bidder1951 was bidding on a lot of items, a lot of random items. I can think of a few reasons why someone would bid on a variety of items within an auction, but with everything combined it feels somewhat skeevy.
So what does this mean? Nothing really. I don't have any definite proof, but from all these usual occurrences, I feel like I was scammed. I wouldn't be shocked that Bidder1951 was working for Caring Transitions Auctions and had access to the highest bid information and used it to drive up prices yet remaining to not outbid the real buyers. It wouldn't cost CT Auctions anything, if by some random chance this fake bidder won anything, they'd just not send out an invoice and it would end up as unpurchased merchandise (Which they did have. When you went to go pick up your item they have a "tag sale" you could look at). I am annoyed that I got played like that, but at least I learned something, and hopefully by posting this online if anyone is looking for information they can read it and at least hear about my experiences.