Penny auction sites are hot, but have more risk than reward

Penny auction perils
Penny auction perils

When Anice Keenan went looking online for a pair of pants for her son, she didn't imagine she would end up trying to buy a Honda Civic for a penny. At least, that's what hooked her in to the penny auction site SwipeBids. Skeptical at first, she decided to do some research by watching a news report from a local Oklahoma television station talking about penny auction sites as great places to score bargains.

Before she knew it she was out $150 -- confused by the registration process, and unsure of what she spent her money on. "They refused to give my money back," said Keenan, a resident of Marietta, Ga. "You can't get a hold of these people, you can't talk to them, there's no way to connect."