Penny Auction Site Wavee Crashes and Takes Purchases With It

online auction illustration waveeAfter receiving 442 complaints over three years, Better Business Bureau officials are warning consumers to be careful using the penny auction site Wavee.

Complaints against the site come from around the country, including Tennessee, New Jersey, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida, Oregon, California and Hawaii. The BBB issued a statement urging "caution" when taking part in site sales and auctions.Most of the frustration comes from problems at the website, which claims to be a startup incubated at the Georgia Institute of Technology. People say the website goes down and they would not receive the product they'd been bidding on.

The company does warn in the fine print of "Terms & Conditions" that "it is not possible to operate with 100% guaranteed uptime. In some cases, system outages affecting Wavee's systems or Website may interrupt the ability to view or bid upon auctions."

Penny auction sites have something of a checkered history on the Web. Many have tried to evolve themselves into alternative shopping sites, where the goods on offer can be bought for retail prices. Wavee does offer this option on its auction items, though in some cases the prices show markups rather than markdowns, for instance, an Axiom 7-inch widescreen handheld TV for "$79.99$83.99."

Consumer Ally partner SiteJabber gives the site one star out of five, with 56 reviews. User "Shirley C." posted this week: "I got an immediate notice that I would be charged $89. for .. who knows? ... I called my credit card company and put a hold on all Wavee charges. Stay away from this place it's a BIG scam."

Wavee has said it will halt all auctions and bidding until the system outage is resolved. The site's administrators did not immediately respond to a request for comment through their customer service link.

Others complained to the BBB they were being charged an upfront fee, while they thought they were just visiting the website. When they request a refund for the fee, they were denied because company officials say the consumer knew this information before joining the site.

So make sure you check a BBB rating of a company first (Wavee has an "F") and read the company's policies before doing business.

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