HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) The BBB/WHNT News 19’s “Start With Trust” 8th Annual Online Auction is now open!
The Better Business Bureau of North Alabama is teaming up with WHNT News 19 and several local businesses to bring north Alabama the 8th Annual “Start With Trust” Online Auction.
The BBB first launched its auction in 2007 after learning that bogus auction sites had climbed the Federal Trade Commission’s list of complaints to the #2 spot for five years in a row. The BBB designed its auction to highlight the many trustworthy companies that operate in the north Alabama marketplace, and to allow local residents and businesses to bid on quality products and services in a safe environment.
The proceeds from the auction support the BBB of North Alabama, a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting ethics in business. “This is a win-win-win event for us,” says Michele Mason, president of the BBB of North Alabama.
“The auction allows us to keep our community educated on the red flags of a bogus auction site, while also showcasing the trustworthy companies that support the BBB. In addition, the auction provides financial support to our office, which allows us to keep up with the unprecedented growth we’ve seen in the request for services from our community over the past few years. Our office now averages nearly 3,000 calls, 50,000+ website visitors and 43,000 or more requests for reports on North Alabama companies each month.”
The “Start with Trust” Online Auction offers a wide variety of products and services that range from autographed footballs/mini helmets and collegiate art to a motor home rental, jewelry and more –even a storm shelter! You’ll find more than 100 items up for auction.
The auction continues until Thursday, September 25, closing at 4:00 p.m. that day.
The BBB offers the following tips with regards to Online Auctions:
- Find out how the auction site protects buyers and sellers from fraud. Know what the auction site will do if you become victim of an unscrupulous seller.
- Compare the cost of the item elsewhere. Scammers will often price items lower than the competition in order to lure in buyers. A lowball minimum bid for an item should be considered a red flag. Consumers should research the cost elsewhere and compare prices.
- Research the seller. Online auction sites often provide the opportunity for buyers to rate sellers and provide feedback on the transaction. These reviews are a great way to determine the seller’s track record, but keep in mind that reviews are typically not authenticated and some sellers will pay for flattering reviews in order to mislead buyers. Also, if you see a strong review, but no transactions in several months, it could be a sign that someone is trying to use another seller’s old account.
- Ask questions. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask the seller questions about the item, including how they came to own it, its condition and if you can return it if you’re not satisfied.
- Don’t be lured away from the auction site. In some cases, scammers will try to convince bidders to complete the transaction outside of the auction site. Leaving the Web site means you are no longer covered by the protections and guarantees provided by the auction company.
- Use a secure form of payment. Use a credit card or a secure payment service, such as PayPal, when purchasing items through an online auction. If the seller insists on using an escrow service, always research the business fully with BBB. Never wire cash payments to someone you don’t know. Also be aware of a newer technique being used by scam artists to avoid creating a paper trail – consumers are asked to load funds onto a Green Dot Money Pak and provide the numbers that would allow a scam artist to access those funds.
Click the following links to learn more about the auction supporters and the items up for auction: