We grow weary with Proxibid auctions that refuse to spell out just what their payment instructions are, believe it is a technical violation of the Unified User Agreement, and ask the portal to require auctions to state how payment will be processed. Anything else is a tacit violation of security–for the bidder and Proxibid, too.
We do not bid, nor do we recommend bidding, on any Proxibid auction that does not also have APN clearance or that accepts payment through PayPal. Beyond that, however, we believe these unnamed auction houses have a user-agreement obligation to state specifically just what their payment options are. Depending on the circumstance, anything else just may jeopardize the agreement with the auction house and Proxibid.
Terms of service are supposed to be spelled out. Not doing so, we believe, is a technical violation of User Agreement 11.m.Risk: “[Do not] conduct your business or use Proxibid Services in a manner that results in or may result in complaints, disputes, reversals, chargebacks, fees, fines, penalties and other liability to Proxibid, other Users or third-parties.”
Here are six worrisome examples from the Coin Category of Proxibid, with our comments in bold blue italics:
- Payment Instructions: You will be invoiced following the close of the auction. Payment options will be available for your selection.
So what the heck are those options? These are terms of service. Spell out those terms or don’t sell on Internet.
- Payment Instructions: Please contact the auction company for payment instructions.
So you also want us to call you long distance? What are your office hours? Whom do we speak with? What the bleep are your instructions?
- Payment Instructions: Auction company will contact successful bidders for credit card payment instructions. PROVIDE VALID PHONE NUMBER WHEN REGISTERING TO BID.
You want our phone numbers. Nice. Do you want to call us at work so that you jeopardize our jobs in a recession? Just tell us your instructions, and we’ll decide to bid. That’s what terms of service are supposed to be for.
- Payment Instructions: Please contact the auction house for payment instructions. CREDIT CARDS ARE NOT AN ACCEPTED FORM OF PAYMENT. IT IS ONLY A VERIFICATION TOOL.
Another house that wants us to contact it long-distance without providing business hours, etc. We have better ways to spend our time. One of them is NOT bidding in any of your auctions!
- Payment Instructions: Please Note: We will be contacting you within 3 days of the Auction Closing, to get your credit card information. We no longer automatically process your charges with the card that you have on file with Proxibid, due to new Merchant Services Requirements.
We do not want you to contact us at work. Nor at the dinner table. Nor via our mobile phones. Hint: Invest in APN or PayPal. Hint to bidders: Find another auction that has these services.
- Payment Instructions: We accept Visa, Mastercard and Discover for online bidding purchases. Your credit card will be charged for your total bids, taxes (if applicable), and shipping after total shipping fees are calculated.
Isn’t that nice? Our credit cards will be charged. Unfortunately, this house doesn’t have APN or PayPal so we have no idea how it is going to charge our card. Do we call them? Do they call us? Here’s a simple solution: We won’t bid.
When you give your credit card information to an auction house, you are actually taking a bigger risk than Proxibid outlines in its Section 11 “Risk” portion of the Unified User Agreement. You don’t know how the house will store your credit card information or who has access to it. Of course, none of the auctions we visited included that information in its terms of service.
Proxibid is technically responsible for signing up clients and holding them to its own terms of service. Requiring how payment will be processed speaks to just about everything in online bidding, which is Proxibid’s source of revenue and brand of “trust.”
If we can’t trust the “terms of service” of individual auction houses concerning payment options, then something must be amiss. Proxibid has an ethical obligation to require houses to spell out payment options in terms of service.
Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.