SANTA MONICA — Whole Foods and Safeway/Vons gift cards are the first food retailers to be added this week to the roster of brand name retail gift cards sold on biddees.com, an online reverse auction site, based here.
Whole Foods or Safeway could not be reached for comment.
Biddees.com was launched in January as an auction site for consumers to obtain discounted gift cards. In addition to obtaining discounted gift cards, those who participate in the auction process generate funds for nonprofit organizations such as the American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross, the Autism Society of America, MADD and Make-A-Wish, among others.
Grocery gift cards are highly requested by Biddees users and that the cards are being used more as currency for shoppers who want to save money, the company said.
Biddees said it buys activated gift cards directly from retailers at face value. However, it is does not negotiate with them in the buying process.
The cards are initially discounted online by $1.50. Consumers obtain additional discounts through the bidding process. Access to the bidding process is by buying bid credits called Little Biddee Things (LBT). New registrants to the website receive three free LBTs to trial the site. After those are used up, bidders pay 99 cents for an LBT to view the current price of the gift card. Each time a consumer views the current price of a card, the price drops 50 cents.
Since its launch, Biddees has sold fewer than 1,000 prepaid cards and has drawn about 25,000 unique visitors to its site. The average saving is about 10%, the company said.
In commenting on reverse auction sites, Rebekka Rea, director of the Retail Gift Card Association, said that while there are reputable resellers of gift cards, retailers in general don’t embraced this concept because of the possibility of fraud.
Read More of Today's Headlines