Proxibid Warning

So, just a heads-up for you guys who take part in online auctions – we’ve had some complaints about the Proxibid outfit. They allow people to remotely participate in live auctions – like the Cowans Auction of Richard Wray’s collection that happened last week. Well, the problems is that Proxibid seems to do a pretty poor job of it. One of our members in particular lost out on an item because his bid simply wasn’t recognized by Proxibid (we’re not sure why), he never got a bid confirmation, and the item ended up selling for a couple hundred bucks less than he was willing to pay. What’s the solution? I really don’t know – there aren’t a whole lot of other options. But you should at least be aware that Proxibid has a pretty mediocre track record of reviews when you go into an auction.

Perhaps we have an online auction pro in the audience who can suggest a good alternative, or a trick to getting a smooth online bidding experience?


  1. I have gone to various military auctions at Cowan’s and often phone in bids beforehand if I can not make it there in person. They are also set up for doing live bidding over the phone. For the last auction, what I did was to call Cowan’s a few days ahead of time and leave the maximum number I was willing to bid on an item.

    • Proxibid emailed me wanting actual copy
      of my ID, land line bill, utility bill copy!
      They accused me of doing something wrong.

  2. I regestered with cowan beforehand to phone bid on several items. It works well and saves you 2.5 percent. Icollector has worked very well for me in the past.

  3. Picture this: I put out a pre-bid via Proxybid on a Beaumont Vitali for, let’s say, 300 dollar. The bidding starts and I am watching others bid with increments of 10 dollar. The bidding pauses at 200, leaving me an almost happy owner of a 200 dollar instead of 300 dollar Beaumont. Then suddenly the auction on that item ends with 300 dollar and I get an invoice for that amount! It happened to me twice. I prefer Hermann Historica in Germany, but even with them I am always asking extra pictures and information.

  4. I’ve had simiilar experience with Proxybid – twice now. I chalk a lot of it up to my inexperience. Next time I’ll follow AJ’s advice and bid via phone. Who ever thunk an auctioneer could be faster than the internet? 😉

  5. Thanks all .. and so much for Proxibid! Not a thing I need or want so bad as to be hooked, and no doubt thought of as a fool.

  6. I have attended Proxybid auctions from both ends. Live and via computer. Live, they had a staff member monitoring the website and telling the auctioneer when they had a bid. Some room for timing errors, depending on your internet connection.

    I have also missed items because the website didn’t move as fast as I wanted it to. That is the auction game. Sometimes the auctioneer doesn’t see your bid even when you are in the room!

    I feel I get good value for my investment (zero unless I win a bid)and reasonable accuracy from Proxibid. They charge a premium of 15% for the auctions I have participated in and most auction houses charge 10%. Could it be more perfect? Yes. Could I do better by learning more about computers and upgrade to a more reliable system? Yep!

    I have never seen a jump bid that wasn’t a live bidder trying to scare off others by increasing a bid higher than the $10 incriment. Could happen I suppose but most auctioneers tape or videotape their auctions so you can ask for a review if you suspect an error. They want to keep a good reputation so they are usually willing to review an item for you.

    If you want near perfection, attend the auction and stand in front of the auctioneer with a Hawaiian shirt and a light on your ball cap. That will ensure they get your bid. If you want to bid from your back porch, sipping a tall Johnny Walker Red and smoking a cigar, expect that you may occasionally lose an item even though you were the high bidder.

  7. I have to agree with Rex.

    I’ve won about 125 guns through Proxibid over the years and generally have been happy with the process. I’ve lost a few due to mix-ups, but there are things that you can do to reduce the mix ups.

    First of all, Bid Fast…!

    Decide what you are willing to bid for an item and either enter that amount as a pre-bid or, if you are bidding live, hit the “bid” button early and often up to the amount of your maximum bid. I’ve lost a number of items because I dithered for a moment trying to decide if I really wanted the item in question. When I finally did hit the “bid” button, it was too late.

    There is lag between you entering your bid, it arriving on the computer screen of the Proxibid operator, and the Proxibid operator transmitting your bid to the auctioneer.

    Remeber, a tie goes to the on-site bidder…

    Just because you have bid $300 for an item and the Proxibid screen shows the high bid as $300 doesn’t mean that you have won. If an onsite bidder has made the same bid as you for an item, he wins. You have to keep track of the little message box to know whether your bid is high or not.

    Be certain of what you are bidding on…

    Proxibid gun auctions frequently involve numerous similar guns, some sold sequentially. Is that 03A3 that you are bidding on really lot #305, the pristine unissued one, or is it lot #304, the average condition one that has a replacement barrel and stock? It is not always easy to see the difference from the pictures being flashed during the auction. If you are bidding on more than one item, notes are a valuable aid.

    Remember the fees and shipping…

    Your bid price is not the amount that you will actually pay. Every Proxibid auction has a “buyer’s premium” and shipping fees. “Buyer’s Premiums” usually are in the 15-18% range, with some as low as 10% and others as high as 22%.

    Shipping is another variable. I’ve paid as much as $80 and as little as $18 to have a rifle shipped from an auction house. It usually pays to call the auction house after you have won an item and tell them that you want it shipped as cheaply as possible. That usually means UPS or Fed-Ex ground. Stress to them your interest in having it well packed.

    I once won two practically new-without-box Mossberg 144 LSB’s that I intended to give to my sons for Christmas. The shipper (a Gun Store used by the auction house for FFL transactions)wrapped a few sheets of newspaper around one of the 144 LSB’s, put it in a box, and then put the other 144 in without any wrapping whatsoever. The unwrapped 144 suffered a lot of scratches and gouges. I got my $50 shipping charge refunded, but would have been much happier with two undamaged guns. Remind them, if you think you must, that bubble wrap is king when it comes to gun shipping.

    And don’t forget that if you don’t have an FFL yourself, you will have to add FFL fees on your end.

    • I have been at the live auction but pre bid on items before I got there. 10 lots in a row start at 25. And sell at 25….I’m in the room on lot 11 which I pre bid one bids the opening 25.he jumps from 25 to 75…sold to the intetnet…chuckle chuckle..several times….

      • And you probably had to pay at least 4% extra for a Proxibid bid. Yeah, maybe not so sly in some cases. If I drive up north the premium is 5% less for a live bidder, and I get my item that same day.

  8. More than once using Proxibid I’ve supposedly had my high bid (and it was a “prebid”, not a live bid that would be delayed) not accepted. So, this week I placed several prebids, wrote down the item numbers and my bid amounts. Then, attended the auction in person. I was extremely irate when the auctioneer reverted to my online prebid (at the time high bid) amount when they didn’t have any initial takers at higher bids. Only to lose the item to a lower bid in the audience (I wasn’t going to bid against myself and was sitting there expecting the auctioneer to accept my higher — though not by much — online bid). I was irate, interrupted the auction and confronted the auctioneer and the person running the internet bidding. Their response, “call Proxibid, not our problem.” I attempted to call Proxibid while the auction was still going on and could never get past the recording that the next available representative would be with me as soon as possible. When I did get in touch with Proxibid they told me that all my prebids were automatically deleted at the auction close so, they had no record of me ever bidding. Have a nice day. . . What recourse? Maybe some deep pocket law firm wants to start a class action law suit?

  9. I have had mixed luck with Proxibid. One of the things that pisses me off the most is pre-bidding on items only to find out when the actual live bidding starts the pre-bids are erased. There have been several auctions I’ve participated in where I would have been high bid on several lots but the pre-bids were eliminated prior to.
    I also participated in a Bar None auction via Proxibid. I was bidding on a couple pieces of construction equipment and after the dust settled they went for more than I was willing to pay for either item. A day after the auction I received an invoice for a vehicle I was not interested in nor did I bid on. Tried to get Proxibid to correct the mistake which they refused to do. In the future I will bid by phone or in person.

  10. Good and informative comments. Thanks! My experience with Proxibid pre-bids has been generally very good, but there have been some foul-ups, and I suspect it was due to the auction gallery. Most recent foul-up was yesterday: Poulin/Lot 4149/Werder Rifle. My pre-bid max was $3300; when the auction started I was high @$850 and the next bid was $900. I entered the “Live Auction” and watched; the bidding started and went up and stopped at $1100 to an on site bidder. I hit “BID”, but there was no response and the rifle sold for $1100. Don’t know what really happened, but do know I was . . . frustrated. I did then check my Proxibid account and it did show my $3300 max bid, and the $1100 sale to “on site”.

  11. You bid on items, win, pay for it, but you never receive it.
    Call up the auction house and they claim it was sent to the wrong address. Really?
    You just shipped $500 worth or merchandise to a wrong address and think that it is not a big deal, just brush it off.
    So what the auction house does is put an item up, if it sells for lower than what they want it sold for, they claim that they shipped it to the wrong address, sorry. This way they can ensure they get the price they want while still looking legitimate.
    The will give you your money back. What you cannot get back is the time you spent, sometimes the whole day, following the auction. You cannot get that time back, you cannot be compensated for that.

  12. Let’s talk about PROXIBID and the auction companies for a minute.

    First of all, PROXIBID does not regulate the Auction Companies as it should, if you complain to PROXIBID they tell you to call the Auction Company who could care less about you once they run your credit card.

    They run your credit card for the auction amount, then a separate charge for shipping, now this is where they take you for a ride. A tin toy, $50, shipping $95. I complained to the auction house, Consumer Affairs, District Attorney, an attorney, guess what, I got $80 refunded to my credit card. This is an ongoing issue with the auction companies that are registered with PROXIBID.

    Class Action Lawsuit, you bet, an attorney from New York is looking into all these auction companies under PROXIBID and PROXIBID.

  13. I was the successful bidderon 2 lots on proxibid in a timed auction that closed on 1/31/17 .At the end of the auction the screen says sold . 2 days later after my third phone call I was told that nothing sold in that auction because reserves were not met. There was nothing ever shown of any reserves at any time on any item that I saw & I bid on several different lots. I am new at this . I have called proxibid & equify to talk to some one & I was told that someone would be contacting me but so far that hasn’t happened.

  14. Proxibid coin sellers have used various methods to scam their buyers without the repercussions of feedback. There are many ways in which they sell damaged, cleaned or sub par coins. The first and main trick is to take blurry pictures and then have a no return policy. If there are a batch of coins they will stack them so only a few of the good coins show (Hampton House). Silver City has a minimum bid on every lot. They start the bidding at some unreal high number and go down until they hit a value that they want to sell it for and then there is a mystery bidder on site that bids every time. They will use the phrase “XF details” which means the coin is not XF as it may be damaged or have verdigris. PPI and Silver Trades auctions over rates their coins and usually they are damaged. The most common ripoff is the shipping costs. Schultz Auctions sold me an item for $30 only to find out there were $17 added for shipping, handling and premium. I wrote them and the response was that they stated that they had a $5 handling fee for what picking it up and putting it in a box?
    The only reason I use them is for bulk items I can’t get on Ebay where I usually don’t have shipping costs, no handling fees, no premium charges, clear pictures, no stacking, feedback rating and return policies. Buyer beware of Proxibid!!!

  15. I have gotten Shafted HARD on shipping!! Several Times. Also i am pretty certain that they can see the pre bids and run them up accordingly.

    • Many companies open the bidding with the pre-bid reserve.Not cool,but they can by posting a disclaimer in fine print.
      Now here`s the REAL problem.All you pre-bidders just run the opening bid up for the live auction.A live auction that you can bid at.So why does everyone feel a need to bid their last dolar BEFORE the live bidding starts?I have no idea.Its not a smart thing to do.WAIT for the live auction and bid in real time.
      Also READ everything.Especially “special terms” and wont be so many surprises.
      Again STOP RUNNING UP the prices by going nuts in pre-bidding.Just wait for live auction,log in,and bid!

  16. Also, please note that Most of the company on PROXIBID are now charging 18 to 20 percent buyer fee AND a 15% seller fee. I had a company “Johnny’s Estate Auction Service. I won a Shotgun and a 7mm rifle and a old .38 at about half retail price. They charged my CC the day after the Auction. I sent them my FFL and 5 weeks went by i called and they said they didnt get my FFL. So i went and Faxed it. a few more weeks went by and got a refund check with 300.00 taken out for Buyer and Seller fees!! and a charge for abandoning the guns!!! I called them and got a shiester on the phone who wouldnt let me get a word in. I called PROXYBID and they are USELESS!!!

  17. I am a client of SERVCORP AUCTIONS, and for some reason, they are now using PROXIBID for an auction. WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!
    The site has unsafe practices. For Example; you are required to store your credit card information on their server, in order to bid, with little regards for the fact that you plan to pay in cash. The interface where your credit card information is input, is not secured. And I wouldn’t even have to get Putin, to have his hackers to crack it. If I was a bad guy, I could easily do it myself. Wireshark, and see for yourself.

  18. PROXIBID uses MARKETGUARD for setting up an account, which is requiring my credit card information to be stored on their server.
    PROXIBID will have you to think that this is a secured process, considering the they uses Auction Payment Network (APN) to process payments. Although APN is now being use to collect your credit card information for setting up an account.

  19. It turns out this company is trying to do an auction site using auto auction management tactics. It doesn’t work. It is not computer user friendly!

    It is like trying to work with several companies at the same time and each company doesn’t know what the other is doing. One company tells you one thing and that is not the way it actually works in their own company let alone the others.

    You have a company that listed the item, usually a internet listing company, Then Proxibid which doesn’t do much, many items I bid on did not have an adequate description or info.

    Then you have to arrange payment that has to go through the listing service, not the auction company.

    I won an auction item for $155. By the time the listing service and auction sites had added their fees, it was $197! And I had not paid for shipping yet. At this point I can only guess what the total could be. Say $222. That is almost the cost of the item!!!!

    Although you are supposed to be able to see the estimated shipping cost before hand, I was not able to do so. Even after paying for the item I wasn’t able to see shipping charges!

    Each time in the process I had to call Proxibid or the listing service! It is not user friendly and a real pain to deal with.

    Many times they had so much junk in their agreement, the new legaleze and verbiage terms were obnoxious, you just through up you arms in disgust!

    What is really weird, you never know the actual person or company that own and is selling the item!

    I will never use this site again!

  20. Some of the auction houses on Proxibid are shill bidding crooks. No way are that many of the same guns, same serial numbers going to show up in that many future auctions. It’s illegal unethical business practices, and Proxibid doesn’t care. Shill bidding buyer’s premiums in excess of 28% in some cases. Proxibid is pretty scummy. I really with the FTC would shut their asses down.

  21. I should add, the Proxibid should cancel the accounts of any auction houses that engage in shill bidding, and repeatedly have the same gun show up in 4 subsequent auctions. This one local auction house has statewide reputation for bidding items up and buying them themselves rather than allowing them to sell for a price they deem to be “too low”. I seriously wish the FTC, FCC, or FBI would investigate these sleazoids, shut them down, and fine the living poo out of them. Invaluable has been a lot nicer to deal with. People generally pay too much for most things on Proxibid. I have spent tens of thousands of dollars for myself, and other people on Proxibid. If I can, I will fly to another city and attend the auction live, but too many auctions are on line ONLY, and I am starting to really dial back on the Proxibid spending. If I can use the auction houses online bidding, I will, and I will travel as far as 10,000 miles for the right items. Someone needs to give Proxibid a serious wakeup call, though.

  22. Although proxy bid does make it easy to find hard to get items quickly I have noticed a few problems number one is my high bid is always taken it’s never anything less than my maximum, some of the some of the auction houses in auctioneers leave things out of the description such as they’ll show you two items make it look like one auction one price buys all at the end of the auction they want to double your price once again finding you’re high bid example you bid $$250 on 1000 rounds showing on the site to be to 500 round bricks and described as to 500 round bricks low and behold you end up winning it for $500 I mean who in their right mind is going to bid $500 on 1000 rounds nobody and once again they find your high number be careful with it !

  23. I’ve never had one issue with Proxibid. After reading every comment on this thread, I’ve come to the realization it’s 95% user error. People don’t realize proxibid is just a bidding platform that hosts several individual companies that all have their own terms and conditions and if you fail to read each and every term of the auction house you are participating with then that’s on you.

    Out of all the bidding platforms, proxibid is one of the most user-friendly websites and easy to navigate on a desktop or on desktop view on a mobile device. Take some responsibility, and for the love of god, it’s 2021, learn how to operate technology, and account for your own actions and quit putting it off onto the auction companies and/or proxibid.

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