Advertising savings of 90 percent or more on a range of flashy electronics and consumer goods, penny auction website DealDash.com markets itself as “the fair and honest bidding site.” An investigation by ad watchdog, truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org), however, has found that DealDash is actually engaged in a widespread deceptive marketing campaign to lure consumers onto its illegal gambling site, and has filed complaints against the company with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and six Attorneys General offices.
The Finnish company, founded by 16-year-old William Wolfram in 2009, spent over $50 million on advertising last year. And though more than 10 million consumers have flocked to DealDash in search of the bargains touted in company ads, few have found them. According to TINA.org, that’s because the company’s marketing is deceptive. DealDash’s advertising omits the actual cost of obtaining products through the auctions, the likelihood of winning a bargain, the material details of obtaining a refund, the real price of “bid packs,” and Wolfram’s connection to a substantial percentage of products sold on DealDash.com.
These deceptive marketing tactics have but one goal — to draw consumers to DealDash’s illegal form of gambling whereby consumers pay the company for chances to win products. While DealDash maintains that its “Buy it Now” feature shields it from being an illegal gambling site, TINA.org found that this is undercut by how its auctions actually work, as outlined in the group’s letters to numerous states and to the FTC, which has received over 600 complaints from consumers about the company.
“DealDash’s marketing claim — that consumers can generally expect to win items on the cheap — is simply not true,” said TINA.org Executive Director Bonnie Patten. “DealDash’s illegal gambling venture, which charges users for chances to win prizes, actually leaves most consumers who lose auctions with two unattractive options — walk away having lost money or buy the auction item at an inflated price.”
To read more about TINA.org’s investigation of DealDash.com see:
If you are a member of the media looking to contact us, please email us at: [email protected]