Here’s my Tophatter review. This is by far the coolest looking auction site I have ever seen. It’s obvious that they’ve spent an enormous amount of time and money to create a user interface that is completely different from anything else on the internet. You enter one of their online auctions as an avatar that looks something like a cartoon character from South Park. The room is filled with others like you including an auctioneer. In the upper right of the screen photos of the item up for sale rotate with the current bid underneath. It’s fun without being overly gimmicky. But fun and business are often tricky to combine effectively. Is Tophatter able to pull it off?
The Tophatter Review
After looking around the site I could see that there are quite a few active bidders. I went and watched several auctions and the rooms were always full. Everyone in the room is able to talk with the seller via a chat section under the auction scene. There was a lot of chatter going on. Some of the items only got one or two bids, some got a lot more. At this point I’m pretty intrigued because it looks like they’re really on to something here. But before I’m ready to jump in and start selling (or even bidding) I wanted to do just a little more research. Here’s what I came up with.
What Some Other Tophatter Reviews Have Said
Reviews on the web are mixed. Some people like the site and some people really don’t.
Mei at Pragmatic Designer said: “Tophatter’s 10% cut is steep, but considering that they provide you an instant sale, that’s not too much to ask. I had some short time for chatting with people in real time, and even had some people convert into website visitors.” – Score one for people who like Tophatter.
Jane at Jenny and Teddy remarked: “Think of it as a clearance sale – if you want to move some items, and move them fast, Tophatter is the way to go. You won’t make much of a profit, but you’ll make room for new products.” – I’d have to call that comment a tie.
Jessica Posted at Webutation: “Tophatter policies change on a whim so as a seller and buyer you get screwed out of money/products/ and your time. I can’t tell you how many times as a seller I have been forced to give refunds for items that were sold months ago. Then the fees. OMG THE FEES ARE INSANE – you could be paying up to 25% of your product SELLING price and usually a minimum of $12.” -Sadly there are dozens of reviews like this one.
Somebody else was so mad they started a Truth about Tophatter Facebook Group. It has 194 members who are so upset about the site that they felt compelled to join and share their experiences. There’s also a smaller Facebook group called Stop Tophatter Selling Counterfeit that asserts that Tophatter allows fake items on in it’s auctions.
In the course of my research I noticed something else. Many of the positive Tophatter reviews out there had this at the bottom: “Disclosure: I received compensation for this publication.” I found that or something very similar at over a dozen blogs. I think that’s kind of odd but I don’t know what to make of it.
Tophatter Review Conclusion
The thing that most people seem upset about are the fees that were recently raised. Commissions on a Tophatter Auction range from 10% to 15% plus a $.25 to $2.75 scheduling fee that is charged whether or not your item sells. Source: Tophatter Fees from their website. That’s more than the competition and it does seem a bit out of line for an new auction site. The next largest complaints from sellers were low selling prices on their items and extremely short auction times where they feel nobody had a chance to bid.
As a final bit of research I decided to look at their rating at the Better Business Bureau. There are 22 complaints against them. Mostly about poor customer service. If you are interested you can read them yourself here.
I had originally intended to list one of my items and write about the experience as part of this Tophatter review. But after learning about the difficulties others have had and in light of the high selling fees I decided against it. However, I really do like the way this site looks and how it works. If they can improve their reputation and make the fees reasonable I would be willing to give it a try in the future.