When it comes to online cigar shops, consumers have a lot of options (ranked here!). But when it comes to cigar auction sites, there are two options: Cigar Bid and Cigar Auctioneer.
Of course, the question then is: which is better? The short answer is that Cigar Auctioneer is currently the better choice by far. Though both websites have great selection and similar shipping rates, Cigar Bid has had serious issues delivering cigars that are properly humidified. Their customer service as well is quite lacking, with many users reporting that after receiving incorrect orders or damaged cigars, the Cigar Bid team was nearly impossible to reach and unresponsive.
With that being said, below is a more exhaustive breakdown of the differences in features, quality, shipping, and more of the two major cigar auction websites. I look at a few factors:
- Product Quality
- User experience
- Customer service rating
Features – too close to call
First, let’s go over the most basic differences. Cigar Auctioneer has three types of auctions: one item/one winner, multiple items/multiple winners, and multiple items/one winner.
Cigar Bid has those categories as well, and also has “Quick Buy” and “Freefall.” Freefall lots are displayed with prices decreasing, live—I am actually not sure how much value these provide. Quick Buy lots are discounted packs of cigars that can be purchased for a slightly higher—though still highly discounted—rate on the spot.
One advantage I see with Cigar Auctioneer on the features side is the lot history function, which allows you to see the past, present and future lots for a particular brand—perfect if you know exactly what you want and have the patience to wait and be notified. This is a big plus for me. So on this category, the two websites tie.
Selection – Cigar Auctioneer
There’s no quick answer here. Both have good selection, though I think Cigar Auctioneer has more mainstream brands than Cigar Bid does. As a fan of Davidoff cigars, I did notice that Cigar Auctioneer has more from that brand, but from what I’ve seen both sites have different product on display at different times. Cigar Auctioneer wins on this category.
Prices – Cigar Auctioneer
Prices on Cigar Bid, though good, tend to be a bit higher simply because it seems to be the leader in auctions by volume. It’s pretty simple: if more people are bidding, the bids will go higher, as some have reported. On the other hand, Cigar Auctioneer sets a higher minimum bid price.
Product Quality – Cigar Auctioneer
This is one area where Cigar Bid quite unfortunately falls behind. In the probably half dozen orders I’ve received from Cigar Bid, I’ve often had cigars that were underhumidified or cracked. It’s one thing to get a great deal on cigars and get what you ordered. It’s something else entirely to order cigars for cheap and then find out later they might have been cheap because they were improperly handled!
I’ve never had this issue with Cigar Auctioneer. They win the product quality category easily.
Shipping – Tie
Cigar Bid and Cigar Auctioneer are fairly close here. Regardless of what website you are using, it is important to get multiple items shipped in the same box to save on shipping costs.
User Experience – Cigar Bid
I’ve got to say, as much as I like Cigar Auctioneer in terms of quality and selection, I really hate the look and feel of their website. Cigar Bid does a great job of advertising the great deals that they have, and their daily newsletter does a good job of describing new products that go on sale. Cigar Bid wins this category easily.
Customer Service Rating – Cigar Auctioneer
Cigar Bid has had issues selling cigars that they don’t have—where the user wins the auction and is later notified that the cigar isn’t available (this happened to me twice). It’s a frustrating situation, and has been documented by other users.
In fact, Cigars International (the parent company for Cigar Bid), has had a truly awful couple of years. With technology issues and customers receiving incorrect orders and then not having the order corrected, they’ve really dug themselves into a hole that they will have a hard time getting out of. Cigar Auctioneer on the other hand has great ratings with users and I can’t find any consistent negative reviews online.
At the end of the day, Cigar Auctioneer is the site I recommend to use for cigar auctions. They carry more of the brands that I enjoy, and make it easier for me to track when my favorite brands come on sale. I also know that the quality of the product will be consistently great, and that if I have an issue, I’ll have Famous Smoke Shop‘s customer service there if I have any issues.
Only note to the Cigar Auctioneer team: at least make those product photos bigger… please!