Ruling of purchasing bids for auctioning
Some auction websites sell gift cards and in order to bid, you have to buy bids. Every time you bid, it adds 1 penny but one bid costs 60 cents. So would it be permissible to buy gift cards for cheaper, considering bids as a different currency?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
In principle, when competitors pay towards purchasing a certain commodity, and the attainment of such a commodity is not guaranteed, then such a transaction is impermissible due to uncertainty, which is clear gambling.
When one pays to bid, the attainment of the commodity for which one is bidding is uncertain. Hence, such auctioning is impermissible. This ruling is applicable for gift cards as well as any other product.
Although the losers of the auction have the option of paying the retail price, minus the cost of their bids, this will not affect the impermissibility of such an auction as this is a separate transaction altogether.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
(Mufti) Abdul Azeem bin Abdur Rahman
Checked and Approved by my Esteemed Ustadh,
Mufti Husain Kadodia Saheb Hafidhahullah
The Shar’a ruling herein given is based specifically on the question posed and should be read in conjunction with the question.
Darul Iftaa Texas bears no responsibility to any party who may or may not act on this answer and is being hereby exempted from loss or damage howsoever caused.
This answer may not be used as evidence in any Court of Law without prior written consent of Darul Iftaa Texas.
 لِأَنَّ الْقِمَارَ مِنْ الْقَمَرِ الَّذِي يَزْدَادُ تَارَةً وَيَنْقُصُ أُخْرَى، وَسُمِّيَ الْقِمَارُ قِمَارًا لِأَنَّ كُلَّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْ الْمُقَامِرَيْنِ مِمَّنْ يَجُوزُ أَنْ يَذْهَبَ مَالُهُ إلَى صَاحِبِهِ، وَيَجُوزُ أَنْ يَسْتَفِيدَ مَالَ صَاحِبِهِ وَهُوَ حَرَامٌ بِالنَّصِّ، وَلَا كَذَلِكَ إذَا شُرِطَ مِنْ جَانِبٍ وَاحِدٍ لِأَنَّ الزِّيَادَةَ وَالنُّقْصَانَ لَا تُمْكِنُ فِيهِمَا بَلْ فِي أَحَدِهِمَا تُمْكِنُ الزِّيَادَةُ (رد المحتار، ج 6، ص 403، سعيد)