FAQ

Joining

Does it cost anything to join?

No, you will only be charged if you win an auction, purchase an item, or donate as part of a sweepstakes.

Can I choose which nonprofit organization will receive the proceeds?

The individual who donated the item or experience chooses which organization to support, not the winner/purchaser.

Is my payment tax-deductible?

Tax deductibility depends on each country and state’s laws. In the United States, any amount paid to a charity that is above the fair market value of the goods or services received is considered tax-deductible. CharityStars will provide the estimated fair market value of an item or experience on your email receipt. CharityStars cannot provide tax advice. Please contact a tax professional for advice concerning the tax-deductibility of your donation or payment.

How much goes to charity?

Charities receive 85% of the “net revenue” (“net revenue” means the auction winning bid amount, purchase price, or donation amount, less third party processing fees). To learn more about our transparency policy, click HERE.

How does a charity join CharityStars?

If your charity is interested in joining CharityStars, please click HERE.

Does CharityStars conduct background checks?

Yes, CharityStars reserves the right to perform a background check on winners/purchasers and their guests. A criminal background check may be conducted with the winner’s/purchaser’s consent.

Can I follow items and experiences I am interested in?

To follow an item and experience, you must sign in, then click the star button on the item in which you are interested. You may also view a full list of the items you have selected under your “watchlist.”

Can I participate from any country?

CharityStars is a worldwide platform. Please note, however, that for sweepstakes, residents of certain jurisdictions are prohibited from participating. Please check the sweepstakes Official Rules.

Does CharityStars use multiple currencies?

Since CharityStars brings you items and experiences from around the world, with the exception of our sweepstakes which will always be processed in US Dollars, currency will vary with the origin of the item or experience – currently in US Dollars, Pounds and Euros. For your convenience, and whenever possible, you will be given an estimated amount in your local currency. For example, if you live in the United States but wish to bid on a European item, you will place your bid in Euros while being shown the estimated US Dollar amount.

Managing My Account

Is my credit card information secure on CharityStars?

The security of your information and all transactions is one of our highest priorities at CharityStars. CharityStars automatically encrypts your confidential information in transit from your computer or electronic device to ours using the Secure Sockets Layer protocol (SSL) with an encryption key length of 256 bits (the highest level commercially available). Upon winning a bid, purchasing, or donating, the entrants’ payment details are transmitted to CharityStars’ payments partner, Stripe. Stripe’s systems are Level 1 PCI Compliant ensuring the highest level of security and compliance. You can review Stripe’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy at www.stripe.com.

How can I change my account settings? (Such as credit card information, username, email address, password, shipping, payment methods, notifications, etc.)

You will have the ability to change all of your settings in your account.

Do I have to set up an account?

To participate in an auction or watch an item, you must create an account. While it is also recommended for Sweepstakes and Buy Now for a speedy checkout, it is not necessary. CharityStars users also have the ability to sign up and sign in using their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

What should I do if I am having a problem with my account or the site?

Simply email us at help@charitystars.com and let us know what is wrong. We are happy to help!

Auctions

How does an auction work?

The user with the highest bid on the auction will win the item or experience.

You will only be charged if you are the winner of an auction item or experience.

Why do I need to enter a valid credit card to bid?

To ensure the security and authenticity of all bids, CharityStars requires registration of a credit card or debit card through Stripe.

When placing a bid, the bidder agrees to purchase the item or experience at the price he or she has bid. CharityStars reserves the right to authorize your credit card for any bid amount placed. If you are outbid, this authorization will be released. All registered users authorize CharityStars to process any and all applicable charges such as shipping, credit card processing fees, or taxes on their credit or debit card at the close of the auction, for any lot they have won.

How do I place a bid?

Sign in to your CharityStars account and make sure your credit card and shipping information are up to date. Simply enter your bid and desired maximum bid into the field and click “Place Bid.”

Is there an age limit to bid?

Yes, all bidders must be adults 18 years of age or older.

When does the auction end?

Each auction has a timer, which counts down to the close of the auction.

What is extended bidding?

Any bid made in the last 4 minutes of the auction will automatically reset the auction timer to 4 minutes remaining, giving the opportunity for other users around the world to bid. The end of the auction will be prolonged if additional bids are being placed. This is referred to as a bid-off

What is the reserve price?

The reserve price is the lowest price that an auction can be sold for. In order to ensure a fair amount is raised for an auction item, the auction item provider is free to set the minimum price an item must reach in order for it to be won.

If a user makes a bid under the reserve price, they will be notified after the bid has been placed.

In the event that an auction finishes under the reserve price, the user with the highest bid will be notified. They will then have 48 hours to decide if they would like to match the set reserve price amount. If this option is not accepted, the auction will be considered unsold.

What is the starting auction price?

The starting auction price is the minimum bid at which the auction commences.

What are bidding increments?

Bidding increments vary depending on the current price of the auction item. The minimum bid increment required will be noted for each auction.

  • $0 to $100.00 = $5
  • $100.01 to $250.00 = $10
  • $250.01 to $500.00 = $25
  • $500.01 to $1,000.00 = $50
  • $1,000.01 to $2,500.00 = $100
  • $2,500.01 to $5,000.00 = $125
  • $5,000.01 to $10,000.00 = $250
  • $10,000.01 to $25,000.00 = $500
  • $25,000.01 to $50,000.00 = $1,000
  • $50,000.01 to $100,000.00 = $2,000
  • $100,000.01 and up = $2,500

What is the maximum bid function?

The maximum bid is the maximum amount that a user is willing to pay to win the auction. This function is recommended for those who do not have the time to monitor the progress of the auction. The maximum bid is not publicly shown and is visible only to the bidder who has placed the maximum bid. A user will not pay their maximum bid amount unless another bidder's bid increases your bid to the next bidding increment. Once a maximum bid is placed, any next bidding amount, up to the maximum bid, cannot be retracted.

Here's an example:

  • An auction item has a current bid of $0. The minimum bid is $250.
  • James bids and confirms a maximum bid of $500. James' bid is displayed as the minimum bid of $250.
  • Sarah places a bid of $275, the next minimum bid, but she is automatically notified that she has been outbid because it did not exceed the maximum bid placed by James.
  • James' bid is automatically increased to the next increment, $300
  • If no other bids are placed, James is the winner at $300.
  • If another bidder places a bid over James' $500 maximum bid, James will receive an outbid notice via his selected method of delivery, and an alert will appear in his account on CharityStars.

If two or more users make the same maximum bid, priority will be given to the user who made their offer first using timestamp verification.

How will I be notified if I am outbid?

The bidder will immediately receive an email and/or an SMS notification depending on their notification preferences. An alert will also appear in their account on CharityStars.

Can you cancel/retract a bid?

Once a bid has been placed, it is legally binding and cannot be retracted. As stated in the Terms of Service, when a user places a bid and wins an auction, they are agreeing to purchase the item or experience at the price he or she has bid. Please consider your bids carefully before placing them.

What is a Live Auction?

A Live Auction lets users bid online on items and experiences that will be auctioned at a later time at a gala or event. CharityStars will place these items online before the live bidding begins. The online bidding will close the day before the event, but through CharityStars’ technology, online bidders whose maximum bids have not yet been exceeded will continue to have bids automatically submitted at the live auction in bidding increments, up to their maximum bids. Top bidders will be contacted by someone at CharityStars to confirm their maximum bid.

How do I know if I have won an auction?

You will be automatically notified by email and/or SMS as well as in your account on CharityStars.

I won the auction, how do I pay?

Upon winning an auction, the primary credit card you provided in your account will be automatically charged for the final bid amount as well as shipping (if applicable) and handling. If the final bid is over $5,000, you will be given the option to pay via a bank transfer. If you have any questions about payments, please contact help@charitystars.com.

What are your shipping and handling policies?

The minimum shipping, handling and applicable insurance charge for non-tangible items is $9.95. Detailed redemption information will be emailed to the winning bidder. Exact shipping charges will be determined based upon the winning bidder's shipping address. These charges are based on several factors such as oversized packaging, physical weight and customs fees. Tickets, certificates and merchandise are typically shipped with signature required, unless otherwise specified, via professional carrier. In some cases, tickets will be left at the venue's "Will Call" window under the winner's name. Merchandise is insured for the winning amount.

When will I receive my item?

CharityStars aims to deliver items within 2-4 weeks after payment has been received. We use professional couriers that guarantee a quick and safe delivery.

I won an experience, how do I arrange it?

Someone from the CharityStars team will contact the winner of any experience to arrange the details.

Can I return an item won in an auction?

CharityStars does its best to ensure accurate details, photos, and dimensions are provided for all products on our website. Items are sold as is and cannot be returned. If you have any questions about an item, please feel free to reach out to us at help@charitystars.com.

Sweepstakes

How does a Sweepstakes work?

Sweepstakes allow users from around the world the opportunity to enter for a chance to win the grand prize. A $5 donation gets you one automatic entry into the sweepstakes. So for example, if you donates $25, you will receive 5 entries into the sweepstakes. At the close of the sweepstakes, one winner will be randomly selected using CharityStars’ Random Number Generator software.

Do I have to pay to enter?

No purchase/donation is necessary to enter a sweepstakes.

To enter without donating, please fill out a free entry form and send to CharityStars, Inc., 925N. La Brea, 4th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90038. The name of the sweepstakes you are entering must be written on the back of the envelope and the form must arrive at CharityStars before the date specified in the sweepstakes official rules to be counted. The age restrictions set forth in the sweepstakes’ Official Rules apply. The Entrant is responsible for supplying correct postage. Please see the Official Sweepstakes Rules for complete details.

Each properly submitted entry form gets you one entry into the Sweepstakes of your choice. There is no limit to the number of entries you can mail in, but only one entry form per envelope will be counted.

Donating does not increase your odds of winning; odds of winning are based on the number of entries received, not the method of entry.

Do I need to sign up for a CharityStars account to enter?

No, you are not required to create a CharityStars account to enter a sweepstakes, but having an account allows you to easily keep track of the sweepstakes you have entered, donations you have made, and items you have purchased. It also gives you the ability to edit your personal information, such as preferred shipping address, etc.

Is there an age limit to enter a sweepstakes?

Yes. Age restrictions will vary between 13+, 16+, 18+, and 21+ depending on the nature of the particular sweepstakes. A parent or guardian must accompany any winner if the winner is younger than the age of majority in his / her place of residence. All age restrictions are listed in the Official Rules of each sweepstakes.

How is the winner chosen?

Once all eligible entries have been entered at the close of a sweepstakes, CharityStars’ Random Number Generator software will select the winner.

What is the probability of winning?

The probability of winning a sweepstakes depends on how many people enter a particular sweepstakes. Each entry is equivalent to one chance at winning, and so the probability of winning a sweepstakes will be one divided by the number of entries distributed for that particular sweepstakes. For example, if there are 100 entries distributed for a particular sweepstakes, each entry has a 1 in 100 chance of winning. If you obtain multiple entries, then your chances of winning increase.

How will I know if I won?

Winners will be contacted via email shortly after the close of the sweepstakes. The winner must accept the prize within the specified deadline to claim the prize and arrange the experience.

Can I get a refund for my donation in connection with any sweepstakes?

No, all donations are final and nonrefundable.

Is travel and accommodation provided?

For sweepstakes that are open to the world, travel from anywhere in the world and hotel accommodations for a minimum of two nights will be included. See the sweepstakes’ Official Rules for details and restrictions. If travel or accommodation is limited to a specific country, it will be specified in the Official Rules of that sweepstakes.

When will I receive my reward items?

Rewards are shipped 4-8 weeks following the close of the campaign.

Buy Now

What is Buy Now?

Buy Now are items or experiences that are available for purchase right away at a set price.

What is the advantage of purchasing a Buy Now item or experience?

If you see an item or experience that you are interested in, you may purchase it right away without having to wait for an auction to end and without the risk of being outbid. Please be sure to read the details of each item or experience carefully before purchasing, as age and location restrictions may apply.

Can I buy more than one of the same item?

If more than one item or experience is available, the quantity will be listed and available to purchase up to that amount. At times, there will be a limit on how many items one specific user can purchase in order to give the opportunity for other users to participate as well.

How do I pay for a Buy Now item or experience?

Simply enter your credit card information to complete your purchase.

I won an experience, how do I arrange it?

Someone from the CharityStars team will contact the winner of any experience to arrange the details.

Is there an age limit for Buy Now items?

There may be age restrictions on some items and experiences offered. Please be sure to read the details on each item page before purchasing.

When will I receive my item or experience?

Delivery time will vary depending on the item and experiences you are buying. Please be sure to read the details before completing your purchase.

Can I return an item I bought?

CharityStars does our best to ensure accurate details, photos, and dimensions are provided for all products on our website. Items are sold “as is” and cannot be returned. If you have any questions about an item, please feel free to reach out to us at help@charitystars.com