Latest in a line of penny auction sites to go live, MadBid combines Ebay-style bidding with the glitz of a home-shopping channel and the thrills of a Las Vegas casino.

At first it sounds like a simple concept: MadBid sells new items – laptops, phones and even piles of cash – in auctions that go up in one penny increments. There's a catch, though: it costs a fixed fee to bid on standard MadBid auctions.

It'll set you back £1.50 to bid by SMS and a sliding scale starting at £1.30 when you bid online. Buy 500 bids in one go and you'll pay 75p per bid.

What do you get for that? Maybe nothing. But some lucky gamblers – and 'gambler' seems the right word to use here – have won Apple MacBooks for around £4, walked away with £500 cameras for as little as £2.50 or, as in one case, driven off in a brand-new Mini for £6.83.

However, for every winner, there are many losers. And with each loser paying between £1.50 and 75p per bid, it's easy to see where MadBid makes its money.

If you're happy to gamble on winning the auction then have a go, but this isn't our top choice for simply purchasing items at a low price.