Post Content

shutterstock_252628450

Most consumers have heard of the term “bait and switch,” but may not be aware when it happens to them. A sales representative may try to convince you to buy a different item than the one you came for, which may simply seem like a good sales strategy. But when do a seller’s actions cross the line to become a bait and switch?

Bait and switch is when a merchant lures you into the store with an appealing advertisementfor a product. The merchant does not really intend or want to sell you that product. Instead,  the merchant will try to pressure you into buying a different, often more expensive product.

Bait and switch tactics include:

  • Refusing to show, demonstrate, or sell the advertised product in accordance with the terms of the offer;
  • Discrediting the guarantee, quality, or other terms of the advertisement;
  • Claiming there are insufficient supplies of the advertised item (unless otherwise noted in the ad); or
  • Refusing to deliver the item within a reasonable period of time.
  • If you ask for a product and the seller tells you, “No, you don’t want that one,” or tries to upsell you on a different item, be insistent and ask to check out the product anyway.

Remember, bait and switch starts with an advertisement of a specific product. When looking at advertisements, always check the fine print for statements such as “limited quantities available” or “while supplies last,” which protects the merchant if the sale item sells out.

If you think a sales representative is engaging in bait and switch tactics, ask to speak to the store manager. You should also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, the Attorney General, and our Office.

This post is part of our “Holiday Shopping” series, bringing you timely information as you shop this holiday season. For more information on your shopping rights, click here.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s  Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for all Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Program and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

Written By:

Recent Posts

Home Improvements That You Can Do in the Winter posted on Feb 19

Home Improvements That You Can Do in the Winter

Are you thinking about starting home improvement projects, but would rather wait for the spring or summer months? While hiring contractors and beginning work on such projects seem more like tasks for warmer weather, the winter may be an excellent time to assess the state   …Continue Reading Home Improvements That You Can Do in the Winter

Precautions to Take When You Encounter a Romance Scam posted on Feb 10

Precautions to Take When You Encounter a Romance Scam

Every year on February 14th, Valentine’s Day encourages trading gifts, purchasing roses, and special romantic evenings with your partner. It could be the day your sweetheart looks forward to the most in February. Though it may be the most romantic day of the year, you   …Continue Reading Precautions to Take When You Encounter a Romance Scam

Roslindale Homeowners Receive HIC Guaranty Fund Check posted on Jan 31

Roslindale Homeowners Receive HIC Guaranty Fund Check

On Friday, January 24th, the Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, Edward A. Palleschi, presented two Roslindale homeowners with checks from the Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) Guaranty Fund, a fund that is administered by the Office. The homeowners received checks for   …Continue Reading Roslindale Homeowners Receive HIC Guaranty Fund Check