Bait and Switch


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Bait and Switch

A deceptive sales technique that involves advertising a low-priced item to attract customers to a store, then persuading them to buy more expensive goods by failing to have a sufficient supply of the advertised item on hand or by disparaging its quality.

This practice is illegal in many states under their Consumer Protection laws.

bait and switch

n. a dishonest sales practice in which a business advertises a bargain price for an item in order to draw customers into the store and then tells the prospective buyer that the advertised item is of poor quality or no longer available and attempts to switch the customer to a more expensive product. Electronic items such as stereos, televisions, telephones are favorites, but there are also loan interest rates which turn out to be only for short term or low maximums, and then the switch is to a more expensive loan. In most states this practice is a crime and can also be the basis for a personal lawsuit if damages can be proved. The business using "bait and switch" is an apt target for a class action since there are many customers but each transaction scarcely warrants the costs of a suit alone.

References in periodicals archive ?
Critically reworking canonical images, the postmodern bait and switch foregrounds thorny concepts of authorship and identity, encouraging a reconsideration of source material, as well as querying crucial factors behind the surfaces of these masterpieces and even their status as such.
In reviewing eight separate points which reject the "bait and switch" allegation, Commissioner Bellamy also stated that "the bait and switch theory all too conveniently recasts as helpless victims the City Staff, who, in reality, failed to do their jobs".
I really believe that this was a bait and switch (by VIP Showgirls),'' Greuel said.