Bait and Switch

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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
To this online retailer's defence, they have since offered an apology and assured me they were not trying to do the bait-and-switch. But as of writing, they still haven't taken the return of the replacement dumbbells or made the refund.
Most anglers are doing a 'bait-and-switch' routine, dropping their confidence bait down after calling fish in.
Greg LeRoy exposes a bait-and-switch scam, naming actual corporate names in a discussion of the rigged corporate development system which promises much but seldom delivers, in exchange for lucrative agreements.
In another scam, Frankel employed a kind of bait-and-switch tactic.
By providing this post-deprivation remedy, and then denying claims pursued under it when a statute is later found unconstitutional, the state engages in what amounts to a "bait-and-switch" tactic, rendering the post-deprivation remedy meaningless.
They are Nikki (Frances O'Connor) and Al (Matt Day), twentyish lovers with reform-school backgrounds who make a living through bait-and-switch tactics.
In a twist on the classic bait-and-switch - a Red bait-and-switch, if you will - that metaphorical authority known somewhat quaintly as "The Man" morphs into The Back Door Man.
The settlement, the largest ever granted in Washington for a deceptive advertising case, follows a lawsuit the Attorney General's Office filed in 1993 claiming Smith's sales staff conducted bait-and-switch sales tactics, deceptively advertised credit terms, and frequently promoted sales in which prices did not significantly change from regularly priced merchandise.