- Bait and switch
retail sales, a bait and switch is a form of fraudin which the party putting forth the fraud lures in customers by advertisinga product or service at an unprofitably low price, then reveals to potential customers that the advertised good is not available but that a substitute is. The goal of the bait-and-switch is to convince some buyers to purchase the substitute good as a means of avoiding disappointment over not getting the bait, or as a way to recover sunk costsexpended to try to obtain the bait. It suggests that the seller will not show the original product or product advertised but instead will demonstrate a more expensive product.
Other advertising practices, such as the use of
sales techniquesto steer customers away from low-profit items, depend on many of the same psychological mechanisms as a bait and switch. In the United States, courts have held that the purveyor using a bait and switch operation may be subject to a lawsuitby customers for false advertising, and can be sued for trademark infringementby competing manufacturers, retailers, and others who profit from the sale of the product used as bait. However, no cause of actionwill exist if the purveyor is capable of actually selling the goods advertised, but aggressively pushes a competing product.
Likewise, advertising a sale while intending to stock a limited amount of, and thereby sell out, the loss-leading item advertised is legal in the United States. The purveyor can escape liability if they make clear in their advertisements that quantities of items for which a sale is offered are limited.
real estate agents commonly engage in bait and switch by continuing to advertise attractive properties in their windows that they have already sold.
In a recent
Nebraskacase, gas stations advertised fuel for a low price on their sign, but that price was only available at one pump. Customers would have to figure out which pump had the lower priced fuel, or would have to pay a higher price. The state Attorney General intervened, and the gas stations now advertise the pump number with the lower price.fact|date=September 2008
Bait and switch tactics are frequently used in airline and air travel advertising. [ [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080430.wfees30/BNStory/specialTravel/home/?pageRequested=all] ]
Many online retailers use bait and switch tactics, especially those which sell
prosumerdigital cameras and camcorders. These retailers will often sell an item at a fraction of the recommended retail price, and then require a phone call from the buyer to confirm their order. This confirmation usually involves a sales representative notifying or reminding a buyer that their purchase only includes the camera or camcorder, without a battery, charger, or other accessories that are either necessary, or normally included with the item. The retailer will then offer the accessories in a bundle for a higher price. Some of these retailers have been fronts for identity theft rings, as thieves have illegally used buyers' card numbers to purchase items and services for their own use.Fact|date=July 2008
Some employers use bait-and-switch tactics in advertising job openings, by giving false or misleading descriptions of
working conditionsor compensation packages.
In lawmaking, "caption bills" that propose minor changes in law with simplistic titles (the bait) are introduced to the legislature with the ultimate objective of substantially changing the wording (the switch) at a later date in order to try to smooth the passage of a controversial or major amendment. Rule changes are also proposed (the bait) to meet legal requirements for public notice and mandated public hearings, then different rules are proposed at a final meeting (the switch), thus bypassing the objective of public notice and public discussion on the actual rules voted upon. While legal, the political objective is to get legislation or rules passed without anticipated negative community review.
* [http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/baitads-gd.htm Guides against "bait" advertising] from the U.S.
Federal Trade Commission.
* [http://www.nashvillebureau.com/tn101/billlaw.html Caption bill: Placeholder for a future amendment that would be controversial on its own.]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
bait and switch — n: a fraudulent or deceptive sales practice in which a purchaser is attracted by advertisement of a low priced item but then is encouraged to purchase a higher priced one – called also bait advertising; Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law.… … Law dictionary
bait-and-switch — ˌbait and ˈswitch adjective [only before a noun] MARKETING if sellers use bait and switch methods, they attract customers by telling them about a cheap product which may or may not exist, and then persuade them to buy a more expensive one: •… … Financial and business terms
bait-and-switch — ☆ bait and switch [bāt′ n swich′ ] adj. of, related to, or employing an illegal or unethical sales technique in which a seller lures customers by advertising an often nonexistent item at a bargain price and then attempts to switch their attention … English World dictionary
bait-and-switch — v. The practice of advertising a product or service at a low price to bring customers into a store and, once they are there, urging them to buy a more expensive product or service by disparaging the original item or by saying that it is no longer … Law dictionary
bait and switch — bait′ and switch′ n. bus the practice of attracting customers to a store with bargain prices, then attempting to sell them higher priced items … From formal English to slang
bait-and-switch — /bayt n swich /, adj. 1. denoting a deceptive method of selling, by which customers, attracted to a store by sale items, are told either that the advertised bargain item is out of stock or is inferior to a higher priced item that is available. n … Useful english dictionary
Bait And Switch — A dishonest marketing tactic in which a marketer advertises a very attractive price/rate/term that is really a teaser rate meant to attract customers. Once the customer comes into the store/office to inquire about the advertised price/rate (the… … Investment dictionary
bait and switch — noun a) An unscrupulous and sometimes illegal sales technique, in which an inexpensive product is advertised to attract prospective customers who are then told by sales personnel that the inexpensive product is unavailable or of poor quality and… … Wiktionary
bait-and-switch — adjective Relating to use of bait and switch (offering one attractive exchange initially, but not honoring the offer) in business, politics, and elsewhere. Despite Healys argument that the Liberty Fund would go to worthwhile causes, many felt the … Wiktionary
bait and switch — obtaining investment funds by deceit Financial jargon: The phenomenon has been described by some market participants as bait and switch where banks win mandates offering certain terms which are subsequently changed because they are… … How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms