What is meant by bait-and-switch?

The term “bait and switch” is commonly used when talking about a deceptive trade practice in retail sales. This term is applied when a retailer promises a customer one type of product or deal in its advertising, but when the customer visits the shop the advertised deal is not available. Generally, at this point, the customer is switched to a more expensive product. The logic is that the retailer lures in the customer with the “bait” of a great deal, then takes advantage of him when he’s already in the store and more likely to settle for something different than what was promised.

A bait-and-switch operation is a form of false or misleading advertising, which is regulated by consumer protection statutes as Fraud.

While most commonly seen in the retail sales industry, bait-and-switch tactics also can be found in the following instances:

• Employers who advertise a job opening that gives a misleading impression of duties, working condition or compensation,
• Hotels – advertising a lower rate and tacking on hidden fees upon check-in,
• Telecommunication Companies – offer services at introductory price and then escalate the price drastically after that time period,
• Contractors – add on extra fees in excess of the service estimate.

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