“Bait and Switch” advertising practices
“Bait and switch” is a form of fraudulent sales tactic in which the selling party lures the customer by advertising one vehicle at a certain price, and then reveals to the potential customer that the particular vehicle is no longer available but that a substitute is, a more expensive vehicle.
According to the California Code of Regulations, no dealer shall advertise a specific vehicle or a class of vehicles for sale, unless such vehicle(s) is in the dealer’s possession, or is available to the dealer pursuant to a franchise agreement with the manufacturer or distributor of the vehicle(s).
An advertisement of a vehicle not in a dealer’s possession must so indicate, and must include a reasonable estimate of the date such vehicle will be available from the franchisor for delivery to a prospective purchaser.
Furthermore, a specific vehicle advertised by a dealer or lessor-retailer shall be in condition to demonstrate and shall be willingly shown and sold at the advertised price and terms while such vehicle remains unsold or unleased, unless the advertisement states that the advertised price and terms are good only for a specific time and such time has elapsed. Advertised vehicles must be sold at or below the advertised price irrespective of whether or not the advertised price has been communicated to the purchaser.
In the event that the dealership fails to act in conformity with these laws, the consumer is entitled to remedies to include rescission of the purchase agreement and payment for actual damages, consequential damages, punitive damages, and costs of litigation. In most instances we are able to recover attorneys’ fees as either consequential damages or punitive damages.