“Bait and Switch” Dealer Trick


Along with the newest car dealer tricks there exist also older ones which are practiced by fraudulent people almost every day. One of the above-mentioned scams is the legendary “Bait and Switch” advertising practice. As can be understood by the name, “Bait and Switch” refers to car advertising, which, however, is not a common way of advertisement. Sometimes it seems so “harmless” that we cannot even call it an illegal action rather than a marketing ploy. But the truth is that “Bait and Switch” IS illegal and it IS prosecuted by the law.

The aim of the “Bait and Switch” advertising is to trap the car buyer into the dealer’s store as most dealers believe they can control the state of affairs there.

Bait and Switch” can be practiced in a number of scenarios. Here are some of the car dealer tricks:

  • Car dealers select the cheapest and the most stripped-down car in their store to advertise. They offer you only $299 monthly payment for the car and you rush out to the dealership to get that miracle. But you do not even expect to be switched to another more expensive vehicle because the advertised one “is already sold”.
  • The dealer may also tell you the advertisement was misprint. But he will be so “helpful” as to offer you “a very good model at a nice price.”
  • The dealer may show you the base model which has neither air conditioning, nor radio and which has to undergo repairs and repaints. Naturally, you will not like the car, so he will offer you the latest model again at a higher price.
  • One of the most common car dealer tricks in such cases is that the dealer will advertise the car in such a way that you do not pay attention to the fine print of the advertisement (because you can hardly even read it). And when you appear in the dealer’s store you will be told the car can be sold at, for example, 12% interest rate only.

As you can see, in the “Bait and Switch” advertising the “bait” is used when tempting the customer with surprisingly low car prices, and “switch” is used when the same customer is already in the car store and is vulnerable enough to be cheated.

Learn how to avoid car dealer tricks like this:

  • While reading a car advertisement read the fine print as well. It will reveal lots of surprising details about the vehicle, for example you may find out it is the only low-price car in the given store.
  • Do research on car prices and car models before buying. Search for the prices of both base models and newest ones.
  • Do not go car shopping alone. Take an informed friend or a family member with you. Consult a car mechanic before buying the car.
  • Get the car history report of the car you are planning to buy and examine it carefully.
  • If, however, you decided to buy the stripped-down car the dealer offers you, let a mechanic inspect it first.
  • Turn to a skillful car dealer fraud attorney if you feel you have been cheated.