Bait and Switch: Oldest Dealer Trick

Bait and Switch: Oldest Dealer Trick

Bait and switch technique is known as the oldest dealer trick ever. Imagine a situation where you are a car purchaser who has collected a certain amount of money to buy a car and suddenly, you find an advertisement in your local magazine that tells about a dream car at sale.  Naturally, you rush to the dealership to get the car.

You think this is your fate and you are going to get the best of the deals. But it happens that the car you saw in the advertisement is no longer in the dealership as it is already sold. You get disappointed, and in order to calm you down, the dealer offers you another car which is quite similar to the advertised one and which is sold at a price a bit higher than the advertised car.

What you do? Of course you get trapped immediately! This is a typical scenario for bait and switch. 

As you can see, the whole thing in this scam is to make you enter the dealership. The rest of the steps are already mapped by the tricky dealer, who is able to manipulate your wishes as soon as you are in the showroom surrounded with so many nice cars.

If however, as a result of bait and switch, you get the car, it won’t be the car you thought of when reading the advertisement. What is important here is to read the fine print in the advertisement, as it says much more than you can imagine. The cars sold as a result of this dealer trick may usually be:

  • Cars with manual transmission
  • Bare-bones models
  • Cars with no air conditioning
  • Cars with no power windows or doors

The terms suggested by the dealer may also be rather funny: you may be asked to pay a huge down payment or to finance the car for about 72 months (if not more).

Now, how to avoid bait and switch, the oldest dealer trick?

  • Make sure that the vehicle advertised is the one you need. Think whether you would like to drive that bare-bones model?
  • Read the fine print VERY CAREFULLY.
  • If after all, you liked the car, do not run to the dealership, just call them to see whether the car is still there or it has already been sold.
  • Make them understand that they cannot play any tricks with you, as you might file a complaint against them, for cheating you or for misrepresenting the car.
  • After they assure you the car is in the dealership, waiting for your test drive, then go there and see the car. Inspect it carefully or even better; let an experienced mechanic inspect it. Test drive the car, ask to see the vehicle history report and other connected documents.
  • If you feel the dealer is trying to do something wrong, then just leave the dealership.

Bait and switch is the oldest dealer trick, but this fact cannot be an obstacle for you to buy a really good vehicle, you just need to be a bit more careful.