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The Consumer Law Group, P.C.

Tell-Tale Signs of a Bait and Switch Auto Scam

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When buying a vehicle, consumers have a right to expect that the auto dealer they are purchasing the car from is treating them fairly. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Some unethical dealers utilize what is known as a “bait and switch” tactic. This tactic involves luring a buyer to a dealership by advertising a price for a specific vehicle. Once the buyer arrives at the dealership, the dealer either tries to sell the consumer a different vehicle or tries to sell the same vehicle at a higher price. In some cases, victims of a bait and switch may have a legal claim against the dealer.

Signs You Were a Victim of a Bait and Switch Tactic When Buying Your Car

How can you tell if you were a victim of a bait and switch? The following may be indications you have been scammed:

  • The deal that was advertised was too good to be true. The typical bait and switch scam typically attracts consumers by offering a great deal. If the price for the automobile was too low, it may not have been legitimate. Exceptions to this are certain cases where a dealer is going out of business or desperately needs to raise money or sell the vehicle for some business-related expenditure.
  • The fine print on the advertisement was difficult to decipher or confusing. Often, these small details are embedded on the sides or at the bottom of the ad. In some cases, the fine print may state that there is a limited quantity of the vehicle available at the advertised price. They may also state that there is a limited timeframe for the deal or that a buyer must meet certain requirements in order to qualify.
  • The pricing terms were confusing. Bait and switch tactics often involve misleading quotes and payment terms. The advertisement may highlight monthly payments rather than providing details about the length of the payment term.
  • The consumer was told that all deals are final. When a bait and switch tactic is used, the deal is typically listed as non-refundable.
  • When the consumer arrived at the dealership, the dealer had run out of the vehicle in question or already sold the specific vehicle it was offering. If the dealer did not offer to honor the deal and instead tried to promote a different vehicle or the same type of vehicle at a higher price, this is a sign of a bait and switch.
  • When the consumer arrived at the dealership, the auto dealer tried to convince the buyer to accept a different deal. Again, this is a sign of a bait and switch. 

Determining whether you have a claim following a bait and switch should be done under the guidance of a legal professional. We encourage you to reach out today for more information at (804) 282-7900.

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