Consumer & Personal Injury Litigators

Car dealers use bait-and-switch to get you to buy

Many Pennsylvania consumers in the market for a vehicle will research different makes and models for safety and value. Seeing an ad on TV or online may instill a sense of urgency in a buyer, especially if the dealer offers an exceptional price for a limited time. However, it is always wise to be aware of bait-and switch techniques for getting buyers to the table.

A car dealer may advertise a new vehicle for thousands of dollars below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Seeing this may prompt those in the market for a new vehicle to head to the dealership to purchase one of these bargains. However, when they arrive at the car lot, the salesperson tells them the advertised vehicle is already sold. The dealer then tries to sell them a similar vehicle for a much higher price.

Recognizing the bait-and-switch

Perhaps the dealer had only one such vehicle, or the vehicle was never in the inventory at all. Either way, the use of bait-and-switch is a form of fraud, and it is illegal. Unscrupulous car dealers hope consumers who have already spent hours at the dealership before realizing they are not getting the advertised savings may be frustrated and weary enough to sign the papers and drive off in a more expensive car.

To avoid becoming a victim of bait-and-switch fraud, consumers can remember that if it seems too good to be true, it’s probably not true. Additionally, the fine print on ads that includes a single stock number for an individual vehicle may point to fraud. Finally, Pennsylvania consumers have the right to leave the dealership if they feel pressured or misled, and they have the right to seek legal advice if they believe they are victims of dealer fraud.

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