Many consumers have fallen prey to a bait and switch marketing ploy at some point in their lifetime by an unscrupulous seller. The product you are interested in buying seems perfect for the price and so you buy it, but once you receive the item is not what you were lead to believe it would be. “Bait and switch” marketing is a fraudulent business practice that takes advantage of consumers. It is a form of false advertising under New York law. Bait and switch fraud can be the basis for a class action lawsuit, and if you have been the victim of a bait and switch marketing technique, you should contact an experienced consumer protection class actions lawyer immediately.
What is a Bait and Switch? Buyer Beware
The mechanics of a shady bait and switch are simple. A consumer is lured into purchasing an item due to a great price, great quality, etc., but when they receive the item that they purchased, the quality is poor, the product is completely different, or the price has been changed. Bait and switch is more common in sales for goods (e.g., phones, electronics, clothing items, etc.) rather than a services, but it can also occur when the item offered for sale is a service (e.g., loan service, background check providing service, etc.).
According to the Federal Trade Commission, a bait and switch occurs whenever:
- A merchant’s advertising is not truthful and is deceptive.
- A merchant never intends to provide evidence of their great deals, i.e., the merchant makes an advertisement for a promotional deal, but then never gives a single customer the promotional deal.
- A merchant unfairly swaps out an offer once a customer comes to the store, or commits to a purchase.
- A merchant tricks a consumer into making a purchase.
But the following are not “bait and switch” if they are true:
- A merchant only offered a limited supply of a product at a special price and sold out.
- A merchant has the product that the customer came into the store for, i.e., the bait, and can sell the consumer the bait, but the merchant talks the consumer into buying something else, i.e., a more expensive product, etc.
- A merchant advertises a promotional offer, but the offer expires before the consumer can take advantage of it – so long as the expiration of the offer applies to all consumers equally.
Bait and Switch Class Action
Bait and switch damages are usually small amounts of money. The consumer might suffer an economic harm of a few hundred dollars or less, which is hardly worth the expense of suing the fraudulent merchant in court. However, class action lawsuits are designed to help spread the cost of a lawsuit across many claimants, making bringing a lawsuit against a fraudulent merchant a feasible endeavor. When many victims pool their resources for a consumer class action, the victims can reap a reward without a lawsuit being cost prohibitive.
When You Need A New York Consumer Class Action Lawyer
Being a victim of deceptive sales practices is never fun, and no one should have to suffer economic harm when merchants are behaving badly. A consumer class action lawyer may be able to help. Please contact a consumer class action lawyer at the Bromberg Law Office, P.C. today to schedule an appointment.