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Bait And Switch Scams

Full Video Transcript

A bait-and-switch advertisement is an advertisement where the seller offers a product or service which the advertiser doesn’t actually intend or want to sell, but uses it as a lead to get customers to buy a different product or service. Like its name suggests, it “baits” the customer with an enticing offer to get them to come into the store, and then “switches” the consumer from buying the advertised merchandise and buying something else instead. An example would be when a mattress is offered an unusually low price, but when the eager customer gets to the store they find out that mattress is no longer available, but other, more expensive mattresses are available. Under the truth-in-advertising laws, ads for products and services must be truthful and nondeceptive; advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims; and advertisements cannot be unfair. The Federal Trade Commission, as well as various state agencies, work to protect consumers from fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace. To learn more or file a complaint about a bait-and-switch scam, visit

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