Beware of Bait and Switch-Helping Consumers Get What They Pay For

Wikipedia states that bait-and-switch is a form of fraud sometimes used in retail sales. First, customers are “baited” by merchants advertising products or services at a low price, but when customers visit the store, they discover the advertised goods are not available, or the customers are pressured by sales people to consider similar, but higher priced items (“switching”).bait and switch scam

A customer recently visited our Dutchess Awnings showroom in Dutchess County inquiring about our awnings, fabrics and warranties. He said he had purchased an awning from a company which advertises on television and when his awning broke after two years, he learned that parts were not available. It was suggested he purchase a new awning. He was frustrated because he felt that warranties are no good if your awning cannot be repaired! This customer decided to purchase a high quality retractable awning from Dutchess Awnings, this time with a very clear understanding that we honor our product warranties. Had he purchased his first awning from a company that stands behind its products, he would have saved money!

Here are some important things to consider when purchasing products or services to AVOID bait-and-switch:

  1. Legitimate dealers never want to lose money on a sale; a buyer should ask himself if a seller can afford to sell “at that price”. Usually, rock-bottom prices for high-end products or services are only available when a seller is going out of business or needs to raise money for some expenditure.
  2. When purchasing a product or service, ALWAYS read the fine print. A seller must state in the ad if there is limited availability of the product on sale. If the seller does not do so and attempts to persuade the customer to purchase another product because the original deal is unavailable, it is a crime and they can be sued. The manufacturer of the product may also sue for trademark infringement if used for bait. Ask the seller about “limited quantities” and “while supplies last”.
  3. Another bait and switch tactic is confusing pricing terms. If buying on an installment plan, be sure to have a full and complete understanding of “monthly payments” and full details of the length of the payment term. Sometimes a seller will offer the product on sale but trick the customer into accepting different pricing terms.
  4. Only buy from a reputable dealer, someone who is established in the community, such as one with an office or showroom.
  5. If they are to preforming a service, make sure they are insured! This will protect you, as a home or business owner for any liability or damage loss cause by the company hired.
  6. Lastly, read consumer reviews on sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List and visit a company’s website and Facebook page. This will give you a better understanding of what the company is all about.

If you want more information or are interested in purchasing an awning please give us a call at 845-226-3039 or in CT: 203-942-2474.  We service the Hudson Valley area and, as always, there is no obligation.

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