Bait and switch is a type of false advertising used to draw in unsuspecting customers. Other advertising tactics in this category include artificially inflated prices and deceptive form contracts.

Advertisers “Bait” Consumers

This fraudulent sales strategy involves a marketer advertising an attractive price, rate or term. The price, rate or term is actually a teaser (or “bait”) to attract customers. When customers show up to find out about the advertised rate, the business will try to sell them another more expensive item (the “switch”). The business may claim that the advertised product is not available or they might have another excuse for why they cannot sell it.

Types of Bait and Switch Fraud

Although common in retail environments, the bait and switch scam has garnered notoriety in the mortgage market. An agent or company may advertise exceptionally low rates for which most applicants will be unable to qualify. When customers show up to find out about these rates, they are instead offered higher rates that can earn the agent a better commission.

Deliberate Deception

For successful legal action, it will be necessary to prove that the company’s actions were deliberate and a part of their overall selling approach. For example, bait and switch is considered fraud if a merchant has no access to a product at the advertised low price yet still continues to advertise it while pushing customers to a more expensive alternative.

Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act

Bait and switch, plus other misleading business tactics, are regulated via the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, a set of laws that protect Florida consumers from deceitful business operations. These statutes allow consumers who have been scammed by companies to sue for various wrongs, including bait and switch.

Contact the Khonsari Law Group for Legal Counsel

Often, those prosecuted for white collar crimes, including fraud, were not aware of their own involvement. If you are facing criminal charges, the most important thing to do is hire an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer to be there by your side. White collar offenses often involve complex financial matters and substantial documentation, which takes a skilled and detail-oriented team to defend. At the Khonsari Law Group, we are committed to helping you build the best defense. Contact us today for your free consultation or call us at (727) 269-5300.