bait and switch

Definition

An illegal tactic in which a seller advertises a product with the intention of persuading customers to purchase a more expensive product. When a seller uses this tactic, they frequently tell the customer that the original product is sold out or no longer available (even if the product is indeed still available), and push hard for the customer to purchase the costlier product. This tactic can be considered false advertising if the seller is not actually providing the original product, but if the item is available but the seller strongly encourages the customer towards another item, in general no legal action can be taken.

Use bait and switch in a sentence

One industry where the bait and switch strategy is widely used is the mortgage market - companies often tease customers with low mortgage rates but in reality most cannot qualify for these rates.

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