False Advertising and What You Can do to Protect Yourself!

False Advertising and What You Can do to Protect Yourself!

by LegalZoom Staff, December 2009

Ever visit a business based on their advertisement of a sale item - only to discover the item is no longer available? Watch for "bait and switch..."

Many unscrupulous businesses attempt to lure customers in with advertised specials that are too good to be true - and in fact, they're not true! In the typical "bait and switch" operation, earnest salespeople will explain that the item has sold out, that it isn't of high quality, or that you cannot take delivery for several months - all with the aim of selling you a higher priced item.

This form of false advertising is illegal in all states. What can you do if you suspect a merchant of a "bait and switch?"

  • Don't buy the higher-priced item - instead, ask the salesperson for a business card and walk out of the store.

  • With the store name, address, telephone number and the name of your salesperson in hand, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureaus of North America.

  • Alternatively, call or write your local Better Business Bureau to file a complaint. http://www.bbb.org/bbbcomplaints/lookup.asp