How to Handle a Bait and Switch

How To Handle A Bait And Switch
Stefanie O'Connell
By: Stefanie O'Connell
Updated: July 25, 2014
Our popular “How-To” series is for those who seek to improve their subprime credit rating. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines.

Have you ever rushed to buy something because of an awesome sale price only to have it rung up higher than you anticipated when you went to pay?

How did you react? Did you say something? Did you forgo the purchase? Or did you just pay the higher price?

Many people choose the last option, giving in and paying the higher price, citing the price difference isn’t that much anyway (even though the price difference is their reason for making the purchase to begin with.)

Regardless of how little the discrepancy, it’s important to stick to paying the originally advertised price. Not only is this based on principle, but it’s also based on habit.

If you get in the habit of allowing yourself to concede to the errors and oversights of others at your own expense, you could wind up losing much more than a few dollars in the long run.

Next time you encounter a bait and switch, be it purposeful or not, be sure to follow these steps.

1. Pay attention. 

If you’re buying something because it’s the “right price,” make sure that price is the one being charged to you.

Often computer systems at checkout counters haven’t been updated to reflect price changes and cashiers may not be aware of every discount. It’s on you to keep track.

“Be willing to walk

away from the purchase.”

2. Speak up. 

If you notice a price discrepancy, say something. Politely tell the cashier or staff member the price listed on the display, advertisement or website and be prepared to back it up by referencing the price in the store or on your phone.

3. Speak to a manager. 

If the person assisting you is unable to help, ask to speak to a manager and politely explain the situation.

4. Be willing to walk away. 

If no one is able to rectify the discrepancy, either by offering you the correct sale or advertised price or otherwise, be willing to walk away from the purchase.

If a business is not willing to practice good businesses practices by honoring their advertised prices, they are not worth doing business with.