Beware of bait advertising
Buyer beware! Store owners are eager to get you through their door. And they may resort to tricks to do so.
Business is what is sometimes called “a numbers game”. It’s all about traffic. Retailers pay premium rents for a shopfront with plenty of passing trade. They know that the more people they talk to the more sales they will get.
A tactic some businesses use to attract more potential customers is the bait advertisement – also called “bait-and-switch”.
- A car is for sale at a price that seems too good to miss. When you get there it has already been sold, but they are keen to show you alternatives. Or, to the advertised base price, the salesperson will attempt to upsell you on optional extras.
- A house is to be auctioned. The “anticipated price” is promoted at a surprisingly low figure. Of course, with the excitement of large attendance at the auction, it sells for a much higher price.
- A holiday package seems a bargain. When you get more details you find that a hotel of a reasonable standard and other inclusions add substantially to the cost.
- A suit is advertised with free shirts and ties thrown in. Once you are through the door you can’t get the sales assistant to talk about anything other than the latest high fashion item that happens to cost a lot more.
Once you are aware of it, you’ll see the same tactic at work selling furniture, appliances and much more. Even supermarkets have what are called “loss leaders” – grocery items on sale that tempt you into the store.
What to do? Stay alert. Keep your emotions in check. There are bargains to be had but don’t be taken for a sucker. Be ready to walk away if you don’t get what you want at the price you want.