Dear Crabby, What Do I Do About the Bait and Switch?

Dear Crabby,

I hate when these salesmen give me the bait and switch deal.  I wanted to buy a TV the other day that they had advertised for $300. When the wife and I went to look at it, the salesman told us that it was really $750. I get so frustrated with this! Is there anything I can do?

Sincerely, Sik N. Tired

Dear Mr. Tired,

Yes, I am very familiar with this routine. I believe it is illegal, but somehow it is still very common. Just recently, a friend of mine saw an ad for a new minivan and went into the dealer to inquire. The ad said he could get this van for about $18,000 which was within his range. After talking with the dealer that placed that ad, they told him it was more like $32,000 for that kind of van.  He was shocked and said, “What about your ad?”  They pointed out the little stars above the print that claimed he needed to be a veteran, a former employee, a repeat customer, some sort of Hall of Famer, one of the Founding Fathers, and so on!  He was so frustrated that he just picked up his stuff and left.  What I don’t understand is how these sales guys think that these types of ad’s will sell products for them?  Who is going to feel comfortable with a sales guy that just lied in his ad in order to get you to come in?  The other kind of trick that always bothered me was the “not in stock” trick. You know the one, where they advertise this really great product for half price, but when you run in to buy it and they are out of stock. They claim they only had a few of that specific item on hand and now that they are sold out, they think maybe you would be interested in this other one for twice the price! My dad always told me to “do things right and do the right things, and everything will work out alright!”  That is the way I conducted myself all these years, and it seems to have been a pretty good plan. I always tell it like it is; some appreciate it and some don’t, but everyone expects to hear me tell it like it is!  So, I say that you should hold people accountable and don’t buy things if they are not upfront about the price. This will show those sales guys that they need to start being honest and that the only way to succeed is by having integrity.  Good luck, and let me know how it goes.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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