Bait and Switch

Bait and Switch An unethical Business practice The English Language Coach



Have you ever heard about Bait and Switch?

It is a form of scam used by salespeople and related.

It works like this.


The salesperson promotes a product that may be very cheap or attractive, to get customers interested, or they may be advertising a product they don’t have in stock or is unavailable.

When a customer visits the store or contacts the salesperson, they initially discuss the product they are interested in buying. They build up the customer’s desire for the product so, the customer is eager to purchase it.

Just as they are about to clinch the deal, the salesperson ‘discovers’ that the product is no longer available. The customers are extremely disappointed.



The salesperson has a customer, who is highly motivated to buy but is unable to purchase what they want, so the salesperson introduces a similar, better, but more expensive product. They tell them all about the product, how great it is, and how there is only a limited number, but they are selling very fast.

The salesperson may even acknowledge that it is more expensive and out of the customer’s price range. If they have played the customer to perfection, the customer will want the more expensive product. The customer also wants to appear knowledgeable, decisive, and the decision-maker so feel they can not back out of the purchase. 

Deal done, and the salesperson, often on commission, had made more money.

Timing is important. If the salesperson tries the ‘switch’ too early or doesn’t do an effective sales pitch on the more expensive one, the customers can realise what is happening and walk away.

While Bait-and-switch techniques have a long and widespread history as a part of commercial culture, the scam is now illegal in many countries, but some salespeople still try it. 


What do you think about the old Bait and Switch sales technique?

Have you ever been subject to a salesperson using the Bait and Switch Technique on you or your family?


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