Consumer Law at Your Fingertips
advertising & sales claims
Bait and Switch
Wisconsin Statutes section 100.18 prohibits deceptive advertising and sales practices, including “bait and switch” practices. In a typical “bait and switch” scheme, a seller offers an attractive bargain on an advertised item. But when the customer responds to the advertisement, the seller disparages the advertised item or states that it has “sold out.” The seller then attempts to sell a substitute item at a higher price.
Wisconsin Statutes section 100.18(9) prohibits “bait and switch” schemes in which a seller advertises an item as part of a plan or scheme to sell something different (not the advertised item). A seller who runs out of an advertised item is not necessary guilty of “bait and switch” unless the seller is using the advertisement as part of a plan or scheme to sell something other than the advertised item. Low sales of advertised items compared to substitute items may suggest, but do not necessarily prove, that the seller is engaged in “bait and switch” tactics. For more information, see Fraudulent Representations details.