What to do about a “bait and switch” by an on-line vendor?

UPDATED: Dec 5, 2011

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What to do about a “bait and switch” by an on-line vendor?

I ordered something from an on-line vendor, after speaking with a representative from that company and confirming the price and listing. After the on-line transaction had gone through, I was notified via email I was receiving a vastly different model from what I had ordered. After calling them they informed me that that listing was a “mistake” and that they could provide me the model I originally ordered for $300 more (almost double). Do they legally have to honor the original price they listed and sold to me?

Asked on December 5, 2011 under General Practice, Wisconsin


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

This company cannot legally do this bait and switch. You relied to your detriment on the representations they made, so they must a) honor the original price for the original item you paid and b) apologize to you! You will need to a) contact and dispute through your credit card company because your credit card company should be able to help with this and b) contact the fraud unit in your state that handles unfair and deceptive acts and file a consumer complaint. Ultimately, you need to contact this online vendor by email only and explain all they did wrong, explain what they need to do and explain that you have already filed a complaint with your card company. If you paid with a bank card (like an ATM card), you need to file the dispute with the bank.

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