Guidelines for the Retail Sector on Price Promotions
The Consumer Protection Act prohibits traders from advertising or offering a product for sale without disclosing the existence of any reasonable grounds that the trader will not be in a position to supply the item or sell the item at the advertised price.
A car dealer advertises cars for sale - "This year's model - only €3,000". The dealer has no intention of selling the cars at that price. He merely used this type of advertising to encourage consumers to visit his showroom in the hope of increasing business.
Bait and Switch Advertising
The Consumer Protection Act prohibits traders from engaging in bait and switch practices
Bait and switch tactics arise in circumstances where a trader decides to offer an item for sale at a very attractive price while having no intention of selling the advertised product or is not in a position to provide the advertised item.
The purpose of the offer is to entice customers into the store and once this objective is achieved, the customer is advised that the product is no longer in stock and then actively encouraged to purchase a different product.
A trader offers a 32-inch TV for €300. When the customer asks about it he shows him a set with a "sold" tag. He explains that all the other sets have been sold and the only one left is "faulty".
He then refers the customer to an alternative TV model, which he claims is superior, though it may cost more. If the trader intentionally used this practice to promote a different make/model, this would be regarded as bait and switch and would be in breach of the Act.
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