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Bait and Switch

"Bait and switch" is a term used to describe an instance when the retailer offers for sale (switches) an advertised item for another, less expensive or desirable item that is not the same as the originally advertised item.  Often the advertising sounds too good to be true, and that advertising lures shoppers into the store only to find a substituted item.

Bait and switch is illegal. You may file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Protection.

Trade Practices Division

Department of Consumer Protection

165 Capitol Avenue

Hartford, CT  06106-1630

Phone (860) 713-6100


Connecticut Regulation Sec. 42-110b-20. Bait and switch

 It shall be an unfair and deceptive act or practice to: (a) Advertise merchandise or a service for sale when the advertisement is not a bona fide offer to sell the advertised merchandise or service.  Among acts or practices which will be considered in determining if an advertisement is a bona fide offer are:

(1) the refusal to show, demonstrate, or sell the merchandise or service offered in accordance with the terms of the offer, 

(2) the disparagement by acts or words of the advertised merchandise or service or the disparagement of the guarantee, credit terms, availability of service, repairs or parts, or in any other respect, in connection with it, 

(3) the failure to have available at all outlets listed in the advertisement a sufficient quantity of the advertised merchandise to meet reasonable anticipated demands, unless the advertisement clearly, adequately, and specifically (see ยง 18 above) discloses that supply is limited and/or the merchandise is available only at designated outlets.

(4) the refusal to take orders for the advertised merchandise to be delivered within a reasonable period of time at the advertised price,

(5) the showing or demonstrating of merchandise which is defective, unusable or impractical for the purpose represented or implied in the advertisement,

(6) use of a sales plan or method of compensation for salesmen or penalizing salesmen which has, or tends to have, the effect of preventing or discouraging them from selling the advertised merchandise or service, 

(7) the delivery of the advertised merchandise which is defective, unusable, or impractical for the purpose represented or implied in the advertisement.