Bait Advertising-Part II?

Believe it or not, many companies use bait advertising tactics. If a deal seems too good to be true, be wary. Check the terms and conditions of any ‘sale’ or
14 May 2018 15:12
Bait Advertising-Part II?

Believe it or not, many companies use bait advertising tactics.

If a deal seems too good to be true, be wary.

Check the terms and conditions of any ‘sale’ or ‘special’ before finalising a purchase.

You may find that the terms are vague, and that the item you want to purchase is not available.

Never buy an item outside of your price range or make a purchase that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Understand the terms of any ‘special’ before you commit to making a purchase, to avoid unexpected costs and repayments.

Outlined below are some of the signs of Bait Advertising which consumers need to be mindful of.

1. Too good to be true

Before paying for an advertised product or service, ask yourself why is the price so low compared to the others?

Unbelievably low price may also signify a scam, where the seller wants to take your money without actually providing the product or service.

2. Fine print is confusing

Advertisement may contain a lot of small details embedded at the bottom or sides.

Always read the fine print, especially since misleading or vague fine prints may signify a trick or a false and misleading representation.

3. Confusing pricing terms

Many bait advertisements confuse buyers with misleading quotes or payment terms.

Misleading terms such as ‘free’ and ‘unlimited’ at times confuses consumers.

Even advertisements where ‘payment’ terms state for example ‘$3 weekly for 200 weeks’ but the item only costs $300.00.

4. Limited information about the seller

Bait scam artists try to hide their true identities including contact details.

Online sellers tend to give only their online

business details but not the owners details.

When goods or services are not supplied to consumers who place their orders online, consumers have difficulty to locate and identify the business owner.

5. Deals are final

Bait deals are non-refundable, and customers will likely never have the opportunity to contact the seller again.

How to avoid a bait-and-switch scam?

1. Read the terms and conditions

Understand the terms and conditions of a deal before attempting to purchase the product or service.

2. Compare with other sellers

Compare prices for similar products and services offered by other companies.

3. Clarify the pricing terms

Many bait advertisement have open-ended or confusing pricing terms.

Make sure to clarify the pricing before finalising the sale.

4. Do not agree to a purchase if you feel uncomfortable

Companies using bait advertising tactics try to appeal to buyers’ fear of loss, especially in brick-and-mortar businesses.

They try to make you feel that if you do not purchase something, you made a trip for nothing. 

Do not fall for this strategy.

5. Research the Seller Beforehand

Learn what other people have to say about the seller, get a friend to go with you and assist you about alternative purchases if the original deal is no longer available.

Many reputable salespeople try to encourage customers to buy a different product if a product is out of stock.

Laws regarding bait  advertising

Victims of bait advertisement have some recourse when advertised products or services are not available as advertised.

Sellers have not committed a crime if they try to push customers  towards another product, as long as the original deal is available.

Under Section 86 of FCCC Act 2010, Bait Advertising is unlawful if:

A person will not be able to offer for supply those goods or services:

  • At that price for a period that is;
  • In quantities that are;
  • Reasonably having regard to the nature of the market in which the person carries on business and the nature of the advertisement


a. Always read the fine lines of the advertisements

b. Check the terms and conditions of the advertisement before deciding on making any purchases

c. Lodge a formal complaint to the relevant regulatory authority with evidence.

How to lodge a complaint?

Any member of the public can visit any of the FCCC offices, call or email in order to lodge a complaint.

However, personal visit is encouraged with documentary evidence to formalise a complaint.

Any complaint without proper documentation would be considered, as an informal complaint.


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