What is bait advertising?
Bait advertising is an immoral advertising method in which the customer is lured in with a promise to sell or an inexpensive item that they may be interested in. Once it gets their attention, the online advertiser changes the scheme by making the product unavailable to consumers to a similar product that is more expensive. An online retailer or dealer will offer the pseudo-sale either in an online advertisement or in a newsletter.
This is also known as bait and switch advertising.
Bait advertising borders on a fraudulent practice. Online businesses that use it do so for the express purpose of forcing a consumer to buy a product they are interested in, but not at the price it was advertised for, i.e. to do the trick or the consumer to move them to change or buy something higher in price than the original item that caught their attention. Even if 1 percent of consumers actually buy the more expensive item, the advertiser who uses bait sales is entitled to a profit. Of course, they have to advertise this way many times.
Bait advertising is also used in online job advertisements by misleading the potential applicant / employee about working conditions, pay or other factors related to the employment that are simply not true. Airlines also advertise this way by promoting their potential customers with cheap flight deals just to increase the price or switch the advertisement to that of a much more expensive flight. Here you have achieved the interest of the customer and if the customer really wants to start the trip, he could pay for the more expensive travel package anyway. Hotel resorts also make extensive use of this form of advertising.
The problem with bait advertising is the legal issues that can arise. In online retailing, the US has anti-bait laws that allow traders to be prosecuted for false advertising. They can also be sued for copyright infringement should they profit from the sale. But if a retailer can actually sell the advertised products even if they aggressively push another item, they cannot be sued. In Wales and England, bait advertising is illegal under the 2008 Consumer Protection Act against Unfair Trade Rules. Law enforcement, fines and two years in prison can result.