Question from Trapper, Is Bait and Switch Advertising Illegal in the United States?
Answer from AI:
In general, “bait and switch” advertising is considered deceptive and is illegal under U.S. federal law. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the primary agency that regulates advertising practices and enforces laws against deceptive advertising.
What is Bait and Switch Advertising?
Bait and switch advertising is a deceptive practice where a business advertises a product or service at a low price or with attractive terms to lure customers. Once the customer is interested, the advertiser reveals that the advertised product or service is not available or the terms are not as favorable as initially advertised, and then tries to sell a more expensive product or service or one with less favorable terms.
The FTC Act prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.” This includes bait and switch advertising. The FTC has published a guide for businesses on how to avoid bait and switch advertising, which can be found here.
Applying the Law to Your Situation
In your situation, if the advertiser is claiming that individuals aged 64 and older qualify for hardship spending allowances, but then denies this benefit to those who do not have Medicare, this could potentially be seen as a bait and switch tactic. However, the specifics of the situation would need to be examined in more detail.
It’s important to note that this is a general explanation and may not apply to your specific situation. For personalized advice, you should consult with a legal professional.
Steps You Can Take
If you believe you have been a victim of bait and switch advertising, you can:
- File a complaint with the FTC. You can do this online at the FTC Complaint Assistant.
- Contact your state’s attorney general. Many states have their own laws against deceptive advertising and the state attorney general’s office may be able to assist.
- Consult with a lawyer. If you believe you have grounds for a lawsuit, a lawyer can provide advice tailored to your specific situation.
Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult with a legal professional if you believe you have been a victim of deceptive advertising. They can provide advice based on your specific circumstances and help you understand your rights and options.