The other week I fell for a good old ‘bait and switch’ sales tactic from a high pressure door to door sales person.

It all happened quickly.  My door bell rang and when I opened it my first thought was to tell the guy to go on his way, but the quick talking sales guy said that he would get me an amazing deal on TV, home phone and Internet. All I had to do was sign up today, there was no time to think about it. At first I was hesitant, but this guy was persistent. We spoke for over 20 minutes and against my better judgement (I don’t normally deal with door to door sales people) I agreed to switch my TV provider.

The following Monday a tech person came over to my place to wire my home for the new system. It took over 4 hours and when he was done I excitedly turned on the TV and started to surf… but almost every channel was unavailable and the screen said I had to upgrade my package.

Frustrated, I quickly called my new cable provider and told them of my dilemma, assuming it was all a big misunderstanding. I mean, the upstanding gentleman who knocked on my door said the ‘deal’ I was getting included the “Best” TV service, and that I would have all the channels I currently had plus more.

To my surprise, the person on the phone was not at all sympathetic, and stated that I was receiving the package I paid for. I responded that I was promised the “Best TV service”, and that they had a TV package called the ‘Best’ and that’s what was on the flyer for the promotion I was given. Her response was that I must have misunderstood, the flyer was merely stating they had the “Best TV” and that it wasn’t the same as the “Best” TV package.

Just to make sure I checked the flyer again…

Here is the flyer I received

Here is the flyer I received promising the ‘Best’ TV Service.

Then I checked their website…

I thought I was getting the "Best" TV Package

I thought I was getting the “Best” TV Package


I don’t know about you, but I thought my complaint was reasonable… But apparently (this coming from a company that has billions of dollars in sales every quarter) it should be obvious to me that I wasn’t getting the ‘Best’ TV package… but that they could understand how someone like me could be confused…

To make a long story short, I asked how much was the ‘Best’ TV package and it was another $50 a month, which meant this deal was really no deal at all. Thanks to a 10 Day Cooing Off Period under the Consumer Protection Act, I ended up cancelling the service and chalked up the 8 hours of my life lost was my lesson to learn. What the company called a mistake on my part as more like bait and switch.

Bait and Switch

My definition of bait and switch is when the person who is buying something thinks they are getting a promised service, when in reality they are getting something different. In my case it was cable service, but in many cases it could be much more serious. In real estate, it could be a level of service provided, or a certain promise made. In any case, it’s important to know that there is no cooling off period when it comes to residential real estate, so once you are signed you are committed, regardless of what was said.

So what’s the lesson from all of this? Always make sure to read the fine print and take the time to understand what you are agreeing too, it’ll save you a lot of heart ache in the future.

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