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What Is The Bait and Switch Car Dealership Scam; How To Be Alert

The TikToker claims that she was allegedly baited by her car dealership after she received a call for her pending service.
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @nilsaprowant
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @nilsaprowant
Representative Image | Pexels | Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery
Representative Image | Pexels | Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery

A video posted on TikTok by a user named Nilsa (@nilsaprowant) claims to have discovered a popular car dealership scam. The woman claims that she was allegedly baited by her car dealership after she received a call for her pending service. She was then baited by an offer for her car and a scheme for her to get a new car for a cheaper price. However, things changed when she got down to the dealership.

The bait and switch car dealer scam is one of the oldest frauds taking place in the used car market. In the scam, dealers give the bait which is often a new car at a cheap price or an irresistible offer for a customer’s car over the phone. Further, when a customer asks questions about the offer or the vehicle, the salesman asks them to come to the dealership to get more information, before disclosing anything.

However, the 'switch' takes place when the customer arrives at the dealership. The salesperson then tells the customer that the car they are looking for is already sold. The salesman then pursues the customer to buy a new vehicle at a much higher price. The practice of bait and switch is illegal in the United States.

In the TikTok video which now has over 250,000 views, Nilsa shares that she got a call from the dealership where she had an upcoming service appointment for her car. The caller claimed that a customer was interested in buying her car and further offered her a new car at a cheaper price.


Is this really a trick they do to get you to buy a new car?

♬ original sound - Nilsa


She says the car offered was a 2022 BMW X4 for $39,000, which was a great deal. Further, the car was a bigger model than her current vehicle. The TikTok creator says that the exciting deal intrigued her as she was already looking for an affordable car.

She agreed to come to the dealership and check out the new car. However, when she arrived at the dealership, the salesman told her that the specific was already sold that morning and proceeded to show her more expensive cars. Nilsa claims that she told the dealer that she was looking for a cheaper car and not a brand-new one. To this the dealer responded, “You know what, we just don’t have anything,” Nilsa says in the report.

Nilsa shared the video with the caption “Is this really a trick they do to get you to buy a new car?” speculating that the dealership was lying to lure her into buying a new car. Several users shared their own experiences and opinions on similar car dealership scams in the comments.

One user said, “I literally got a handwritten letter from our dealership today saying they had someone interested in ours if we could call them.”

Image Source: TikTok | @nilsaprowant
Image Source: TikTok | @nilsaprowant

While another said “Bait and switch!!!” to which Nilsa replied, “Exactly!!”.

Image Source: TikTok | @nilsaprowant
Image Source: TikTok | @nilsaprowant

Car dealers get highly imaginative when it comes to executing bait-and-switch scams. Therefore, it is always best to be skeptical of any offer that seems too good to be true or simply out of the blue. Further, any dealer advertising should be avoided altogether to be safe. Dealers often fool people with fine print and asterisks on their ads for automobiles. Users can verify the correct prices of cars on the internet. It is also recommended to not entertain random sales calls from car dealerships. They may try to confuse the customers by overloading them with information.

Customers should always do their homework before falling for such offers and visiting the dealership. If they are looking to buy a car, they should decide on the vehicle beforehand and research the competitive price of the vehicle.