Buying From Strangers Over the Internet
Imagine Bait-'n'-switch Everywhere
Supposing Wackadoodle Light Bulbs got into the small appliance business.
I order a KitchenAid® — Professional 600 Stand Mixer from Wackadoodle for $449.95 and they send me a KitchieAngie-Wah-Dee-Poo mixer made in China for $449.95.
And let’s say I don’t notice the brand and keep it. Wackadoodle has made a usurious amount of money on a dishonest transaction.
If I complain, Wackadoodle can point to the disclaimer on the website:
“Wackadoodle will substitute items that are of equivalent function, quality and similarity of use. Wackadoodle has the right to send you (the buyer) the brand that Wackadoodle has chosen to be the appropriate substitute for the item you (the buyer) have purchased.”
I spent 3 days brooding about doing business with Atlanta Bulbs whose business philosophy is avowed bait-‘n’-switch.
I did not want to get the wrong bulbs and go through the hassle of returning them.
The order arrived 3 days later, and Atlanta sent what was ordered.
I won’t do business with known bait-‘n’-switchers.
Takeaways to Consider
- Question for the FTC: Is it legit to bait-‘n’-switch if a disclaimer deep in the website says, “We reserve the right to bait-‘n’-switch?”
- However, as much I despise dealing with strangers on the Internet, the time saved beats hell out of driving all over the county looking for esoteric light bulbs.
- It’s probably better to buy online from people you know and have had good experiences with.
- If you are a newbie, you might want to post positive reviews and testimonials to enhance your cred.
- An ironclad, personally signed guarantee of absolute satisfaction is stronger than an admission you are in the bait-‘n’-switch business.
- The perfect, unbeatable Guarantee: “I do not consider a sale complete until the goods are worn out and customer still satisfied.” —L.L. Bean, 1916
- Visiting an actual store and picking up the actual merchandise is still a pretty good idea.
- WWW should stand for for Wild West Web.
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