Free Advertising or just Bait and Switch?

June 20, 2014

question marksYou’re at work and the phone rings. You answer. The person on the line is telling you how to grow your business through advertising with them. This sounds great, but your marketing budget is maxed out. You tell the person that you’re not interested, but then they tell you that their offer is free. Hmm… this has some possibilities. You agree to this, and all that is requested is your name and phone number.  Simple enough.

A couple of weeks later, you receive a call from this company telling you that you owe $200. You tell them that there’s been a mistake and that you did not agree to this. The representative checks her files and does not see where there was an agreement, although an advertisement was placed. She insists that you pay the balance, in order to close out the account. You refuse! Why would you pay for this?

Does this business practice actually exist? Yes, it does! It’s what the BBB commonly refers to as a bait and switch tactic. Should you ever encounter this, make sure and report it to us. Businesses often get scammed by this because company representatives answering the phones simply aren’t aware that this unethical business practice exists.

When someone says something is “free,” that’s what it’s supposed to mean. This isn’t always the case, which is why it’s always good to do research on a company. For businesses that solicit your business by phone, especially, ask them some questions:  What’s their business name, address, and phone number? Then, pull up their company profile on, and see if you still want to do business with them. You might be surprised with what you find. You might also save yourself a lot of money and heartache by doing this quick check.