One of the most common types of auto dealer fraud is bait and switch. When a dealership draws a customer in with an offer of a great deal on a specific car only to find out that car is unavailable, the situation may actually be a form of fraud, not just poor timing.
Consider the basic elements of a bait and switch to see if it applies to your situation.
An advertised deal drew you to the dealership
The first part of a bait and switch is the bait. A car dealer advertises a great sale price on a specific make and model at their dealership. In most cases, the deal is a significant saving over the sticker price, which makes it enticing for many customers.
The advertised deal is unavailable
When you arrive at the dealership to take advantage of the advertised deal and buy that car, the salesperson tells you that they no longer have the car advertised in the deal. Many times, they say that it just sold that morning, or as recently as a few minutes before.
The salesperson pressures you into a higher-priced vehicle
After telling you that the advertised deal is no longer available, the salesperson begins aggressively steering you toward another vehicle on the lot selling for a much higher price. You buy the vehicle because you feel pressured to do so.
In most of these cases, the advertised vehicle never existed on the lot in the first place. The advertisement drew you in so they could steer you to a higher-priced solution.