Hey, don't say we didn't warn you. If you're an online shopper and happen to have recently dealt with one of these shady online retailers, you might be able to receive some restitution if they tried to pull a bait-and-switch on you. The New York State Attorney General's office says that seven companies will have to pay $765,000 settlement following a recent consumer fraud investigation. Further details, after the jump.
In the bait-and-switch routine employed by these merchants, the bait is prices that are significantly lower than those of other merchants. The switch occurs after the customer places the order, according to the AG's news release:
"Once an order was placed, the companies would call consumers and try to sell them additional or "upgraded" merchandise at inflated prices. If the consumer refused to purchase the additional merchandise, the companies would cancel the sale or claim the item was backordered for months. If the consumer did agree to purchase the additional merchandise, the companies would send them lower-quality merchandise than what was promised, or merchandise that the consumer never ordered in the first place. When customers tried to return the items, they would either be denied or be slammed with undisclosed fees. All of the companies further limited customers' ability to return merchandise by requiring them to speak to a live customer representative during limited business hours, and then refusing to answer those telephone calls."
Sounds shady enough for us to give them two finger wags. Online shopping shouldn't be made into a treacherous front for consumers. This is why we're glad there are sites like Reseller Ratings around. If you're buying something off a new site you haven't heard of before, always check their ratings before purchasing. It might just save you a headache and a few large bills.