New car dealers ‘still using bait and switch tactics’

Undercover investigators from Which? consumer magazine have found that new car dealers are still using dubious ‘bait and switch’ tactics.

Bait and switch is defined by Which? as the practice of advertising a car, despite not having it in stock, with the objective of selling an alternative.

One Which? mystery shopper was informed by a Peugeot dealer on the phone that a model advertised on the dealer’s website was in stock. Just 90 minutes later, in the showroom, the same dealer told the same person that the model wasn’t available and was shown a different car.

In another showroom a Which? man enquired after a Vauxhall Astra that was labelled as ‘in stock’ on the website. He was asked by a salesman to take a seat while the stock levels were checked.

The salesman merely walked into a small office and came straight back out saying that the Astra was now unavailable before "going into full sales mode" and trying to sell the reporter another car.

Richard Headland, editor, Which? Car, is concerned that dealers aren’t adhering to new consumer protection regulations.

He said: "The ghost of Arthur Daley’s alive and kicking, unfortunately."

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