The Ol’ Bait & Switch

You guys know I like to keep all of you posted on any new and cool information about what’s happening in our industry. But sometimes, I get to tell you about the complaints that I hear from other recyclers! Today I want to talk about a “bait and switch” issue that came up fast. Until a month or two ago, I’d never heard a complaint about it – but recently, I’ve heard a lot of people complaining about the same issue (3 yards contacted me about it just yesterday!). 

Basically, what is going on is Yard #1 is putting a price on (for example, $2500 for an engine). The customer (Yard #2) calls Yard #1 and tries to purchase the engine for $2500, but Yard #1 tells them something like:

  1. “Sorry, our prices are automated, and they are messed up – the real price is $2950.”
  2. “Sorry, we have some issues with our pricing, and our price is actually $3000.”
  3. “Oh no, that is not our price. Car-Part updates too soon, and our prices change in the middle of the night. That is the old price. Your price today is $2900.”

Some yards are honoring the prices showing on Car-Part (usually after a complaint), and some are holding firm that “the Car-Part price is wrong, and this is your price!” 

I’m no lawyer, but I believe most places have rules around truth in advertising. Like, I don’t think you can “bait and switch” or publish an advertisement unless it’s a “bona fide” offer to sell the advertised product at the advertised price.

When you “publish” on, we consider that an offer to sell the part at that price. As a matter of fact, Roger Schroder, VP of Sales addressed this issue and said, “The price the customer sees on Car-Part that day is the price you are expected to sell it to them for, picked up at your door. This does not include shipping.” 

I really think that these yards have a valid complaint when they come to me with this issue. I think that as an industry that is sometimes still looked at as “junkyards,” this gives the consumer even more ammunition to think that about us. I can hear it now: “I called XYZ Junk Yard, and they said the price was $500 more than it was online! I am never calling them again!” or “I was on and called the Junk Yard, and they told me the prices on Car-Part are WRONG! I am never using that site again!” 

I am not sure how we are going to fix this issue. But some of us need to look at our policies and procedures, and put yourself in the customers’ shoes. Have a talk with your salespeople about the best way to handle these quotes, and maybe look at your pricing structure and see if you can get it back on track – so that this is not your yard we are talking about!

As always, if anyone has any questions, comments, or ideas, please feel free to call/text or email me at 859-802-2382

Theresa Colbert is a public speaker who goes to state association meetings, at no charge, to give classes on cores, brokering and much more. She offers on-site support to salvage yards in many areas and has been an on-the-ground representative for for five years. Prior, she worked at Nu-Parts Automotive Products for 10 years, was a manager at Winter Auto Japanese Engines in Glendale, Arizona, and at AAA Economy Auto Parts in Phoenix, Arizona. With 23 years of industry experience, Theresa has seen the auto recycling world from almost every point of view.