I’ll keep this as generic as possible in terms of which store and which products were involved, but here’s the situation:
Location, product(s) and retailer:
I’m in Canada, the seller is a chain store that is well known in their industry, they have a large presence online and with multiple retail locations both in Canada and in other countries. The purchases were made on their Canadian website. The product in question is a consumer product (a type of tool) of which there are many versions; the key difference between the different versions is the materials used. The different versions are easily distinguishable in pictures because they are differently coloured. For this situation we’ll consider two versions of the product: version A is an upgraded version of the “standard” version B, version A usually costs around double what version B does.
I’m part of a facebook group that pertains to one of my hobbies. Someone on one of those groups shared a link to the online store of the retailer, who was selling version A of the product around 40% less than normal retail price (it’s common to share such links on this group when you find good deals). The advertised image on the website was that of version A and the description (basically a specs sheet) clearly stated the materials used were those of version A. It was a good deal, not too good to be true (stuff goes on sale all the time) but some group members contacted the store’s customer support to make sure. Customer support confirmed that it was indeed version A. So far, so good, everyone’s happy, a few of us bought the item thinking that it was version A. (you probably figured out where this is going)
A few days later packages start arriving in the mail and everyone received version B. We had a good deal on version A at 40% off, but even at that price it’s slightly more than what version B would cost… so one was happy. We contacted customer support who apologized, they said they did not carry version A (in fact, they never carried it in Canada) and that it was simply a mistake on the website. The website has now been updated to show the image and description of version B. Because they do not sell version A, they say that there’s nothing they can do to provide us with the products that were advertised. They offered everyone who contacted them to return the item for a refund.
Some people who bought the items took screenshots of the webpage which was clearly advertising version A, and of the email sent to them by customer support confirming that it was indeed version A.
What can I do in this situation? Does it qualify as bait-and-switch selling? How would I leverage that against them?
Ideally, I’d like to somehow force them to honour the listing and provide us with version A, however many of us already took the hassle-free route of simply returning for refund and since the items are worth about $140, there’s not enough financial motivation to call up a lawyer to sue them.