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I walked into a bar in Boston and ordered sliders. The sliders were advertised as half off during the specific hours I was there. I ordered the sliders and was then told by the waitress I had to also purchase a drink in order to get half off the sliders. However, nowhere on any of the restaurant signs, menu, advertisements, etc. did it mention I had to purchase a drink to get the half off price. I only found out once the waitress told me. I also asked if the drink requirement was written down anywhere (thinking I had just missed it) and was told “no, it is just common for bars to do this”. Is this legal? It seemed like bait and switch or libel to me.

  • related: bait and switch – A. K. Sep 4 '18 at 16:09
  • Were you told they weren't half off before you received them, or when you were given the check? – Acccumulation Sep 4 '18 at 23:05
  • @Acccumulation why do you ask? Does the answer to Gabby's question depend on the answer to your question? – phoog Sep 5 '18 at 16:15
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    @phoog Yes, it matters. There's a rather large difference between the two cases. In the first, the restaurant is altering the terms before the transaction, and in the second, it is altering them after. – Acccumulation Sep 5 '18 at 16:25
  • @Acccumulation but it is prohibited in both cases. – phoog Sep 5 '18 at 16:30
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This is not "libel," which is a form of defamation (publishing a false and defamatory statement that injures another).

"Bait and switch" is a type of violation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Law. That Law makes it illegal for a business to engage in any false or deceptive practices, or to perform any false or deceptive acts, in commerce. Read more about it on the Massachusetts' state government site. If the restaurant's conduct was deceptive and it caused you harm (for instance, you would not have gone into the restaurant and ordered at all if you had known you had to order a drink to get the favorable price on sliders,) there may be a violation.

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