Deutsch: Lockvogelangebot / Español: Técnica del bajo precio / Português: Técnica do preço baixo / Français: Technique du prix bas / Italiano: Tecnica del prezzo basso

Low Balling is a psychological tactic often discussed in the context of social psychology, particularly within the realms of persuasion and compliance techniques. It involves initially offering a product or service at a significantly lower price than its actual cost to attract customers. Once the customer commits to the purchase, the price is then increased. Despite the price hike, individuals often stick with their decision to make the purchase due to a combination of commitment and the psychological cost of changing a decision.


The effectiveness of the low balling technique lies in its exploitation of the human tendency to maintain consistency in their commitments. After agreeing to a purchase at a low price, individuals feel a psychological commitment to follow through with their decision, even when the terms (such as the price) change unfavorably. This phenomenon is also related to the principle of consistency and commitment, which suggests that once people commit to a course of action, they are likely to follow through with it to avoid cognitive dissonance—the discomfort experienced when holding two or more conflicting cognitions.

Application Areas

Low balling can be observed in various scenarios, including but not limited to:

  • Sales and Marketing: Businesses may use low balling to lure customers into making a purchase or signing up for a service.
  • Negotiations: Individuals might offer a more favorable deal than they are willing to agree to, only to change the conditions once the other party is committed.
  • Research Studies: Psychologists and researchers study low balling to understand how people make decisions and how they can be influenced or manipulated.

Well-Known Examples

A common example of low balling is seen in car sales, where a customer agrees to buy a vehicle at a low price, only for additional costs such as taxes, fees, and optional add-ons to be introduced after the commitment has been made, significantly raising the final price.

Treatment and Risks

The main risk associated with low balling from a psychological perspective is its potential to exploit trust and lead to buyer's remorse, where the individual regrets their decision upon realizing they have been manipulated. Educating consumers about these tactics can help mitigate their impact, encouraging more informed decision-making and promoting ethical sales practices.

Similar Terms or Synonyms

  • Bait and switch (though distinct, it shares similarities in manipulating initial offers)


Low balling is a psychological strategy used to secure commitment to a purchase or agreement by initially offering a lower price, only to increase it once the commitment has been made. This technique leverages the principle of consistency and the desire to avoid cognitive dissonance, making it a powerful tool in persuasion and compliance strategies. Understanding and recognizing low balling can help individuals make more informed decisions and protect themselves from manipulation.


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