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Is this common practice... or even legal? (Guangzhou)

After seeing the exorbitant rental rates advertised in the windows of city centre estate agencies, I went on Protected content , entered my requirements and found several apartments well within my budget.

I made appointments to see some this weekend, but during the course of being shown round I was informed that the advertised rental rate was deliberately and misleadingly low, so as to generate interest in the apartments. The actual rates desired were CNY2-3,000 higher.

Obviously, I was really disappointed by this, but I want to know if this is standard practice or just the agent trying to pull a fast one once they realised I wasn't native Chinese.

If this is an illegal practice, what recourse do I have to ensure I don't get ripped off by this type of agent?

Guangzhou Forum