I Hate Them But Still Use Them: Credit Cards.

Here is a case that my friend Patrick Byers would have probably loved to cover in The Responsible Marketing Blog. It's so irresponsible.

The Case
Keep in mind this is just one of thousands of cases of credit card companies exploiting students on university and college campuses. More importantly this is a case of a credit card company hiding behind a marketing firm to do the dirty work.

Lawyers from The Ohio State University Moritz College filed a suite in September 2007 against Campus Dimensions Inc. for:

  • Failing to clearly state the conditions of an offer.
  • Using bait advertising.
  • Using "free" without clearly setting forth all terms and obligations of the offer.
  • Notifying prospective consumers about a prize or something of value without disclosing any and all conditions necessary to get it.
The reason for such a complaint is that the marketing agency representing a credit card company posted fliers saying "Free Sandwich and Drink" with no further indication that students would have to register for a credit card in order to get what was promised.

This story came to light because 3rd years students and a law professor investigated the company's actions on campus for a full year. Thank you!

My Case
I obtained one of my credit cards the same way: at a campus event where they were giving away a free "Queen's Unviersity" tee-shirt to everyone registering for a credit card which had a beautiful picture of my university on it. Who wouldn't want one?!
In this case, I was a first year student, and they blatantly exploited my feeling of patriotism and belonging towards my university.

My Big Question
Even though I consider myself very aware of misleading marketing tactics, I fell for it. How the hell can a 20-something student sitting behind a plastic folding-table bait me to sign-up for a credit card?
When last year I spent a year in Belgium I couldn't get one since they needed a year's worth of spending history. And I could only get one in a bank. That makes more sense doesn't it?

Those lax financial laws in North America are killing a society... and it started last year with the financial credit crisis.


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