The state of Ohio has settled with two companies it accused of using deceptive advertising in an attempt to persuade OSU students to apply for credit cards.
Lawyers from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law filed the lawsuit in September, 2007 against Campus Dimensions Inc., a marketing and advertising firm; and OSU La Bamba Inc., a restaurant chain. The suit, filed in Franklin County, charged the companies with violating Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act.
Faculty and third-year law students in the Civil Law Practicum at Moritz had been monitoring credit card solicitation practices in the Columbus university area for more than a year.
According to the suit against La Bamba and Campus Dimensions, a credit card marketing event was held at the La Bamba restaurant, 1956 North High Street, in Columbus. Fliers for the event were posted around the OSU campus advertising a "Free Sandwich and Drink" for OSU students.
The original complaint stated violations occurred because the promotional fliers for the event advertised free burritos but did not disclose the offer's requirement that students apply for a credit card.
The settlement states that in the future, the companies will not participate in any credit card marketing plan which includes the violations alleged in the original suit. Those violations include:
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 court also ordered La Bamba and Campus Dimensions to disgorge their profits from the marketing event, and to pay the Attorney General's Office money to be distributed to a nonprofit organization to promote the financial literacy of college students to improve their understanding and use of credit cards.