As I was researching a story on aggressive credit card marketing tactics for a story I was writing at work, I came across mention of a James Scurlock film called Maxed Out. The independent documentary was filmed in 2007 as a result of a lawsuit the Ohio state attorney general brought against Citibank and a sandwich shop which got students on college campuses to sign up for credit cards by enticing them with free food. The suit was dropped against the sandwich chain in exchange for their cooperation in making the film.
I'll be watching the Netflix movie tonight.
Credit card marketing on college campuses was never something that was done when I attended school, but it apparently became a nearly universal practice not long after I graduated. Nearly every major university developed "affinity" relationships with credit issuers, a partnership in which the credit card companies paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to budget-strapped schools in exchange for exclusive rights to market to college students.
The schools provided credit issuers with students' contact information, disregarding students' privacy rights. I wonder what most parents would think of this. It's not something that comes up when you're getting the campus tour.
Maxed Out on Credit Cards
June 8th, 2008 at 07:30 am