News & Events
Moritz Collaborates with Ohio AG Office to Stop Deceptive Credit Card Solicitations
September 19, 2007
Contact: Barbara Peck, (614) 292-0283
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Clinical Law Practicum has collaborated with Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann to file two lawsuits against four companies for using deceptive advertising to persuade Ohio State students to apply for credit cards. This is the first time the Practicum has collaborated with the AG’s office on an action, and Practicum students will work directly on the case, handling depositions, discovery, and possible court room examinations.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our students to gain hands-on experience, and it is a win-win situation for both the AG’s office, Moritz, and, most importantly, OSU students,” said Gregory M. Travalio, Director of Clinical Programs at Moritz.
The lawsuits were filed against: Citibank N.A., a financial corporation; Potbelly Sandwich Works LLC., a sandwich restaurant chain; Campus Dimensions Inc., a marketing and advertising firm; and OSU La Bamba Inc., a Mexican restaurant chain. The suits charge the companies with violating Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act.
Faculty and third-year law students in the Civil Law Practicum at Moritz have been monitoring credit card solicitation practices in the Columbus university area for more than a year. The Practicum has filed civil lawsuits on behalf of individual Ohio State students for similar credit-card practices in the past. However, the practices continued in the campus area, and the Practicum took its research to the AG’s office because of the expanded remedies available to the state in these types of cases. Two clinical faculty –Travalio and Elizabeth Cooke – have been appointed special counsel to the state for these cases.
“As a community we need to watch out for our children, and I will not tolerate any company trying to pull a bait-and-switch on them in order to make an extra buck,” Attorney General Dann said.
According to the suit against Citibank and Potbelly, a creditcard marketing event was held at the Potbelly restaurant, 10 E. 11th Ave. in Columbus. Fliers for the event were posted around the OSU campus. They advertised a “Free Sandwich and Drink” for OSU students. In order to receive the free items, however, students had to apply for a Citibank credit card, which the fliers did not mention.
The suit against Campus Dimensions and La Bamba involves a similar promotion at the La Bamba restaurant, 1956 N. High St. in Columbus. Violations stated, promotional fliers for the event advertised free burritos but did not disclose the offer’s requirement that students apply for a credit card.
The alleged violations of the Consumer Sales Practices Act 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.