Ohio Attorney General Sues Credit Card Marketers Over Ohio State "Free Burrito" Event

Ohio Attorney General, Mark Dunn, is suing Citibank-affiliated credit card marketers for violating Ohio’s consumer protection laws during a “Free Burrito” event at Ohio State University.

Fliers pasted around Ohio State’s campus offered students a “free burrito” for showing their Ohio State ID at the restaurant. The fliers made no mention that filling out a credit card application was required. Ohio is arguing that this violates the definition of “free” in Ohio’s consumer protection laws because the terms of the offer were not disclosed on the fliers.

Similar fliers were posted luring students to Potbelly Sandwich Works. Delicious, but deceptive.

State Of Ohio vs. Campus Dimensions, INC. (PDF) [State of Ohio]
Editorial: Citibank’s credit card come-on proves there’s no such thing as a free lunch [The Plain Dealer]


Edit Your Comment

  1. blue_duck says:

    I want a free burrito…

  2. iMike says:

    I thought that location closed. Part of cleaning up High Street.

  3. SaveMeJeebus says:

    But it’s free. Free burrito. And a Potbelly sammich. Mmmm… sammiches. Only costs you 5 FICO points…

  4. oospookyoo says:

    I have lived in Columbus, OH for about 4 years now, nearly all of which I have lived on campus or close to it.

    What bothers me is that this is, by far, not the first time this has happened. They used to do this all the time outside of Quizno’s on High St. Cell phone companies do this a lot on high street as well, “sign up for our service, we’ll give you a free phone and a free sandwich” etc.


  5. morganlh85 says:

    They did the SAME THING here at Wayne State University in Detroit, except it was a free Domino’s pizza with a valid driver’s license. I knew right away it was a credit card thing since they asked for your ID. It’s not right.

  6. yetiwisdom says:

    I love to fill out CC applications with fake information. Heywood Jablome of Uranus, PA has a killa credit rating!

  7. jesseraub says:

    Oh, and La Bamba is fantastic. They do the same thing here at La Bamba at Indiana University. They also pull the same scam at Papa John’s.

    If I weren’t too lazy, I’d fill out the forms with fake info and eat free for a week.

  8. nglatt says:

    This isn’t unique…happens often at Universities. Northern Michigan University had one recently for a free Pizza Hut pizza.

  9. Chris H says:

    The Federal Trade Commission has a guidance on when advertisers should and shouldn’t use the word “free:”


  10. SaveMeJeebus says:

    @yetiwisdom: Yep. “Rusty Shackleford” always eats for free and has quite the portfolio of credit cards.

  11. Odwalla says:

    @jesseraub: Aw crap, now I have to agree with someone who goes to IU…yes, La Bamba is outstanding. They opened one at Purdue when I attended in the mid-90’s. Nothing beats a La Bamba burrito.

  12. Rupan says:

    @morganlh85: I go to Wayne State too and I remember seeing that sign. I never checked it out but I knew there had to be some sort of catch.

    What a sleazy way of getting college students to sign up for credit cards. Sorry but I don’t need a pizza that bad.

  13. ElizabethD says:

    Apropos of nothing except my anal-retentiveness: The editorial style mavens at OSU would have you place a “the” in front the full name, thus: The Ohio State University. Kind of like the “The O.C.” (television series).

    Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with OSU or even proximate geographicaly.

  14. Buran says:

    @morganlh85: Fortunately, my drivers license doesn’t have my SSN on it, so they wouldn’t get very far with that truck.

  15. Buran says:

    @ElizabethD: It’s part of the university’s official name, arising from confusion between that particular university and others (I talked to someone who lived in the area about that once, since it WAS weird). Similarly, “Washington University in St. Louis” is also the full official name of a local university here, arising from constant “Oh, so that’s where, Seattle?” confusion. (yeah, I wish, Seattle has a climate that agrees with me more than this one, and better scenery too).

  16. IndyJaws says:

    Mmmmmm….La Bamba’s! Like White Castle, not sure if I’ve ever eaten one sober.

  17. TMurphy says:

    A local fast food place here had a similar deal, and the college president had emails sent out with a heads up that one of these CC signups is the catch. I’m surprised this scheme is repeated so many times, especially when it is targeted at the most internet-dependent demographic.

  18. ry81984 says:

    La Bamba at Purdue went out of business.

  19. ChChChacos says:

    I have seen similar events like this in Indiana while I’m at Purdue University. I wonder if I can file for some kind of argument. Recently two incidents I have actually encountered but denied filling out the forms, one at a chinese restaurant for a free buffet and the other time at a Papa John’s Pizza

  20. pine22 says:

    i go to ohio state, and i remember this last year. i think someone told me you had to fill out some kind of survey so i didnt go, but i didnt know it was a credit card lol. what kind of idiot gets a credit card for a burrito lol. i want like 100 free burritos!

  21. acambras says:



    Or Miami University of Ohio.

  22. Trick says:

    My dog once got a credit card. Actually, I filled it out. I never got any mail so one day all in a huff, my mom gave me some of the junk mail. One of the letters was a pre-approved credit card!

    It wasn’t long before a credit card arrived in the mail, Santos L. Helper was on the credit card. Funny, because my dog was named Santa’s Little Helper.

    I spent plenty! Smoked Salmon, cookware that had a radio in it. I even bought my sister some pills to stay awake when she studied.

    All went well until I found out that I had to pay for these items. The credit card company even sent repo-men to take everything back!

    Even my sister, who had been edgy and suspicious ever since I gave her the pep pills pointed out how I couldn’t afford any of the stuff I bought!

    Ay Caruba!

  23. cinemabee says:

    La Bamba sucks. I was once in there and the cooks were making fun of my boyfriend and me in Spanish. They erroneously assumed there was no way I could understand them. I never ate there again, which was fine because their burritos, while huge, are made with the cheapest, crappiest meat possible.

  24. GreatCaesarsGhost says:

    The AG’s name is Marc Dann, not Mark Dunn.

  25. mcjake says:

    This is done all the time at the University of Nevada, Reno…It’s usually done with Subway sandwiches though. I didn’t realize this was illegal!

  26. MostNutsEver says:

    @Trick: Very good, except the credit card should have read “Santos L. Halper

    /Yes I’m anal

  27. we had somethin like this at Eckerd College (St Petersburg, FL)
    we were promised free coupons if we showed up to a certain location on campus at certain times throughout the week
    i showed up, and was presented with a credit card application. i filled it out with garbage information, turned it back in, and was handed my coupon for a free large pizza

  28. RedwoodFlyer says:

    Wow…this literally proves the whole TINSTAAFL thing!