Consumer Abuse Film Previews Tomorrow

Maxed Out, an illuminating new documentary film about how the credit industry takes advantage of vulnerable consumers, arrives in theaters tomorrow. I had a chance to preview this film by director James Scurlock in November and was blown away. I highly recommend it to anyone who uses credit or credit cards at all.

In 1979, when I graduated from law school–with a great job–it took three tries before I could get a VISA card. The film demonstrates just how much has changed since then. Now creditors are luring college students into applying for credit cards as soon as they leave home. Many of these students find themselves deep into debt in just a few years. The film tragically documents two college students’ suicides, as told by the students’ grieving mothers, after they found themselves desperately in over their heads.

The film also explains why big banks don’t discourage people from using credit that they can’t afford–marginal borrowers are often the core of their profits.

Even worse, since many of our elected representatives have close ties to the banking industry, they actually encourage financial institution’s predatory behavior.

Unless you keep all your money under a mattress and never use credit, I encourage you to see this film. You’ll never look at credit the same way again.

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