A debit card promoted by the Kardashians and carrying their name and photographs has been canceled after a furious backlash that included the attorney general of Connecticut slamming the card’s “outrageous” fees and scolding the reality TV family for endorsing it.
Kim Kardashian is one of the most successful celebrities in terms of endorsing products but the latest Kardashian endeavor has ended in a controversial mess.
The “Kardashian Kard” card was a pre-paid debit card featuring a photo of the Kardashian sisters. But it also featured high fees that angered and outraged many.
On Monday a Minnesota lender stopped the card and said it was reviewing its agreement with the Kardashians’ company.
Richard Blumenthal, Attorney General for Connecticut, called the cards fees “outrageous” and said it unfairly targeted young adults who are financially inexperienced.
On Friday Blumenthal launched an impassioned attack on the Kardashians’ latest ventures, saying the reality TV sisters live “lives of luxury” and that the card was predatory, as it carried fees that could be as high as $100 a year plus other fees for ATM withdrawals, talking with a phone operator and cancelations.
Kim, Kourtney and Khloe found themselves in the unusual position of having a business venture blow up in spectacular fashion. So far the card has been obtained by 250 people, who will get refunds. The card launched November 9.
Blumenthal’s office released a letter Monday from a Kardashian lawyer showing that the Kardashians pulled out of the agreement allowing the bank to use their images.
Kardashian lawyer Dennis Roach wrote: "The Kardashians have worked extremely long and hard to create a positive public persona that appeals to everyone, particularly young adults.
"Unfortunately, the negative spotlight turned on the Kardashians as a result of the Attorney General's comments and actions threatens everything for which they have worked."
And while that may sound like sour grapes (um, yeah, it does) the Attorney General has a strong, impartial ally.
Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union in Washington, D.C. said: "Tying a card to someone who is famous or wealthy can get more consumers to say, 'I want to be more like the rich and famous. But prepaid debit cards do not have the same protections that traditional debit cards have, and often have hidden fees that eat away at their value."