What is Credit Discrimination?
The law prohibits lending institutions from discriminating against an applicant in the granting, withholding, extending, or renewing of credit, or in the fixing of rates, terms, of conditions of any form or credit based on the person’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex or disability.
So what does this mean in practical terms? This means that you cannot be turned down for a personal, automotive, or home loan, credit card, or any other credit-based transaction (such as qualifying for a waived deposit or lower interest rates based on credit history) simply based on your being a member of one of these protected classes. All applicants must be treated equally if they are otherwise equally qualified.
Credit discrimination is difficult to detect, as creditors usually give no explanation as to why a particular applicant was refused. However, creditors who illegally discriminate in this manner often reveal a pattern of discrimination. Our investigators work to determine if applicants who are otherwise equal save for one of these protected characteristics are treated differently when it comes to approvals. If we find that an illegal discriminatory act has likely occurred, we take action to remedy the situation and ensure that discriminatory processes are stopped, and victims fairly compensated.
How to protect yourself from Credit Discrimination:
The best way to protect yourself against credit discrimination is to be aware of your own credit history, and research the company that you're applying for credit with. Try to find out what thresholds the company uses for approval and denial of credit benefits, if possible, and read reviews of the company to find out what individuals tend to get approved / denied. Does the company have a history of denying credit-based benefits to certain individuals, even though they know they have a comparable credit history to someone who was approved? The company may be engaging in illegal discrimination.
What to do if you think you've been the victim of Credit Discrimination:
Call, write or visit the Commission within 180 days of the date in which the alleged act of discrimination occurred and describe the situation you feel was discriminatory. An experienced Intake Specialist will listen, advise and assist you accordingly.
The on-line form is for submitting an inquiry to the ICRC. Complaints must be filed either by personal delivery, mail or fax. If you encounter problems working with the on-line form you might be better served to call The Commission at 1-800-628-2909.