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Last Updated: Friday, 14 December 2007, 18:20 GMT
Have Your Say: age discrimination
An older couple sitting on a bench by a beach
As you get older, travel insurance can become harder to find

Dennis Andrews, a solvent 83 year-old former company director, was refused credit when he tried to buy a new car.

Why then, have the British
Banking Association refused a seemingly common-sense amendment to the banking code which would ban this reason for credit rejection?

We asked for your comments - a selection of which are below - the debate is now closed.


The national minimum wage is age discrimination that... is continually overlooked
Dave, Chester
I was under the impression that age discrimination was no longer permitted in employment. However, a high street store, for instance, is still permitted to pay two different rates to people doing the same job, with the same hours, in the same conditions, when they have the same experience, solely on the grounds of their age. Perhaps when discussing age discrimination we can look at both ends of the spectrum. The national minimum wage is age discrimination that affects tens of thousands of people every single day and is continually overlooked.
Dave, Chester

When paying for an expensive holiday, I asked my credit card company to give me clearance for a one-off payment above my credit limit. They asked for my level of income (low, as I am on a pension) and refused. They did not check, or act on, my very high credit rating built up over the many years. Nor did they apparently take into account that my card is settled each month by direct debit and this arrangement has never faltered. They did not ask about capital or other sources of funding. I am only 62 and very healthy (competitive orienteer).
Sue Bicknell, Leicester

so, 18 year olds could be trusted to save sensibly but not 80 year olds?
Cliff Crellin, Sheffield
A building society recently invited us to invest in their guaranteed property bond. However the brochure stated that 80 year-olds and over must be interviewed by one of their financial advisers in the company of a close relative. The application form reinforced this requirement stating that this was mandatory. So, 18 year olds could be trusted to save sensibly but not 80 year olds?
Cliff Crellin, Sheffield

I am 63, so when I was told a year or two ago by an insurer that they would not be able to insure me after 65, I voted with my feet and moved all my insurance to other companies. Perhaps if enough of us started to do this now then insurance companies would think twice about age discrimination.
M Allcock, Dover

Equity release always involves compound interest. Why should older people be forced to pay over the odds?
Jill Spero, Chigwell

"silver saver" accounts and the like - not illegal, but clearly discriminatory
M Brice, Reading
Look at the posters in the windows of many banks and building societies. Products that are only available to customers of a certain age are being blatantly advertised in the form of "silver saver" accounts and the like - not illegal, but clearly discriminatory.
M Brice, Reading

I have a feeling the discrimination against older people on mortgages is in order to force us to look at schemes like equity release which are more profitable for the providers and a poor deal for the customer. I would like to replace my very small present mortgage with an equally small offset mortgage which would be a very cost effective and flexible way to release some of the equity in my property while keeping some money in the bank to use as I wish. My bank will not do this because I am over 60. Is there any possible reason for this other than age discrimination? The banking industry spokesman sounded very evasive.
Anne Trevett, Salisbury

The solution for the financial industry is blindingly simple: all they have to do if they are anxious that old people may not survive long enough to repay loans, is insist that people over a certain age provide a guarantor (e.g. a financially solvent son or daughter), exactly as they currently do when young people need finance - where it is widely accepted that parents act as guarantors. This solution also has the elegant benefit of a certain chronological symmetry.
Graham Brown, Stottesdon, Shropshire

Is it not time the insurers stopped insuring the easy option and became more analytical with regard to age?
Joy Stanton, Harrogate
Travel insurance is another area where there is definite age discrimination. I am trying to organise insurance for my 78 year-old mother and 82 year-old father. Yes they do have health problems but they are stable. Also of note is that some insurers have an age cut off: 70, 75 and 80 - although they promote themselves as insuring over 70s. This is particularly interesting to me because I intend to travel as much as possible when I retire and had not foreseen a 70 year-old cut off. In fact on my travels I have seen many elderly - not in especially good health - who manage around India and Sri Lanka. Did they all go without insurance? I work as a consultant anaesthetist in a District General Hospital - regularly looking after the elderly. An extremely fit 80 year-old can fly through the anaesthetic and operation, but a 60 year-old can often be a much greater risk. If I refused (quite unreasonably in my view) to anaesthetise the 80 year-old on grounds of age, it would hit the national newspapers. Is it not time the insurers stopped insuring the easy option and became more analytical with regard to age?
Joy Stanton, Harrogate

I was 70 on my last birthday, and have been told by my IFA that from the age of 75, I must have another person with me when discussing my financial affairs. I can understand the logic behind this, but we are not all the same, and should I still be capable of managing my own affairs. I will not want anyone else present. Apparently, at the moment, I cannot even sign a disclaimer to absolve my IFA if necessary. How about that for age discrimination?
B Craft, Deal

Look at the posters in the windows of many banks and building societies. Products that are only available to customers of a certain age are being blatently advertised in the form of 'silver saver' accounts and the like. Not illegal, but clearly discriminatory.
M Brice, Reading

I'm 63, so when I was told a year or two ago by Direct Line that they would not be able to insure me after 65, I voted with my feet and moved all my insurances to other companies. If enough of us started to do this now then perhaps insurance companies would think twice about age discrimination.
M Allcock, Dover

When paying for an expensive holiday, I asked my credit card company to give me clearance for a one-off payment above my credit limit. They asked for my level of income (low as I am on a pension) and refused. They did not check, or act on, my very high credit rating built up over the many years nor did they apparently take into account that my card is settled each month by direct debit and this arrangement has never faultered. They did not ask about capital or other sources of funding. I am only 62 and very healthy (competitive orienteer).
Sue Bicknell, Leicester


The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.



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SEE ALSO
External internet links
07 Dec 07 |  Moneybox
Service hurdles for older people
18 Apr 07 |  Business
Anti-ageism law hits course fees
25 Sep 07 |  North East Wales
Quick guide: Age discrimination
25 Sep 06 |  Business

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