Money Grouse: Retailers failing to meet credit-scoring guidelines

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There is nothing more frustrating than applying for credit only to find your application is turned down without explanation.

Stanley Berry of Cwmbran, Gwent recently visited his local House of Fraser store to buy some furniture. He was not intending to take credit, but as he was filling out the order form, he was approached by a sales lady who told him that if he applied for a Fraser Credit Card he would receive a 10 per cent discount.

'I informed them that I did not buy many goods and had never used credit before, but was told that did not matter. I considered the pounds 21 worth saving, so agreed to make an application. I completed the form saying I had lived in my rented house for 23 years, had no credit cards, had a building society account, but no bank account and was not on the telephone. I was rather surprised to be told 10 minutes later that their credit rating company had rejected my application. Could it be that my age, 78, was against me?'

House of Fraser said that his application was not due to any one factor, such as his age, but a combination of factors.

An Office of Fair Trading Report of May 1992 said that lenders who refuse credit to customers because they have failed a credit-scoring test should tell them why they have been turned down. It said that if the credit industry did not change, legislation could be put in place.

In answer to this report the Retail Credit Group is putting out new guidelines next month. It says people ought to be able to appeal against a decision and should be told how to go about it, although it will not say that they have an automatic right to do so.

House of Fraser will be implementing the new guidelines in the next couple of weeks.

Write to Money Grouse, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB. Please do not send SAEs or original documents as we cannot guarantee to deal with every letter personally.

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