Entries in Age (3)


Centurion Denied Credit Card Because of Her Age

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When Madeleine Otto was offered the chance to open a credit card at Stein Mart, a department store in Tequesta, Fla., and save $10 on her purchases, she jumped at the chance. She handed the cashier her driver's license, and waited for approval.  Except it didn't happen.  Otto's credit application was denied.

"The casher said, 'I'm sorry, we can't give you a credit card because you're too old,'" said Otto, who turns 100 on Oct. 18.

Otto was dumbfounded. She had never heard of anyone being refused credit because of their advanced age.  It didn't make sense to her, and she felt bad.

So did the cashier.  "She came around and hugged me and said she was sorry," Otto recalled.  

Otto went out to her car, and cried.

"I was embarrassed, I felt bad about it," she said.  "I'm 100 years old -- I drive, I do everything myself, I shop.  I'm not like an ordinarily 100 year old."

So, what gives?  Can you be refused credit because of your age?

Absolutely not, said Gerri Detweiler, director of consumer education at The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits creditors from discriminating against applicants based on age.

"An elderly consumer can be favored for age, but not discriminated against for that reason," she said, adding that 'elderly' is defined as 62 or older.

On the other hand, consumers can be turned down credit for being too young; the minimum age to obtain a credit card in the United States is 18.

And that's precisely what happened to Otto.

The issue wasn't that she was too old, it's that she was too young -- or so the computer thought.  The credit card check system required the last two digits of Otto's birth year, which was 1912.  The cashier input the year as "12" -- which the computer registered as 2012.  That would not only have made Otto under 18, but technically unborn -- and not eligible for credit.

"It was a date input error," said Stein Mart spokesperson Linda Tasseff.  

Otto was sent an apology from Stein Mart "explaining that the reason was because I was underage," said Otto.  "They also sent me a $50 gift certificate."

Otto said she doesn't mind, but Detweiler, of, laughed when she heard about the computer glitch.

"Some programmer's going to get the lender into a lot of hot water by not thinking that through," she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Older Unemployed Likely to Stay Out of Work Longer

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For those aged 55 or older, the job hunt has proven especially tough. According to AARP’s Public Policy Institute, older workers who lose their jobs are likely to be out of work longer than any other group. The latest numbers show the average time of unemployment for the 55-plus crowd is a whopping 60 weeks. That compares with 38.5 weeks for those under age 55.

The Institute says that 60 weeks of unemployment is the highest recorded, and possibly the highest ever for that age group.

The unemployment rate for those 55 and older in April was 6.3 percent, a good deal lower than the overall jobless rate, which fell to 8.1 percent. But that’s up from 3.2 percent at the beginning of the recession in December 2007. That’s a 97 percent increase, the largest of any age group. Traditionally older workers have had a lower unemployment rate, according to Sara Rix, a senior Strategic Policy Advisor with the AARP’s Public Policy Institute.

“Once those older workers are out of work, they’re not getting back in,” said Rix. “Older workers are more likely to drop out of the labor force.”

“Workers have all suffered since the beginning of the recession; they’ve dipped into their 401(k)’s, taken loans or borrowed. It’s not good for anybody,” said Rix.  "But younger workers have a longer period of time to recover. Older workers, if they’re lucky enough to find work, are not going to be able to recover as easily.”

The numbers don’t surprise Tom Sachse of Memphis, Tenn. He’s in that 55-plus group and has been looking for work since September. A former sales manager, Sachse believes “it’s about ten times harder for a good-performing older person to get a job than a young one.”

“We have to work to pay the bills,” said Sachse, “and it feels as though the world has dumped us.”

Sachse remains hopeful though. He’s still pounding the pavement and has had some nibbles.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Average Years Americans Keep Cars Reach Record High

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- The clunker in the driveway's reached a record-old age. The average age of a car or truck in the U.S. is now almost 11 years, according to an analysis released by automotive research firm Polk. Job security and other economic worries kept many people from making big-ticket purchases such as a new vehicle.  

Back in 1995, Americans kept cars for an average of 8.5 years, according to the analysis that looked at vehicle registration data.

Polk global aftermarket practice leader Mark Seng said the increase in vehicle age could bring positive outcomes for vehicle maintenance services and parts dealers.

"Dealer service departments and independent repair facilities, as well as aftermarket parts suppliers, will see increased business opportunity with customers in need of vehicle service," Seng said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio