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When Discrimination Is Suspected
In some cases, you may be turned down for a business loan or credit card. Some acceptable reasons include: "Your income was low," or "You haven't been in business long enough." Unacceptable reasons are: "You didn't meet our minimum standards," or "You didn't receive enough points on our credit-scoring system." Indefinite and vague reasons are illegal, so ask the creditor to be specific.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against, you can seek assistance from the regulatory agency that supervises the institution. In the District of Columbia, contact the Department of Banking and Financial Institutions for information regarding filing consumer complaints. If you have been denied credit because of unlawful discrimination and can prove it, courts may award actual damages and in some circumstances may impose punitive damages against the lender.

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