Even when you are prepared to give someone the benefit of doubt there can come a point where you realize that you are not being treated equally and therefore want to do something about it.
This is the sort of scenario facing consumers who have moved past their 50th birthday and suddenly find themselves subject to ageism when it comes to getting a fair deal on services and products.
It is a sensitive subject but ageism is a real issue. Here is a look at some of the classic signs that you are being discriminated against because of your age. There are some examples of when it is ok to discriminate and when it isn’t. Plus details of what you can do if you think you are a victim of ageism.
When discrimination is allowed
A good starting point when discussing this subject would be to understand when discrimination on the basis of age is actually allowed.
You might think that any form of discrimination would not be acceptable but there are some understandable exemptions to the Equality Act, which is designed to protect consumers when it comes to products and financial services so that you are not treated unfairly because of your age.
Several key examples of when it is considered ok to discriminate would be such as age-related holiday packages for the over 50’s or special discounts for the over 65’s.
These age-related concessions are perfectly acceptable if they are perceived to be beneficial or relevant to what is being offered, but it is a different story if it is clear that you are disadvantaged simply as a result of your age.
The issue of invisibility
There is nothing wrong with being a more mature consumer and it can should and work in your favor in some circumstances.
For example, if you are looking for discount vehicle insurance, having built up a good no-claims bonus and enjoyed a good driving record for many years, this should be worth something and recognized when you get a renewal quote.
What sometimes happens in general terms though is older consumers can often complain of feeling invisible in certain circumstances.
There is an example of ageism that highlights how assumptions can be made and discrimination takes place even if it is not necessarily intentional.
It surrounds an older couple who were planning to get married and visited a wedding exhibition to find some suppliers for their big day, only to find they were assumed to be irrelevant because of their age with exhibitors paying more attention to younger couples who it was assumed were more willing buyers of their products or services.
It is unpleasant to feel like you are invisible and irrelevant and it can be wrong too, which means that you can do something about it.
Time for action
You can vote with your feet and your wallet if you are the victim of ageism but sometimes you feel strongly enough to take it further than that and lodge an official complaint.
There are various bodies you can write to with your complaint. If you have seen an advert that you think discriminates against you as a result of your age, the Advertising Standards Authority will consider your complaint and complaints against financial organizations are the domain of the Financial Ombudsman.
If you think that you have been excluded or treated unfairly due to age discrimination, you can and should do something about it.
Isobel Carter works in the banking sector and is a Mother of two girls. She writes her tips and thoughts relating to money and other matters for a range of personal finance related blogs.