My wife was recently declined for a credit card based solely on the fact she is 6 months pregnant and will soon be on maternity leave.
The scenario details are as follows:
Application was made in person in a pre-booked appointment. The process was undertaken by a trainee. Various details were entered into the system including salary (>£30k), savings (>10k) and current debt (<5k). Then various questions were asked including "will your financial circumstances change within the next two years?". My wife answered yes and explained she is due to go on maternity leave soon. At this point a "computer says no" message appeared and she was told that this was the end of the appointment. My wife expressed surprise and the trainee consulted other members of staff who confirmed that the change in circumstances resulting from maternity meant that she could not obtain a card at this time.
My wife has a completely clean history and was understandably surprised. She has since applied (successfully) to another organisation. During the application this other organisation told her that, since she is on maternity leave and not losing her job, she should answer no in response to the question about a change in circumstances. Further, they offered to contact the bank and ask why she had been declined - The bank responded that she had been declined for a variety of reasons and categorically denied that pregnancy was in any way a factor in their decision (this is clearly a lie). Thus not only was the application likely declined erroneously but her credit score has been impacted.
Obviously we will be withdrawing all accounts from this bank and will not use them again. We have put in a direct complaint with the bank but don't believe that they will take this seriously.
The question: is there something more punitive that we can do and/or is there any way to undo the (minor) damage to credit score?
Update: the bank's complaint service "investigated" the complaint but decided that the action was justified and repeated their own fictitious sequence of events, essentially ignoring our complaint. We are now escalating the matter to the Financial Ombudsman.