Being denied credit is never fun, and for one 99-year-old woman, it was especially disheartening. She was turned down for a store credit card because of her age — but as it turns out, it was all a big misunderstanding.

Madeleine Otto, who lives in Florida and will celebrate her 100th birthday in October, was checking out at a local Stein Mart when she applied for a store card — and that’s where the trouble started.

After the cashier typed Otto’s information into the system, she said the elderly woman had been denied because she was too old. The cashier even felt badly about it, and came around the counter to hug the elderly woman.

“I was embarrassed, I felt bad about it,” Otto said. “I’m 100 years old — I drive, I do everything myself, I shop. I’m not like an ordinary 100-year-old.”

On top of that, it’s illegal to deny credit based on someone’s advanced age. However, it is legal to deny credit if someone’s too young, and thanks to a computer glitch, that was the cause of Otto’s anguish.

Seems when the cashier typed in the woman’s birth month and year — 10/12 — the system thought the year being inputted was 2012. Not only would that make Otto under 18, that would mean she hadn’t even been born yet. Hence, she was actually refused for being underage, not too old.

Stein Mart felt so badly about the mixup that it sent an apology and a $50 gift certificate, and Otto says there are no hard feelings. But upon hearing the story, Gerri Detweiler, director of consumer education at, laughed and said, “Some programmer’s going to get the lender into a lot of hot water by not thinking that through.”

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