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Dear Driving for Dollars,

I recently read about some lenders who have been fined for discriminating against certain minorities when setting the interest rates for their car loans. I think I might have been a victim of this also, but with a lender different from the one mentioned in the article I read. Do I have any recourse?

— Randy

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Dear Randy,

I’m sorry to hear you potentially were the victim of discrimination when you got your car loan. The good news is that the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, was established to help consumers with these types of issues, not just for auto loans, but for mortgages, college loans and other consumer financial products.

The CFPB was created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. One of the CFPB’s duties is to write rules and enforce federal consumer protection laws. It also investigates consumer complaints of unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices among companies that provide all types of consumer financial products and services, including car loans.

First, visit the agency’s website, ConsumerFinance.gov. Because the CFPB is investigating numerous lenders, both direct and indirect, it is possible the company that gave you your car loan is already under investigation or may have been found to be using discriminatory practices.

Do a search for your auto lender in the search bar on the upper right of the home page to see if any news comes up. If it’s been found to be discriminatory, then details of the activities and any consumer compensation ordered by the CFPB will be covered there. If that is the case, it’s likely you will be receiving information directly from the lender explaining how you will be compensated.

Your credit score exerts a big influence on the car loan rate you’re offered. Check your credit score for free at myBankrate.

Regardless, you should file a complaint with the CFPB by using the “Submit a Complaint” link. This will put you in the database for the CFPB, which then will work to get you a resolution. If it turns out your lender already has been found to have used discriminatory practices and has been ordered to compensate its customers, submitting a complaint will make the CFPB aware of your personal situation and help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Having less-than-stellar credit and getting an auto loan is less of a problem than it used to be. Read Bad-credit car loans lowest since 2012.

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If you have a car question, email it to us at Driving for Dollars. Read more Driving for Dollars columns and Bankrate auto stories. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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