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ADA Blog

 

ADA Blog #124

Wal-Mart Sued Again Because Payment Machines Still Aren’t Accessible...

Are your ATMs or other point-of-sale terminals accessible to ALL your customers, including those with disabilities? Can customers in wheelchairs and scooters reach the controls? Can customers who are blind use the controls to independently pay for goods with a credit or debit card?

Would you be comfortable asking a stranger or cashier help you read the charges, enter your personal identification number or PIN or sign on your behalf to authorize a transaction? Do you want to share your private PIN with the cashier? I certainly would not.

As of March 15, 2011, all existing ATMs were supposed to comply with new accessibility standards under the ADA that include, but are not limited to, a voice guidance requirement, Braille signage and input controls for individuals who have visual impairments. ATM operators were given 18 months to make this happen before enforcement penalties would be incurred.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is facing a potential class-action charge of discrimination alleging the retail knowingly placed point-of-sale terminals beyond the reach of customers with disabilities at many of its more than 200 stores in California. The potential class size is in the thousands.  Wal-Mart stores across the country have similar access barriers and the ADA claims could affect all stores nationwide.

Wal-Mart, a company who says it’s committed to serving customers with disabilities, should be an industry leader, not a defender of discrimination. They should be accessible, convenient and secure to use for all customers. Point-of-sale machines are the wave of the future in American retail. Hard-to-reach credit-card readers are common at retail stores throughout the world. Wal-Mart is targeted because “...they are the biggest retailer in the world...and they should be able to do it right..." according to advocates and their attorneys.

If your company has ATMs or other point-of-sale terminals to transact business, don’t wait until a discrimination charge is filed against you or your company’s name appears in the media alleging discrimination. Springboard can help your compliance officer/legal counsel or IT Team assess whether your ATMs are accessible to and usable by your customers with disabilities and help you develop a strategic plan of action.

Shelley

This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.