If, like many deafies, you’ve ever struggled to deal with your bank because they expect you to phone them to deal with a problem, or have faced unhelpful assistance in one of their branches, you’ll welcome today’s double-page story in today’s Times by Laura Whateley, which claims that UK banks could face huge compensation payouts for failing their deaf customers. (there is now a full transcript on the Action on Hearing Loss website)
According to the paper’s investigation, banks are “routinely discriminating against customers with hearing loss by failing to proivide equal access to services.” The banks, Whateley says, have an attitude of “indifference to their [customers’] hearing loss” and too often still insist that “security measures are carried out by phone.”
As well as these problems, the article says that deaf readers of The Times have reported “broken hearing aid loop systems, poorly trained and rude staff, a lack of understanding about how text phones work and an over-reliance on spoken answers to security questions.”
Online messages deaf customers send are often not replied to, and deaf customers have been stranded abroad when their banks blocked their card, because they could not call the bank (as a hearing person would) to resolve the problem.
In one incident, Jill Hipson, a deaf customer of Barclays, was humilated when she tried to pay for a new car. Despite warning her bank that she was going to make a large transaction, the bank refused to process the payment unless she authorised it over the phone, and would not allow her husband (who was with her) to authorise it on her behalf. In the end the garage owner was forced to drive her to her nearest branch so that she could authorise it in person.
In a comment piece titled ‘Hi-tech fix will work for both parties’, solicitor Chris Fry points out that failing to implement reasonable adjustments “can result in payments of compensation of between £1500 and £30,000” under the equality act for “injury to feelings” and that Jill Hipson’s case must have been “horrifically embarrassing.” As a solution, he advocates using “joined up technology” to deal with these problems, such as “an “app” designed to facilitate secure transactions for people with hearing impairments.”
Meanwhile, research from Action on Hearing Loss accompanying the story shows that half of deaf people are unhappy with the service they recieve from banks.
Full transcript of The Times article here on the Action on Hearing Loss website.
By Charlie Swinbourne (Editor)
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. Find out how to write for us by clicking here, how to follow us by clicking here, and read our disclaimer here.
The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out about the Deaf fashion bloggers taking on the world!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- Association of Notetaking Professionals: The professional body representing Electronic and Manual Notetakers
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Cast Theatre, Doncaster: The UK's the UK’s first fully BSL integrated pantomime
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people