The Commonwealth Bank is facing disability discrimination cases in relation to their touchscreen ‘Albert’ EFTPOS machines after two consumers launched matters in the Federal Circuit Court, represented by PIAC, with the support of the Grata Fund.
The consumers, Graeme Innes and Nadia Mattiazzo, who are both blind, say that people who are blind or have low vision are unable to use the Albert machines because they have a touch screen rather than a tactile keypad.
It has been reported that there are more than 88,000 Albert machines in operation across Australia. The bank has continued to roll out the machines despite the concerns of blindness peak groups and individuals.
PIAC client, Nadia Mattiazzo said that she had decided to take legal action as a last resort. ‘We have been raising these issues since 2016 and so far the Commonwealth Bank has failed to act,’ said Nadia Mattiazzo.
‘The 350,000 Australians who are blind or have low vision should not be left out when new technology is introduced.
‘These machines seriously limit where I am able to shop and eat out. I am not willing to divulge my PIN to complete strangers and I would be in breach of my contract with the bank if I were to do so. I have no choice but to avoid businesses that use them,’ said Nadia Mattiazzo.
PIAC CEO, Jonathon Hunyor said that consumers shouldn’t have to take legal action to ensure that accessibility issues are properly considered when new technology is introduced.
‘New technology offers opportunities for inclusion and has the potential to transform lives. We should not accept bad design that leaves people behind. Big corporations like the Commonwealth Bank need to demonstrate their commitment to our community by ensuring their products and services are accessible to all,’ said Jonathon Hunyor.
Media contact: PIAC Media and Communications Manager, Gemma Pearce – 0478 739 280
PIAC acknowledges the generous support of Blind Citizens Australia and Grata Fund in the development of this case.
In 2016, Blind Citizens Australia and PIAC supported a number of individuals who had been adversely impacted by Albert machines to lodge complaints with the Australian Human Rights Commission. The complaints alleged that the Commonwealth Bank had discriminated against the complainants by failing to ensure the machines could be accessed by people who are blind or vision impaired. Disappointingly, after a long conciliation process, at the end of 2017 the complainants were left with no option but to terminate their complaints because the matter could not be resolved. The complainants lodged complaints in the Federal Circuit Court on Friday, 9 March.