17.2.07

Banks: See Hear

After this incident Mum drew my attention to this:

Thursday 15 February - Programme Information - See Hear, Saturday 17th February, BBC2 @ 12pm.

In this week's programme, presented by Memnos Costi and Elizabeth Young, we look at the problems facing deaf people trying to access banks and building societies.

The item looks at how banks and building societies deal with issues such as contact via third parties; TypeTalk and textphones; lost or stolen cards and the provision of interepreters. Underpinning many of the stories featured in the film is the conflict that arises between banks and their deaf customers over what 'reasonable adjustment' to goods and services, as laid down in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), actually means.


That final sentence sums up the message they tried to shoehorn in - a nice balanced message - explicitly stating that banks are trying hard to cater to deaf people but are being held back by concerns about confidentiality and security. And yet the segment seemed to show that that's far from the truth. After trying over two days to contact ten leading banks by textphone, they got only two to answer - on the second day. Although the talking head for banks assured us that banks are happy to accept typetalk calls, it wasn't much work to find someone who had had their typetalk call refused. Similarly, the talking head told us that banks are happy for a third party to be used to inform them that a card has been stolen. Except that the same person had been refused in this respect as well. To me, this looks like not even trying at all.

Certainly, the segment did make the argument that banks are interpreting the clause 'reasonable adjustment' to do as little as they can. For one thing, it doesn't seem like an unreasonable adjustment just to answer your fucking textphones. For another, most of the 'reasonable adjustments' quoted were with respect to internet banking, which isn't being created with deaf customers in mind. When it comes to making adjustments solely for deaf customers, the banks simply aren't doing it. This isn't a conflict of opinions. It's clear evidence that the DDA is failing.

4 comments:

Terri /Tinker said...

:-(

Diddums said...

I remember being told (by those in the know - I don't have a textphone myself) that scammers have discovered textphones. Companies (not just banks) have become wary, and some may even refuse (or avoid) dealings using textphones. I don't know the exact ins and outs of it - but I have been given to believe that there's something of that sort mixed up in this whole problem. I'm sure banks and so on could work harder to find a solution, but none of us are helped by these scammers and conmen. They are only interested in themselves.

Pacian said...

I hadn't thought of that. Still, that's no excuse for not answering them at all.

And I shouldn't imagine that a textphone is easier to abuse than, say, a postal transaction. Harder, since they can ask you random security questions without giving you a long time to answer them.

Diddums said...

Yes, maybe they're just avoiding them as something they feel is no great loss anyway - or.... worse... SEP! (Someone Else's Problem, therefore invisible to the ones who don't wish to deal with it. See Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!)