Californian DVD kiosks to be accessible after court settlement

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Thursday, 18 September 2014 12:27pm

The DVD supplier Redbox has agreed to makes its kiosks in California accessible for blind and vision impaired consumers after several advocates for the blind launched a class action against the company in 2012.

In settling the class action, Redbox has agreed to incorporate audio guidance, tactile keyboards and other accessibility features into its kiosks. One kiosk at each location will have the features within 18 months, and they will be extended to all of its kiosks within 30 months. There will also be 24-hour phone assistance available at each kiosk.

In addition to this, Redbox will pay US$1.2 million to the class of aggrieved persons in California, and US$10,000 to each of the individuals who made the complaint. It will also pay court costs.

While there are guidelines about making ATMs accessible in the US, there are no guidelines applying to self-service machines like DVD kiosks, but that does not mean companies can’t be sued because of a lack of accessibility. “The lawsuit and settlement underscore the litigation risk associated with replacing employees with machines, particularly at unstaffed locations,” said Seyfath Shaw, an attorney who represented the plaintiffs, in a statement about the settlement. In 2013, the National Federation for the Blind launched a suit against the Department of Transport, claiming that the rules it was proposing for making airline kiosks accessible were insufficient.

In 2000, the Australian Human Rights Commission cited the lack of accessibility of ATMs and ticketing machines as a concern in its report, ‘Accessibility of electronic commerce and new service and information technologies for older Australians and people with a disability’. DVD kiosks in Australia are not accessible for the blind or vision impaired, however, earlier this year, Hoyts announced that it would be modifying its kiosks to show whether DVDs had captions or audio description.

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