Disability discrimination, like scurvy and rationing, should be a thing of the distant past but unfortunately there are still examples of financial companies letting down disabled people.
It’s against the law to discriminate against disabled people under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and subsequently the Equality Act 2010.
And yet, I can think of examples where banks and other financial service providers are still letting people with disabilities down – and could even be testing the law.
Not right – but is it discrimination?
Sadly, financial companies could be breaching these regulations in a number of ways.
The most obvious example is granting Chip and Signature cards. People should be allowed one of these cards if they’re unable to remember their Pin or operate a Chip and Pin terminal. But is this always the case – are banks giving them out to everyone who needs one?
We’ve spoken to a Which? member who has a Chip and Pin card but cannot physically enter the Pin number – surely, he should be given a Chip and Signature card as an alternative. Instead he struggles to use his Chip and Pin.
Bank and building society branches and other services should also be fully compliant with the relevant legislation. This means that wheelchair access to branches and cash machines should be the same as for able-bodied individuals. The best providers will also make the branch experience as seamless as possible for these consumers.
Access for power of attorney
We get lots of feedback from members about arranging power of attorney and giving them appropriate access to accounts. It’s no good granting power of attorney if financial institutions then put unnecessary restrictions on how an attorney can access accounts. For example Which? Conversation commenter Sue Shaw told us:
‘I have Enduring Power Of Attorney, all legally done through my solicitor, for my mother-in-law. But her bank, Nationwide, will not accept this document unless my mother-in-law goes to the bank in person to be questioned and to fill out the necessary bank forms. She is unable to do this due to poor health but the bank would not accept this or send the forms to her.’
In this case Sue should make a formal complaint to Nationwide, as her mother-in-law shouldn’t have to fill out any forms or visit a branch.
So do you think that you’ve experienced disability discrimination in relation to how you manage your finances? Have you experienced any of the problems I’ve suggested – or perhaps you have different examples to share?