January 13, 2012 9:50am PT by Eriq Gardner
Blind Advocate Group Files Class Action Suit Against Redbox
In the past few years, automated retail kiosks have put many DVD-rental stores out of business. This hasn't been a kind development for visually impaired individuals who now have less access to video store clerks to help get them movies. Now, in a new class action lawsuit in California, a group that advocates for the civil rights of blind individuals is suing Redbox for violating the Americans With Disabilities Act.
According to the complaint filed on Thursday, Redbox is denying blind individuals equal access to goods and services.
The plaintiffs say they enjoy films too, particularly dialogue-driven ones as well as movies where the action can be described by friends.
But visually impaired individuals are increasingly troubled by the rise of touch-screen technology. Many banks have employed screen-reading ATMs, but Redbox, according to the lawsuit, "has chosen to rely on an exclusively visual interface."
This has made it difficult for them to access DVD-rental kiosks. "Blind people must rely on sighted companions or strangers to assist them in renting and returning DVDs at Redbox kiosks," says the complaint. "Blind people must also disclose personal information, including their zip codes, to these other individuals in order to complete a rental at the Redbox kiosks."
The lawsuit is being brought by the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
The group says that Redbox was informed of allegedly unlawful accessibility barriers in November, but that the defendant has failed to commit to accessible kiosks. The plaintiffs want an injunction to prohibit Redbox from violating the law and damages.
We've reached out to Redbox for comment.