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July 9, 2003

Deaf people lose out says charity

From: Bucks Free Press, UK - Jul 9, 2003

By James Young

COMPANIES in High Wycombe are missing out on millions of pounds worth of trade through failing to provide adequate telephone access for deaf people, claims charity RNID.

According to RNID Typetalk, a telephone relay service for people with hearing difficulties, Wycombe's businesses are failing to reach the region's deaf market place which is worth about £19 million a year.

Lorna Hammerstein, head of customer service at the company, said: "In Wycombe alone there are thousands who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafened or deaf blind.

"This is a huge chunk of the population excluded from buying products and services over the telephone purely because the vast majority of businesses are completely incapable of handling calls from these customers.

"Added to this is the current trend towards recorded messages which completely exclude textphone users and the increase in tele phone ordering systems." Typetalk is the UK's only national relay service handling around 37,000 calls every week from people unable to use a conventional telephone.

Regular research of Typetalk's customer base reveals which business users regularly have problems with and telephone banking and leisure outlets feature highly on the black list.

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