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April 20, 2007

National Association Of The Deaf Files Complaints Against Chase Bank For Rejecting Relay Service Calls, USA

From: Medical News Today (press release) - UK - Apr 20, 2007

National Association of the Deaf (NAD) filed two complaints with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) against Chase Bank, the consumer and commercial banking section of JPMorgan Chase & Co. The complaints allege that Chase Bank refused to accept telephone calls from deaf individuals using relay services in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

One complainant, a Chase Bank customer who is deaf, tried to access account services made available by Chase Bank by telephone by using a relay service and a TTY. This complainant's relay service calls were rejected by bank representatives and his TTY calls were unanswered. Another Chase Bank customer who is deaf, tried to access Chase Bank's Online Banking Technical Support made available by telephone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. After calling using a relay service, this complainant was told he could receive assistance only by using a TTY and only Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

"It is discriminatory when deaf individuals face unnecessary barriers to effective communication," said Marc Charmatz, Senior Attorney with the NAD Law and Advocacy Center. "Deaf individuals should have equal access to bank services that are provided to all bank customers over the telephone."

"The Telecommunications Relay Service system was created to enable businesses to communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing in a manner that is functionally equivalent to telephone users, without the need for businesses to equip themselves with TTYs," said Rosaline Crawford, Director of the NAD Law and Advocacy Center.

In the complaints, the NAD argues that under the ADA, Chase Bank has an obligation to accept calls made through a Telecommunications Relay Service by individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing if it accepts telephone calls from individuals who are not deaf or hard of hearing.

Both complainants requested that the Department of Justice investigate their complaints, order Chase Bank to cease its discriminatory practices, order Chase Bank to promulgate written policies and procedures to ensure that Chase Bank will accept calls placed through relay services, and order Chase Bank to notify individuals with disabilities of their rights to use relay services to communicate with Chase Bank.


© 2007 Medical News Today