Disability is expensive. Special equipment, medicines, special foods, house renovations and transport add to the costs of an acquired or lifelong disability. Extra unaffordable expenses can be easily incurred in circumstances where the non-disabled can achieve a solution for themselves.
Recently Elizabeth upgraded to high speed broadband. When the technicians arrived to connect the cables they failed to advise her that her Sky set top box would need resetting. Unable to see the on screen instructions and speaking with a technician who failed to understand the extent of her difficulties, she was informed that a $50 plus charge would be applied for the Sky technician to come and reset the box. Elizabeth felt this was discriminatory and voiced her opinion, to no avail. Her sight issues were once again held against her. She is unable to use Sky’s On Demand service now.
Wishing to purchase a new ipad Elizabeth was met with incredulity by the shop assistant when asking if they would transfer her data to her new ipad. “It is so easy, just use itunes” he said, rapidly giving Elizabeth instructions. Told there would be a $160 charge to do the transfer and she would need to bring in her own laptop Elizabeth left without purchasing an ipad from a business she has patronised for over 40 years.
Accessibility legislation could ensure that readily available services should not become more expensive for people with disabilities. Unreasonable charges should be dispensed with when customers require extra support due to their disability.
This is a story about the barriers many face. We're sharing it because we want a law that puts accessibility at the heart of an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.