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by Angela Bryant Starke, AARP Bulletin, November 1, 2009
Barbara Ruel’s frustration with her credit card company ended with a change that could help thousands with disabilities.
Ruel, 71, who is vision- and hearing-impaired, had called HSBC Card Services to question a charge on her account. A customer service representative and others insisted they could not help her unless she completed a complaint form, which Ruel informed them she could not do because of her sight.
“I got to thinking of the people I knew who are disabled who would just go ahead and pay the charge,” Ruel says.
She decided to call the New York Attorney General’s Office, which reviewed HSBC’s policies regarding customers with disabilities and concluded that HSBC’s accommodations were “insufficient to guarantee full and equal access.”
The company has agreed to improve its accommodations to special-needs customers. Among the changes is to overhaul its website to ensure that vision- and hearing-impaired customers can dispute charges and receive service.
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