Blind Advocates Sue E*Trade For Voice ATM Access

August 8, 2003 ( - A group of advocates for blind consumers have filed a lawsuit against E*Trade Group seeking to force its entire automatic teller machine (ATM) fleet to be accessible to blind customers.

>The suit, which comes after a settlement in a similar case in June, includes those ATMs operated, but not owned, by E*Trade, a proposition that the firm says is preposterous.   Filed in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the suit seeks declaratory relief, injunctive relief, unspecified actual damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees, litigation expense and costs, according to a Dow Jones report.

>E*Trade contends that such compliance is near impossible and plans to defend its position that it is not responsible for E*Trade ATMs owned by its retail customers.

>This comes after E*Trade reached a settlement with the Massachusetts Attorney General to provide blind consumers with access to more than 2,000 new voice-activated automated teller machines across the country in June.   Under the settlement, E*Trade agreed to provide ATMs with voice-activated guidance systems at 2,000 company-owned machines. However, the settlement did not cover cash machines operated, but not owned, by E*Trade.

The plaintiff group includes the Massachusetts Attorney General, the National Federation for the Blind and some individuals.