Class action lawsuit filed against Redbox

Disability Rights Advocates and the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired filed a lawsuit January 12 against the video rental giant Redbox, arguing that its services are inaccessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.

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Redbox’s DVD rentals have exploded in popularity in recent years, accounting for 34 percent of the DVD rental market. However, the “exclusively visual, touch-screen interface,” that people used to rent the videos does not provide any of the screen-reading software or other technological applications, such as those used by ATMs and the i-Phone, that make them accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.

As a result, these individuals are either unable to order films or they have to disclose personal information, such as zipcodes, to other individuals assisting them with the machine. For the disability advocacy groups, this inaccessibility constitutes a form of discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Many blind people enjoy films and on their own as well as with sighted friends and family, just as sighted people do,” according to the lawsuit. “Many blind people enjoy watching films with friends who can describe the action. They also enjoy dialogue driven films on their own.

“The lack of accessible video rental kiosks means that blind people are excluded from the rapidly expanding self-service, retail economy and from independently accessing this ever-popular form of entertainment.”

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is on behalf of more than 100,000 Californians who are blind or visually impaired.

“I’m not asking for the world here but simply for the ability to rent DVDs from Redboxes just like everyone else can,” said plaintiff Joshua Saunders,  a legally blind resident of El Cerrito, California, in a Disability Rights Advocates news release.