Can anybody out there help in this case? It is shocking and for obvious reasons my caller remains anonymous. A customer came into his store in Manchester a while ago and wanted to sign for purchases of less than a fiver. The retailer explained that the store operated a Chip and PIN or cash policy only. So far, so good.
A few months later the customer tried again to provide a signature, for just a couple of pounds this time, and was again reminded of the policy. He paid cash, asked for a receipt and left only to return about 15 minutes later to serve the retailer with an all-filled-out disability discriminatory notice.
My caller then got a letter telling him to attend court. At court the claimant came in on two sticks and said that his inability to remember a four-figure PIN code was the result of the drugs he had to take to manage his pain.
The judge offered to resign from the case because the claimant was known to her, but he agreed that she could continue. She also said he had to change his claim (incorrect paperwork a technicality). It was adjourned and the retailer and his solicitor are now waiting to see what happens next.
The Equality Act should never be open to abuse and the retailer, who has already spent considerably on this case, appears to have no option but to spend more.
You do have to make reasonable adjustments where possible, but it would have helped if the disability had been explained. And retailers should retain the right to protect themselves from possible fraud by establishing a cash or Chip and PIN policy.
It’s on ice now and could drag on for a year or more with costs running into five figures on both sides (claim is on a no win-no fee basis and the hope, probably, is that the retailer will settle for less). The case could set a precedent. Has it happened to you?