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Saturday 22nd of November 2008
May 3, 2007

Dyslexic challenges banks’ information formats


by Elaine Frei
Dyslexic challenges banks

A man with dyslexia has filed a legal challenge against two banks, charging that the way in which those banks present information to customers has cost him thousands of pounds in fees and his good credit rating. Robert Neil is saying that Barclays Bank (LSE: BARC; NYSE: BCS; TYO: 8642) and the RBS (LSE: RBS; NYSE: RBS PRM) have violated the Disability Discrimination Act by failing to consider his dyslexia in dealing with his repeated overdrawing of his accounts. Mr. Neil was diagnosed with dyslexia and a related condition known as dyscalculia, which affects his perception of numbers, in 1995.

Both banks claim that they provide account information in different forms for their disabled customers and train their staff to deal with customers’ disabilities. In addition, RBS says that it encourages those with dyslexia to let the bank know how they can best be served. Mr. Neil charges that this was not the case and that the banks would not recognize his disability. His purpose, he says, in filing the actions against the banks is not so much to be compensated for his losses as to make sure that banks provide adequately for their dyslexic customers.

The British Dyslexia Association has said that banks could do more to help dyslexic customers. It advises banks to use alternative methods of communicating with dyslexic customers, including printing statements on cream rather than white paper with a clear, black font. The BDA also suggests that bank branches should appoint a specific person to handle the accounts of their dyslexic customers so that those with the disability don’t have to deal with different and anonymous people in call centers. In addition, the BDA would like to see all employees undergo dyslexia awareness training.

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