For any retailer running a successful business, protecting against financial loss is important. There's a financial penalty for businesses that fail to achieve ADA compliance for operating kiosks. The maximum civil penalty for a first violation of ADA regulations is $75,000 and $150,000 for subsequent violations.
Potentially catastrophic class-action lawsuits are of bigger concern, particularly for large retailers. In recent years, manufacturers and operators of kiosks have been the primary targets in a surge of high-profile class-action lawsuits alleging non-ADA compliance.
For example, in 2012, Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, et al sued Redbox Automated Retail LLC for operating more than 3,000 video-rental kiosks in California with touchscreen controls lacking tactile features, preventing use by blind people. The plaintiff was awarded a $1.2 million settlement.
The awarding of significant damages in class-action lawsuits for kiosks that are not ADA compliant, such as in Lighthouse v. Redbox, increases legal exposure for retailers who provide kiosks for customers, making accessibility a priority. But an even bigger consideration is the sheer size of the potential market segment of customers with a disability.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about 19 percent of the country’s population, or about 57 million people, have some form of disability. They include:
- 8.1 million who have difficulty seeing, including 2 million who are blind
- 7.6 million with impaired hearing
- 19.9 million who have challenges lifting and grasping—or pressing buttons on a touchscreen interface
So, making kiosks accessible for this sizeable customer segment isn’t just the right thing to do; it also makes good business sense. Also, aside from missing out on revenue from these customers themselves, failing to give them sufficient kiosk accessibility can create the perception that your business is insensitive to disabled customers’ needs.