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27 March 2020

Posted by Dr Scott Hollier, Director and Co-founder of the Centre For Accessibility Australia 

Earlier in the week I wrote an article titled ANZ requires blind man to visit branch during Coronavirus crisis to collect bank refund or money lost.  In the article I discussed how ANZ posted a cheque to me to issue a bank refund. But required that I visit a branch during the Coronavirus crisis to cash it or the money would be taken away. I’m pleased to report that thanks in large part to the promotion of the article by Blind Citizens Australia (BCA), the story has had a happy ending.

The issues raised in the original article discussed how the ANZ, a bank which has great accessible online banking features, chose to provide a bank refund by cheque.  Which needed to be cashed within a short space of time. This is virtually impossible during the current Coronavirus crisis, and would go against current government advice. In trying to contact the bank, an automated assistant indicated the call wasn’t important enough, at this time and repeatedly hung up.  Making it impossible to directly discuss the matter with ANZ.

In light of the article I wrote about it, being shared by BCA and circulated on social media.  ANZ heard about the issue and called me to discuss the matter. They offered an apology and have pledged to review their processes, so that people with disability and vulnerable health conditions can be better supported, by having similar matters handled electronically. The ANZ representative also explained that the call system, which is under tremendous strain due to the number of enquiries during the Coronavirus crisis, would also have its processes reviewed.

As discussed in the original article and with ANZ on the call.  It is difficult to understand why when funds can be removed from a bank account in error electronically, the reverse can’t be handled electronically as well. ANZ have acknowledged the point, and will look to improve their processes in the future. The refund of $16.74 was credited to my bank account today.

I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my thanks to BCA for their support in promoting the article.  Which led to my concerns being addressed, and to offer my thanks and gratitude to ANZ for taking the time to provide the apology, provide the refund, and pledge to improve their processes so people with disability can continue to use their accessible online services.