In this episode, Desiree and I discuss filing complaints under Title III of the ADA (Title III). Specifically, we walk through filing a complaint with the Department of Justice against Chase bank because of the inaccessibility of its online mortgage services.
This is the text of what Desiree and I filed with the Department of Justice against Chase bank. Note, this text is a bit different than what you will hear if you listen to the podcast. Even though this text is a bit different, the points made during the podcast are the same.
Text of Our Complaint Against Chase
My wife and I are both blind. We decided to use Chase for our mortgage. We chose Chase because their personal banking website and mobile app are reasonably accessible. We discovered Chase’s commitment to accessibility does not extend to its online mortgage services.
Their mortgage portal to read and sign documents is almost entirely inaccessible. Neither my wife nor I was able to read any of the documents we needed to sign until we had already signed them.
Eventually, we needed to find a different mortgage company. We couldn’t enter into a years-long mortgage based on documents we could not read until we signed indicating we had read and agreed with the terms.
Prior to choosing another company, we tried several times, over email and phone, to get Chase to grant a reasonable accommodation for their inaccessible online mortgage services. Without my consent, Chase sent volumes of braille documents to my house. I did not want braille as an accommodation, because I didn’t want to read all of that in braille. Additionally, had I read all of the documents in braille I still would have been unable to sign them independently. Another issue with braille as an accommodation was the reality that Chase would not be able to regularly provide braille in a timely enough manner to enable us to place offers on homes. We needed an accommodation that would address the inaccessibility of the documents, our inability to easily sign the documents, and the timely nature of the mortgage process.
Chase did not have a process in place that would enable me to speak with someone who understands the ADA and reasonable accommodations. The first accommodation they offered was to have me pay an attorney to read the documents to us.
Due to our having to leave Chase, we suffered the following harms: our credit scores went down because the replacement mortgage company ran hard checks on our credit; we lost the money we would have gotten for using the real estate agent we found through Chase; and we lost days and dealt with lots of aggravation both in trying to address the lack of access provided by Chase and the need to begin the mortgage process from scratch. We may also wound up with a higher rate because of the time we lost when we should have been able to lock in a rate.
I am filing this complaint because Chase, like many businesses, does not understand that all of their online services must be accessible. DOJ could do a lot to making web content covered under Title III accessible by holding a company like Chase accountable for the harm it causes by failing to make all of its online services . But Chase, because they promote their accessibility, is especially bad for not actually being accessible.
We have dozens of emails to prove this complaint.