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Discrimination Action Against Coles Online


6 November 2014 at 9:55 am
Xavier Smerdon
A Sydney woman is launching a claim of unlawful discrimination against the Coles supermarket online shopping website saying it is not accessible for people who are blind or vision impaired.

Xavier Smerdon | 6 November 2014 at 9:55 am


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Discrimination Action Against Coles Online
6 November 2014 at 9:55 am

A Sydney woman is launching a claim of unlawful discrimination against the Coles supermarket online shopping website saying it is not accessible for people who are blind or vision impaired.

Gisele Mesnage, who is blind, is seeking changes to the Coles supermarket website to make it accessible for people who are blind or vision impaired with the assistance of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), who is representing Mesnage in the case.

Mesnage says she relies on a screen-reader to use the internet and, like many vision-impaired people, she has had ongoing problems accessing the Coles website to do her shopping since 2008.

“Online grocery shopping should allow people who are blind to do their supermarket shopping independently. It is very disappointing that a large supermarket chain like Coles has not made accessibility a high priority,” PIAC Senior Solicitor, Michelle Cohen said.

“It’s not acceptable for people in a wheelchair to be prevented from using a physical supermarket, so why should people with vision impairment be treated as second-class citizens?”

Mesnage said the legal action was a last resort, after years of negotiations with Coles failed to bring about a lasting solution.

“I just want to shop online like everyone else. I’m sick of being shut out or spending literally days completing just one order,” Mesnage said.

“Although Coles has tried to fix problems with the site over the years, the site is not consistently accessible. Each time the site is upgraded, accessibility issues recur, or new ones arise.”

Bentham IMF, a litigation funder, is backing Mesnage’s case as part of its pro bono program.

“Hopefully our assistance will help Ms Mesnage have her claim against Coles heard and successfully resolved,” Director, Clive Bowman, said.

President of the Association of Blind Citizens of NSW and former Disability Human Rights Commissioner Graeme Innes is also supporting the action.

“Shopping online is supposed to be an easy and quick experience. But it’s not at Coles for people who cannot see their computer screen. I do not understand why Coles would not want to make online shopping easy and quick for all of their customers,” Innes said.


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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