World Consumer Rights Day is on March 15th, but what is it actually like to be a disabled consumer in 2022?
And what do business still have to learn?
Our Consumer Panel Member, Tiffany, shares her thoughts:
“People say disabled awareness and rights have flourished but I find that's usually the words of an able-bodied person speaking on our behalf. Lots has improved but still we need to push and with modern technology, feedback is now in the palm of our hands.”
“I often wonder when a shop or building layout is designed, do they view it from all angles? Can a wheelchair access the whole space? Can a person with limited limb usage reach to get what they need? Is there so much stock on the floors that it can cause someone to fall or trip? Objects piled high out of reach? Being spoken to like a child because you walk or look disabled?
“I've experienced all of these and as a disabled consumer my simple question is, ‘Why’?
“Below are my five main points for companies to consider for disabled customers:
Can someone walk easily into a shop or building without worrying they might trip and fall? Is there enough room to walk safely without being knocked? Is it safe to reach for a product if I need to?
2) More choice
We need a much wider range of products for disabled people available on the high street.
3) Inform us
If a shop is unsuitable for people with certain access needs please make it clear. Do also display if there is help on offer.
4) Keep learning
Listen to disabled customers and our ideas. Experiment with using different materials for certain products, appreciate that people all have different speeds and don’t want to be rushed. Make employees aware that disability isn't so alien - we are ‘normal’ too!
Ask people what they need or want and most of the time they will be more than happy to tell you. It’s impossible to know 100% what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes so we need to ask each other, listen and take on board feedback. Most people are happy to help!
“One way to feedback that I’ve found really positive is being a member of the RiDC panel. They work with companies to feedback the experiences of disabled people so that the products and services we all use can become more accessible. I've taken part in many surveys with all types of topics and themes. It’s such a positive step for disability as it allows us to have our say and voice our opinions. Both able-bodied and disabled people can do the same thing but we just do it in a different way. I've been able to share my positive and negative experiences with the surveys and that makes me feel listened too in this huge world.
“Consumer Rights Day is there for us all but some of us need a little more.”
— Tiffany Watson
Tiffany is part of the consumer panel for RiDC. You can join if you are disabled in some way or over the age of 65. Feed back what is and isn't working to the people who make and run things.
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