Traders and service providers must remove the barriers you face because of your disability so you can access and use their goods and services in the same way, as far as this possible, as someone who's not disabled. The Equality Act 2010 calls this the duty to make reasonable adjustments.
Read this page to find out more about traders’ and service providers’ duty to make reasonable adjustments.
As well as being protected against discrimination, you have other rights under consumer law. If you’ve been treated unfairly but it doesn’t count as discrimination, there may be other ways of sorting out the problem.
See our consumer pages for more information.
Traders and service providers must make adjustments if:
The duty to make reasonable adjustments in goods and services is anticipatory. This means the trader or service provider mustn’t wait for you to ask them to do something. They should consider in advance what they need to do to make their services accessible to all their disabled customers.
What's a reasonable step to ask for can vary and will depend on things like:
A trader or service provider may have a certain way of doing things, like a policy, rule or practice which makes it more difficult for you to access or use their services. The Equality Act calls these things provisions, criterions and practices. You can ask the trader or service provider to change these things, if it’s reasonable to do so.
Examples of rules or polices which you might ask to change include:
You're visually impaired and ask a phone shop assistant to provide a copy of an instruction manual for a new smartphone in large print. The assistant refuses, saying it's accessible online. A reasonable adjustment would be to print the manual in the shop in a larger font.
Sometimes the physical features of a building - for example, steps, doors or passageways, may make it more difficult for you to access or use it.
A trader or service provider must remove, change or provide a reasonable way of avoiding the barrier, if it’s reasonable to do so.
This could be - for example:
You're disabled and can’t access your local bank branch because of steps leading up to the entrance. The bank has offered for staff to come out and serve you on the street as they don’t want to adapt the building.
This may not be enough to comply with their duty under the Equality Act. They should install a ramp or stairlift to enable you and other disabled customers to use their branch in the same way as their non-disabled customers.
Sometimes you may need particular aids or equipment so you can access or use goods or services. The Equality Act calls these auxiliary aids and services.
Examples of auxiliary aids and services include:
You're deaf and your first language is BSL. You want to talk to your bank about opening a savings account. The bank provides a BSL interpreter when you go in and talk to them. This is a reasonable adjustment for the bank to make.
You can ask the trader or service provider to make the necessary changes so you can access or use their services. If a service provider refuses to make reasonable adjustments, it’s unlawful discrimination and you can challenge it and take action under the Equality Act.
The trader or service provider doesn’t have to change things if this would fundamentally change the nature of the service they offer. For example, a restaurant which offers a dining in the dark experience could refuse to leave the lights on for a deaf customer who needs to be able to lip read to communicate.
You can find more information about your consumer rights in the consumer section:
If you have experienced discrimination, you can get help from the EASS discrimination helpline.
You can find useful information about discrimination on the EHRC website at
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