Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP is now Arent Fox. Read the press release

Why Retailers Should Think Twice Before Issuing Gift Cards This Holiday Season

Retailers that issue gift cards should be aware of a recent wave of class action lawsuits filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at the end of October. Thirty-three class action lawsuits were filed against a host of popular retailers and restaurants alleging that the lack of Braille on the defendant’s gift cards is a violation of the ADA and New York state law.

These lawsuits are an attempt by plaintiff attorneys to expand the scope of what is considered an “access barrier” under the ADA and follow on a large number of cases from several years ago alleging that websites inaccessible to blind persons were an ADA violation. The recently-filed cases all make the same general argument that the lack of Braille on gift cards denies individuals with vision impairments equal access to places of public accommodation since the gift cards are not accessible and usable by them. They argue that the lack of Braille prevents class members from obtaining full information about the gift card including the terms and conditions, denomination, website/phone number for balance information, and other relevant limitations on use. The lawsuits seek injunctive relief, compensatory damages, and a judgement requiring that the retailers and restaurants make the gift cards accessible.


Continue Reading