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Improving Access and Support for Consumers with Cognitive Disabilities: a Guide for Retailers


Maker, Y and Callahan, A and McSherry, B and Paterson, JM and Brophy, L and Arstein-Kerslake, A, Improving Access and Support for Consumers with Cognitive Disabilities: a Guide for Retailers, The University of Melbourne, Australia (2019) [Contract Report]

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It is important that all consumers can access the goods and services that are necessary for participation in modern life. To do this, they need to make choices about the products and services that will be best for them, including essential or basic services like energy, water and telecommunications. These choices and decisions are usually made before the consumer enters into a contract, in the 'pre-sale' or 'pre-contract' process. Standard pre-sales and pre-contractual processes, as well as processes for getting assistance or dealing with problems with a service, are not currently tailored to the requirements of all consumers, including many consumers with cognitive disabilities.

This document offers guidance to retailers to make their processes and communications more helpful and accessible to consumers with cognitive disabilities, who may have difficulties with learning, concentrating on, processing, remembering, or communicating information, and/or with decision-making.1 This might include, for example, some people with intellectual disability, Acquired Brain Injury, or dementia, and some mental health service users. Unsuitable information, communication difficulties, stigma, discrimination and social isolation may mean people with cognitive disabilities cannot access the services they want and need. They may not have access to the kinds of support for making decisions that other consumers take for granted. Salespeople and other staff might have legitimate concerns about invading a consumer's privacy or being discriminatory if they ask disability-related questions or suggest extra assistance or support. Consumers with cognitive disabilities may also encounter barriers to resolving problems with their product after the contract is made, such as problems in paying their bills or what to do if the product doesn't work.

Item Details

Item Type:Contract Report
Keywords:consumer law, human rights, cognitive disability, essential services, reform
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Law in context
Research Field:Law and society and socio-legal research
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Community services
Objective Field:Ability and disability
UTAS Author:Maker, Y (Dr Yvette Maker)
UTAS Author:McSherry, B (Professor Bernadette McSherry)
UTAS Author:Arstein-Kerslake, A (Dr Anna Arstein-Kerslake)
ID Code:152718
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2022-08-23
Last Modified:2022-09-14

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