Services and Billing

Can a bank or other service provider refuse to take a call via a relay service?

The Equality Commission advises that refusing to take calls involving a third party from disabled people would be likely to be a breach of the Equality Act.

“A bank has a policy not to accept calls from customers through a third party. This could amount to indirect discrimination against a disabled person with a learning disability who may use a support worker to call the bank. The right sort of approach is to make sure the customer’s records show anyone who deals with them that they may be communicating using a support worker. This is also likely to be a reasonable adjustment.”
‘What equality law means for your business’,
Equality and Human Rights Commission 2010

The Information Commissioner advises that taking calls via a relay service would not be a breach of the Data Protection Act.

 “If any individual contacts an organisation using Typetalk [now Text Relay] or a sign language interpreter we would expect the same level of security to be in place as with any customer. This would include ensuring that adequate security questions were asked to authenticate that the customer is who they say they are before discussing any account details. Once the individual had been authenticated the organisation would be able to answer the enquiry for the customer through the Typetalk operator. The customer who has contacted Typetalk will be aware that information will be disclosed to the operator in order for this to be relayed to them. We would consider that the customer had effectively consented to their information being used in this way.”

Letter to TAG from the Information Commissioner’s Office,
published in Sequel (TAG newsletter) spring 2006

Calling your bank by video relay

You may also like to know that the following banks provide video relay so that their customers can contact them in sign language:

Bank of Scotland





First Direct