Blind woman takes on Coles


Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 10.12.23 amA blind NSW woman is taking legal action against the Coles supermarket website, which she says is almost impossible for her to use.

Gisele Mesnage has launched a claim of unlawful discrimination and wants the supermarket giant to make the site accessible for people who are blind or vision impaired.

Mesnage relies on a screen reader to use the internet and, like many vision impaired people, she has had ongoing problems using the Coles website to do her shopping since 2008.

“I just want to shop online like everyone else. I’m sick of being shut out or spending literally days completing just one order,” Mesnage said in a statement on Thursday.

She added that although the supermarket has tried to fix problems with the site, new problems always arise.

A Coles spokesman says the company is reviewing the documents lodged with the court and will respond in due course.

“Coles recognises and endorses the importance of online accessibility, and we are continually working to improve our online grocery shop, including improvements to the accessibility of the website,” a statement said on Thursday.

“We work with experts in this field to make our site usable by people with disabilities.”

Mesnage is being represented by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).

“Online grocery shopping should allow people who are blind to do their supermarket shopping independently. It is very disappointing that a large supermarket chain like Coles has not made accessibility a high priority,” PIAC senior solicitor, Michelle Cohen, said in a statement.

“It’s not acceptable for people in a wheelchair to be prevented from using a physical supermarket, so why should people with vision impairment be treated as second class citizens?”




  1. Andy Wilson posted on November 6, 2014

    I guess this opens a whole new frontier on ridiculous over the top political correctness! Does it mean all websites have to be usable by visually impaired people now? What about people who are totally blind. Do all websites now have to be audible or something? I sympathise with anyone who has a disability, but let's get back to common sense please.

  2. Peter posted on November 7, 2014

    Totally agree Andy and to use the comment "discrimination", the word seems to be easily bandied around these days just on a whim!

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