In January 2012 the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired (LBVI), along with five individuals who are blind, filed a class action lawsuit against Redbox claiming the company’s self-service kiosks violated their civil rights. Consumers who were blind could not independently browse, select, pay for, or return DVDs or other media at Redbox kiosks as the kiosks make use of a strictly visual interface controlled by touch screen commands. At the time, Redbox DVD rentals accounted for approximately 34% of the DVD rental market nationwide, and according to Redbox almost 60 million videos were rented from its kiosks nationally each month. The suit, brought on behalf of people who are blind and visually impaired throughout California, was the first of its kind in the country. To read more about it check out the January 2012 Press Release.
After nearly two years of negotiations, a settlement agreement has been reached between the plaintiffs and Redbox that is expected to significantly improve access for individuals who are blind to the company’s self-service, touchscreen video-rental kiosks in California. Redbox has agreed to modify all of its interactive, touchscreen video-rental kiosks in California by adding nonvisual accessibility features, as well as make accessibility improvements to their website.
Key provisions of the settlement include:
- Within 24 months of the court’s approval of the settlement agreement, Redbox will develop and install nonvisual user interfaces consisting of standard headphone jacks, tactile keypads, and text-to-speech output on all Redbox video-rental kiosks in California. The nonvisual user interfaces will enable blind customers to independently browse, select, pay for, pickup, and return media from Redbox kiosks.
- Until Redbox completes installation of the nonvisual user interfaces, the company will continue to provide blind customers with a customer service phone line whereby customer service agents will assist blind customers with using kiosks by remotely operating kiosks.
- Redbox will make accessibility improvements to its website, redbox.com, to ensure that blind customers using screen-reading technology can browse available movies and kiosk locations, reserve movies for pick-up and register their email addresses on Redbox.com independently.
- The settlement creates a $1.2 million class damages fund to compensate eligible settlement class members who submit valid claims before November 12, 2014.
Eligible class members of the proposed Redbox class action settlement would include all legally blind individuals who have attempted but have been unable to access the products or services available at Redbox kiosks in California since the original complaint was filed in January 2010. It is estimated that between 300 and 1200 claimants are eligible for benefits.
Under the terms of the settlement, LBVI will implement user testing of the modified kiosks and report its findings to the company quarterly. LBVI will receive $85,000 to monitor the kiosks and the website for accessibility. Redbox also agrees to contribute $1.2 million to class members who submit valid claims. Claimants could be eligible to receive between $1000 and $4000, depending on the total number of claims filed.