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Saturday, 7 April 2007

Tesco's so-called accessibility


tesco.com has made something of how accessible it is — and with good reason, it is the best UK Supermarket website.

It's competitors have quite rightly been criticised for their lack of effort (although, tesco.com's last redesign and how it happened caused negative changes to it's accessibility according to some experts).

But what is the point of creating an 'accessible' website if people can't buy anything? This is the case for up to ten million British people with basic bank accounts.

BBC Radio Four's MoneyBox reports [ Listen to this item (RealAudio) ] that several years after first alerting Tesco, they are still refusing to accept payments using Visa's Electron card.

Back in 2005, the program reported that due to the Halifax's decision to switch basic bank account customers to Electron, they could no longer use it with a host of retailers such as Boots, M&S, B&Q, Argos - and Tesco. (Sainsbury + Asda do take Electron).
The Halifax's response was that 'as only 20,000 Cardcash customers regularly shop online, it does not consider this to be a huge problem'.
The Government is encouraging, and in some cases forcing, people to open basic bank accounts.

Because of the way supermarkets have carved up the country, many people do not have a choice — they have to use Tesco.

What this means, MoneyBox reported, is that car-less disabled people are 'forced to ask others to pay on their behalf' for online shopping with Tesco.
Said one daughter of her housebound mother, "it robs her of her independence".
So we have people who are doing exactly what the Government wants:
  • they are using online services
  • they don't drive
  • they run a basic bank account
and still they can't get anywhere.

Tesco does not have an explanation as to why they dont take Electron payments. Since these are debit cards, there is even less reason why they wouldn't take them.

MoneyBox characterised their attitude as "unexplained unwillingness".

They also noted that Tesco's press people now realise that there is no reason why they can't take Electron payments, but also that they've had few complaints.

Every little helps!

Here's your chance to do something — contact Tesco and tell them to start accepting Electron (they could do this TODAY).

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