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Judge Rules Against Cardtronics In ATM Access Case

BOSTON (3/27/13)--A federal judge in Boston Thursday, saying that retail ATM operator Cardtronics "failed to satisfy self-imposed deadlines" for making its ATMs compliant with guidelines of a 2007 settlement agreement, imposed on the company three of four sanctions sought by the National Federation of the Blind and the Massachusetts Commonwealth.

Cardtronics, headquartered in Houston, Texas, owns and operates Allpoint Network, the ATM network that provides 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs to more than 1,100 financial institutions, including credit unions.

The order, by U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton, noted that the court had approved a class action settlement in 2007 and a remediation plan in 2010 in which Cardtronics agreed to take certain steps to accommodate blind ATM users. 

The June 2007 agreement required gradual compliance. In July, 2011, the NFB filed a motion for contempt that alleged the company failed to meet all but one of the 10 requirements set forth in the remediation plan. The court gave the ATM company until March 15, 2012, to comply with all the obligations in the agreement or face significant monetary sanctions.

The court had instructed the company to install "enhanced scripts to enable voice guidance, tactilely discernable controls and appropriate signage" on all Cardtronics-owned ATMs not located in 7-Eleven stores and to inspect the ATMs to make sure the new features worked.

NFB filed a second motion for contempt in August 2012 and noted that 2,100 ATMs still had operational issues that rendered voice guidance systems inoperable. It also said Cardtronics had acquired 9,100 new ATMs without requiring their compliance with the remediation plan, and had failed to install Braille signage on all of its ATMs.  It asked for these sanctions:

The judge imposed the last three conditions and said the exact amount of the fine to be assessed will be determined in an upcoming hearing.

Litigation concerning ATM compliance with Americans With Disabilities Act regulations is on the rise. The Credit Union National Association recommends that credit unions take the opportunity to check their compliance with ADA regulations. For more information on how to comply with these regulations, use the resource links to CUNA's compliance E-Guide and CompBlog below.

  • A fine of $50 per ATM per month;
  • Appointment of a special master to monitor more closely the enforcement of the plan's terms;
  • Extension of the monthly reporting requirements through March 31, 2014; and
  • Payment of attorneys' fees and costs to plaintiff.
The judge imposed the last three conditions and said the exact amount of the fine to be assessed will be determined in an upcoming hearing.

Litigation concerning ATM compliance with Americans With Disabilities Act regulations is on the rise. The Credit Union National Association recommends that credit unions take the opportunity to check their compliance with ADA regulations. For more information on how to comply with these regulations, use the resource links to CUNA's compliance E-Guide and CompBlog below.
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