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Should I disclose my pin to a 'trusted employee'?

In this age of techno-wizardry, those of us with disabilities find that we are enabled in many ways.
ASDA, for example, promotes its service to disabled people as being superior to that of other stores. It is often seen at disability road shows, declaring that it is “happy to help”. It is my experience, however, that when it gets it wrong it does it in style.

ASDA in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, has recently replaced its drive-through petrol station with an automated unmanned station. Not wanting to get myself into a situation where I couldn’t cope I spoke to the manager to find out what the routine is for disabled drivers.

Apparently there is a button that I can use to call for assistance from the store. This assistant will fill my car with fuel and feed the card reader so that I can pay for it. But this help comes at a price. It requires me to tell this person the pin number to my account!

When I suggested that this was a security risk and not a reasonable adjust­ment the general manager took offence, saying “I am a trusted employee”.

I have spoken to ASDA head office too who tell me that its access experts review all new policy and procedures to ensure that it complies with legislation.

It is some time since my conversation with the general manager and nothing has changed. I have therefore not used the new petrol station and have to drive several miles to fill my tank.

I wonder why ASDA feels that disclosing my pin number is an acceptable solution when even my bank will not ask me for this valuable information. After all, it is the last security barrier to my account.

I’m left with a question. Is this a reasonable adjustment within the Disability Discrim­ination Act or a step too far?

Tina Heron, by email

Helen Dolphin replies: As more supermarkets install automated pumps it gets harder for disabled drivers to refuel. Disabled Motoring UK is currently in discussions with the super­markets to find a solution.

It sounds like someone from the store will have to help you fill up, which I would agree is a reasonable adjustment, but that does not mean that you should ever, under any circumstances, give your pin out to anyone, “trusted employee” or not.

I’m actually quite amazed that ASDA head office finds it acceptable that their staff ask someone to disclose their pin.
To get round this problem, I recommend that you apply to your bank for a card that does not require a pin but which you can sign instead. When this card is put in a chip and pin machine it should automatically generate a slip of paper for you to sign. If you explain why you need to be able to sign to your bank, I’m sure they’ll be able to help you with this. The shop assistant can then bring this back to you in your car to sign.

I hope that in future, petrol stations will get chip and pin machines that can be taken onto the forecourt for disabled drivers to use, but at the moment I’m told that the machines deemed to be safe are too costly.

Disability Now website 07/09/2011

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Disabilities Fife
West Bridge Mill, Bridge Street,
Kirkcaldy, Fife, KY1 1TE
Scottish Charity No: SC 026112