Cashless Discrimination

I work for a charity that helps and looks after adults with learning disabilities. We have for years taken them out at the weekend for them to have 'a life' and for respite reasons. We are facing discrimination at an alarming rate, because the people we care for, want to use cash. A lot of places, including well known places like Warner Brother Studio tour and Warwick Castle have stopped (or don't want you to use) cash as a means to pay for food or gift items. A person with Learning Disabilities will often not have the mental capacity to be able to use a debit/credit card, so will always use cash. Yet these so called 'inclusive' places are being rude and offensive towards us when we inform them that our 'guys' will need to use cash. Warner Brothers Studio Tour's staff are generally very well equipped and educated to deal with a person with autism, but some of the staff in the shop and café are disgustingly vile towards a disabled person, with a clear discriminatory attitude. 

What are peoples feelings over this matter? Is it right that people who do not have an understanding of debit or credit cards and never will, are being treated like second class citizens? Do they deserve to be made to feel 'outside' of society and rejected because they use cash?

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  • martindowmartindow Forumite
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    A business can choose how they want to be paid and a lot now don't accept cash payments.  Only being able to pay cash will get to be  increasingly limiting I would imagine.  Are there cards that can be loaded with a sum of money and will not allow more than this to be spent?  Using cash is more complicated than tapping a card, I would have thought, so there is no intrinsic problem apart from controlling the spend.
    Have you contacted Warner Bros about the reactions of some of their employees?  It sounds like a staff training issue if some parts of the studio accept cash and others do not.



  • MalMonroeMalMonroe Forumite
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    There are two issues here -

    1. The rudeness of staff at some places.

    2. Cashless payments.

    Staff everywhere should be kind and helpful to all customers whether they have any disability or not. If you find that isn't the case you should make an official complaint. Or ask the manager of your charity to do so. Naming the offenders, too. At Warner Bros they should wear a name badge - so use that info. They are obviously not practising what they've been taught - if indeed they have been taught how to treat clients.

    Many businesses stopped using cash at the start of the pandemic because little was known about how the virus was spread and fears were that it could be through touch - which is why everyone started wiping all surfaces down as much as possible. Now it's known that it isn't spread by touching things such as money. But money is generally acknowledged to be dirty and carry germs anyway . . . and the pandemic was a great excuse to cut the use of it.

    I'm not sure what the answer will be in your particular case but the manager of your charity could perhaps start by phoning one of the businesses concerned with a complaint and perhaps coming to some arrangement for your 'guys' - if they should want to visit again. Or in any case, for any of these trips. It's illegal for anyone, including businesses, to discriminate against anyone because of a disability (Equality Act 2010) and your manager could also mention that when making a complaint. 
  • CKhalvashiCKhalvashi Forumite
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    Looking at this from the business end a minute, the issue with cash is that it's more of a security risk to move around than a card machine, someone needs to count and account for it once it reaches an office and then it requires someone to take it to the bank. We took the decision to not accept cash as a group of companies in different sectors for these reasons, however a number of the underlying suppliers do accept cash and you would have to pay them direct in this case (I operate very broadly in leisure, travel and transportation under several distinct brand names each with a different structure).

    Going back to your end, the staff should not be rude in any event, and this is an issue that does need to be dealt with.

    Then looking at this from the point of view of the Equalities Act, although I've never had to deal with this situation, if someone were to call/e-mail in advance and ask to pay in cash for this reason, I would likely pop an e-mail back saying that's ok as long as a bank branch is available for it to be deposited into and support is given in accounting for it. It therefore may be worth someone contacting the business from an official charity e-mail address in the first instance to confirm. Also looking at this from our end, we may have issues giving change, especially as at the lower end we tend to price at £12 or £15 per person.

    As Mal says, there is a risk of germs and other bacteria spreading through notes and coins, but the reasoning for us was pre-pandemic and solely because it can cost us more than our gross margin (around £1.50 for a £12 payment) to handle it.
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  • NBLondonNBLondon Forumite
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    martindow said:
     Are there cards that can be loaded with a sum of money and will not allow more than this to be spent?  
    There certainly are - https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/prepaid-cards/#table  mentions the Ode card which specifically mentions charities so this could be a solution for Wayne's service users.  Depending on the individual it could be loaded and supervised by a carer and still give some independence.

    It's an awkward situation because this is possibly indirect discrimination rather than on the actual grounds of disability.  But it might equally be the case for other groups of people who prefer cash or struggle with cards.

    Obviously, if the staff are being directly rude then complain directly, loudly and if no good reply - embarrass the company publicly.
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  • Ditzy_MitzyDitzy_Mitzy Forumite
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    There is not and never has been a hard legal tender law in this country, which means that firms are free to accept and reject whatever payment is offered by the customer.  The problem referred to is a potentially much bigger one than the situations you allude to.  With electronic payment being the favoured method in the majority of settings these days, it's only a matter of time before it starts becoming the only acceptable way of settling up.  That doesn't just affect those lacking mental capacity, it disenfranchises all sorts from the homeless to gypsies and travellers.  Perhaps it will be challenged in court one day.  Until then there's nothing really to suggest, other than having the carer pay with a card and having him or her appropriately reimbursed.  I appreciate that represents a loss of independence for the learning disabled adult, however.  
    One cannot force somewhere to take cash, and plenty of establishments are now refusing it citing nonsensical arguments about coronavirus.  
  • TELLIT01TELLIT01 Forumite
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    There is not and never has been a hard legal tender law in this country, which means that firms are free to accept and reject whatever payment is offered by the customer.  The problem referred to is a potentially much bigger one than the situations you allude to.  With electronic payment being the favoured method in the majority of settings these days, it's only a matter of time before it starts becoming the only acceptable way of settling up.  That doesn't just affect those lacking mental capacity, it disenfranchises all sorts from the homeless to gypsies and travellers.  Perhaps it will be challenged in court one day.  Until then there's nothing really to suggest, other than having the carer pay with a card and having him or her appropriately reimbursed.  I appreciate that represents a loss of independence for the learning disabled adult, however.  
    One cannot force somewhere to take cash, and plenty of establishments are now refusing it citing nonsensical arguments about coronavirus.  
    Even  the homeless, gypsies and travellers are able to set up bank accounts.  All benefits are now paid into accounts and there is no option to be paid in cash.  Those without, choose not to for their own reasons.  I agree about the problems for those lacking capacity.

  • capuchincapuchin Forumite
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    If it's not a small independent business (and a theme park is not), it should be considered a reasonable adjustment under the 2010 EA. The staff who are rude should receive additional training on how to handle this.

    Whilst there is no need for a business to accept cash; if not accepting it denies a disabled person a service that is available to others, it's a problem [for the company].

    Follow the complaints procedure.
  • SpendlessSpendless Forumite
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    I call this sort of issue with places the 'covid excuse'.


    As long ago as summer last year I felt that some places were implementing measures that suited them but not the consumer. Perhaps things they always wanted to fetch in but knew it would be unpopular with their customers so held off, covid came and they fetched it in and in many cases it will never come back. This site is included in that. I suspect they wanted rid of the money saving arms and discussion part of the forum for a long time, but knew it would be an unpopular move and risk people unsubscribing, so take it away cos of covid and then don't fetch it back - limits the damage.

     At the weekend I attended a baby shower and the place it was held at, the bar  was card only. I had a wry smile even though I fancied a drink when the card machine connection went down  and they couldn't sell anything. At one point I did wonder if the member of staff's wages would exceed the bar takings.

    Totally understand some people only deal with or are comfortable with cash. My Mum was an 'old ladies' hairdresser for many years. Both when she had her shop and later went mobile, her customers paid her cash, Mum didn't have a card reader. 

    Not lot you can do though, other than vote with your feet. Maybe send an email out to each tourist attraction you usually consider, explaining the issue. If any of them are going to accept cash, let them have your business. 
  • edited 19 November 2021 at 9:10AM
    martindowmartindow Forumite
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    edited 19 November 2021 at 9:10AM
    Spendless said:
    I call this sort of issue with places the 'covid excuse'.


    As long ago as summer last year I felt that some places were implementing measures that suited them but not the consumer. Perhaps things they always wanted to fetch in but knew it would be unpopular with their customers so held off, covid came and they fetched it in and in many cases it will never come back. This site is included in that. I suspect they wanted rid of the money saving arms and discussion part of the forum for a long time, but knew it would be an unpopular move and risk people unsubscribing, so take it away cos of covid and then don't fetch it back - limits the damage.

     At the weekend I attended a baby shower and the place it was held at, the bar  was card only. I had a wry smile even though I fancied a drink when the card machine connection went down  and they couldn't sell anything. At one point I did wonder if the member of staff's wages would exceed the bar takings.

    Totally understand some people only deal with or are comfortable with cash. My Mum was an 'old ladies' hairdresser for many years. Both when she had her shop and later went mobile, her customers paid her cash, Mum didn't have a card reader. 

    Not lot you can do though, other than vote with your feet. Maybe send an email out to each tourist attraction you usually consider, explaining the issue. If any of them are going to accept cash, let them have your business. 

    Of course, businesses always look to introduce measures for cost cutting or their own convenience.  There will be some resistance to changes and they judge the potential damage of annoying their customers against the advantages or savings to be made.


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