SHOCKED Gill Freeman was denied access to her own bank because she is deaf. The 57-year-old, from Hucclecote, phoned Halifax with the help of her interpreter but was left upset when the operator refused to help her.
Despite being able to answer the security questions, she wasn't allowed to carry out her banking transactions after the worker cited the Data Protection Act. Even a supervisor wouldn't acknowledge Gill, who is a Gloucestershire County Council support worker for other deaf people.
"I was so frustrated," she said. "She couldn't understand that as a deaf person, I am perfectly entitled to make a phone call through a registered qualified interpreter." Jenny Hopkins, chief executive of the Gloucestershire Deaf Association, said: "More and more organisations are moving to a remote style of customer service, through call centres and websites. "I fear that access for deaf and hard of hearing people is getting worse."
The Information Commission Office says that operators should deal with queries if the security questions can be answered – regardless of it being through an interpreter. A spokeswoman for Halifax said: "We would like to apologise for any distress and inconvenience that Mrs Freeman has experienced. "We are looking into the details of her complaint.