Online retailers are failing to offer accessibility options for 3.4 million disabled consumers who may struggle with deliveries, said Citizens Advice, who are calling on retailers to work with parcel operators to provide more delivery options to those who may have additional needs.

The charity found that almost one in three disabled people have missed a delivery because they weren’t given enough time to answer the door, while one in four disabled postal service users feel anxious, rushed or irritated when answering the door for deliveries at home.

In the past year, one in ten disabled people have also avoided home delivery, or have had items sent to friends and family members, because they find the process of collecting home deliveries “too difficult.”

The call comes as the Skipton Building Society published research today showing that 61% of people with a disability in Yorkshire avoid going shopping on their local high street. 30% of disabled shoppers say they are unable to carry out basic daily tasks – like buying milk or posting a letter – due to accessibility issues on the high street. A shocking 45% surveyed said they had returned home before completing their shopping due to stress, and 27% said they had experienced a panic attack as a result of stress shopping.

Despite the research being emblematic of disabled people’s experiences across the country, the Purple Pound is reckoned to be worth around £249bn to the economy, and the UK’s 13 million disabled shoppers are thought to influence around £80bn in spending each year.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “During the busiest season for online shopping, we’re calling on retailers to make sure deliveries work for disabled consumers.

“We found some people are missing deliveries, and even avoiding online shopping altogether, because they feel rushed or anxious when accepting deliveries at home.

“This should be an easy fix for retailers who have a duty to take into account people’s accessibility needs.

“As the statutory consumer advocate for post, we’re calling on companies to make sure they’re not leaving disabled consumers behind.”

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Source: PR/ITV
Image: Flickr/Don Byatt

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