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Terry Goddard Settles Deaf Caller Discrimination Case

(Phoenix, Ariz. – May 4, 2006) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced a settlement of a discrimination lawsuit with Saban Rent-A-Car LLC and A-aable Rental Ltd. resolving allegations that the rental car company repeatedly hung up on a deaf caller who was trying to rent a car using a telecommunication device (TTY) and operator service.

The 2004 lawsuit claims that Daniel A. Busch, of Phoenix, called Saban to rent a car using a teletypewriter and an Arizona Relay Service operator. Court documents describe that after the relay operator identified herself, the car rental company representative hung up on Busch. Busch called back three times, and each time the car rental company representative hung up on him. During one of the phone attempts, the operator tried to get rate quotes for Busch and was told they would not give any quotes over the phone. During another attempt, a supervisor told Busch the agency did not take calls from deaf people.

TTY is a machine the deaf use to type messages that are transmitted to an operator. The operator reads the messages to the person answering the call and types responses that are transmitted back to the deaf caller’s TTY.

Busch filed a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Civil Rights Division, which filed a lawsuit in August 2004 claiming the car rental company denied Busch services because he was deaf. Under the Arizona Civil Rights Act, businesses that provide public accommodations cannot deny service to anyone based on their disability. Places of public accommodations include restaurants, hotels, rental car agencies, entertainment venues and other service establishments.

The settlement requires the defendants to:

  • Pay Mr. Busch $10,000 in compensatory damages;
  • Pay the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division $3,000 to monitor compliance with this settlement for two years and $2,000 for costs. The monitoring will include periodic calls from the Arizona Relay Service;
  • Adopt an anti-discrimination policy;
  • Use Arizona Relay Service for accepting and making telephone calls to customers or potential customers who are deaf or hard of hearing; and
  • Receive training on disability discrimination.

The Arizona Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on a person’s disability, race, color, religion, sex, familial status or national origin. If you believe you are a victim of discrimination, please contact the Attorney General’s Office, Civil Rights Division, in Phoenix at 602-542-5263 or in Tucson at 520-628-6500. To file a complaint in person, the Attorney General's Office has 21 satellite offices throughout Arizona with volunteers available to help. Locations and hours of operation are posted on the Attorney General's Web site atwww.azag.gov.