Mortgage Brokers/Realtors are being sued at an alarming rate…
WCAG 2.0, Section 508, ADA? If you are not familiar with these terms Mortgage Brokers/Realtors, then your website may not be accessible to potential clients. Not to mention, this could also result in major legal and financial penalties! The president of the National Association of Realtors, Tom Salomone, has also identified this as a threat as many realtors have received demand letters, which threaten to sue due to non-compliant websites. He sent an open letter to the Department of Justice requesting guidance regarding the application of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The DOJ has not provided clear guidelines and there is not a federal governing body that monitors website accessibility. Due to the ambiguity of the official rules, there has been a significant increase in lawsuits this year.
Here’s how it works
- A user with a disability (blind, low vision, visual perceptual conditions, cognitive disabilities, learning disabilities, age related impairments, mobility impairments and those that are deaf or hard of hearing) visits your website.
- These users will experience barriers to accessing your website if your site is not ADA compliant. Keep in mind if you’re not sure if your site is compliant then it’s not, because web accessible requires a conscience effort!
- The user then contacts an attorney for legal advice regarding your inaccessible website.
- The attorney sends a demand letter on behalf of the plaintiff (the user that could not access your website).
o The demand letter requests monetary compensation for whatever amount the attorney deems appropriate (could be up to $20k) to avoid moving forward with an official lawsuit. Remember there isn’t a federal agency that monitors web accessibility, so attorneys are free to ensure compliance by sending a demand letter or filing a lawsuit against the offending company.
You receive the demand letter and you pay the required fee or you risk being sued.
If you opt to move forward with pursuing the lawsuit keep in mind that the DOJ has not provided official guidelines. This means that each case is left to the interpretation of the judge. Whoa, that’s scary…
o Pay large legal fees
o Pay fee to plaintiff
o Deal with the negative press associated with your recent lawsuit
- Either route will require that you hire an outside ADA consulting firm to make your site ADA compliant
- Do you have expert developers, experienced in web accessibility, to implement accessibility solutions for all digital channels?
- Do you have a process in place to stay up-to-date with accessibility laws and standards?
- Do you have the resources to ensure accessibility is maintained across channels after every update to your website?
We are at the forefront of a new trend and the Real Estate industry is a new target – do you want to chance it? Know the rules, protect your website, and help those with disabilities. Leave the work to a team of ADA experts!
ADASure will provide you with a free quote. Call or email to talk to a representative today (888) ADA-8605 or info@ADASure.com!