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New York resident Mary Conner enjoys traveling, she likes to shop online, loves to save, and is a big fan of Beyoncé.

So she’s filed more than a hundred federal lawsuits against numerous hotels, online merchants, coupon sites – and Beyoncé’s entertainment company.

It may seem like an odd thing for a fan to do. But Ibotta, Shopkick and Coupons.com owner Quotient Technology have now become the latest targets of Conner’s long-running legal campaign to get various apps and websites to ensure that their services are accessible to the visually impaired. Conner filed suit against the three coupon-and-savings sites last week, adding to a growing list of similar lawsuits dating back to 2017.

Conner is legally blind and “uses the internet to help her navigate a world of goods, products and services like the sighted,” her lawsuits state. But she has been unable to use Ibotta, Shopkick or Coupons.com, due to “their failure to design, construct, maintain, and operate a mobile application” that is “fully accessible to and independently usable” by visually-impaired individuals.

Conner says the companies violate the Americans with Disabilities Act for failing to design their apps to work properly with screen-reader software that would allow her and others to discern and take advantage of the apps’ offers. As a result, the defendants are “denying blind and visually-impaired persons throughout the United States with equal access to the goods and services” they provide to their non-disabled customers – which her lawsuits argue is “discriminatory” and causes her and others “frustration and humiliation.”

It’s the same argument she used when suing more than a hundred other companies over the years, including the one belonging to one of her favorite entertainers. Her 2019 lawsuit against Beyoncé-owned Parkwood Entertainment accused the company of failing to make the website Beyonce.com fully accessible.

“Plaintiff dreams of attending a Beyoncé concert and listening to her music in a live setting,” that lawsuit stated. “However, when she browsed the Beyonce.com website, she encountered numerous barriers which limited her accessibility to the goods and services offered on the website.”

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Conner’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment on the cases against the savings apps.

To some, the lawsuits may seem frivolous. And the sheer volume of them – together with their request for monetary damages and attorney’s fees – might suggest that Conner and her attorney’s motives are somewhat less altruistic than just ensuring fairness.

But that doesn’t mean the lawsuits are meritless. Because similar lawsuits have resulted in rulings for the plaintiff.

Back in 2017, legally blind Florida resident Juan Carlos Gil won a federal lawsuit against the grocery chain Winn-Dixie, for failing to make its website accessible and forcing him to ask a sighted friend to read him a list of the coupons available on the store’s site. “Winn-Dixie has presented no evidence to establish that it would be unduly burdensome to make its website accessible to visually impaired individuals,” the judge in the case wrote in his decision.

That ruling was a bit different, however, because it stated that a brick-and-mortar retailer’s website is covered by the same accessibility laws as its physical stores are. Other courts have found that a website or app run by a company that doesn’t actually sell anything is not in violation of the ADA, as long as a visually-impaired shopper has the option of buying what they want directly from an actual seller’s physical location.

You can make purchases and earn rebates by navigating to retailers’ sites through Ibotta, you can save money with Coupons.com, and you can earn rewards with Shopkick. But none of them actually sell anything. So it’s unclear how strong a case Conner has.

Nevertheless, her lawsuits insist that ensuring the savings apps are accessible is the right thing to do. Only then would she be able to “independently navigate, review and purchase products and earn cash back,” instead of being forced “to pay full price for grocery and household items.”

And who wants to overspend on everyday necessities, when they could save money to spend on something they’d really like to buy? After all, as Conner and her fellow members of the Beyhive well know – tickets to Beyoncé concerts don’t come cheap.

One Comment

  1. I am tried to transfered to Savingstar app transfered to Coupon. app that I have money left from SavingStar before this monday.it will be closed by Savingstar

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