# 15 III-4.

2000 May 15, 1992

The Honorable Robert A. Roe U.S. House of Representatives 2243 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 205l5-3008 Dear Congressman Roe: This is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, XXXXX XXXXXXX. Ms. XXXXXXX seeks information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Although we cannot provide legal interpretations or legal advice to individuals, this letter provides informal guidance to assist your constituent in understanding the ADA accessibility standards. Ms. XXXXXXX writes that she does all of her shopping by telephone because of her disability. She presents two concerns -- first, that she is required to pay postage and handling fees for merchandise that is mailed to her, and, second, that some stores will not take special orders by telephone. She inquires whether the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) affords any recourse in these situations. Ms. XXXXXXX suggests that some mechanism should be created whereby stores would be exempt from paying postage for mailing merchandise to persons who can provide proof of disability. The ADA itself has no provisions that require creation of such a mechanism. An amendment to the postal service laws or regulations would be required to implement such a procedure. The ADA does not require a store to pay the postage fees itself in these circumstances if the store is accessible to persons with

disabilities. Ms. XXXXXXX also states that some stores have policies not to take special orders for out-of-stock merchandise unless the customer appears personally to sign the order. Ms. XXXXXXX states that she is unable to make a personal visit to the store because of her disability. She is therefore unable to obtain the special order merchandise she seeks. The ADA requires stores to make "reasonable modifications" in their policies, practices and procedures in order to make their goods and services available to persons with disabilities, unless a modification would "fundamentally alter" the nature of the goods and services offered. In the circumstance Ms. XXXXXXX describes, it may be reasonable to require the store to take special orders by telephone from persons with disabilities who cannot visit the store. If the store's concern is obtaining a guarantee of payment that only a signed order would provide, the store may be able to take such orders by mail from persons with disabilities or, in the alternative, take credit card orders by telephone. We hope this information will be of assistance to you in responding to your constituent. Sincerely,

W. Lee Rawls Assistant Attorney General