Software leaves blind and visually impaired in dark

GERMANTOWN, Md., (WUSA9) -- Catherine Jacobs loves to create wool clothing on her loom.

She keeps track of sales and family finances online. She writes and prints checks, prepares tax documents, monitors investment accounts, all without the benefit of sight.

"I just want to be able to do my banking the way everyone else does," Jacobs says.

For 17 years, Catherine has used Intuit's Quicken Premier software to manage her financial freedom.

She says, "I'm not blind anymore. I'm normal. I'm just like you, and everyone else. I can do everything."

But a glitch in the 2014 version has created a communications barrier between her screen reader and the software she needs to maintain her independence.

"This was useless. And that's why I asked for a refund," says Catherine Jacobs.

But she wanted more than the $120 refund. She wanted the problem fixed.

"They're saying it's not their problem, it's your screen reader's problem," says WUSA 9's Lesli Foster.

"That is what I got from customer service," Jacobs says.

WUSA 9 Call For Action reached out to Intuit to help Catherine with her software issue. The company wasn't talking, and again, blamed the problem on her screen reader and keyboard.

"What's frustrating is they offer to give your money back, well that doesn't solve the problem, says Eric Bridges with the American Council of the Blind.

Bridges advocates for companies to make their technology and products accessible to people with disabilities, the blind and visually impaired

"Breaking accessibility is something that, you know, should have been detected earlier in the process before the product ever came to market," he says.

Bridges points to Apple as one of the businesses that does build accessibility into its products.

He says, "Accessibility within large companies only works when the senior leaders say that it should be done."

Catherine hopes Intuit will eventually fix the flaw in their Quicken software or else, she says, she'll have to rely on an old technology. Her braille machine.

Catherine Jacobs says Intuit reached out to her ONLY after our WUSA 9 Call for Action team got involved.

Intuit would not do an on camera interview with us, but told us in an email that they invited Catherine to be part of it's BETA testing for the 2015 version of Quicken Premier.

The company is also working with an organization called "My Blind Spot" to bring an accessible version of its Quick Books for small business owners to the market.


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