Thursday, April 28, 2011

Update – PayPal & e-Bay Adult Autism Bullying and Discrimination: What I Learned Since My Initial Post

... OR, ‘Why Title III Of The Americans With Disabilities Act Must Be Amended To Authorize Money Damages Against Businesses That Bully, Abuse, & Financially Exploit Adults With Autism’

Since my Horrible experience of last week with my Autism being bullied and discriminated-against by PayPal (and e-Bay and my bank more peripherally), I learned through my research about them the following -- and I am writing this update because these businesses are Vital for severely Autistic adults if we are to achieve our community-based living promise of Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999) & implementing Exec. Order viewable here:, to be enabled to navigate the essentials to support ourselves independently in the communities in which we live.

It turns out, as I discovered after my initial post on this Autism access subject, that PayPal was sued in a class action in the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, captioned In re PayPal Litigation, N.D.Cal. Case No. CV-02-01227-JF/PVT. Despite my being a class member, apparently (news to me, because adults with Autism were never contacted and distributed our share of damages in that lawsuit as a consequence of the California Bar attorneys involved in the case failing to give Autism language-communication access as required by Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust, 339 U.S. 339 U.S. 306 (1950) to notify us in Autism-accessible formats that we were class members and entitled to a share in the damages), this past week was the first I heard of that case spelling out PayPal's pattern and practice of exploitation.

Among the allegations against PayPal in that lawsuit included that it took and held funds deposited in customers’ PayPal accounts for sometimes months on end with no meaningful recourse for the account holders to access them. E-Bay is a National commercial Internet marketplace and business. When I initially posted an item for sale on e-Bay that led to my initial post about the Autism bullying and discrimination I endured at the hands of PayPal (that e-Bay facilitated and allowed), I noticed that e-Bay failed to post a conspicuous warning NOT to use PayPal as a civil rights measure to satisfy it's duty to protect vulnerable adults with Autism from having PayPal take funds upon which adults with Autism depend in the face of an overwhelming lack of adult Autism funding and services in this Country.

Quite the opposite ! What I saw was a statement on e-Bay that induced adults with Autism to check the PayPal box to send a deposit or all of the sales proceeds for items we would sell on e-Bay to PayPal, and a misleading statement that disparaged the safety protections adults with Autism normally take to prevent others from stealing our money, i.e., direct wire transfer into our own bank accounts or cash. E-Bay actually posted as means to induce vulnerable adults with Autism to entrust our necessary funds with PayPal a statement informing potential buyers that a seller who requests direct bank account wire or cash is ‘a scam’ and should be viewed as ‘a scam’ if the seller does not use PayPal. This had a strongly negative disparate impact on vulnerable adults with Autism.

As almost EVERY parent of a vulnerable adult with Autism and adults with Autism living in the community can attest, when we as a vulnerable population with more than $3.2-$5 million lifetime cost needs to care for, treat, support, and tend our Autism (See e.g., "Autism Has High Costs to U.S. Society," Harvard School of Public Health,, have our funds withheld from us by PayPal’s unfair trade and business practices and Autism discrimination preventing severely vulnerable adults with Autism from accessing funds sent to us for items we have sold IMMEDIATELY, this can have DIRE life and safety threatening consequences for the vulnerable adult with Autism. In fact, in Florida, Florida Statutes, Sec. 415.1111 authorizes statutory damages against such vulnerable adult disabled Autism people by those such as PayPal who financially exploit us, and even authorizes a mechanism to request leave for treble punitive damages. PayPal purposefully avails itself of the state of Florida in terms of personal jurisdiction over it here.

I spent several days suffering the insult and indignities of having to have my Husband, who has conductive hearing loss, have to call e-Bay to get the un-publicized number for PayPal, only for PayPal employees who never heard of Autism to be screaming at him, triggering his epilepsy, causing the two people on the phone to be screaming so loud it triggered my temporal lobe epilepsy Autism sensory overload to the point of meltdown and infliction of physical epigenetic damage on me.

PayPal was unremorseful and claimed they did not have to obey Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act to make their services accessible to the millions of disabled Americans in this Country, and especially not to adults with Autism living in the community – but instead that PayPal had the ‘right’ to dupe us into handing over our funds so PayPal could keep them for months if not forever (indicative of PayPal's obvious intent to game such wrongly withheld funds belonging to disabled people to capture interest on those funds it feeds into its reported 'business profits').

Notably, I did discover in the news recently, that the e-Bay – PayPal restraint of trade tie-in scheme of Autism bullying and discrimination to fleece us into handing over our funds, so PayPal could hold them, keep them, and loot interest investments from them, had produced a ‘business profit.’ A ‘profit’ predicated on the financial exploitation of disabled Americans and severely vulnerable adults with Autism.

Worse, the bidder on e-Bay joined in PayPal’s Autism bullying and abuse by mocking my vulnerable adult Autism severe language communication disabilities (buyer was a Title III Americans With Disabilities Act business themselves), saying ‘it is your fault you cannot navigate PayPal.’

'My fault' I cannot navigate Neuro-typical business social communication structures – because I am a vulnerable adult with Autism, severely non-verbal with “markedly limited verbal abilities” and require Americans With Disabilities Act accommodations ?

'My fault' I cannot navigate Neuro-typical business social communication structures – because PayPal abusively coerces the use of Neuro-typical social phones and paper print communication modes without providing PECs, i-Pad, or Internet AAC Autism communication access (and has NO specifically Autism trained person to assist) ?

Parents, adults with Autism just now embarking on navigating in the community, BEWARE of getting tangled in the web of Autism bullying and discrimination that currently exists, unbridled, at PayPal and e-Bay and losing Autism support funds upon which you DEPEND. Pls. Never say someone who has been there didn't warn you !

Is THIS the society we want for the most vulnerable of all – adults with severe Autism ?

As an adult with Autism, I say No !!! But I cannot change the access problems pervading this Country that plague families with Autism by myself. Every parent should say No !!! Every adult with Autism should say No !!!

We adults with Autism have a civil and consumer right for PayPal and e-Bay not to exclude us from one of this Country’s most vital marketplaces because of our disabilities and PayPal’s refusal to obey Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act to make their services accessible to us.

I just wanted to write this update, because I would not want any other adult with Autism to be abused and financially exploited as I was by PayPal (and e-Bay for allowing it). E-Bay and PayPal even retaliated in violation of the plain prohibition of the ADA’s retaliation provision, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12203, by not removing negative feedback directed to my Autism communication and navigation disabilities from my account – put there because I needed Autism communication accommodations for access PayPal refused to give me.

If THIS is the “American model of business,” No thanks !!! People with Autism have a community-based living right to enjoy and access America’s business services, too. Indeed, we DEPEND upon it.

It is no longer acceptable for American business to be “for Neuro-typicals only."

THAT is the message of Autism access we as members of the Autism community should be sending every American business.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blatant Autism Discrimination At e-Bay and PayPal, Joint Cause of the National 96 % Adult Autism Unemployment Rate

My apologies to my readers for not writing for so long. I not only have markedly limited verbal abilities, but a Jan. 2008 brain injury for which my medical care was cut off, aggravating the extent of my brain damage.

I do intend to resume with the posts I promised, but in the meantime I feel the need to bring an important issue to the attention of the Autism community regarding an example of lack of Autism access, and this will not be my last post as I do think there is a need to start calling out the Autism access barriers where they exist in an endeavor to see if we as an Autism community can ask society to remedy them.

This post is a Greatly needed post on just ONE MORE REASON adults with Autism continue to suffer a Devastating appx. 96 % National unemployment rate, resulting in our parents, families, and the American taxpayer having to pay to warehouse us when "but for" the Blatant Autism discrimination at e-Bay and PayPal and MANY U.S. banks and other American businesses, we could support ourselves.

I not only have severe Autism with limited verbal abilities, but also temporal lobe epilepsy triggered by loud speech sounds including speech on telephones and cell phones. This is not an unknown disability as it has been documented on the database, #600512: "Michelucci et al. (2007) reported a 36-year-old woman with lateral temporal lobe epilepsy manifest as telephone-induced seizures. She had an 11-year history of recurrent partial complex and secondarily generalized seizures evoked almost exclusively by answering the telephone. Other auditory stimuli could also elicit seizures. The seizures were accompanied by distortion or attenuation of sound, inability to understand language, and inability to speak appropriately, all consistent with lateral temporal lobe involvement."

Here is my Oddysey through the INSANE completely inaccessible, un-navigable method e-Bay and PayPal and MY bank (Regions Bank - Florida) use for the Nation's vulnerable developmentally disabled adults with Autism:

To contact PayPal, the adult with Autism with the epilepsy is REQUIRED to find another person to use a telephone and call e-Bay to get "transfered" to PayPal -- apparently, PayPal has NO telephone number, NO TTY, NO Internet access, NO PECS, NO iPad access or anything to accommodate the TIDAL WAVE of adults with Autism in this Country as REQUIRED (a federal civil right) under Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. Secs. 12181-12188 et sec. (See, also Meyers v. City of Jacksonville, Fla., 754 So.2d 198 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000) (violation of the ADA access statutes or regulations also constitutes per se negligence and subjects the business to money damages)).

I have had a PayPal account since appx. 2000-2001, and had a "verified" "confirmed" bank account with them. Without providing me ANY Autism accessible visual notice whatsoever, PayPal "unconfirmed" and "unverified" my bank account sometime last fall, unknown to me. They then told me I had to go through the "confirm" and "verify" bank account process AGAIN.

When I atttempted to do an "Instant Confirmation" of my PayPal bank account, I could not coordinate my fingers fast enough to enter the numbers and PayPal timed-out my Autism AAC computer device without letting me use my three attempts, and then took the posture that they had NO program in place to assist people with Autism and vaccine injuries who have motor neuron dexterity impairments to do an "Instant Confirmation" and that they "didn't have to" and that there was NO one I could have my phone interpreter talk to about it. This is COMPLETELY CONTRARY to the civil rights DUTIES these businesses OWE to disabled adults with Autism and other dexterity disabled Americans and one CAN ONLY WONDER WHERE THEIR LEGAL DEPARTMENTS PASSED THEIR BAR EXAMS !!!

The fact disabled plaintiffs in Rendon v. Valleycrest Productions, Ltd., No. 01-11197 (11th Cir. 2002), for example, were screened out by an automated telephone system, rather than by an admission policy administered at the studio door, was of no consequence under the Americans With Disabilities Act statute; “eligibility criteria are frequently implemented off site-for example, through the mail or over the telephone. Indeed, Congress specifically noted in the ADA’s ‘findings of fact’ that ‘individuals with disabilities continually encounter various forms of discrimination, including outright intentional exclusion, the discriminatory effects of architectural, transportation, and communication barriers,’ the very sorts of discrimination the statute seeks to redress. 42 U.S.C. § 12101(a)(5) (emphasis added),” Id. (citing Ferguson v. City of Phoenix, 157 F.3d 668 (9th Cir. 1998) (discriminatory 9-1-1 emergency response system))/

Oblivious to their DUTIES under the Americans With Disabilities Act, PayPal droned on and told me I would have to "wait 2-3 days" for PayPal to send a small deposit to my bank, and then I would have to get that small deposit amount and enter it into PayPal to "confirm" and "verify" my bank account the 'Non-Instant way.'

I DID do that, more than 7 days ago, and my bank informed me they STILL have received NO deposit from PayPal. Note: PayPay falsely advertises the turn-around time is 2-3 days, but admitted it can take up to 5 days and in my case it is now 7 days of attempting to navigate this same Autism lack of access issue.

My bank also refuses to provide any Autism AAC access accommodations and has taken the posture that a person who cannot use a telephone like a "normal" Neuro-typical person "must have a guardian," and they say they 'never heard' of the Americans With Disabilities Act and do not have to obey its disability civil rights access provisions. Ultimately, 7 days later, my bank told me it can do nothing to help me navigate as an adult with Autism, that PayPal must do it, and that my deposit money from my e-Bay sale can be held hostage and not given to me.

PayPal refuses whatsoever to do ANYTHING to make the process accessible, says 2-3 day time periods can just keep occurring indefinitely (in an endless loop), and that PayPal has NO legal duty under Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act to make its process of "confirming" and "verifying" a bank account accessible to a severely disabled adult with Autism, and there is NOTHING I can do about it.

e-Bay has been MORE helpful than PayPal or my bank, but nevertheless e-Bay lacks pictogram signage adults with Autism can follow to navigate around e-Bay and MORE ESPECIALLY fails to write its information on 'how to navigate different selling methods' and its 'rules' in a way to remove the social-English people with Autism cannot understand and put it in simple language and pictogram terms adults with Autism can understand and navigate. It's no different than when blind people do not have braille or screen reader accessibility to assist in navigating such a website, and analogous to the blind Americans lawsuit against the Target Stores website.

Finally, I managed to make a significant sale on e-Bay that I was FORCED to make because Nationwide Insurance company has withheld in bad faith (without objections in any way to my medical bills) the payment they are required to pay under their uninsured motorist policy for almost $100,000 in medical bills I have already incurred that they signed for for over 3 years; and also because Social Security has delayed my SSDI and SSI Autism disability claims for over 9 years since April 2002 all because they inform me they have NO guidelines to properly assess the severity of Autism. Because of this withholding of money I should be getting TIMELY as adult Autism support and for medical coverage, as a result of this type of repeated abusive failure to timely pay adults with Autism funds upon which we DEPEND, I was not only cut off from my medical care for my Autism and brain injuries and suffered additional injuries, but NOW I was forced to sell a trailer my adult Autism horse business required to operate profitably that cost more than $30,000, for $12,100.

If that is not a systematic rip-off of the supports and self-support assets adults with Autism NEED, it's bad enough. But the buyer made a deposit to my PayPal account, and PayPal took the posture of REFUSING to let me access my own money to pay for my Autism needs, including my housing. While claiming PayPal "security" can completely override Americans With Disabilities Act Autism access civil rights, PayPal hung up on my Autism interpreter (other person I had to find to ask to call them because I cannot use telephones and they REFUSE to have alternative Autism accessible communication channels available) at least 3-4 times. PayPal told me I can just keep going in 2-3 day cycles, endlessly, and they have NO obligation to assist my Autism to help me receive my money I have been paid but can hold my money hostage indefinitely -- even if it puts my adult Autism home into default !!! (Notably, PayPal paid THEMSELVES their own cut right away !)

Adults with Autism fall off a Cliff when we age out of childhood Autism supports and services, as everyone in the Autism community KNOWS. People with Autism frequently have implicit learning disabilities, and we cannot do any employment or self-employment that we have not been EXPLICITLY and painstakingly trained to perform. I have only been explicitly trained to (1.) be a lawyer, or (2.) train jumping horses, ponies, and riders; however, most who know about my story know that I have been denied my attorney license in California for 21 years, and Florida for 9 years because they have NO Autism-specific attorney licensing programs and do not require the bar admission officials to undergo specific-Autism education and training -- so I cannot work as a lawyer. That is out. That leaves me, as a 55 year old adult with Autism, with being COMPELLED to earn my ability to support myself from my horse business Social Security told me I had to 'do for work' -- for which a horse trailer to pickup and deliver sales horses and ponies, and take horses and ponies to horse shows and other events where buyers can see them, is an Essential business asset.

Did e-Bay, and ESPECIALLY PayPal, or my bank care whatsoever about my needs as an adult with Autism ? Emphatically, No !

The ENTIRE scenario I was put through by e-Bay, PayPal, and my bank is INSANE, and BLATANTLY discriminatory to the type of access adults with Autism REQUIRE if we are to be able to create and innovate products, sell items, or operate our own Autism business in order to become self-suppporting, independent, and earn our own living to SUPPORT OURSELVES.

A very good Question in all of this is: WHERE is the U.S. DOJ ? WHY would the U.S. DOJ civil rights division NOT be bringing an Autism access enforcement action against e-Bay, PayPal, and numerous banks to ensure ALL adults with Autism of every severity have meaningful access ? NOT everybody can use a telephone to communicate ! MANY disabled Americans CANNOT !!! To PENALIZE a disabled American -- especially an VULNERABLE adult with AUTISM with the extra burdens of delay upon delay and forcing another person to speak for us to the point we lose our HOMES and our business (that support us), is NOT acceptable.

Note: Florida just initiated a mortgate "rescue" program to refinance and assist with mortgages and keeping Floridians in our homes, but made it intentionally target the exclusion of adults with Autism by refusing Autistics who can only buy a home through seller-financing (because the Autism inaccessible BANKS also refuse to give mortgages to adults with Autism and make their mortgage processes Autism accessible) meaningful participation.

I would URGE Every parent of a person with Autism, every family, every carer, and every single other taxpayer sick and tired of being taxed to pay for adults with Autism who can SUPPORT OURSELVES WITH THE AUTISM ACCESS WE NEED to WRITE to U.S. DOJ, e-Bay, PayPal, and every bank you can think of and DEMAND they comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act to give blind, deaf, and people with Autism ACCESS NOW !!! NOT 21 years after the Americans With Disabilities Act became the law of this Land. Or, let your WALLET do business elsewhere - just like the World sent the economic message to South Africa that Apartheid was WRONG.

For anyone who doesn't stand up for Autism access and take some initiative to do something about voicing the concern that a commercial exchange as Huge as e-Bay and PayPal to the American economy is NOT Autism accessible -- YOU have nothing to complain about when your taxes are raised to warehouse all the adults with Autism PREVENTED from working (a lifetime appx. $3.2-5 million cost for each Autistic), and the U.S. cannot pull out of this economic tailspin it's in because it is weighed down by the Autism TIDAL WAVE albatross.

Adults with Autism CAN earn a living WITH Autism access !!! If not NOW, WHEN ??? ! What are YOU going to do to tell e-Bay, PayPal, American banks, other similar businesses, and the U.S. DOJ to fix this broken system and give MEANINGFUL ACCESS to adults with Autism living in the community under the Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999) mandates - just like you ?