The DO Not Call Site Does Not Work For blind Folks

So the Canadian do not call registry is alive and well. It had a, um, rocky start, because so many people slammed it at once that, well, both website and phone crashed under the high demand. What does that tell ya, telemarketers? But that isn’t the reason for this post. The reason is the registry has a few large accessibility bugs to work out. Let’s explain them.

Last night, I decided to get us all signed up. We have a main phone number, I have a cell number, and we have two identicall numbers that Bell gave us when they screwed up our bill royally. If you recall, they get pretty slammed by numbnut telemarketers, so I want the damn things registered. I went to the site, which is https://www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca and got to work. It looked pretty simple at first. I hit register, entered my main number and hit continue. I was greeted with a fucking blasted son of a bitch goddamn piece of shit graphical word verification thingy! Not only that,but they had no audio option,nor did they have an acknowledgement of what blinks could do if they ran into this. I thought ok I’ll just phone the number, which is 1-866-580-3625 or DNCL. Don’t call the other number llisted on news articles, unless you are deaf and using a TTY. It is 1-888-362-5889. What does that number stand for? 1-888-DNCL TTY. Ok, news reporter dudes, why not tell us that useful tidbit of information?

Anyway, back to my story. I phoned the number, and found out immediately that in order to register a number, you have to be calling from it, and the system has to be able to confirm that the number you punch in to register is in fact the number you’re phoning from. I can see trouble ahead. First, I can’t call out from my two identicall numbers. They are only inbound. Second, if my cellphone number isn’t picked up, then it won’t let me register that either, and I’ll have to slog through the site. I registered the main number, which takes a dog’s age to do because their “speech recognition software” won’t take any voice input until it’s done gabbling at you forever and ever amen. I hung up, and try to call back with my cellphone. Just as I suspected, it says “I cannot confirm the number you are calling from, so you can’t register this way.” Grr. Ok, off to the website.

First of all, let me say I love WebVisum. without it, I would have been left to complain, with no chance of solving the captchas and getting my own personal business taken care of. But this story isn’t over. I went in, typed in my cellphone number, made WebVisum solve the captcha, put that in the box and it said “you’re all registered. I got excited, and thought, “two down, two to go.” There was a button that said “register another number.” I clicked it, entered one of my two identicall numbers, sent the code away to WebVisum, it came back with a response, and crap crap crap! The website said that code was incorrect! After that point, try as I might, I couldn’t get WebVisum to give me a code that matched.

I closed the website, and because I’m as stubborn as a bull, I came back later and tried again. I punched in my first identicall number again, got the captcha, asked WebVisum to solve it, it gave me a response, and it worked! I was all excited. I tried to do the last number, and I was foild again! From this, I can only deduce that if an IP does multiple numbers in quick succession, they make the captchas harder, and if the captchas get harder, WebVisum has a harder time cracking them.

I waited a bit longer, and tried the final number, and got it registered. Then I thought I’d verify that one of my numbers did in fact get done. I hit verify registration, slammed into another captcha, and of course, since I’d just done one, WebVisum couldn’t solve it! I waited a bit, tried again, and it worked.

This is what I had to go through to complete what should have been a simple task. But I could only do this because a. I’m stubborn, b. I have WebVisum and c. I know how to use it. Most people don’t have WebVisum, or know it exists, or have the tech savvy to do this. I’m not saying I’m a giant genius. I’m just saying some people just don’t know about this.

So…is it 9:00 yet? It is! I’m phoning the access coordinator’s number to tell them about this and see what they say. Also, a lady I know who works for the federal government is going to complain. It’s good to know people.

Please wait while I call that number. beep beep beep. Oh good. I’m on hold. Whistle with me. This isn’t the coordinator. This is a centre full of phone drones. Great. I can feel the trepadation. Wish me luck as I sit here listening to elevator music.

I got a heavily accented voice. I think she understands. she’s advising someone of what I said, as I listen to music fit for the old Charlie Brown episodes. Please continue to hold with me…

woohoo! I filed a complaint! She understood, she filed the complaint for me, and she told me I would have a follow-up call. I asked that there not only be an audio captcha, but a way for people with significant hearing and vision loss to phone somewhere and have a human register them because people with significant hearing loss can’t pick out the garbled speech in audio captchas. she tried to tell me that they would use a TTY, and I explained that if they couldn’t see, they couldn’t use a TTY. Miracle of miracles, she understood! I also mentioned that since this is a government program, I wanted good access for all and that it should be there from the beginning, but perhaps they weren’t made aware of this problem, so that’s why I was phoning.

So that’s where it stands. I can even phone in and check on the progress of my complaint if I don’t get a followup call in a while. I asked for a time-frame in which I could expect a response, and she said she couldn’t give me one, but she figured it would be quick since this thing just got off the ground. We’ll see.

so that’s the story. If anyone else wants to join me in filing a complaint, please do. Call 1-866-791-6601. Let’s see what we can do!

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