3 Reasons RV Dealers are Getting Pounded with Digital ADA Compliance Lawsuits

This is a parking lot with many parked RVs

RV dealers are low-hanging ADA compliance lawsuit fruit for attorneys as they quickly turn their eyes to the RV industry for easy picking. There are significant issues with websites that are going ignored, and the result is costly for owners of these businesses. These lawsuits are not limited to RV dealers and manufacturers. They are also extending to campgrounds and camping retail. 

I will not call out brands directly, but you can do your research. A few of the largest camping and RV operations are getting sued for digital ADA compliance. This is discrimination, and the Department of Justice isn’t playing around. The legal expenses of these suits are staggering, especially when you lose and have to pay the other side’s legal fees. 

This is a lot…then you have to add accessibility to your site and keep up with it. You should be focused on how you can avoid these inevitable lawsuits. By the way, it’s not just the big ones being sued. Multiple small operations are being targeted, and there is no defense. The points below are not specific to the RV industry and applicable to many public businesses.

Let’s dive into why RV dealers are a popular target in these ADA compliant lawsuits.

  1. The first big issue is that RV dealers rely on third-party developers to create their websites. The problem here is developing for accessibility is not easy, and many developers don’t specialize in accessibility. When they are selling you a website, they will not bring this up. They don’t want to lose the sale. You are responsible for bringing this to their attention, and you should include it in your agreement before they ever get started. When an ADA lawsuit comes your way, it’s on YOU, not them. You are the domain owner and will ultimately be held responsible for damages.
  2. There are many RVs parked in a parking lot.Secondly, do you know those Matterport virtual tours and Youtube videos on your site? They have to be made ADA compliant separately. This is third-party media that is being fed from a different platform. That platform does not have the responsibility of making this content ADA compliant. Adding accessibility is not just technical. There also needs to be the context that these third-party media companies have no way of adding to your presentation.

    Your web developer would have to create an entirely different solution to address this issue. This is no inexpensive task and would take months of development. Barnes Creative Studios has invested a lot into adding accessibility to these third-party media elements. Our team would be excited to help you with your media.

    We are the official partner with Matterport for adding ADA compliance to their virtual tours with our patent-pending 360 AG™ (360 Accessibility Generator). We also have a version of our 360 AG™  that adds compliance to Youtube videos. Adding ADA compliance means adding context to a very visual medium. It’s laborious, time-consuming, and very much a specialty service. We have been the leaders in this space, pioneering true accessibility with complicated media for several years.

    You might be thinking, “who would ever come after us for media like this”?

    Well, glad you asked…here are over 6500 businesses who thought they could avoid it. Bookmark that website as they update monthly and show the latest ADA compliance digital lawsuits. You will be blown away by how many brands, big and small, show up here. It’s an ugly brand sentiment you should be proactive in avoiding.

    Denial is also a normal reaction. Many RV dealers point to the manufacturer and place the responsibility on them to deal with Matterport and Youtube ADA compliance. In some cases, they provide the media, but the burden is on you. See point one from above…this is YOUR problem because you are the business displaying this valuable third party media on YOUR website.

  3. Lastly, many RV dealers are adding a “layover” to their website from companies promising to add ADA compliance to your website “with a few lines of code”. Newsflash: courts last year ruled these layovers are not compliant. Better yet, by using them you acknowledge to the courts that you are trying to solve a problem. When you do a deep dive on the topic you will read that they actually complicate accessibility especially for the blind. 

    These “layovers” — even if they did add the necessary accessibility — would not do anything with your third party media like Matterport or Youtube. There is no such thing as being partially compliant so you would be non compliant anyway. Here’s the part that even stings more: lawyers are using specialty software to quickly search and see what companies are using “layovers” so they can target them with a lawsuit. By using a “layover” you are basically begging for attention from an attorney.

ADA compliance lawsuits are costly and painful and will fill your world for many months. You can avoid all of the trouble and save money by handling it the right way. Let us refer you to a reputable company for an audit to see where you stand and how vulnerable you are to a lawsuit. We can also help you get all of your Matterport virtual tours and Youtube videos accessible correctly. Contact us for more information.

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