Tampa, Florida -- While most banks require a thumbprint to cash a check from someone who doesn't have an account, a Tampa man says that policy was impossible to comply with.
Steve Valdez says he was shocked when he was told he had to put his thumbprint on a check written on his wife's Bank of America check. Valdez says the check was written to him with the same address he has on his driver's license. Although he had two forms of identification both with pictures, the bank still required Valdez to give a thumbprint before it would cash the check.
But that was impossible, because Valdez was born without arms and wears prosthetic devices.
According to Valdez, when he gave the teller the check, she said "Obviously you can't give a thumbprint." But Valdez says the manager refused to cash the check unless he did.
When Valdez told the manager giving a thumbprint would be impossible, she suggested he either bring in his wife or open an account. Valdez says that's not the way the bank would treat someone without prosthetic arms, and he refused.
Valdez says he asked the bank if it had ever heard of the American with Disabilities Act and he says they told him they were accommodating him by offering the choices. But the ADA says businesses must comply with basic nondiscrimination requirements that prohibit exclusion, segregation, and unequal treatment.
A spokesman for Bank of America says while the thumbprint is a requirement for those who don't have accounts, the bank should have made accommodations.