For Deaf Callers

Who can use Relay Texas?

Relay Texas is a free public service that provides a communication link between standard telephone (voice) users and persons who have speech or hearing loss and so use text telephones (TTYs), captioned telephones (CapTel), or personal computers via the Internet to place telephone calls.

How do I call Relay Texas?

It’s simple. Just dial 7-1-1 to reach a relay operator. The free 7-1-1 access number is available anywhere, anytime. CapTel users dial the 10-digit number directly; people calling Captel users dial the toll-free Captel relay service number (877) 243-2823 or (866) 217-3362.

Can I still use the old relay toll-free numbers?

Yes. If you prefer, you can use one of the 10-digit toll-free numbers.

For Hearing Callers:

  • Voice to TTY/VCO/HCO/STS: 7-1-1 or 1-800-735-2988
  • Voice to CapTel: 1-877-243-2823
  • Spanish-to-Spanish: 7-1-1 or 1-800-662-4954
  • Spanish-to-English: 7-1-1 or 1-888-777-5861

For Deaf Callers:

  • TTY to Voice: 7-1-1 or 1-800-735-2989
  • ASCII to Voice: 7-1-1 or 1-800-735-2991
  • Spanish-to-Spanish: 7-1-1 or 1-800-662-4954
  • Spanish-to-English: 7-1-1 or 1-888-777-5861
  • 900 Dialing Access: 1-900-230-2303

For Deaf-Blind Callers:

  • TeleBraille to Voice: 7-1-1 or 1-877-826-9348

For Hard-of-Hearing Callers:

  • Voice Carry-Over: 7-1-1 or 1-877-826-1789

For Speech-disabled Callers:

  • Speech-to-Speech: 7-1-1 or 1-877-826-6607
  • Hearing Carry-Over: 7-1-1 or 1-800-735-2989

When dialing 7-1-1, I am unable to make a relay call. Why?

If you have problems with 7-1-1 when calling through your switchboard (usually a PBX telephone system), you will need to contact your PBX administrator to have the system reconfigured to allow you to reach 7-1-1 or dial the 10 digit- toll-free number. PBX telephone systems are usually at hotels, businesses, agencies, and offices that have extension numbers.

If you are not on a PBX telephone system and cannot access Relay Texas when dialing 7-1-1, call a customer service representative at your local telephone company to determine if your local telephone company has set up a 7-1-1 outdial service.

How much does it cost to use Relay Texas?

Local relay service calls are free. Long distance relay calls are billed at the regular rate that is charged between the point of call made to the point where the call terminates. Long distance calls can be billed through your preferred long distance provider by giving the relay operator your long distance information when placing a call. Long distance calls are billed with Sprint when a long distance provider has not been identified by the caller.

Is there a time limit on how long a call can last?

There is no time limit for relay calls. The relay operator will relay the conversation until the users end the conversation.

How do I call a hearing person through Relay Texas?

Call Relay Texas by dialing 7-1-1 and give the relay operator the phone number with the area code and/or extension of the person you are calling. The relay operator will place your call to that person, voicing your typed words to the hearing person you have called, and typing the other person’s words to you.

Remember to type “GA” (go ahead) when you finish your part of the conversation. When you see “GA”, please remember it is your turn to continue the conversation. The relay operator is not a part of the conversation and must read everything typed to the hearing person, including anything typed in parentheses. The relay operator is not permitted to make judgmental comments on how the hearing person feels during the relay call, however you may ask how loud the voice sounds.

What is a relay operator?

A relay operator is the confidential, transparent link between hearing and deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, and/or speech impaired callers. The relay operator voices the conversation to hearing users and types the conversation to TTY users.

The relay operator is not part of the conversation and must voice everything typed by the TTY user, including what is typed in parentheses, and must type everything they hear, including background noises. Remember to type directly to the other party instead of using third-party terms, such as “Tell him…” “Ask her…”

Are relay conversations confidential?

Yes. Federal law requires all calls to be kept confidential. No records are kept. All conversations are automatically erased from the computers after the end of each call. Relay operators working with Relay Texas sign a legally binding code of ethics agreement vowing to strictly adhere to the confidentiality requirements.

How do I connect to Relay Texas when the line keeps ringing?

When the relay center is busy and unable to take a call within 30 seconds, the following automated message is sent to the caller: “Welcome to the relay center. Please wait for the next available relay operator.” It will then keep ringing until the call is answered by a relay operator. Calls are processed in the order in which they are received.

If I have Caller ID on my telephone and call a person through Relay Texas, which number will show up?

If the person you are calling through Relay Texas has Caller ID, your own telephone number will appear on their Caller ID, not any of Relay Texas’s toll-free numbers.

Why is my number showing up on Caller ID when I have already placed a block?

When a call is placed through Relay Texas, the call comes through an 800-number, therefore, Relay Texas is unable to detect if your number is blocked. If you would like your number to be blocked when placing a relay call, inform the relay operator to enter the information into your Customer Profile.

How do I access relay service in another state when I am traveling?

As of October 1, 2001, all 50 states are required to have 7-1-1 relay access. You can dial 7-1-1 anywhere in the United States.

How do I use a calling card to place a relay call?

When using a calling card to place a call through Relay Texas, please give the relay operator the following information: the 800 (or 866, 877, 888, etc) toll-free number (usually on the back of the card), the calling card numbers (sometimes requiring a PIN), and the telephone number you wish to call.

Are languages other than English and Spanish offered by Relay Texas?

At this time, Relay Texas offers English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English translation services as part of its Spanish Relay service that also provides Spanish-to-Spanish and French to French dialogue.

When I attempted to make a relay call, the person hung up on me. Why?

There are times when voice users hang up because they are unfamiliar with Relay Texas and think that it is a telemarketing call. The relay operator makes this announcement when they are connected with voice users: “Hello! A person is calling you through Relay Texas. This is relay operator (number). Have you received a relay call before?”

If the voice person says no, the relay operator explains the service by saying: “The person on the line is using the relay service to communicate with you. The caller is typing their conversation that will be read to you. When you hear the words, ‘go ahead’, it will be your turn to speak. Please speak directly to the caller. One moment before your call begins.”

Relay Texas users can request that the relay operator does not announce the call and/or explain the relay service. When electing not to announce and/or explain the relay service, it is your responsibility to inform the voice user that you’re calling through Relay Texas. Below is an example:

  • RELAY TEXAS 4902F NBR CALLING PLS GA PLS CALL MY DR S OFFICE AT 360 555 XXXX DO NOT ANNOUNCE OR EXPLAIN RELAY THANKS GA DIALING 360-555-XXXX RINGING 1…2… (F) DR SMITHS OFFICE HOW MAY I HELP YOU Q GA HELLO THIS IS JOHN CALLING THROUGH RELAY TO MAKE AN APPT COULD WE DO THAT PLS Q GA

If you have experienced repeated hang ups, please fill out a "Don't Hang Up" report form byclicking the link here and a Relay Texas representative will attempt to educate the person or place of business regarding the relay service.

When using the relay, I have trouble with interactive service recordings. The relay operator hangs up and redials. Why?

Because of the time delay between the relay operator’s typing, your response and the interactive recording, the operator may have to hang up and redial to enter your option. You can avoid the delay if you know ahead of time where/what/who you are trying to reach. Before the relay operator dials out, you can tell them you want to talk to a live person or customer services; this may minimize the need for the relay operator to redial repeatedly.

What products are available for people who are hard of hearing?

Amplified and/or hearing aid compatible telephones, voice-carry-over (VCO) telephones, captioned telephones, two-way paging devices, TTYs, and telephone accessories (such as headsets and neckloops) all have features that many people with hearing loss find to be beneficial Each individual must determine for themselves what device is most preferable.

What is the difference between a VCO and a captioned telephone?

VCO users can speak directly into the phone and the relay operator then types the response from the other person back to the VCO caller so he/she can read it on the telephone’s text display.

A captioned telephone (sometimes referred to as CapTel) displays word-for-word captions of everything the person you are speaking to says. CapTel users can listen to the caller and read the captions on the CapTel phone's display window. Please note – captions are provided through a relay service operator who uses voice recognition technology to provide captions. CapTel users can get captions automatically when dialing another person. However, in order to receive captions on incoming calls, the person calling the CapTel user must call the CapTel service provider and give the operator the CapTel user’s telephone number.

Why should I use Relay Texas?

Approximately 10% of Americans have hearing loss, varying from mild to profound. Some are capable of using their telephones with assistance of hearing aids/cochlear implants, and telephone amplifiers. Others who cannot hear well enough to use a standard phone often benefit from or prefer Text Telephones (TTYs) to type and read words.

Why are Relay Operators sometimes unable to process my request to place a toll-free (1-800, 877, 888) or collect call?

If you are placing an out-of-state call, it may be that the number you are trying to connect to does not accept out-of-state (or out of region) calls. If you are trying to call collect to an individual, there may be a "block" (requested by the person you are calling) that prevents collect calls from being accepted.

Why was I billed by Sprint for making long distance calls through Relay Texas when I use a different long distance provider?

Relay Texas honors requests by users to be billed through their preferred long distance carriers. However, Relay Texas users must inform the relay operator to bill their calls to a designated long distance carrier or the long distance call will be billed through the default long distance carrier, Sprint.

For convenience, Relay Texas users can create a Customer Profile and permanently assign a long distance carrier. To sign up for your Customer Profile call Relay Texas Customer Service at 1-800-676-3777 (TTY/Voice).

What is the Customer Profile?

Individual preferences (long distance carrier, frequently dialed numbers, type of relay call, relay service announcement/explanation, etc.) in the Customer Profile are automatically displayed on the screen of the relay operator. This helps reduce set-up time and customizes each call.

Customer Profiles will work from residential lines, but will not work from restricted lines such as coin payphones or PBX telephone systems (usually at hotels, offices, agencies that have extension numbers). You can print the Customer Profile form and follow the return instructions, or call Relay Texas Customer Service at 1-800-676-3777 (TTY/Voice).

What are my rights as a relay user?

  • You have the right to ask the relay operator not to announce or explain the relay call. This may accelerate the call particularly if you are calling someone already familiar with the service. This information can be added to your Customer Profile.
  • You have the right to ask for VCO (Voice-Carry-Over). Many hard-of-hearing callers who want to use their own voice during the call use VCO. The relay operator types the caller’s response back to the VCO user.
  • You have the right to request a change of agent. For example, you can request a relay operator change because you prefer a different gender from the one who handled the call initially.
  • You have the right to use any of the relay service call types offered through Relay Texas (For example: Hard-of- hearing callers who want to use their own voice during the call may prefer to use VCO while speech- impaired callers who want to hear the other person voice during the call may prefer HCO service.)
  • You have the right to ask for a supervisor if you are not satisfied with the way the call is being handled by the relay operator.
  • You have the right to make as many relay calls of any length on any day or time and from anywhere you wish.
  • You have the right to say anything you want on a relay call.

What do I do if the relay operator who handles my call does not follow the proper procedures?

If you have a problem with a relay operator, you should record the operator’s four-digit ID number (e.g. 4902M) and ask to speak to a supervisor. You may also call Relay Texas Customer Service at 1-800-676-3777 (TTY/Voice) with your complaint. If a relay operator does a great job handing your call, you can also let us know. All feedback is beneficial and appreciated.

Who do I call if I have problems making a relay call?

English Texas Customer Service:
1-800-676-3777 (TTY/Voice/ASCII)

Spanish Texas Customer Service:
1-800-676-4290 (TTY/Voice)