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Don't Hang Up on Relay Calls

Would you be upset if you tried to call a business and they kept hanging up on you?

There are over half a million consumers in Minnesota who are deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, or who have a speech disability, and they use relay services to call businesses and organizations like yours. However, many businesses hang up when they receive a relay call because they think it is a telemarketer, or they are concerned that they will be defrauded, or they don't understand how a telephone call through Relay works.

These hang-ups are not only frustrating for consumers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have a speech disability, but they result in poor customer relations and a loss of business.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reminds businesses that if they accept calls, receive orders, or do business by phone with the public, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires them to accept calls, receive orders, and do business by phone with members of the public who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have a speech disability and use relay services.

If you are unsure how relay services work and you would like a free presentation for your business, contact us and we can clearly explain the relay call process to help you and your employees feel confident receiving calls from relay users (1-800-657-3775 or mn.relay@state.mn.us).

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits businesses from rejecting calls made using relay services, businesses can protect themselves against fraud. If you are concerned about fraudulent business transactions through relay services, please view the FCC’s Guide on Internet Protocol Relay Fraud for steps that you can take to protect your business.

Suspected Fraudulent Business Transactions Via Relay

People without disabilities who are posing as deaf or hard of hearing consumers are misusing IP Relay to perpetrate fraud, often by using stolen or fake credit cards.

Merchants that accept orders made by telephone for goods or services should take steps to ensure that, for any order placed by phone, the payment method or credit card is valid and the purchaser is authorized to use the particular credit card.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reminds businesses that if they accept calls, receive orders, or do business by phone with the public, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires them to accept calls, receive orders, and do business by phone with members of the public who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have a speech disability and use relay services.

By working together, the FCC, law enforcement, informed businesses, and relay providers can combat fraud and ensure that people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have a speech disability have equal access to the products and services any business has to offer.

If you are concerned about fraudulent business transactions through relay services, please view the FCC’s Guide on Internet Protocol Relay Fraud for steps that you can take to protect your business.

If you have been a victim of fraud or attempted fraud, you can report it directly to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov or 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). You can also report such activities to state law enforcement agencies. Further, you can file complaints and information regarding Internet crimes with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.

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