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CRS 711 Choice and Captel Frequently Asked Questions

  

As a consumer, you may have questions about California Relay Service (CRS) and the services available to you. To learn more about CRS, please select from the following group of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):  

  CRS FAQS 

  1. If I reach an answering machine or a voice mail system, can the CRS Communications Assistant (CA) leave a message? 
  2. Can I use CRS from a pay phone? 
  3. I don’t understand the abbreviations and terms used in a CRS call. What do they mean? 
  4. Does CRS offer Video Relay Service (VRS) and Internet Protocol (IP) Relay service? 
  5. Since Video Relay Service (VRS) is now available, can I apply for a videophone or a webcam from the California Telephone Access Program (CTAP)? 
  6. Can I dial 911 using VRS or IP Relay? 

     

 

 1.    If I reach an answering machine or voice mail, can the CRS Communications Assistant (CA) leave a message?
Messages can be left on answering machines or voice mail systems through CRS.

If you think you might get an answering machine when you call and don't want the CA to relay the recording word-for-word, ask CRS CA to either summarize the recording or ignore it, so you can simply leave your message.

 
CRS CAs have a “Hot Key” that allows them to electronically capture automated voice messages and interactive menus, and then relay information without interruption. This reduces the need to make additional calls to get the full message.

 
If you know the option or extension number you wish to reach, you can tell CRS CAs before they make your call.

 
You can create a standard message you want left when you reach a telephone answering machine, e.g., this might include identifying yourself by name, requesting the person call you back, and providing the phone number of CRS, and your number.
 

2.     Can I use CRS from a pay phone?
Yes, there are public TTY pay phones available, and they can be used to make CRS calls.

When making a CRS call from a pay phone within a local calling area, there is no charge for your call.

If your call is outside the local calling area, you will be required to use one of the following billing options:

  • Pre-paid calling card
  • Telephone calling card (check with your telephone service provider)
  • Collect call (bill to the person you are calling)
  • Bill to another telephone number (e.g., home or office)

3.     I don’t understand the abbreviations and terms used in a CRS call. What do they mean? 

 Abbreviation

 Abbreviation 

 Meaning 

GA

“Go Ahead" (it is your turn to type)

SK

“Stop Keying" (end of conversation)

GA or SK

Completing all messages and getting ready to hang up

Q or QQ

Question mark in lieu of question symbol (?)

SKSK

Hanging up

TDD

Telecommunication Device for the Deaf, used interchangeably for TTY

XXX

Erasing a typing error

BKGD

Background noise description (e.g., baby crying, dog barking, TV noise)

 

 4.     Does CRS offer Video Relay Service (VRS) and Internet Protocol (IP) Relay services?  

 

These services are not currently part of CRS, and are federally administered.

 

5.     Since Video Relay Service (VRS) is now available, can I apply for a videophone or a webcam from CTAP?
 

CTAP does not currently provide videophones or webcams. However, you can purchase the equipment at retail stores and use them with federally administered VRS, or obtain equipment directly from VRS providers. 

 

6.     Can I dial 911 using VRS or IP Relay?
 

VRS and IP Relay providers are now required to process your 911 call. However, you are strongly encouraged to call 911 directly on your TTY in emergency situations. For details visit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).


 

“711 Choice” FAQs

  1. Two relay users share a phone in my home. Can we register different preferences? 
  2. What are the differences between the 711 Choice preferences and/or the individual relay service provider profile form?  
  3. Can I register my 711 Choice in a paper form or can I do it on this Web site? 
  4. I've already selected a relay provider with a 711 Choice Form. Can I change my choice? 
  5. If I want to make 711 Choice changes, how will a provider know it's for me? 
  6. Can I call 711 with the same 711 Choice Form for my home and work? 
  7. Are there some phone numbers that cannot be registered with 711 Choices? 
  8. Can I still call the DDTP 800 numbers to reach CRS?
      

1.     Two relay users share a phone in my home. Can we register different preferences?
 

Only one user per phone number can register a preferred CRS provider. The other customer must dial the direct toll free number for the preferred relay service provider.

There are two ways to use different modalities from one line:

  • Select one relay service provider on your 711 Choice Form. Leave the relay modality blank. All the people sharing the phone number will be able to dial 711 to get the CRS provider. When the CA answers, each caller can request a specific relay mode (i.e., TTY, HCO, VCO, STS).

     
  • Allow one person to choose the CRS provider and the mode. The other person sharing the phone number can call the relay service provider or DDTP direct toll free number using the preferred mode.

2.     What are the differences between the 711 Choice preferences and the individual relay service provider profile form?
 

 

The 711 Choice Form routes your call to the specific CRS provider, a specific relay mode (i.e., TTY, HCO, VCO, STS), and your preferred language.

If you have other call handling preferences, you can fill out a longer, separate Customer Profile with each CRS provider you want to use. For example, if you do not want the CA to enter anything while your call is on hold, you can note that on the CRS provider Customer Profile Form for your account.

 

3.     Can I register my 711 Choice in paper form and/or can I do it on this Web site?
 

You can download a printable copy and submit the 711 Choice Form to CRS providers.

 

4.     I've already selected a relay provider with a 711 Choice Form. Can I change my choice?
 

Yes. You can make changes as often as you'd like. As a matter of fact, the Program encourages CRS users to try all providers.

 

5.     If I want to make 711 Choice changes, how will a provider know it's for me?
 

 

Call any Customer Service number from the same phone number that is registered. You can also set up a security password when you first register your choices. After that, you can call from any telephone number to remotely make changes to your registered phone number by providing your password.

 

If you forget your password, call the Customer Service number of one of the relay service providers for assistance.

 

 6.     Can I call 711 with the same 711 Choice Form for my home and work?
 

No, choice preferences are matched to the telephone number that you originally registered. You will need to register your 711 Choices separately for your home and for your workplace by calling from those specific numbers.

 

  7.     Are there some phone numbers that cannot be registered with 711 Choices?
 

 

Yes, some phone numbers, such as phones that work through some business telephone systems (such as PBX), cannot be registered with 711 Choice. This is because some telephone lines do not send that particular phone number to the 711 telephone network so your choices will not be seen. If you are not sure, call any Customer Service number to see if the number you are calling from can be registered.

 

  8.      Can I still call the DDTP 800 numbers to reach CRS?
  

Yes, you can still call the Program 800 numbers. The 800 numbers have not changed.

  

Captioned Telephone FAQs 

  1. If I have CTAP equipment, will I be able to get a CapTel telephone, too? 
  2. Are there additional qualifying criteria to receive a CapTel phone? 
  3. Does a CapTel telephone work with traditional relay? 
  4. Can I use the CapTel telephone to translate what my caller is saying from English to Spanish, or vice versa? 
  5. Will I still be able to place no cost long distance calls when using the service? 
  6. If I need to call 9-1-1, will my CapTel telephone work for this call? 
  7. What if my CapTel telephone doesn’t work? Can I exchange it for a new one? 
  8. What happens if I no longer wish to use the CapTel phone? Can I return the telephone at no cost and get a different phone? 
  9. What does the text message, “California law requires you to inform the other person(s) that there is an operator on the call.” mean? 
  10. What am I required to do? 
  11. Will the text message interfere with my getting captions at the start of the call or delay my captions as the other pre-recorded announcement did? 
  12. What if I choose not to make my own announcement? What happens? How is this going to be enforced? 
  13. Do I need to announce this on every call? 
  14. I will announce to my callers that this call is being captioned, but I don’t want this text message present at the beginning of every call. How can I remove this? 
  15. What can I do if the other person refuses to continue with the call after I inform them that the CA is on the line?  

    

  

  1.     If I have CTAP equipment, will I be able to get a CapTel telephone, too?
  

Yes. However, you may be asked to return your other CTAP equipment if you choose to keep the captioned telephone after 60 days.

 

2.     Are there additional qualifying criteria to receive a CapTel phone?
 

Yes, to qualify for a CapTel phone, you must:

  • Be comfortable with a third party listening to and re-voicing part of your captioned calls
  • Be able to voice or speak for yourself on the telephone
  • Be able to understand some speech when using a standard or amplified telephone
  • Be able to read the font displayed on the CapTel phone
  • Be able and willing to provide feedback about your experiences using the CapTel telephone and services on a regular basis
  • Have an available analog telephone line in your home. If you have DSL Internet service, you will need a DSL filter from your DSL service provider
  • Be willing to use the CapTel telephone on a regular basis

 

3.     Does a CapTel telephone work with traditional relay?
 

Yes, however, when the captioned telephone user dials 711, it operates as a Voice Carry Over (VCO) telephone and does not go through the captioning center. With VCO, the CapTel telephone user talks via the handset. The other party types their responses, which appear directly on the CapTel telephone display screen. During a VCO call, only one person can speak at a time. The CapTel telephone user must take turns with the person they are calling.

 

4.     Can I use the CapTel telephone to translate what my caller is saying from English to Spanish, or vice versa?
 

No, the Spanish captioning service provides captions of a conversation in the Spanish language and the English captioning service provides captions of a conversation in English. The CA does not translate between English and Spanish. Also, you cannot switch between languages in the middle of a call.

 

Please note: Spanish captioned service currently does not operate 24 hours a day.

 

5.     Will I still be able to place no cost long distance calls when using the service? 

  

No, long distance calls will be charged to your phone bill at the rate specified by your long distance provider. To prevent higher long distance charges, register your long distance provider with CapTel Customer Service.

 

Please note: Neither the DDTP/CTAP, nor CapTel are affiliated with your phone company. Therefore, all billing-related questions or disputes involving these costs must be handled by your long distance or other phone provider.

 

  6.     If I need to call 9-1-1, will my CapTel telephone work for this call?
  

 Yes, with captioned telephones, 911 emergency calls are automatically routed to your local 911 center since the call is placed from your standard home phone line. You will talk into the handset to the 911 operator and instructions will automatically appear on your screen.

 

Please note: You will NOT be able to hear your local 911 operator through the handset on a one-line captioned telephone—only captioning will be available.

 

  7.     What if my CapTel telephone doesn’t work? Can I exchange it for a new one?
  

 Yes, if your captioned telephone does not work properly, you can exchange it. If you are experiencing any problems with your CapTel telephone or service you can bring your broken phone into one of the CTAP Service Centers to exchange it. Click here for a more extensive explanation of the CTAP repair policy.

  

8.     What happens if I no longer wish to use the CapTel phone? Can I return the telephone at no cost and get a different phone?
Yes, if you decide that you no longer want to use the CapTel phone, please get in touch with the State of California CTAP Contact Center to tell them that you no longer wish to use the CapTel phone.

 The DDTP/CTAP Customer Service Representative (CSR) will schedule a UPS pick up at no cost to you. While speaking to CSRs, inform them that you are interested in other telephone equipment you can qualify for through the DDTP’s CTAP. The CSRs will assess and order the DDTP/CTAP telephone that best meets your needs, and have it shipped to your home. You can also bring your CapTel telephone into one of the Service Centers to exchange it. When you go to the CTAP Service Center, a Customer Advisor will assess your needs and provide you with a suitable DDTP/CTAP telephone that you can take home with you that very same day!

 

  9.    What does the text message, “California law requires you to inform the other person(s) that there is an operator on the call.” mean?   

This text message reminds you that you are legally responsible to let the other parties know there is a CapTel captionist/CA present on the call. As part of California’s Privacy Law, an individual cannot listen to a call without the consent of all parties.

   

10.     What am I required to do?  

 

 

 

 

You are legally responsible to inform the person you are speaking with that there is a captionist listening to what they say so their words are captioned for you to read on your CapTel phone display screen. The words you use to inform the other party are up to you. It is your legal responsibility to make all parties on the call aware there is a captionist/CA, or operator on the call.

 

 11.    Will the text message interfere with my getting captions at the start of the call or delay my captions as the other pre-recorded announcement did?  

The captions will begin right after the text message and will not interfere with your conversation.

 

12.  What if I choose not to make my own announcement? What happens? How is this going to be enforced? 

Each CapTel user is legally responsible for complying with the State’s privacy laws, which prohibit an unidentified person from listening to a telephone call without the consent of all parties to the call. You may also contact the California Public Utilities Commission at 1-800 273-3614 if you have questions regarding these laws.

13. Do I need to announce this on every call? 

A captioned telephone user has a legal duty to inform hearing participants of the presence of the CA. In the event that a captioned telephone participant regularly communicates with the same hearing person, and has provided that hearing person with notice of the CAs presence on at least one call, the duty to inform has been met..

 

 14.    I will announce to my callers that this call is being captioned, but I don’t want this text message present at the beginning of every call. How can I remove this?  

The law requires CapTel users to make the announcement and the text message is designed to be a friendly reminder. At this time, the text reminder message cannot be removed.

 

 15.    What can I do if the other person refuses to continue with the call after I inform them that the CA is on the line? 

You might explain to the person that you have difficulty hearing over the telephone and that the CA assists you in using the telephone.

 

 

VA STS FAQs

1. Can I receive a Visually Assisted Speech-to-Speech (VA STS) call?
2. Can I still make regular Speech-to-Speech (STS) calls?
3. How do I register for a SkypeTM account?
4. How does the Communications Assistant (CA) know I want to make a VA STS call?
5. What to do when I can’t get through to a VA STS CA?
6. What if I have technical difficulties using VA STS?
7. Other VA STS questions?  

 

1.     Can I receive a Visually Assisted Speech-to-Speech (VA STS) call?  

 
Yes! When individuals and businesses are initiating a Speech-to-Speech (STS) call to you, you have a choice whether to process the call as a regular STS call, or whether to turn on the VA STS feature. That, of course, requires that you are near your computer with a webcam or using a videophone when receiving the relay call.

 
 

  2.     Can I still make regular Speech-to-Speech (STS) calls?  

 

  

 
Yes, absolutely! You can continue to use the regular STS access numbers and place STS calls without using the video feature. You decide when you want to place a VA STS call by dialing the VA STS access phone numbers. The Communications Assistant (CA) will verify before the call whether you want your call processed as a regular STS call VA STS call. They will not turn on the video if you don’t want that.
 


 

 3.    How do I register for a SkypeTM account?      
 

 


If you haven’t done so yet, please sign up for a free SkypeTM user account. Please follow the instructions on the SkypeTM Web site or in your videophone manual for downloading and installing the SkypeTM software.

 

 
Whether you are using a computer or a videophone, you should be able to adjust the settings of your SkypeTM account (under “Tools”) to automatically accept incoming calls and video from people on your contact list. We recommend enabling this feature, as it allows you to quickly receive an incoming video call from a CA.

 

  4. How does the Communications Assistant (CA) know I want to make a VA STS call?  

 
For a CA to connect to your SkypeTM account, they need to know your SkypeTM account name. In advance of placing any VA STS calls, please contact the STS Training Line or Customer Service numbers for one of the California Relay Service (CRS) providers and request that they set up a profile for the telephone number from which you will be making VA STS calls. You can specify a wide variety of information in your profile regarding how you would like your call handled. At a minimum, it would be best if your profile reflects that you are a STS user and contains your SkypeTM account name. Doing this will allow the CA to connect the video smoothly for your VA STS call.

 
 5. What to do when I can’t get through to a VA STS CA?  

 
There is only a limited number of VA STS CAs available at this time. If you can’t get through to a VA STS CA it is probably because they are all busy handling other calls.
You may want to try the following:
• wait ten minutes and call again, or
• call the other provider.
 

  6. What if I have technical difficulties using VA STS?  

 
 

I don’t know how to use SkypeTM


Check out the tutorials on the SkypeTM Web site. The tutorials will teach you about the technical requirements for your computer to run SkypeTM. For example, how to download SkypeTM, how to create a SkypeTM user account, and how to use the SkypeTM service.

 

I want to try VA STS at my job, but there are firewalls preventing this

 
You may want to talk to your employer about firewalls. The SkypeTM Web site offers instructional materials to help navigate through firewalls and may be helpful to you and your employer. The following link provides a technical manual which you can give to your employer’s IT Department to resolve any problems due to firewalls or network connections.

 

SkypeTM video is not working properly

Have you tried the following? 
    • Make sure you are using a wired connection, not Wi-Fi. 
    • In our past experience, sometimes it takes a little time for the video quality to “settle” at the beginning of the video call. In that case, the video quality should improve within the first couple of minutes.

 

SkypeTM has a couple of support tips already on their Web site:

 
How can I check that my Web cam is working correctly?
Why can’t I see any video from my Web cam?
Additional video tips 
 

 

SkypeTM audio is not working properly

 
Have you tried the following?
• Turn down the volume and mute the microphone on your computer. Since you will always be connected to the CA over the phone, there is no need to transmit audio through SkypeTM.

 
Also, see the SkypeTM Web site for more tips:

Additional audio tips
 

  7. Other VA STS questions  

 
If you have any other questions about VA STS Service, or how to get started with VA STS, please contact the CRS providers or check out their Web site: 
 

CRS Providers
  Hamilton Relay     AT&T Relay
 For questions about VA STS, and to sign up for VA STS:  1-877-632-9095 (24/7)  1-866-288-1909 (24/7)
or
1-866-844-2626
(Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm or by appointment)
 
 VA STS online resources  ca-relay.com  crsrelayservices.att.com

 

 

 

 SkypeTM is a trade mark of Skype, and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program (DDTP) are not affiliated, sponsored, authorized or otherwise associated with the Skype group of companies.