Alabama Relay
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At a Quick Glance

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Alabama Relay
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you are Hearing, click here

If you are Hard-of-Hearing, click here

If you are Deaf, click here


If you want information on CapTel, please click here.

Who can use Alabama Relay?
Alabama Relay is a free public service that provides a communication link between standard telephone (voice) users and persons who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing and speech-disabled using text telephones (TTYs), captioned telephone (CapTel) or personal computers via the Internet.

When using the relay, I have trouble with interactive recordings and Relay Operator redialings. Why?
Because of the way the relay center computers are set up, when a Relay Operator reaches a recording and needs to enter a number, they have to hang up and redial to enter the number. 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 service; this would minimize the need for the Relay Operator to redial repeatedly.

What products are available for people who are hard of hearing?
Amplified telephones and Voice-Carry-Over (VCO) telephones have features of a standard telephone and a TTY. 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, allowing him or her to read the spoken comments on the telephone's text display.

Why should I use Alabama Relay? I benefit from a hearing aid or cochlear implant and can use an amplified telephone?
Approximately 10% of Americans have hearing loss, from mild to profound hearing. Some are capable of using their telephones with assistance of hearing aids/cochlear implants and telephone amplifiers. Others are not able to hear enough to use their telephones; they use a Text Telephone (TTY) to type and read words.

Some people who are hard of hearing have difficulties in understanding many words spoken, even with hearing aids and amplified telephones. Those who are “on the fence” might be reluctant to use a TTY and Alabama Relay. Eventually, they will find it much more convenient after making a few Alabama Relay calls.

Voice-Carry-Over (VCO) is a popular feature for hard of hearing Alabama Relay users because it allows them to speak directly to other persons. To obtain more information about Alabama Relay and Voice Carry-Over (VCO), please call Alabama Customer Service at 1-866-931-9027 (VCO).

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 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 Alabama Relay when I use a different long distance provider?
Alabama Relay will honor requests by users to be billed through their preferred long distance carriers. Alabama Relay users need to inform the Relay Operator to bill their calls to a designated long distance carrier. If the user does not make this request to the Relay Operator, the long distance call will be billed by Sprint as a default long distance carrier.

For more convenience, Alabama Relay users can create their Customer Profiles and lock in their long distance carrier. This will prevent other long distance carriers from billing Alabama Relay users. To sign up for your Customer Profile, you can either download the document here or call the Alabama Customer Service at 1-800-676-3777 (TTY/Voice/TeleBraille), 1-866-931-9027 (VCO), or 1-877-787-1989 (STS).

Why doesn't Alabama Relay accept my new long distance carrier?
The number of long distance carriers varies from year to year. Alabama Relay strives to have them on the Carrier of Choice listing. Major long distance carriers are on the listing. If your long distance carrier is not on the listing, please have your long distance carrier send an e-mail to Missy McManu, Alabama Relay Customer Relations Manager,

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 makes relay call more customized.

Customer Profiles will work from residential lines. It 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 here and simply follow the return instructions.

What are my rights as a relay user?

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 number (e.g., 4902M) and ask to speak to a supervisor or you can call the Alabama Customer Service at 1-800-676-3777 (TTY/Voice/TeleBraille), 1-866-931-9027 (VCO), or 1-877-787-1989 (STS) with your complaint. If a Relay Operator does a great job handling 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?

If you are Hearing, click here

If you are Deaf, click here