Some CapTel (captioned telephone) users have complained that it is not fair that they have to pay for their long distance calls while VRS (video relay service) calls remain free. Comparing these two types of relay service is confusing because currently they are billed differently. CapTel is more akin to traditional relay because it is run through the phone line and therefore it is possible to know where a call originated and whether or not it is a LD or local call. Whereas VRS is Internet based like IP relay and there is no way to know where the call is coming from. Because of this, charges for Internet based relay calls, IP and VRS, are currently waived due to the billing issue.
In July, the FCC issued a ruling that any long distance calls made using CapTel phones should be charged as long distance calls made through any other traditional relay service. All TRS (VCO, HCO, speech to speech and TTY) have to pay for long distance calls. Internet based services (Internet Relay and VRS) have their charges waived.
The FCC ruling about charging for LD calls gave CapTel until January 12 to notify state administrators and customers of this ruling. Some states received advance notice as intended but others did not receive notification until the day before the deadline. This gave consumers who use the service a big surprise without any time to plan for incurring LD charges.
If anyone is still upset by the situation you can send your comments electronically to the FCC on their website.