Telecommunication Relay Services

What is Washington Relay?

Telecommunication Relay Services is also known as Washington Relay. It is a free service provided by ODHH to ensure equal communication access to telephone service for people who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing and speech disabled.

This service allows hearing callers to communicate with deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind and speech disabled relay users and vice versa through specially trained relay operators.

Calls can be made to anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with no restrictions on the number, length, or type of calls. All calls are confidential; no recordings are kept.

Click on the icons to learn more about the relay feature offered.

Voice User Captioned Telephone HCO STS Telebraille TTY VCO  VRS

How does Washington Relay work?

Anyone wishing to use Washington Relay should 711 or 1-800-833-6384 to connect with a relay operator, who will dial the requested number and relay the conversation between the two callers. Either a person with a hearing loss or speech disability with specialized telecommunication equipment or a person using a standard phone may initiate a call. After dialing Washington Relay, the person initiating the call gives the desired phone number to the Washington Relay Operator, who then dials that number using another phone line. The operator types the standard phone user's spoken words to the person using a specialized telecommunication equipment and voices the specialized telecommunication equipment user's text messages.

Don't Hang Up

Washington Relay is designed to connect deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing and speech disabled people with people and businesses that use standard (voice) telephones. Although the relay service has been in existence for more than 18 years, many people don't understand how it works. As a result, people who receive relay calls often hang up, believing the caller is a telemarketer.

When you experience a hang up on a relay call, please contact Washington Relay at and it will contact the business to educate them about relay services.

Also, you may wish to consider changing the way you have your relay calls announced so instead of saying, "This is the Washington Relay Service...." you ask the relay operator to begin "This is a customer of your business calling through the Washington Relay," or "This is [your name] calling through Washington Relay." Some people have found that this kind of greeting reduces hang ups. Another option would be to ask the relay operator not to announce relay, and give the relay operator instructions as of how you'd like the call to be announced, such as "Hello, this is [your name]," however it becomes your responsibility to educate the person that you're using the relay service (as the relay operator automatically becomes the third party after you take over).

How to File a Relay Complaint

If you have a complaint, comment, concerns or suggestions, you may contact a Washington Relay service customer service representative by dialing the toll free number and providing the information listed below. If you have a complaint related to an internet-based relay service provider, we encourage you to contact that provider or go to  To file a WATRS TRS or CTS complaint, please contact a WATRS customer service rep at 1-800-974-1548 V/TTY or email us at

WTRS Customer Service Contact Information

WTRS Customer Service Representatives are available to answer questions, take customer commendations, complaints, or feedback. When calling about a specific incident, please provide the following information:

  • Relay operator's identification number
  • Date
  • Time of call
  • Brief description of the complaint

To reach Washington Relay Customer Care, go to the following web link:, 800-974-1548 V/TTY or email

About Telecommunication Relay Service

Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) was established to provide telephone relay services to deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, and speech disabled residents of Washington state in accordance with Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The recommendations of the 1991 Washington State TTY Task Force resulted in legislation that established TRS under ODHH.

ODHH is certified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as a TRS administrator for Washington state. Presently, through a competitive procurement process, Hamilton Relay is the TRS provider for Washington, offering TRS and Captioned Telephone Service to state residents.

Federal Communication Commission (FCC)

Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires the telecommunication relay services. The FCC oversees Title IV. States and telecommunication providers are responsible to provide telecommunication relay services to ensure people with hearing loss and speech disabilities achieve functionally equivalent access to telecommunication services. The FCC establishes rules and makes decisions that affect people with hearing loss and speech disabilities, states, telecommunication providers and relay providers. The FCC is required to gather public comment before making these rules and decisions. The FCC regulates TRS (including Captioned Telephone Service), Internet-based relay services and video relay services. At this time, states are responsible for the provision of telecommunication relay services only.

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