Frequently Asked Questions
Following are answers about Sorenson VRS® (SVRS®) service and videophones and their many empowering features. To find the information you need, simply select the tab that corresponds to the category you are looking for. Click on the question to view the answer.
What is a default provider?
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) requires all VRS users to select a default provider. A default provider is required to provide VRS users with:
- A local 10-digit numbers
- E911 service/li>
A default provider also delivers enhanced features to VRS users whom it serves. Sorenson’s cutting edge features include SignMail®, LightRing®, Sorenson Video Center, Sorenson myPhone, Contact Photos and many more.
Your videophone will be connected to the network of the default VRS provider you select, determining the features available to you. Sorenson can deliver all our enhanced features to users who select Sorenson as their default provider. However, Sorenson's network cannot deliver features to a user who has selected a different default VRS provider.
What is a local 10-digit number?
Local 10-digit numbers indicate the geographic location, or "area code," in which you live or work. Calls to a local 10-digit number from hearing callers who are outside your local calling area may cause the hearing caller to incur long distance charges.
Can people call me point-to-point using my local 10-digit number?
Yes. When you select Sorenson as your default provider, you receive a local 10-digit number. This number will be used by both hearing and deaf people to call you.
Why should I select Sorenson as my default provider?
Sorenson processes more calls than all other VRS providers combined. When you select Sorenson as your default VRS provider, Sorenson will provide you with a local 10-digit number. If you experience an emergency, SVRS provides you with enhanced 911 (E911) services to assist you in your time of crisis. Sorenson also provides additional advanced features, such as SignMail®, LightRing®, Sorenson Video Center, Sorenson myPhone, Contact Photos and many more.
How do I make Sorenson my default provider?
Your default provider is responsible for providing you VRS, E911 and all other services. If you would like to select SVRS as your default VRS provider, a friendly customer information representative (CIR) will be glad to help you. Please call the CIR team at 801-386-8500 and tell them you’d like to choose Sorenson as your default VRS provider.
How do I port my number to Sorenson?
To port your number to Sorenson, you will need to fill out a Standard Letter of Agency (LOA) and send it to Sorenson. Click the link below to see a LOA and to learn more about porting your number to Sorenson.
Will I be billed for calls placed through Sorenson VRS?
No, all VRS calls are paid for by the government’s Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) fund. If hearing individuals call you using your 10-digit local number, they may receive long distance charges from their phone company
How is Sorenson VRS funded?
All VRS companies are funded through the same Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) program. Funds are made available by a federal law, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires functional equivalency in telecommunications access. Sorenson is compensated for the minutes of Sorenson VRS calls that are interpreted. Sorenson is not reimbursed for equipment that is supplied, including videophones and routers, or installation and service of that equipment.
What are the Sorenson VRS operating hours?
Sorenson VRS is available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Is the information I share through Sorenson VRS kept confidential
Yes, all Sorenson VRS interpreters are required to abide by the confidentiality rules as outlined by the FCC in Section 705 of the Communications Act and as outlined in the TRS rules 47 C.F.R. § 64.604. Mandatory minimum standards can be found at: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/4regs.html.
Does Sorenson VRS follow the policies contained in the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)?
Yes, according to the guidelines established by the FCC regarding the policies set forth in the Privacy Rule of HIPAA, all Sorenson VRS calls involving a doctor or health care professional can be accepted without requiring Sorenson VRS or video relay interpreters (VIs) to sign a disclosure agreement. The FCC emphasizes that all forms of TRS, including TTY-based relay, Internet Protocol (IP) Relay, Video Relay Service (VRS) and Speech-to-Speech (STS) can be used to facilitate calls between health care professionals and patients without violating HIPAA's Privacy Rule. Sorenson VRS fully supports HIPAA's Privacy Rule and follows all guidelines established by the FCC. To read more about this information, please read http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-04-1716A1.doc.
Why can’t interpreters use the privacy screen during long hold times?
The FCC has ruled that interpreters cannot use a privacy/hold screen during a VRS call. You can still use the privacy screen on the videophone, but you must be engaged in the call at all times. If you decide to use the privacy screen or leave the call, you must resume the call by taking down the privacy screen or coming back onscreen within five minutes. If you do not resume the call within five minutes, the FCC rules state that the interpreter must end the call.
Am I required to use Sorenson VRS for a minimum number of minutes each month to keep my Sorenson videophone?
No. There are no minimum SVRS usage requirements for getting or keeping a Sorenson videophone.
Will Sorenson Communications ever ask for my personal financial information?
Sorenson Communications will never call you to ask for sensitive personal or financial information. Unfortunately, scammers have used Sorenson VRS has been used in the past to conduct fraudulent scams. We are vigilant in trying to prevent and terminate all scams that try to take advantage of our systems, services and customers.
Remember; never provide your personal or financial information when you receive a relay service call from someone you do not know. People may claim that they are calling on behalf of Sorenson Communications and ask you to provide personal or financial information, such as bank account routing information, credit card numbers or Social Security numbers. For example, one scammer used the name of Sorenson VRS and claimed the deaf person contacted had won a Sorenson-sponsored "lottery." The scammer deceptively claimed that the deaf person must pay a "fee" prior to collecting his or her "winnings" and then asked the customer to provide bank account routing information or a credit card number.
If someone contacts you making these or similar claims, it is a scam to steal your money or to commit fraud. Do not provide your personal or financial information to anyone, unless you have initiated the contact or you have confirmed that you are dealing with a legitimate organization. If you are unsure, ask for the caller's name, business identity, telephone number, street address, email address and business license number. Be sure to verify that the company is legitimate by, for example, checking with your local consumer protection office, Better Business Bureau, state Attorney General, the National Fraud Information Center, the Federal Trade Commission or other consumer groups. If you cannot verify that a company is legitimate, do not provide them with your information.
If you have been or are being contacted by someone claiming that you have won a prize or lottery sponsored by Sorenson Communications, please immediately alert Sorenson Communications by sending an e-mail to VRScomments@sorenson.com. Immediate investigation will begin to stop fraudulent activity.
For more information about how you can protect yourself against these and other fraudulent practices, please consult the Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Federal Trade Commission, at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/index.shtml, or the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center, at http://www.ic3.gov/.
What type of calls will incur long distance charges?
Hearing individuals who live outside of your local area may be charged a fee for long distance calls to your number.
Can I use Sorenson VRS to make international phone calls?
If you are in the United States, you can use SVRS to call anyone, anywhere in the world, who speaks either English or Spanish. Unfortunately, if you reside outside of the United States, you cannot make an SVRS call or use SVRS to make 911 emergency calls.
What do I need to do if I am going to be traveling outside of the U.S.?
If you are going to be traveling outside of the U.S. temporarily, please contact our CIR department at 801-386-8500, before you begin your travels. Please keep in mind that as you are traveling outside of the U.S., you will not be able to make 911 emergency calls.
Can a hearing person receive an SVRS videophone?
Sorenson VRS equipment and videophones are generally distributed only to deaf individuals who primarily use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate.