TDI Board of Directors Issues Position Statement


On July 29, 2009, during its regular meeting on the eve of the 18th Biennial TDI International Conference, the TDI Board of Directors issued a position statement regarding allegations of “manufactured VRS minutes.” The allegations are in reference to the illegal and unethical practice of creating calls using VRS for the sole purpose of accruing minutes billable for reimbursement from the Interstate TRS Fund, which is managed by the National Exchange Carriers Association (NECA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Because the investigation is still ongoing, TDI will not comment on either the parties involved or the status of the investigation itself.

Dr. Roy E. Miller, President said “Over the years, TDI has worked closely with the FCC, other sister consumer advocacy groups, and TRS industry members to nurture the evolution of many fine telecommunications relay service features such as Video Relay Service. We take very seriously any allegation of illegal and fraudulent practices that affect this vital communication link between deaf and hard of hearing consumers and society. We must all work together to maintain the long-term integrity of the Interstate TRS Fund.”


TDI Position Statement Regarding Allegations of “Manufactured VRS Minutes”

TDI is deeply concerned about the allegations concerning abuse of Video Relay Services (VRS) and the Interstate TRS Fund, by engaging in the illegal and unethical practice of billing for “manufactured minutes”. With respect to that issue, TDI takes the following position:

TDI takes no position regarding the truth or accuracy of those allegations.

It is the position of TDI that VRS is an absolutely critical public service that was established by the U.S. Congress under Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, to provide functionally equivalent telephone service for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. It is of the utmost importance that people be able to communicate in their preferred language with any and all sectors of society, especially during the course of employment, and during emergency situations where efficient communication may save a life. TDI stands ready to educate any and all parties regarding the importance of VRS.

TDI fully supports the strict enforcement of all laws and regulations regarding the operation of VRS.

Because VRS services are reimbursed to providers from the Interstate TRS Fund, and because those services are essential to the well-being of the community of deaf and hard of hearing VRS users and the hearing people with whom they communicate, it is of utmost importance that the integrity of the service and of the Fund be maintained at all times. The Interstate TRS Fund must only be used to reimburse for legitimate VRS minutes.

The alleged practice, if found to be true, of “manufacturing minutes” is illegal, unethical, and intolerable, and has a direct adverse impact on the availability of precious resources, including unnecessary longer wait times for VRS to answer calls, and the lack of available interpreters in the community.

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About TDI:
TDI is a consumer advocacy organization that provides leadership in achieving equal access to telecommunications, media, and information technologies for 31 million Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing. TDI publishes the TDI World quarterly magazine and the annual TDI National Directory & Resource Guide, also known as the Blue Book. For more information on supporting TDI’s work or to become a member, please go to

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