Spam text / SMS message from IWRelay

June 30, 2011

Earlier today, I got this text message on my iPhone from 801-701-8103:

IWRelay VRS has Top Interpreters, Fast Service, and HD video quality guaranteed. Use YOUR iPhone contacts. Try it now!

IWRelay is one of several video relay services (VRS) connecting deaf callers with hearing callers using sign language interpreters. Being deaf myself, this “spam” text message was obviously targeted at me. Several of my deaf friends – all using iPhones too – got the same message too.

This is unacceptable on several grounds:

1. A spam text message is ALWAYS unwelcome and much more intrusive than spam email.

2. It seems IWRelay got our mobile numbers by harvesting them from its VRS app on our iPhones. And then IWRelay texted us an advertisement. I hear that this may be in violation of Federal regulations prohibiting such marketing text messages. Like Anthony said on Twitter, “just because they have our number doesnt mean its ok to text us.”

I’ll research these Federal regulations. I had never used IWRelay’s video relay services. Based on its irresponsible decision to send a marketing text message to our iPhones, I will never use its services.

Edit: A Public Notice published by FCC on January 26, 2005 explains that using customer info to contact prior users to make more VRS calls may be fraud:

[W]e understand that some providers use their customer database to contact prior users of their service and suggest, urge, or tell them to make more VRS calls. This marketing practice constitutes an improper use of information obtained from consumers using the service, [footnote omitted] is inconsistent with the notion of functional equivalency, and may constitute a fraud on the Interstate TRS Fund because the Fund, and not the customer, pays for the cost of the VRS call.

In addition, and as noted in the comments, one can file a complaint with FCC using this form.


3 Responses to “Spam text / SMS message from IWRelay”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I got the same thing, and wasn’t too pleased. The FCC has a form you can use to report the text marketing spam:

    I’m sure you can report it to the FCC’s TRS department as well – didn’t get that far yet.

  2. Steve Says:

    I got message also. First one I have got from IWRelay in 1 almost a year of service. Reminder is good cause of other company new service with poor video quality. =)

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