An Albury resident is urging local shops and services to provide better service to deaf customers, after being repeatedly hung up on when calling in using the National Relay Service.
Springdale Heights resident Leisa King, who is deaf, said she uses the National Relay Service to contact local businesses, but they have been hanging up their phone because they think the call is a scam.
She said it was an experience that had happened many times.
"I think two weeks ago I rang one of the takeaway shops, I wont say the name, I rang and I rang and the first time they hung up," she said.
"So I tried again, the second, third, fourth and fifth time they still kept hanging up.
"In the end I gave up, rolled up my sleeves, I rode there and I said, 'look, we're really not pleased with your service, it was me that called you and you kept hanging up', and that person said 'I'm really sorry, I thought it was a scam'."
Ms King said the shop person was apologetic and passed on her mobile number instead.
"It's been happening for a while now, so I thought there needs to be something that makes people aware of the NRS for deaf people and for people hard of hearing," she said.
The NRS or National Relay Service is a 24/7 government initiative which helps people who are deaf or find it hard hearing or speaking with someone else over a phone.
Users can contact specifically trained staff through SMS or AUSLAN, who will speak with a hearing person over the phone and communicate back to the user.
Relay officers stay on the phone throughout each call to help it go smoothly, but don't change or get in the way of what is being said.
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Ms King wants people to know it's not a scam.
"I hope [shops and services] wait until they finish actually explaining who they are and not hang up before the person can explain," she said.
"Don't cut it off, they need to wait and let the person explain who they are."
She said she had gone into businesses in person many times to explain that it was her calling the shop through the NRS.
"I explain because they don't know what's going on," she said.
"But it's really really frustrating, because we're calling and hearing people straight away get in, whereas for deaf, we have to wait and wait and wait and people hang up all the time.
"It's just wasting our time."
Ms King said it was even more frustrating because users often had a long wait to connect with the NRS to start with.
"Because so many deaf people call through the NRS and they're trying to support so many people, you are constantly waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and you're cued up and it can be for a long time," she said.
"So by the time you get through to the service that you want, it doesn't matter if it's takeaway or if it's an emergency service, you've been waiting for ages.
"Some people hang up in the end, because they're just so frustrated with waiting."
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