Frequently Asked Questions

I accidentally unsubscribed, help!

If you text stop or cancel, then the bot can no longer reply to you. Text start to 50409 to re-join the resistance, then resist to contact your officials.

I typed my name or address wrong, help!

Text changeaddress, changename, or changezip to fix those, or reset to reset everything—like unplugging your cable modem.

Resistbot is texting me late at night!

Resistbot keys its reminders based on your signup time, to change when you get reminders use changetimeofday.

How do I write a new letter?

Text resist anytime!

How much does this cost?

Resistbot is free to use! You’ll only need to pay whatever your mobile carrier charges you for text messages. Most new plans offer unlimited texting. Your donations pay for the texts, calls, faxes, and postage. (Not tax-deductible at this time.)

Help, my messages to my officials are coming back as gibberish!

Each carrier seems to handle message encoding a little differently. As we work through all of these specific cases, you can fix this problem by removing all ‘special’ characters from your message: return breaks, directional quotes / apostrophes, symbols like %, $, etc. This should make your message go through.

I’m getting a ‘Service Access Denied’ message when I try to use Resistbot.

Some carriers on certain mobile plans, especially prepaid plans, will block shortcodes. Please call your carrier and ask them to unblock shortcodes on your account! You can also try texting resist to our full number 202-335-4008 or use the Facebook Messenger version.

I can’t get this working, how do I use Resistbot?

You don’t need a smartphone, just a text-capable mobile phone. Open the app you use to text. On many phones it’s called messages. In the phone number, or ‘To:’ field, type 50409, and in the message body, resist. Send that message and you’re in.

How can I message my representative? Can I message my officials separately?

Resistbot starts simple, with just your two senators. Over time, it will ask you for more information to match you with your representative in the U.S. House, and experienced users will get the junior and senior commands to message each senator, and the house command for their representative.

What commands does Resistbot know?

As you use the bot more, you’ll discover more and more of what it can do. You can say more or less if you want it to contact you more or less frequently, feedback to let us know what you like and don’t like or if you have an issue, or commands is the cheat code to show you everything it can do.

What are you doing with my data?

We use your information to match you with your officials in Congress, give them a way to respond to you, and to sign your letters. Without including this information, your message won’t matter. We will not sell this contact information to anyone, ever, and you should never be contacted by anyone else as a result of using this service. We’ll shut down the service rather than sell data to keep it running. Here’s our full terms of use and privacy policy.

Will my message really count?

Yes! There’s a lot of information floating around saying that only certain ways of speaking up really count. We’ve confirmed that Resistbot messages are received and read by actual Congressional staffers. Here’s a few user testimonials and users sharing letters they got back from their officials.

Why do you include my phone number on your letters?

Congressional staffers tell us they are helpful. One such staffer told us, “at least once a month I had a designated block where I called constituents in order to follow up on their letters, especially if they’d written in about something personal. And I know some offices have the Member of Congress do that from time to time.” The information on your letters whether phone, email, or address is so you can get a response.

How do you make money?

We don’t. We’re a team of volunteers working around the clock to make this free for you. The texts, faxes, postage and calls are paid for with your donations.

Why don’t you tell me what to say?

Congressional staffers and research tell us that form letters and petitions, regardless of how they’re sent, are ineffective and make it harder for people with real personal stories—what matters most—to get through, like junk mail in your physical mailbox. Original and unique messages matter! They don’t have to be complicated, just a few genuine sentences from a real voter can make a difference. Don’t worry about typos or mistakes, it further shows to staff you’re a real person who hasn’t been given a script by an activist group—many of whom don’t care if messages go to the right officials, or if your officials can write you back. They’re more interested in gumming up the works of government.

I’m an American living abroad, will Resistbot work for me?

To cut down on costs/fraud, currently we only respond to U.S. numbers beginning in +1. However if you have a U.S. number simply provide the zip code, and later address, when prompted by the bot for the last place you lived or where you’re registered to vote / get your absentee ballot from. Then we can direct your messages to the right members of Congress.

Who’s behind this?

We’re a group of volunteers deeply opposed to the direction of the country. We built this to faithfully deliver your voice to Congress. Resistbot was started by Eric Ries and Jason Putorti.

Are you going to spam me?

Resistbot is an experiment in daily civic engagement. It will text you once in a while to see if you’d like to contact your officials, or to send you timely updates about voting deadlines or key votes in Congress. You can text weekly or noreminders to change how often you receive reminders, or stop to cancel the service altogether.

I’m having a problem with the bot! Help!

If your answer isn’t here, you can email us or text us at (202) 930-9888. Please include your name, phone number, cell carrier, and phone model to help us fix the bug. Screenshots may help too. Due to heavy volume, and only volunteers on support, it may take a bit to get back to you, we appreciate your patience! Twitter may be faster.

How can I help?

Donate to keep your texts, faxes, letters and calls going through. We can’t continue without your support. You can also volunteer as a programmer (our tech stack contains Python, Flask, RapidPro, AWS), help us QA, provide customer support, or submit our users’ letters to the editor. If you have a resistance group that wants to use this, or have any other questions we didn’t answer here, please email us.