DALLAS, TEXAS -- I have been attempting to get complete information on exactly how much this company charges for their services. A distant relative is in a Kansas jail awaiting trial. Mind you, he has not been convicted of anything. He and his family do not have money to pay bail bond, so poor guy has to sit in jail awaiting trial. That jail only allows the inmates to make phone calls collect using securustech.net. I have scoured their website and called their 800 number trying to find out exactly how much they charge. It is impossible. You cannot get clear information without first setting up an account, and it seems as if they start charging you immediately just to set up an account of any type. I sent them an email, and got an auto-respond message back asking for my account PIN. There is something very, very wrong with this situation. It would be very easy to set up a googlevoice account for FREE. To require everyone to use this system before they can communicate with an inmate strikes me as unconstitutional.
Based on the inability to connect up with a live person just to answer some simple questions does not bode well for the type of service one will get from this company.
And that they do not clearly list all their set up fees and charges on their website, gives cause for concern that they are gougers and have dishonest billing practices.
ALABAMA -- Correctional Billing Services (CBS), a division of Evercom Systems, Inc., is the largest telephone billing company in America dedicated to the corrections industry. Due to security considerations, the corrections industry typically requires that all calls made by inmates in a correctional facility be collect calls. The intent is to ensure that all calls are positively accepted by the called party. This ensures that harassing or unwanted calls are not placed to witnesses, lawyers, judges, or others. This also allows friends and family members to manage telephone bills because they can choose to not accept calls with their associated charges Correctional Billing Services does the billing for Evercom, which is the company that owns the phones in the jails. We forward these calls onto your local telephone bill, which you pay to your local telephone company, unless you are with a company we don't have a billing agreement with...which means...your phone company does not allow third party billing. Again something that is not correctional billing's fault. If CBS can't bill through your phone company then the only way to receive calls is to set up a prepay account which is done by making payments to CBS by Western Union, mail, credit card or cheque by phone. If we can bill you through your local telephone company then yes we do set a limit on your calls. This limit is set based on records from your local telephone company, payment history with our company and call patterns with our company. If you have a new phone number then chances are good you are going to have a low limit on your calls because there is no past history with our company to base the limit on. We ask that when you make payments to your phone company you call us to report those payments. The reason we ask this is because yes the phone company does pay us..BUT... they pay us once a month..one lump sum.. for all the customers we have with that phone company. Which means we don't know which customer paid how much on what phone number. So it is important that you call us when you make your payments so we can keep your lines clear for you. Reporting payments to us is also something that is in our agreements with the phone companys. They are the ones who want the customers to call us so they don't have to do it. So if that is a problem then take that up with your phone company..that is not our fault. Also by reporting these payments to us it is establishing some kind of history with our company which will in turn raise your limit on your account. Every time you report 6 payments to us we will raise your limit by $50. If payments are reported properly and on time then usually blocks don't occur. Another big issues is a high velocity block. That means if you accept over $50 worth of calls within a 24 hour period we block the line. We do ask that all the calls within the blocked time frame be paid for before we open the line again. This is also an agreement we have with the phone company to prevent so many customers from getting huge bills at the end of the month. Some customers appreciate that we do this because they either don't realize how much the calls are or just don't realize how many they are accepting. And yes a lot of customers don't like this policy but we still have to do it. We are not saying that you are a dead beat who doesn't pay your bill or that you can't afford these calls and in no way are we degrading you for this. But there is a lot of people who don't pay there bill every month on time. We as a company of our size can not play favorites. We can not make exceptions for one person and not another. So that's why company policies are in effect and must be followed by all customers equally. If we as reps don't follow this policy then your phone company could cancel their agreement with CBS and you as the customer would have to go prepay to get your calls. So in the long run I think you customers should be thankful we do follow our policy. I think that covers most of what we do. Just a few more tidbits of information for you all...we are not responsible for the rates of these calls. The rates are set by a contract between Evercom and the jail itself. Not CBS. Also if your phone company blocks your line from collect calls WE CAN NOT REMOVE THAT BLOCK we are not the phone company so they must remove that first. When a block is placed on a line it is not placed on your direct phone line...we block your phone number from the phones in the jails. The phones in the jails are ones we own so that gives us the right to do this. And we do not have a monopoly on collect calls. Monopolies are illegal in USA and there are lots of other Correctional billing companies such as MCI, Global Tellink or T-netix to name a few. we just happen to be the largest company as we do service 85%-90% of the jails across USA,also yes the website does work if you will try it http://www.correctionalbillingservices.com/
To Avoid Being Disconnected To talk on the phone with someone confined in a correctional facility, you must use a touch-tone telephone.
If you do any of these things during the call, you could be disconnected, so... DON'T:
transfer the call
put the call on Hold
use or answer Call Waiting
use a cellular phone (static could cause disconnect)
use a cordless phone
press extra (additional) numbers on the touch-tone keypad
stop your conversation for any length of time (a period of silence may cause a disconnect)
try to make any kind of 3-way call
Why Are Calls Blocked? Calls made from a correctional facility are generally collect calls. You may not be able to accept collect calls for several reasons:
A collect call restriction placed by your local telephone company may prevent you from getting your calls from the correctional facility. You must call your local telephone company to have this type of restriction removed. Please note that once the restriction is removed, it may take up to 72 hours for a collect call to go through.
A new telephone number or changes made to your telephone service (such as a temporary disconnect, changes in your telephone features such as Call Waiting, area code change, etc.) could put a restriction on your line. Please allow 72 hours from the time your number was activated or the changes were made for your collect calls to begin coming through.
If you have received calls in the past from a facility handled by Correctional Billing Services but no longer can, you might have exceeded your payment verification point. Call us at 1-800-844-6591 for additional information.
If you have a new telephone number, it is possible that the previous owner of the number requested a restriction on the line. Call us with the date when you received the number from your local telephone company, and Correctional Billing Services can remove the restriction
How to Block Your Line If you would like to prevent collect calls from a correctional facility (handled by Correctional Billing Services) from reaching you, please call us at 1-800-844-6591 and a representative will work with you to place a restriction on your line.
There is no charge for a restriction. We make every effort to stop the collect calls; however, we cannot guarantee this service for correctional facilities that we do not serve. If collect calls still come into your home from a correctional facility more than 48 hours after a restriction has been placed on your line, please call us at 1-800-844-6591 or send e-mail to support@CorrectionalBillingServices.com to see what more can be done to prevent the calls from reaching you.
About My Bill When an inmate calls your number and you answer, you should hear a brief message that identifies the call as being collect. Information about the name of the correctional facility or the name of the inmate may also be provided. You will then hear instructions to press a button on your touchtone phone or say "yes" to accept the call. If you do not accept the call or if you just hang up, the call will not be billed to your number.
Calls will appear on your bill only if someone accepts the call. If you don't recognize the calls on your bill, please check with other members of your household or business (or anyone else who may have access to your telephone) to determine who may have accepted the call.
Rates Collect calls are considered "operator-assisted calls." The cost of providing operator assisted calling is substantially higher than the cost of providing normal or long distance calls because special equipment and services are required (equipment and maintenance, billing validation, collections, customer service, etc.).
Additionally, there is a surcharge applied to this type of service which is in addition to the applicable per-minute rate of the call.
Individual calls from a correctional facility will usually have a time limit which varies depending on the facility. While another call may be made to the same number, the surcharge will apply to each call.
The contract to provide collect call phone service to a correctional facility is usually granted based on competitive bids solicited by local, state, or federal authorities. Bidders must meet strict requirements which ensure that they can provide the necessary level of security while providing competitive phone service.
Evercom's rates are competitive and comply with all applicable state and federal regulations.
To request rates use this form
Account Charges You can check your charges with Correctional Billing Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using our automated service at 1-800-844-6591. If you make payment before your charges reach or exceed your payment verification point, it will prevent a restriction from being placed on your line.
If a restriction is placed on your line because you have reached or exceeded your payment verification point, you will need to pay your bill in full before we can remove the restriction.
Local Telephone Payments
If your local telephone company has blocked (restricted) your line from receiving collect calls, you must pay your local telephone bill to remove that block. You should also notify Correctional Billing Services to ensure that we do not restrict your line from receiving collect calls. To report a payment or discuss a restriction, call us at 1-800-844-6591. You can report a payment by faxing a copy of your payment receipt to us at 1-800-578-2627.
Correctional Billing Services (CBS) offers a pre-paid plan that can prevent your line from being restricted as long as there are available funds in your account. Here's how it works. You sign up and send an initial payment of a least $50.00.
Our automated system can notify you when you need to make additional payments to prevent your line from being restricted. Payments must be a minimum of $50.00. If you choose the prepaid plan, you will not receive any further charges on your local telephone bill.
Payments on pre-paid accounts can be made through Western Union® online.
Or, you can pay in person at a Western Union Agent location near you
TEXAS/ BOCA RATON, FL, FLORIDA -- I had set up an account to receive calls from an inmate at the Rockdale County jail.
This was about the fourth time I put money on the account because the 1-866-847-1251 or the 1-866229-6829 number would constantly call and say the account was below $ 10.00 and need to add money.
This is the same system when called would say that there would be no minimum balance until Dec.31,2012. A Christmas special the machine said.
The last time I was advised again that funds needed to be added and I followed the prompts.
Sadly, after I gave my card information and it was approved, the machine said thank you and that my $15. plus dollars was only good for a one time call.
It took me hours to get to a live person and when I did he said that unlike the person and location I had contacted when I first set up my account, he was in Florida and not Texas.
I explained what had happened and I needed to resolve the problem.
He said there was nothing I could do and that those charges were not going to be reversed.
I called my bank and was told they could not help me.
I am retired and 95% of my monthly check goes on bills. I even have letters from the Social Security office said I can work and make $ 2,000.00
dollars a month and it would not affect my check.
My reputation at 64+ is and always has been the same, honest, truthful and helping others. I cannot afford to be scammed by any company.
Please !!! In the name of GOD!! Help me. I don't know what else to do.
Thank you and be blessed.
This company allows you to sign up without telling you they don't service the county jails. They take your money and you are stuck with it and they do not have any live person to talk to or any venue to used to cancel the service. I put $100 dollars on the account that I can never recover.
Please Please people do not use this service! It's a rip off and takes of advantage of those who need to talk to loved ones.
MASSACHUSETTS -- I don't like the idea of having a limit set on the phone calls I receive. If you go over the limit by 2 pennies they will put a block on your line. What if there is an emergency and you're waiting for someone to call and of course they can't get through because of a block you're unaware of and they are too far for you to visit them. You have no way of knowing a block is on your line until Lord only knows when. I think this is a lousy phone system.........I hate it.
ANYWHERE,, TEXAS -- "Get Connected" prison phone service gives you a number that you give to your loved one locked up and that number they dial will ring to your phone. LIARS... Did not work... Refused to refund me my money and charged me a second month. I had to cancel my credit card. But, God don't sleep and he don't like ugly... The bank is going after them for causing me over $165 in NSF fees when I cancelled my service. Gotcha! You should be locked up in prison where you belong!! Bad Service No Service
So I decided I'd use "Evercom" or "Correctional Billing Services" same company different name.
Evercom charges 3 phone calls at a cost of $60.21???!!!
Two of the charges I never received the calls. I work for in a marble building. My cell phone which is hooked up to this service DOES NOT WORK IN THIS BUILDING. I go to work everyday at 7am. So it is impossible that these calls were made to my phone. Please credit my account accordingly. Your charges are outrageous. You've got to be kidding me that one 15 minute phone call cost $20.07.
Shame on your company for taking advantage of the people we love but hate their crime(s). At this rate I'd be broke every month. Not to mention that commissary [snip] I will have the money one day to open my own company like this and I will put Evercom and all of the other fraudlent prison phone companies out of business...
BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN -- Here in Michigan we have also have to pay for an inmates incarceration through exorbitant phone charges. A good friend of mine is incarcerated and I have to pay through the nose if I want to talk to her. She is paying for what happened but why should I and her family have to pay for it too. Many of her family members are unable to talk to her as they cannot afford to pay the high rates that are charged. It just does not seem fair to those that have not committed a crime.
I would like to see something done through the legislature to abolish this practice as New York seems to be doing. God Be with Us All That Have Someone That Is Paying A Debt To Society.
DALLAS, TEXAS -- I have a home phone which I used to except correctional billing calls from a local jail. Evercom from time to time would put blocks on my phone and would tell me that I could purchase a pre-paid account although my home phone bill was paid every month. I would ask them to remove the block and that seemed to take an act of congress to get that done and for no apparent reason that the block was put on. So they suggested because I wished to receive calls immediately that I should get a pre-paid account. I purchased a pre-paid account for $100.00 for my cell phone and the block was taken off of my house phone. The problem was that once the pre-paid balance was spent that they put a block back on my home phone again. I called them and they said that I needed to pay an additional amount other than the $100.00 and should send a money order to them or Western Union them the money and they would take the block off but only after they received it in Dallas, Texas and the amount was for $8.40 plus you must pay an additional amount for sending it through Western Union.
All I wanted was to talk to my children and they were allowing my pre-paid account to go over that which I clearly put on my card. Should not pre-paid mean prepaid? If you buy a pre-paid card at Walmart for $100.00, they will not allow you to charge extra to that card. How is it that they want to put a block on my phone and lose money they were clearly getting to rather make me immediately put money on a card so that I suppose they could get their money instantly. GREED!!! They would not allow me to pay the $8.40 on my card...They said I had to at least purchase $50.00 of more time to my cell phone. I think it is a shame that we are doing business with such clearly ignorant people as they are.
I think they are raping people! I think the Better Business Bureau or someone should stop this nonsense. This Greed in business and stupidity will surely cause a nation it's downfall. I obviously am complaining in hopes that someone can direct me to the head of this company in hopes that I can look eye to eye with what must be a monstrous human being! Sincerely,
BROOKSVILLE, FLORIDA -- This company is a joke. I have a $100 spending limit and the minimum payment claimed by them is $50 plus a $6.95 processing fee. I had an account balance of 64.49 and only paid the minimum $50 which left the $14.49 on the account. My account was block by them. The supervisor told me I had to pay the rest owed of $14.49 and use a different credit card because only one payment per card could be used each day. I went down to the bank and took out the money went to another bank I rare use and put the money in that account. After driving around town to do this I arrived back home to make the 14.49 payment which they wanted another 6.95 to do so. Then the payment failed! The supervisor (which takes for ever to reach) HOLD HOLD HOLD and more hold time, informed me that only one payment could be made per day, however I could make a Western Union payment for the 14.49 to un block my $100 dollar spending limit account. I found a W.U. and then had to call them back because the info to WU was given to me incorrectly.
I made the payment and got the MTCN# called them back to verify payment was received to be told that my account had to wait for the payment to process even though they saw the payment was there. This would take up to 24 hours!!! plus the $13 to make the WU payment. So again I was on HOLD for a supervisor who could do nothing more than say she was sorry for my inconvenience!!!! So the long and the short of it is, my loved one will have to wait another day to talk to me and his family. There really should be federal investigations into this company. If we are forced to use just one company to have communications with inmates, at minimum the government should make sure we are not taken advantage of.
Should you ever have to call them, you would be very lucky to reach them. After going through all the prompts and directions over 90% of the time you end up with a message that says all rep's are busy try your call later and the phone hangs up. Very frustrating. When desperately trying to understand the rep's English through their accent (most of the time) if you ask for a supervisor, they place you on hold for several minutes and then come back and say it will be just a few more minutes. I think they do this so you will get angry and just give up. If you don't give up like I didn't be prepared for the over and over comment that they are sorry for your inconvenience.
My boyfriend is currently in a juvenille detention center in Kennewick, WA. I myself live in Philadelphia, PA. Not only are we torn 2,700 miles apart from 90 days, but now I can not even talk to him on the phone for the 15 minutes he gets a day.
The detention center that he is currently at uses Evercom and neither Brandon or I have a choice in using that company or not. He and I had both been told that for 15 minutes of talk time it would cost about $1.75 total. So, we continued to talk every chance that we could get.
Out of curiosity I decided to follow the initial menu and press 7 to see what Evercom had to say about rates and charges. To my surprise, it was indeed more than I had thought. Almost ten times more than I had thought. The charges were not going to be a meer $1.75 for 15 minutes, but instead $4.80 for the first one minute, and $0.89 for each additional minute. That comes out to $17.30 for 15 minutes of conversation time. If I continue to talk to my boyfriend everyday for the 90 days he is detained, it will end up costing me an outrageous $1,557.00 total. And that is an amount that neither Brandon or I can afford.
To try to resolve this problem I called my phone company, T-Mobile. The woman that I spoke to at customer service was very kind and filled me in on how these types of things generally work. She informed me that I would not have any additional charges on my monthly phone bill, but instead I would be receiving a bill from Evercom. This, I was never aware of. I am aggravated with this more than the incredibly high prices themselves. I have been trying to get ahold of someone in customer service at Evercom, but every time I call I seem to get the same message, which is "there are no representitives available to speak to you", or something along the lines of that. And then I get disconnected with no other options at all. I would like to first of all know how Evercom plans on billing me when I'm not sure that they have ANY of my information other than my phone number. And if they do have it, where are they getting it from? If they are getting my information from T-Mobile I am going to be pretty upset. I'm not exactly sure what is legal information to give out but when I called earlier they couldn't even give me my account balance without the last 4 digits of the account holders social security number. So, I'd imagine that getting information such as a name, address, etc. would be fairly difficult. At least I hope it would be.
I think that it is unfair the way that Evercom bills and their rates are sky high and absolutely obscene. I think that if they are going to be billing to me directly, they should have been calling me first or sent me a notice so that I could set up an account.
Also, from what I have read on here it seems like I have a lot more issues with this telecommunication company coming at me soon. Things such as late bills. I'd like to turn this into a legal matter but I'm not sure how or what exactly is legal for these collect call phone companies to be doing.
If anyone has any advice please, please let me know.