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40 Reviews & Complaints
www.paytel.com

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Racket that is beyond stressful with no help available - they hang up if you ask for any assistance
Posted by Abclife on 06/14/2007
PAGE COUNTY, VIRGINIA -- This company is taking advantage of many people that do not know how to do anything about the abuse they deliver and hand cuffs they try to put on people to drive them to think they have to use their services and pre-pay.

If you forget your pin number you have to fax a copy of your drivers license and a copy of your last phone bill before they will allow you to receive any phone calls. This is while you have no debt or owe them anything even if you have excellent credit and pay all your bills on time.

They treat all customers as though they are not going to pay phone bills. As though you are a criminal when it is so crucial to be in touch with family members that are inmates without having your phone number blocked. This is totally unnecessary and abusive. There are many other ways that are much easier and friendlier way to provide customer service especially if you have email or they can ask a security question and have it implemented for pre-payers that do due diligence so they can have the convenience of saving a few dollars by pre-paying.

Who is able to fax and who wants to send a copy of a drivers license to a company and who has a copy handy of their last phone bill to get a block off their phone - after you pre-paid and don't have to pre-pay in the first place.

To pre-pay I thought was a way to save a few dollars - not get harassed and treated like a person that does not pay my bills.

To get the calls to come on my regular phone bill also becomes almost impossible - as they try to get you to think you have to pre-pay them. I just wanted to be able to accept calls and pay on my regular phone bill.

When I called to get assistance to have all my phones not to be blocked - I got put on hold to hear nothing but music with no warning or explanation that I was being put on hold.

I just want my privacy and be able to receive the collect calls without any interference from Paytel.


Read Company Response
Company Response on 4/15/2008:
We apologize for your frustration when you lost your PIN. We just starting monitoring this website and received your complaint. In the future we will be monitoring these complaints daily.

Regrettably, the PIN requirement is a recent federal mandate. We can not discuss any account information with someone unless they have previously on their own established a PIN for security purposes so that when we speak with them we have the ability to ask them what their PIN is and thereby verifying we are talking to the person who has set up that account or owns that phone number.

When someone forgets their PIN, for security reasons we cannot give out the PIN that was created when the account was set up. To change a PIN, a person will need to fax or mail a copy of their drivers license and copy of their most recent telephone bill showing they are the responsible party. Also please include with the fax or mailed copy, a new 6 digit PIN that you wish to have as your PIN. The PIN can not begin with a zero. Fax Number 1-800-776-8423.

In the future, if you have concerns, you can email a CSR supervisor at CSR@paytel.com and you will get a response the same day.

Thank you.
     
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Worst Customer Service Ever by a Supervisor
Posted by T-racieb on 11/26/2013
GRAY, GEORGIA -- Calls being disconnect and rude customer service. Refused to credit two calls but the supervisor could not explain why I was getting a message if the call had dropped. Their poorly trained supervisor informed me that their product didn't play a message. They switched over to a new system last week and I can only assume they didn't bother to educate their staff. Crystal was rude and kept talking over me to the point that I had to start raising my voice to be heard. Towards the end of the first call I ended up losing my temper and use foul language. Crystal then hung up on me which is standard in any customer service department. What is not standard is that when I called back she started yelling at me and threatened to hang up on me again. When I told her I would just call back she told me she would get me for harassment and then hung up. When I called back for a third time she let it go to her voice mail.

Also, noticed there is a complaint from 2012 also complaining about a Crystal. . What are the odds of that. Having worked in a phone business customer service department dealing with hostile customers I have to tell you that your company is in a sad state or just doesn't care if that is the norm from your supervisors. Which I'm assuming is after reading the complaints from a year ago involving the same supervisor.
Read Company Response
Company Response on 11/27/2013:
Dear Ms. Bryant:

We are very sorry for any mistreatment you feel you have experienced with our customer service supervisor. It is surely not our policy to offend or mistreat any customer. We continually stress the importance of treating our customers with respect and assisting them in every way possible. Our customers are extremely important to us.

We had a technician monitor the calls on November 25th in question and also again by a Customer Service Manager yesterday. We are unable to provide credit for these calls; as the inmate was speaking and you were gone…which means the connection on your side was gone. We are willing to allow credit for any calls that are dropped or disconnected due to faulty equipment or service on our part. But these particular calls did not fall within that category.

The following information is in our brochure and posted on our website concerning dropped calls.
Calls may be disconnected if any of the following activities occur during a call:

• Stop talking without hanging up.
• Attempts to make a 3-way call.
• Attempt to answer Call Waiting.
• Attempt to put a call on hold.
• Attempt to transfer a call.
• Use of a cordless phone (static).
• Use of a wireless phone (dropped cell
tower or static).

PAY-TEL does not accept responsibility for dropped wireless phone calls.

Again, we apologize for the inconvenience, but hope this helps you understand the decision made regarding your issue.

In the future, if we fail to meet your needs, you can email a manager at CustomerRelations@paytel.com and your request will be addressed the same day.

Best regards,

Customer Relations
     
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Posted by Tracie on 2013-11-27:
As I explained in my email to you that at this point I didn't care about the credit. Want I wanted was an explanation which your supervisor could not provide with out getting rude. For your comment "We are very sorry for any mistreatment you feel you have experienced with our customer service supervisor". Any mistreatment I feel I have experienced... really.. "It is surely not our policy to offend or mistreat any customer."
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Horrible
Posted by Nene112183 on 08/19/2013
I placed money on my account but every time my brother calls from jail the automated system does not recognize that I'm pressing 3 to accept the call and won't allow me to press any other options. This has been going on for 3 days and still has not been resolved. Every time I call customer service they hang up on me. I need this resolved as soon as possible or my money refunded.
Read Company Response
Company Response on :

We apologize for the frustration you have experienced with our company concerning your account. If you would please email us at CustomerRelations@paytel.com and provide us with your name, address, phone number and email address, so we can research the account.

In the future, if we fail to meet your needs, you can email a manager at CustomerRelations@paytel.com and your request will be addressed the same day.

Thank you.
Customer Relations

     
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Posted by jktshff1 on 2013-08-19:
Old fashioned letters are better and cheaper than scalpers like paytel
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Not Receiving What I Paid For
Posted by Carole.oldroyd on 02/02/2013
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA -- In the past two days, I have deposited $80 into a PayTel account. For that $80, I have received significantly less than the amount of talk time listed on the PayTel website. I am aware of the fees involved for using this service. I accounted for those fees in the deposits I have made.

I deposited $40 the first time and received three reasonably short phone calls before I received a call from PayTel explaining that my number had been blocked until I deposited more money. Last night, I deposited another $40 (they charged an additional $3, which I expected). With that $40, I received one phone call which lasted 14 minutes, and then I received a call from PayTel explaining to me that my balance was low and I had to deposit more money.

$40 for a 14-minute phone call is so far beyond reasonable that I can't even fathom. This company offers a service, and then takes advantage of the people using it. They know how important those phone calls are, and they know we will keep depositing money in order to hear that voice at the other end of the line. There is no reason why it should cost more to place a phone call from inside a detention center than it does from outside the center. This is unreasonable, and designed to inflict even more hardship on families and friends who are already experiencing difficult times.

This is absolutely shameful business practice.

Read Company Response
Company Response on 2/7/2013:
We regret your frustration concerning the rates for your collect calls. If you will provide your phone number with area code, we will be happy to check your account to make sure you are being charged the correct rate.

We are a certificated carrier in every state where we provide service and the rates we charge are regulated in most states. In all states we charge rates that are equal or below the rates charged for the same call through the local telephone company. The cost of calls from confinement facilities are more expensive because of the increased controls required by law enforcement.

We regret your frustration and will be happy to assist you directly if you will send an e-mail with your information to customerrelations@paytel.com.

Best regards,

Customer Relations

     
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Drop Calls
Posted by Craiggirl on 11/26/2012
WINTER HAVEN -- Hi everyone,
I just want to let everyone know about the experience I had with Paytel. My boyfriend and I were on the phone talking on Friday. He called me at 12:33pm we were talking and catching up on somethings then all of a sudden the I didn't hear him anymore. I thought he had hung up on me or worse something had happened. So, I got another phone call from him and I asked him what had happened. He said he thought I hung up on him. Anyway, we went on with our conversation and the phone did it again.

I called customer service, boy they were no help at all, not even the supervisor Crystal. Crystal said that there was no way I could get any credit. She was very rude and nasty. I asked her if it happen again she stated that I was at a loss, that there is nothing they can do about it. They were not sorry or helpful at all.

I would not refer anyone to this company and it sucks because they know that this is the only service that you can use to talk with your loved one.
Read Company Response
Company Response on 11/27/2012:
Dear Sheree K:

From your information on My 3 Cents.com, we have determined your account number to be 912-321-XXXX.

We are very sorry for any mistreatment you feel you experienced with our customer service representatives or the supervisor. It is surely not our policy to offend or mistreat any customer. We continually stress the importance of treating our customers with respect and assisting them in every way possible; that is how we stay in business. Our customers are extremely important to us.

We also apologize for the problems you experienced with our company concerning the dropped calls. But after reviewing your account, you were not charged for a call on 11/23 at 12:33 pm as you mention in your review.

If you feel you have provided us with incorrect information, you can submit any other response to CustomerRelations@paytel.com and we will investigate your issue further and get back with you.

Best regards.

Customer Relations
     
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Posted by Craiggirl on 2012-11-26:
I just cant understand why paytel is still in business and has done nothing about improveing this just shows that they care nothing about there customers.how can this company allow there employes to be so rude to there customer and not care cause they that we have no choice but to use them .it sucks they need competition so they wouldnt give poor customer service.i pray that someone would look into this so we can get some help.
Posted by At Your Service on 2012-11-28:
Good to see Paytel answering your complaint. Also good to know you weren't being charged.

Is there a particular reason you can't find another service to use? I've never heard of Paytel. They aren't around where I am.
Posted by Craiggirl on 2012-11-29:
I did get charge for both dropped calls and where my boyfriend is they only allow paytel.
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$9.95 for a Call in the Same County?!?!?!
Posted by Longfatyoung on 06/04/2012
How can a rate be $9.95 in the same county same area code, This is not a long distance call? I checked counties clear across the state the rates are cheaper! Even out of state! Law suite is in order!
Read Company Response
Company Response on 6/4/2012:
We apologize for any problems you experienced with our company and the rates.

To investigate your concerns please e-mail us your phone number and PIN and we will review your account and get back with you. You can send this information to CustomerRelations@paytel.com. We wish to resolve your issue as soon as possible.

Best regards.

Customer Relations

     
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Posted by jktshff1 on 2012-06-04:
You are paying for the privilege of voice contact. A portion of the charge goes to the facility or local governmnet that operates it. I would suggest sending letters.
Posted by jonthethird on 2012-06-04:
Pay Tel provides voice service to many jails, prisons, etc. The charges are negotiated with the institution and are often used to pay for monitoring equipment, possibly some money for indigent inmates supplies, etc.
Posted by Cookie crumbles. on 2012-06-04:
Might want to check this out.
http://66.194.121.171/paytelcom/rates.aspx?st=nc
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Didn't know
Posted by Ctadlock05 on 02/18/2012
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA -- I did not know that I have to call paytell to take a block off. I thought that If you had put money on the account that the block would be taken off. I have no way of looking up this information, other than a small section on a piece of a website. I just wish they had more on the site to know. I wish I could check and see if there is a block on my phone by their site. Not have to wait on the phone for someone. I have already been hung up once waiting on their line, then called back and had to tell the person NOT TO HANG UP THIS TIME. I just wish they were a little more user friendly. I hope also that I'm not taken advantage of.

Missing her husband.
Read Company Response
Company Response on 3/8/2012:
We apologize for any problems you experienced with our company.

To investigate your concerns please e-mail us your phone number and PIN and we will review your account and get back with you. You can send this information to CustomerRelations@paytel.com. We wish to resolve your issue as soon as possible.

Best regards.

Customer Relations
     
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Posted by A whole page. on 2012-02-18:
Right here on their web site.
http://paytel.com/faq-ftc-13.html
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Biggest Government approved scam in history!
Posted by Catwellhollow on 12/17/2011
I was surprised to learn the only way to communicate with my loved one in jail was pay-tel. I went to the site, filled out ALL the information and then deposited money. I have yet to receive my first call, it hangs up in mid-message. I finally called pay-tel today & spoke with a person, turns out they had the wrong number listed.(I put in the correct#, I look it up every time) They charged my credit card 2 weeks ago. Can't wait to see how much they have charged me, for calls I didn't receive.(to the wrong#) I was told it would take 3 hrs for this change to post. I will update.....

This is such a scam, I have heard so many complaints, people feel powerless to do anything. I think half the problem is with incompetent employees. Since they are making SOOOO much money, they should spend some of it PROVIDING THE SERVICE THEY CHARGE FOR!

I saw another post about Paytel supporting politics. Isn't that a NO-NO?
If not please re-post current political person/party I would be happy to contribute any amount to put a STOP to this SCAM.......

This reminds me of the child support scam where they say they will get your back child support for the small fee of 40% of what is owed!

Very disappointed in Pay-tel. By tomorrow I will file forms on the DOJ site. Have to wait 3 hours for acct. to update.

Read Company Response
Company Response on 12/19/2011:
We apologize for any problems you experienced with our company.

To investigate your concerns please e-mail us your phone number and PIN and we will review your account and get back with you. You can send this information to CustomerRelations@paytel.com. We wish to resolve your issue as soon as possible.

Best regards.

Customer Relations
     
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Posted by Alain on 2011-12-19:
In most states you can contact your Attorney Generals office or state correctional agency and they will assist you in mediating problems with PayTel.
Posted by catwellhollow on 2011-12-20:
Cannot access acct. online, my number has now been blocked! So no calls are coming through. Just gets better & better. Will try to wait on the phone tomorrow, for customer relations.
Same problem.
PROVIDE THE SERVICE YOU CHARGE FOR!
You have had my money for weeks.
Posted by catwellhollow on 2011-12-21:
After filing several complaints today, I have received an email from Paytel saying my phone is now fine to be used. I guess we will see. I will post results.
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PayTel is a monopoly that overcharges and refuses to refund dropped calls
Posted by Monroelemon76 on 12/15/2011
SALEM, VIRGINIA -- PayTel is the sole provider for phone service for Western Virginia Regional Jail. This is a monopoly without competition that is being forced on people who are very vulnerable and need to keep in contact with their loved ones. Institutions and correctional facilities like Western Virginia Regional Jail must offer an alternative to PayTel with competitive prices and services. PayTel's prices, services, and customer support are atrocious at best. This company is completely incompetent and their practices are unacceptable and frankly un-American. PayTel should not be allowed to have a monopoly on an essential phone service, period. PayTel has dropped numerous calls and has refused to refund any of them. I have already given PayTel hundreds of dollars just so I can make a local call to a loved one who is currently incarcerated, and yet they refuse to refund my dropped calls and have accused me of trying to swindle their system. I am at a loss for words. PayTel and their business practices are absolutely disgusting, it is unacceptable and un-American that we are forced to use a monopoly for such an essential service. I am tempted to contact my lawyer and provide my phone records showing that I have never once had a dropped call in my area except when using PayTel's completely unreliable service, and that PayTel has blamed me and my telephone service provider for their failure to provide adequate service and that PayTel refuses to refund my dropped calls. I will be pursuing a class action lawsuit against PayTel and will be lobbying for the implementation of an alternative, competitive telephone service provider.

I have already spoken with your (PayTel) supervisors numerous times and am now pursuing legal action.
Read Company Response
Company Response on 12/16/2011:
We apologize for any frustration you experienced with our company concerning dropped calls. If you will email your name, address, phone number, and PIN to CustomerRelations@paytel.com, we will investigate this issue to determine why the calls were dropped.

The following information is in our brochure and posted on our website concerning dropped calls. Calls may be disconnected if any of the following activities occur during a call:

• Stop talking without hanging up.
• Attempts to make a 3-way call.
• Attempt to answer Call Waiting.
• Attempt to put a call on hold.
• Attempt to transfer a call.
• Use of a cordless phone (static).
• Use of a wireless phone (dropped cell tower or static).

PAY-TEL does not accept responsibility for dropped wireless phone calls.

In the future, if we fail to meet your needs, you can email a manager at CustomerRelations@paytel.com and your request will be addressed the same day.

Best regards,

Customer Service
     
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Posted by Alain on 2011-12-17:
Looks like PayTel is offering to resolve this. May as well take them up on it.
Posted by catwellhollow on 2011-12-20:
I may be interested is that as well monroelemon.
Still waiting to receive my first call. Deposited money 3 wks ago. Now my numbers are blocked.
Posted by E A St. Louis on 2013-07-10:
Disgusting, PayTel's reply didn't even sound sincere. More like a voice automated answering system. I'm so tired of seeing the public being taken advantage of by these jerkoff companies. It's basically extortion in most cases and they do it legally because of kickbacks to low life officials. I say get a lawyer or at least call the FCC and file a complaint. The FCC will require an explanation from them and these kind of scums hate that, and give the FCC accurate and plenty of information so that PayTel can't easily wriggle away with a bunch of lies and legal BS.
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Really getting on my nerves!
Posted by Parkerayden1932 on 12/08/2011
VIRGINIA -- Okay so I've been using Paytel for like a month now and today I had 7.15 or something like that in my account and then hadn't received a phone call and checked again to find I only had 6.00 something left...?? Where did that couple of cents go??? Anyways more importantly at 3:02 pm that day I posted a payment and saw that they received my money surely but my number was never unblocked??? I waited the two hours then tried to call and waited on the line for 30 min and then the phone just hung up!!! So I got back online and it said give 4 hours so I did...four hours passed and they were acknowledging that they had received my money but still my number was blocked and I called back waited for 28 min on the phone and then to look and see everyone leaves at 6. Really? If you're going to have a company like this then you at least need operators throughout the night. So finally I wrote an email and sent a message... still waiting and my numbers still blocked. No Surprise!
Read Company Response
Company Response on 12/9/2011:
We apologize for any problems you had when attempting to reach a customer service representative with our company. You mentioned the hours for our customer service department; they are available until 9 pm eastern standard time.

In regards to the email you sent, all emails are answered within a timely manner.

To investigate your concerns please e-mail us your phone number and PIN and we will review your account and get back with you. You can send this information to CustomerRelations@paytel.com. We wish to resolve your issue as soon as possible.

Best regards.

Customer Relations
     
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Posted by Alain on 2011-12-10:
Posted by Alain on 2011-12-10:
At least they cared enough to post a response. A lot of companies never bother. See if they'll work with you and give us an update, if possible.
Posted by SUPERPISSED@PAYTEL on 2012-02-04:
PAYTEL posting that reply on this thread is only to save face online.

They know that you are not going to investigate someone else's ocncern you see on this thread so it appears that they are addressing their concerns head on ... BUT THEY ARE NOT!

Between 5pm last night and me awawking at 9am to find out I owe them moeny Here is what transpired:

I got one free 1 min call from my husband (inmate)
Afterwards I had to put $16 money on a paytel account.

A 10min calls were quoted at $7.85 (NC jail to DC number) I should get AT LEAST 2 (10min) calls.

I had 1 (10min) call from my husband last night and that was it.

I wake up to an email that says I now owe them $.37 on my DC phone number and that my number is now blocked.

WTF!!!

So I try to get slick and figure this craziness out.

I change my google number to the area code where my husband is to get a cheaper rate. $1.71 (NC jail to NC Phone Number)then I put $8, thinking ok, I should get AT LEAST 4 (10min) calls.

My husband called, and the call went past 1 min but ended at 10min.

*I did NOT get my first free min phone on this number but whatever...

Then I awaken to the NC phone account that says
I now have .86 cents

WTF!!! but of COURSE, since I need to communicate with my husband I put $5 on my NC phone number to tell him WTF is going on with the collect calls just in case this may be our last call using PAYTEL and that I love him.
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