PayTel - Page 2

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1.5 out of 5, based on 12 ratings and
46 reviews & complaints.
Company Profile
P.O. Box 19290
Greensboro, NC 27419
1-800-729-8355 (ph)
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Don't Know What to Do Next... No Help Being Given
By -

I have been on the phone for the last 3 hours trying to figure out how to proceed with this company. First of all I don't understand why I have to have a PayTel account. I receive collect calls from another incarcerated relative twice monthly through Global TelLink. The calls are billed directly to my AT&T bill, which is always paid on time. If I can receive calls from one facility, why not the other?

Second of all, I went onto the website to open an account. After entering my phone number I was told this number already has an account set up. I don't remember ever opening an account with Paytel. But I know if I HAD opened an account I would use one of three passwords. I tried all three passwords and none worked. So I clicked on "Forgot Password?" and was asked for my first pet's name (Security Question). I entered the answer and it was incorrect. So I know I did not set up this account. At this point I can only assume that the previous owner of this number opened an account.

So I tried to call the 800 number to tell them I am the new owner of the phone number. Guess what? I have to enter the PIN number in order to reach a CSR! I don't have the PIN number because I didn't open the account... because I only recently got this number. So I can't open an account because someone who used to have this number had an account and I don't know their PIN number. ARRRGGHHH. I just want to speak to my son and know that he is alright. I pay my bills on time. Why does it have to be so difficult? And why can't I just bill it to my AT&T bill like the other facility does.

The families of inmates are being subjected to more heartache than they are already experiencing. NOTE: My sister had a PayTel account. Prepaid $50, inmate was released over a year ago. She still has never received her refund. She finally just gave up.

Company Response 1/20/2011:

Dear Vivian F:

We sincerely apologize for any frustration you experienced with our company. After reviewing your phone number 912-427-XXXX, looks like a previous customer had this number prior to you and unfortunately we are not notified when a new customer receives the same number. We have cancelled the previous account and you are fine to receive the calls and they will be billed through your local carrier.

In regards to the PIN, you can assign the PIN of your choice at any time but no need unless you choose to prepay and deal directly with our company other than your local telephone company. But our system will not allow you to access an account without the correct PIN and because the previous customer had an account with a PIN, this created a problem for you.

We hope this will resolve your issues. If you have any other questions in the future or if we fail to meet your needs, you can email a manager at and your request will be addressed the same day as we handled your previous email that you sent to this address.

Best regards.

Worst Service Ever
By -

I have been making payments to receive phone calls with the same card for the past couple of weeks. Last week I made a payment and it was decline when money was in my account and the money was authorized by Paytel. My account was then blocked and I sent customer service an email. The logo for the me to pay with my card came up but each time I tried it stated they were no longer able to accept credit card payments from me. Why is that I don't know may it's because their site sucks! I contacted Customer Service the next day and was hung up on. I called back and stayed on hold for over 30 minutes waiting..

FINALLY a representative came to the phone I explain to her what happen, she tells me that there was no block on my account which was false and that as a COURTESY she would take my payment. I mean really you are doing me a favor UMM please. I have paid Paytel good money to receive phone calls and all of my debit card are in my name so what is the problem. After this I went on using the same credit card for each transaction. Now again tonight on December 23 I can not receive calls and my account is blocked. I have sent numerous emails regarding the issue and only got one response that the block is gone but it is not.

So I made a payment using Western Union and I have comfirmation from them that the money was received by PayTel. Has any money posted to my account UMMMM NOOOOOOO! Has anyone responded to me and said why it hasn't posted UMM NO! It is almost Christmas and I was looking forward to speaking with my husband and letting him talk to our son. Again we are WAITING on Paytel unprofessional, inconsistent, non functional customer service. I want to know where is my money that I paid to Western Union and why hasn't it posted to my account. Why after using the same card FOR DAYS on the SAME ACCOUNT that now it is not working?

The site takes forever to come up and it is the slowest ever.. I want my money on my account ASAP or it needs to be refunded ASAP and I want my account fixed.. I am tired of every other week this is happening. I have contacted your company to many times and I have given you too much of my money to be dealt with like this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Company Response 12/29/2009:

Dear T. Smith:

We apologize for the frustration you have experienced with our company concerning your account with your credit card and the Western Union payment. We have determined your account number is 919-XXX-XXXX. However as you will see from the explanation that follows the problems you experienced were due to multiple credit card declines and your failure to enter your correct account number on the Western Union Quick Collect form.

Your account was blocked from making payments with a credit card due to multiple declines that you received when you attempted to make a payment using your credit card. We received an email from you on December 23rd asking us to reset the account and we did. Then we show you made two successful payments using your credit card on December 24th.

Apparently, when you made your Western Union payment using Quick Collect, you applied “1111” in front of your phone number. The “1111” is only added to the account number when you make a payment using Prepaid Services through Western Union. We negotiated a cheaper rate for our customers when using Western Union by sending a Prepaid Service payment with a fee of $5.95 versus the fee for Quick Collect of $9.95.

We received an email from you on December 24th questioning why the payment did not post. We investigated the Money Transfer Control Number you gave us and determined the funds were not applied to your account number. The account number was listed as “[snip]”.

Again we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. Our employees work very hard to resolve any problems and communicate with our customers during this time.

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

Best regards,
Customer Relations

What Customer Service?
By -

I have been trying to receive phone calls from my fiance in jail for over a week. I don't have a home phone so I opened up a Paytel account so he could call me on my cell phone. So when I opened the account the recording said that they update their system every two hours. When I still hadn't heard from him the next day I wondered what was going on. I called Paytel to speak with a customer service representative and their recording said if I was calling to find out why my number was blocked I should use their automated system to find out. Their automated system just told me that I indeed had an account and that I had a balance of $25.00.

I then held for a customer service representative. It took 45 minutes for me to actually get through to a representative. When I did she told me that she had to manually remove the block. I figured everything would work but I was wrong. So the next day I still was unable to receive calls from my fiance so I called Paytel again. I called several times throughout the day from my cell phone and waited over an hour each time. Unfortunately I work so I cannot stay on the phone for hours at a time without getting in trouble. When I got home from work I called from my dad's home phone. I had already burned up my entire prepaid phone card calling them all day.

I stayed on hold for over two hours before I reached a customer service representative. She then informed me that she could not tell me why my phone was not working with their system that it was a technical support problem and tech support was not in after 5pm. So I spent my entire day on hold for nothing. I asked her if it was possible for tech support to call me in the morning since it takes so long to get through. She said no. I mean I have kids to get to school and a job to go to. I don't have time to stay on hold for two or more hours in the morning.

I then asked her if I could just transfer the balance I had to my dad's phone and she refused this as well. She told me if tech support could not fix the problem only then they would transfer the money to another phone number. They are getting my money either way. Why make me go through all of this to be able to talk with my fiance. I still haven't been able to talk to him to let him know that I am OK and that his kids are OK. Paytel has put a block on everybody's phone and is making it so I cannot talk to him. It is ridiculous.

Company Response 10/7/2009:

Sorry for any problems you have experienced with our company.
Our phone lines have been extremely busy during our conversion, the CSR's are available and assisting as many customers as possible.
We are very sorry for the problems this has created for you.
If you will provide us with your phone number and PIN, we will research your account and get back with you. You can email your information to a manager at and your request will be addressed the same day.
Please accept our apologies for this problem.
Best regards.
Customer Relations

The Paytel Scam Continues
By -

Why is it that EVERY TIME I try to check the balance on my Paytel account, the balance is "temporarily unavailable"? How do I know that they are not ripping me off?? The one and only time I was able to see my balance was when I opened the account and added the initial money. I have not been able to view my balance since, although I have accepted several phone calls. This is a part of their scam - they do not let customers know what the balance is so that they can continue to make you pay money for calls you are not getting.

This company really needs to be put out of business. Hopefully if there are enough complaints to the PUC or whoever governs these people, there will be tighter regulations on them and they will go out of business or bankrupt or something. These people are thieves! I'm am very much looking forward to the b.s. generic, form letter, blah blah blah answer they are going to respond with this time.

Company Response 9/1/2009:

Again, we apologize for the problems you have encountered with our company concerning your account balance. We are still converting all of our internal accounting software to a new system this week. However, the conversion has not been completed and has not gone as well as we expected.

Our website and our Automated Phone System is providing information for your accounts now.

Our phone lines have been extremely busy during this conversion, the CSR's are available and assisting as many customers as possible. We are very sorry for the problems this has created for you.

If you will provide us with your phone number and PIN, we will research your account and get back with you. You can email your information to a manager at and your request will be addressed the same day.

Please accept our apologies for this error.

Best regards.
Customer Relations

PayTel Preys on People Who Need This Service
By -

I have not been able to speak to a human being at Paytel to discuss my customer service issue. Paytel does not want to talk to customers about their very poor service, so they throw a recorded message on in place of a human being. Unfortunately, however, the automated system never gives an option to speak to a person, it just says that they are sorry but balance info is not available right now and to call back later. This has been going on for a week even though I have paid for the service on TWO numbers and neither number has been unblocked. I even sent an email to customer service AND the (so-called) customer relations manager - to no avail.

No one will respond to me. They have stolen my money without providing the service. This is the very first time I have had to use this service and I am thoroughly disgusted. Maybe if there are enough people out there who are as disgusted as I am, we can get a class action lawsuit started. We the consumers should not allow companies to take advantage of us and steal from us like this. I resent being treated like a common criminal because I have a loved one incarcerated who I want to keep in touch with. I am a law abiding citizen, I pay my taxes and I have never ever been in trouble with the law.

In fact, if anyone is the criminal in this situation it is Paytel because they have advertised a service, I paid for the service, yet they refuse to provide the service. Sounds like fraud, false advertising, theft and probably numerous other torts. Paytel has 24 hours to respond to me before I take this situation to a regulating authority. Unfortunately it seems that Paytel has a monopoly on inmate calls and it would be very beneficial to consumers if they had some competition.

Company Response 8/26/2009:

We sincerely apologize for the problems you are experiencing with our company in receiving collect calls and accessing your account through our Automated Phone system and also our website. We are converting all of our internal accounting software to a new system this week and the conversion has not yet been completed.

Regrettably this has prevented the timely posting of payments, allowing access to your account and also in some cases preventing you from receiving the collect calls. We are now posting payments throughout the day and unblocking numbers when the payments post. Unfortunately, this is much slower than our usual process.

We are very sorry for the problems this has created for you. We have a team of people working on this issue and hope to have this resolved by the end of the week.

If you will send us your phone number(s), we will be glad to research them and get back with you tomorrow. You can send your information to and your request will be addressed the same day.

Thank you.
Customer Relations

Usury And Greed. The Evil Of Making Our Jails "For Profit"
By -

175 NC 801 HWY WOODLEAF, NC 27054 -- I have been placed in the unfortunate situation of having a young daughter placed in jail for a misdemeanor in which she could have avoided jail time had she had the requisite funds. Then, I find out from the local jailers that the only way for her to call me is a prepaid account through PayTel. I offered them a toll free number to "unblock" but they would not accept that. I had to pay them $25.00 in which my daughter was allowed ONLY four calls.

In these days of telephony, I can speak to friends on the other side of the world in Melbourne Australia for an hour for only pennies. Something is terribly wrong here. There are people in custody being forced to pay exorbitant prices to communicate with attorneys and loved ones. From the thread on this company, I have learned that PayTel kicks back 30% of their profit to the jails/prisons that use them. That sounds like a bribe to me. Companies like this should be brought before a Senate Subcommittee and investigated and then charged under the new usury laws that are hopefully around the corner.

There's a special place in h*ll for people who take advantage of the poor and destitute like this company does, and if you are reading this from PayTel, there's a place for you as well. Shame on you, PayTel and I can't wait until lawmakers take a look at what you are doing and who you are paying off to allow such a scam as you have perpetrated. Please use Stumble, Digg-it or any other social networking site to try to make more people aware of this. Feel free to copy and post this on any blogs.

RESPONSE TO PAYTEL RESPONSE: I just received an itemized statement in which there were 20 minutes of "billed" conversations in two calls in which the total charges were $19.29. This was AFTER the "discount" you are so fond of mentioning. That's essentially $1.00 a minute for calls from GA to a neighboring state. That's essentially highway robbery. I would complain to the NC Senator, but I just found out that PayTel CEO Vincent Townsend dropped $2000.00 in (R) NC Senator Burr's coffers last year... So, I really don't know how far that would go (this is public record, you can Google it for confirmation).

If other consumers have information or stories "not fit to print" on a site such as this, please drop me a line here as I will be monitoring this page and intend to set up a site with all the dirt I can find on these people.

Company Response 3/10/2009:

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. With your prepaid account you do receive a discount on every call.

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 to

Racket That Is Beyond Stressful With No Help Available - They Hang Up if You Ask for Any Assistance
By -

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 driver's 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 driver's 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.

Company Response 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 and you will get a response the same day.

Thank you.

Very frustrating!
StarStarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 3/51

GREENSBORO, NC, NORTH CAROLINA -- My husband tried calling me 5 times today. Every time he called, the call would disconnect during the automated message. Now when I try to call Paytel it says "all circuits are busy". Its not my phone, because I have been able to make, and receive other calls, and I have $ on my account. I just want this resolved.

Company Response 05/12/2015:

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 We wish to resolve your issue as soon as possible.

Best regards.

Customer Relations

Push 3 Will No Accept Call
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

GREENSBORO NC -- I have the Paytel call come into my phone but when I have to push 3, I push it and it does not connect my call. Have been dealing with this for 3 days, now tech called me said it was my phone company... well it's not my phone company. Said call comes into my phone Paytel is one not letting the call be accepted.... I have 5 kiddos and this is only means of us talking to [their] daddy..

Company Response 12/12/2014:

We apologize for any problems you experienced with our company and sorry for the delay in responding. If you are still experiencing this issue, 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 We wish to resolve your issue as soon as possible.

Best regards.

Customer Relations

StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA -- 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.

Resolution Update 08/21/2013:

I was finally able to accept a call after 4 days but I'm happy that the issue was resolved. Thanks

Company Response :

We apologize for the frustration you have experienced with our company concerning your account. If you would please email us at 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 and your request will be addressed the same day.

Thank you.
Customer Relations

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