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PayTel is a monopoly that overcharges and refuses to refund dropped calls
Posted by on
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.
Company Response 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, 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 and your request will be addressed the same day.

Best regards,

Customer Service
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User Replies:
Alain on 12/17/2011:
Looks like PayTel is offering to resolve this. May as well take them up on it.
catwellhollow on 12/20/2011:
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.
E A St. Louis on 07/10/2013:
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 on
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??? Anyway 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!
Company Response 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 We wish to resolve your issue as soon as possible.

Best regards.

Customer Relations
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Alain on 12/10/2011:
Alain on 12/10/2011:
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.
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 money 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.


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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Horrible web site and payment page
Posted by on
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA -- Yes I agree with the other reviews, the cost Is ridiculous $20 gets you about 10 minutes, but my larger complaint is their web site, it's a sin that they charge a $3 fee to give your money to them, then to make matters worse if you accidentally enter a wrong cc # or something off in any of the many field that must be filled out, tiny little screens, they block you from paying online and add another 3 fee to pay over the phone, or you have to drive to Western Union and pay $6 fee! Not because the money wasn't there but because you entered the exp on you card wrong or didn't notice there was a expired date already in the field. Or your bank changed your home address but failed to change the address on your debit card, they block you and charge $6 fee, what a total scam. As if having a loved one in jail isn't difficult enough, they have not even been tried and convicted, and the costs are robbery!

If anyone knows how to file a formal complaint please let me know.

Company Response 11/9/2011:
Dear Ms. Horton:

Sorry you feel this way. After review your accounts, all your numbers are long distance to the jail in Davie County. You are charged the long distance rate of $2.35 for the first minute and $.50 for each additional minute. So your 10 minute call cost you $6.85, plus taxes.

In regards to your account being blocked from making additional credit card payments -- our records show your account had multiple declines between multiple accounts which will block any future credit card payments from being made yourself. This process is for your security as well as that of Pay Tel's in regard to multiple declines on an account. Our procedure is for a CSR to assist you with your payment and then allow you to make additional payments on your own. As any other company, the fee while speaking with a CSR is higher than using an automated system or our website to make your payment yourself.

Please make sure you or anyone making payments on your account have correct information and available funds on your card when making your payment to avoid future declines, because that will block your account again.

I hope this resolves your issue. 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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Skye on 11/05/2011:
You can try filing a formal complaint with your state attorney generals office. Click on the consumer link located at the top of the link I provided, and go you can file your complaint about Paytel right on their site, by filling out the forms.
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Worst Service Ever
Posted by on
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 paytell. 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 its 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 any one 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 puntional 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
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jktshff1 on 12/24/2009:
Just see the "other reviews" above. Merry Christmas.
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What Customer Service?
Posted by on
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 paytell 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 accually 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 dads 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 dads 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 everybodys 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
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Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
To my knowledge, cell phones cannot accept any sort of collect call, even prepaid collect calls. Mind you, I haven't worked for a cellular company for 4-5 years, so things may have changed since then.
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The Paytel scam continues
Posted by on
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

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CSD on 08/29/2009:
Do they not have a number to call to find out your balance?
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PayTel preys on people who need this service
Posted by on
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 abouth 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 avial. No one will respond to me. They have stollen 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

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MSCANTBEWRONG on 08/26/2009:
Send them a certified letter, return receipt, stating that you have tried numerous times to contact them via various methods and have been unable to reach anyone to resolve your issue. Ask them to contact you immediately to resolve your issue or return your money promptly. If no response, file a small claims suit.
a_webb4 on 08/26/2009:
Thank you, but there is no mailing address anywhere on the website or the recording. They have covered their tracks nicely. Do you have any idea where I can find the mailing address?
Anonymous on 08/26/2009:
This is at the bottom of their website. Sometimes a street address is not always necessary if the company is well known in the area. Pay-Tel Communications, Inc., Greensboro, NC 27419
BokiBean on 08/26/2009:
Mailing Address: P O Box 8179. Greensboro NC, 27419
a_webb4 on 08/26/2009:
Thank you so much, everyone! I will post the outcome.
Anonymous on 08/26/2009:
Wow! I've never seen a company response before. That's kind of cool. It looks like blah blah BS, but it's still kind of cool.
DigitalCommando on 08/26/2009:
We're sorry, but your request for service was accidentally lodged into one of the 8 cylinders of our coffee pot/dialysis machine. We have overnighted a Belesian snow beetle to help with the extraction process and it should arrive during Obama's 3 term as President. You may want to use this time to determine just how many licks it really takes to get to the center of a lolipop.
Anonymous on 08/26/2009:
3 terms DC, don't scare me like that brotha
Anonymous on 08/26/2009:
LOL DC! You shouldn't smoke that stuff all by yourself. Pass it around.
Anonymous on 08/26/2009:
Hey, that reminds me. I was watching, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader (I'm not), and the question was how many years can a president serve? It was 10 consecutive years (I immediately thought 8--like the contestant). If a president dies during office, the vp takes over. If they only serve 2 years during that time, they can then serve two terms. I never knew that little fact (or thought about it).
DigitalCommando on 08/26/2009:
I don't think it is constitutional to serve more than 2 terms as President, unless you are a maniacal egomaniac like Bloomberg in New York and decides to extend your term for a third term (against existing law). I don't think Barry will last that long anyway.
DigitalCommando on 08/26/2009:
Yes kia, the known and most logical answer is not always the right one. *Spock agrees*
Anonymous on 08/26/2009:
So many facts, so little time, lol.
a_webb4 on 08/28/2009:
LOL DC, that is excatly how I felt about their ridiculous response!
madconsumer on 08/28/2009:
best answer company response!! you rock!!
clutzycook on 08/28/2009:
DC, Love it!
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Usury And Greed. The Evil Of Making Our Jails "For Profit"
Posted by on
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 Pay-Tel.

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 Pay-Tel 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 Pay-Tel, there's a place for you as well.

Shame on you, Pay-Tel 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.


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

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spiderman2 on 03/07/2009:
I'm sorry for your troubles, but be careful where you throw stones. "There's a special place in h*ll for people wo take advantage of the poor and destitute like this company does," THere are a lot of people who feel that way about criminals in jail too.
Usuryquixoti on 03/07/2009:
spiderman2 -

Per populace, America has more people in prison than any other industrialized nation in the world including China, Russia, Iran and Cuba.

We constantly move violent criminals out of jails to make room for non-violent criminals. However, if you are as well heeled as a Mr. Madoff, who has stolen more money than the National Budget of many countries, he still hhas the cash to stay out of jail.

You also wrongly assume that I am anti punishment. I'm not. For the most part, companies such as Pay-Tel are, in effect, punishing the families of the incarcerated. These "punishments" are applied to those awaiting trial as well as those convicted with charges for phone services that are as criminal as the charges of many in the jails they "serve."

a_webb4 on 08/26/2009:
The only way to get the attention of corporations such as this is with a class action lawsuit, especially since they are bribing the jail systems and local politicians. If we bankrupt them then they will think twice before ripping off consumers again. Furthermore, the issue is not about the prisoners, the issue is about the consumers who are NOT in prison and want to talk to their loved ones. We do not deserve to be scammed because our friend/family member is in jail. We have committed no crime in this situation, in fact we are the victim of this greedy and corrupt corporation known as Paytel.
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Rude Customer Service
Posted by on
MONROE, GEORGIA -- I had to call Paytell because a family member was in county jail. First they told me I had to pay them that they would not unblock my number so that I could get collect calls from the phone that was at the jail the customer service representative told me they own the phones and my phone company didn't provide enough billing information. And then hung up on me I called back and tried to get it resolved with another customer service representative who was rude again, I the asked to speak with a floor manager. (I own a telemarketing company. it is FCC regulations to have a floor manager at all times) I got a voicemail I left a message with no return call. So I called my phone provider and they had never heard of that.

They contacted Paytell and I was able to receive calls. A few days later my family member was out and I was receiving calls from the jail. I called to have my phone reblocked they told me it was blocked I said it was not and I needed it blocked again the rude customer service representative told me it was taken care of. I at that time told her it better or I would call back and it would not be pretty, she told me that I could not threaten her, It is my dime and I can do what ever I want. Well any way it was not blocked got more calls I called back and told them they need to block the calls or I would sue them.

I hung up and the customer service representative called back and treated me. These people have no customer service training and are rude and don't wish to help anyone. The problem with companies like this is they pray on people that no no better. They can not force you to pay them to get calls on your home phone, you pay your phone company not Paytell they only own the phones in the county jails what a racket these people are. As a business owner if one of my employees ever called a customer back and was rude or a manager did not return a call on a complaint they would be looking for a job in a quick second.

Paytel is providing a service from a public place they should remember providing a service and as a service provider your customers service should be first on the training list and it is not.
Company Response 11/20/2008:
We apologize for the frustration you have experienced with our company concerning your calls and our Customer Service Representatives.

Kelly, we have established procedures at Pay Tel when a customer contacts a CSR in regards to receiving collect calls. We check the LIDB National Validation Data Base for your bill name and address information. The challenge today is that local telephone companies are doing a poor and poorer job in making sure the National Data base is updated properly and timely.

We attempted to validate your number on 11/13, the information provided by your local telephone company to the LIDB Data Base did not include any account owner information – name on account, address, etc. We do not bill calls to numbers that do not have any account information.

Our company is no different than any other in that we provide a service and we have the right to establish our own credit policies. All of our policies are in our tariffs and approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission. The CSR explained to you that to receive collect calls you would need to set up an account and prepay Pay Tel for these calls.

Then you contacted us again on 11/14 when you spoke with the CSR, her response was the same; you would need to set up an account and prepay to receive the collect calls. However, our records show that when the inmate attempted to contact you at 3:08 pm on 11/14, the call was successful. You mentioned in your complaint contacting your local telephone company. It appears your telephone company must have sent updated account information to the LIDB Data Base. The validation reply that we received on this call provided account information and we were able to bill this call through your local telephone company. After receiving this good validation, you were able to accept an additional 14 calls through November 17th.

The next call from you on 11/18 was a request to block your number and the CSR you spoke with blocked your number and you have not received any calls since November 17th.

We apologize for any rude or poor service you may have received. We are currently investigating your concerns and will address the issues raised with the CSR’s involved. Please send your email address to and you will receive a response to these concerns from our President.

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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jktshff1 on 11/18/2008:
Just look at the other complaints on this site about these kinds of calls.
Really, I'm getting sick of them. I really don't care if you can't talk to someone in jail, or how much you have to pay for the privilege, or the problems you have with the providers.
My tax dollars are paying for the tv, exercise equipment, food, lodging, room over their head, health care for someone who is a criminal...get the picture?
The sheriff in TX or AZ, I can't remember which, has the right idea...put the convicted in tents and pink jumpsuits and give the beans & bread.
Sorry for the way I had to say it, not for what I said.
Anonymous on 11/19/2008:
They just busted a death row inmate here in TX for having a cell phone, charger, shank, and weed residue in his cell. I'd think that if a death row inmate can get that much contraband in, no telling what the rest of the inmates have. In my opinion, things are way too loose and it's time to tighten them up. I agree with jkt on this one.
Davenport on 11/19/2008:
C20, be glad we're not in Ireland. One inmate called a radio show from his maximum security prison cell, which resulting in a sweep of his wing, where they proceeded to confiscate numerous cell phones and contraband.
melabelle72 on 07/03/2009:
I don't think jktshff1 is aware that not all facilities have TV, Exercise equipment. And for that matter, the inmates are charged for the food and the health care they provide. You have to remember that a lot of the facilities are located in county jail, where that are presumed innocent until prover quilty. Some of thes inmates deserve no compassion? Their only link to the outside world is through these phone calls most of the time. And may I remind mr jktshff1, that it is not HIS tax dollars paying for these calls, it is us law abiding citizens that are paying this company for a service, we deserve quality service. I hope that mr jktshff1 never finds himself wrongly accused and have to depend on this company to speak with his family.
jktshff1 on 07/04/2009:
First I'm jktshff1, my daddy was a mr.
I am totally aware of the facts as stated.
I should have included the word "convicted" in my post. The person responsible for your problems is the one in jail, period, I still think some form of compensation is due the taxpayer from the convicted criminal upon release.
It IS MY tax dollars paying for the incarceration costs, public defender (if applicable), judge, and everything else aside from the calls. Don't really care if you can't call them. Write a letter.
jktshff1 on 07/04/2009:
By the way, good company response.
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Racket that is beyond stressful with no help available - they hang up if you ask for any assistance
Posted by on
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.

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.
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