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PayTel - Page 3

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1.5 out of 5, based on 21 ratings and
55 reviews & complaints.
Company Profile
PayTel
P.O. Box 19290
Greensboro, NC 27419
1-800-729-8355 (ph)
www.paytel.com
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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 CustomerRelations@paytel.com and your request will be addressed the same day.
Please accept our apologies for this problem.
Best regards.
Customer Relations

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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 CustomerRelations@paytel.com and your request will be addressed the same day.

Thank you.
Customer Relations

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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 customerrelations@paytel.com

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Rude Customer Service
By -

MONROE, GEORGIA -- I had to call Pay Tel 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 Pay Tel 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 whatever I want. Well anyway, 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 prey on people that know no better. They cannot force you to pay them to get calls on your home phone, you pay your phone company not Pay Tel. 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. Pay Tel 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 president@paytel.com 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 CustomerRelations@paytel.com and your request will be addressed the same day.

Thank you.

Customer Relations

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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 CustomerRelations@paytel.com and your request will be addressed the same day.

Please accept our apologies for this error.

Best regards.
Customer Relations

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Worst Customer Service Ever by a Supervisor
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

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. ** 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. ** 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 **. 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.

Company Response 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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Not Receiving What I Paid For
StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 2/51

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.

Company Response 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

Replies
Drop Calls
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

WINTER HAVEN -- 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 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 **. ** 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 used to talk with your loved one.

Company Response 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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Didn't Know
StarStarStarStarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 4/51

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA -- I did not know that I have to call Paytel 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.

Company Response 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

Replies
Biggest Government Approved Scam in History!
By -

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 PayTel 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 PayTel. By tomorrow I will file forms on the DOJ site. Have to wait 3 hours for acct. to update.

Company Response 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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