CANADA -- I am a rep for Correctional Billing Services and I have read over all of these postings bashing the company. And of course I feel the need to defend it. First of all, I think the most important thing all of you need to understand is that having phones in a jail is a PRIVILAGE not a RIGHT !!! We offer a service to the inmates and their families. Without our company there wouldn't be phones in the 2000+ jails we service. All the complaints I read are easily fixable problems if the customers would just listen to what a rep has to say before yelling and screaming. We are there to help you believe it or not. Yes I will admit some of us can be rude at times. But also try to understand what we go through in a day too. We get about 15-20 calls per hour, about 9 of those calls per hour are pissed of customers yelling and cursing at us and usually it is for something that isn't our companys fault. So by the end of a 9 hour shift it is very hard to keep your patience with every customer especially when a customer is refusing to listen. We as customer service reps can only do so much. We are not technical support, we are not repair reps and we are not your local telephone company. You customers call into us already angry cause your lines get blocked or whatever the reason may be...you are already defensive as soon as a rep says hello, by being defensive already you customers don't listen to what we are saying. It goes in one ear and right out the other. So I am gonna take this chance to explain exactly how our company's system works and maybe it will be usefull. Maybe you customers will read this while you are calm and maybe you will understand how things work. Correctional Billing Services does the billing for Evercom, which is the company that owns the phones in the jails. We forward these calls onto your local telephone bill, which you pay to your local telephone company, unless you are with a company we don't have a billing agreement with...which means...your phone company does not allow third party billing. Again something that is not correctional billing's fault. If CBS can't bill through your phone company then the only way to recieve calls is to set up a prepay account which is done by making payments to CBS by western union, mail, credit card or cheque by phone. If we can bill you through your local telephone company then yes we do set a limit on your calls. This limit is set based on records from your local telephone company, payment history with our company and call patterns with our company. If you have a new phone number then chances are good you are gonna have a low limit on your calls because there is no past history with our company to base the limit on. We ask that when you make payments to your phone company you call us to report those payments. The reason we ask this is because yes the phone company does pay us..BUT... they pay us once a month..one lump sum.. for all the customers we have with that phone company. Which means we don't know which customer paid how much on what phone number. So it is important that you call us when you make your payments so we can keep your lines clear for you. Reporting payments to us is also something that is in our agreements with the phone companys. They are the ones who want the customers to call us so they dont have to do it. So if that is a problem then take that up with your phone company..that is not our fault. Also by reporting these payments to us it is establishing some kind of history with our company which will in turn raise your limit on your account. Everytime you report 6 payments to us we will raise your limit by $50. If payments are reported properly and on time then usually blocks dont occur. Another big issues is a high velocity block. That means if you accept over $50 worth of calls within a 24 hour period we block the line. We do ask that all the calls within the blocked time frame be paid for before we open the line again. This is also an agreement we have with the phone company to prevent so many customers from getting huge bills at the end of the month. Some customers appreciate that we do this because they either don't realize how much the calls are or just don't realize how many they are accepting. And yes alot of customers don't like this policy but we still have to do it. We are not saying that you are a dead beat who doesn't pay your bill or that you can't afford these calls and in no way are we degrading you for this. But there is alot of people who don't pay there bill every month on time. We as a company of our size can not play favorites. We can not make exceptions for one person and not another. So thats why company policies are in effect and must be followed by all customers equally. If we as reps don't follow this policy then your phone company could cancel their agreement with CBS and you as the customer would have to go prepay to get your calls. So in the long run I think you customers should be thankful we do follow our policy. I think that covers most of what we do. Just a few more tidbits of information for you all...we are not responsible for the rates of these calls. The rates are set by a contract between evercom and the jail itself. Not CBS. Also if your phone company blocks your line from collect calls WE CAN NOT REMOVE THAT BLOCK we are not the phone company so they must remove that first. When a block is placed on a line it is not placed on your direct phone line...we block your phone number from the phones in the jails. The phones in the jails are ones we own so that gives us the right to do this. And we do not have a monopoly on collect calls. Monopolies are illegal in USA and there are lots of other Correctional billing companies such as MCI, Global Tellink or T-netix to name a few. we just happen to be the largest company as we do service 85%-90% of the jails across USA. I hope some of what I have said here is useful to someone. And I hope next time you call into CBS you will think of some of the things I have said here and will try to remember us reps are there to do a job. We are not there to be punching bags. Please try to understand we are there to help you. If you are angry at the way one rep treated you please do not take that out on the next one. Being polite and trying to listen and understand what the rep is saying will get you alot farther then yelling, screaming and cursing.