Evercom Informative - how evercom/cbs works
ALABAMA -- Correctional Billing Services (CBS), a division of Evercom Systems, Inc., is the largest telephone billing company in America dedicated to the corrections industry. Due to security considerations, the corrections industry typically requires that all calls made by inmates in a correctional facility be collect calls. The intent is to ensure that all calls are positively accepted by the called party. This ensures that harassing or unwanted calls are not placed to witnesses, lawyers, judges, or others. This also allows friends and family members to manage telephone bills because they can choose to not accept calls with their associated charges 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,also yes the website does work if you will try it http://www.correctionalbillingservices.com/
To Avoid Being Disconnected To talk on the phone with someone confined in a correctional facility, you must use a touch-tone telephone.
If you do any of these things during the call, you could be disconnected, so... DON'T:
transfer the call
put the call on Hold
use or answer Call Waiting
use a cellular phone (static could cause disconnect)
use a cordless phone
press extra (additional) numbers on the touch-tone keypad
stop your conversation for any length of time (a period of silence may cause a disconnect)
try to make any kind of 3-way call
Why Are Calls Blocked? Calls made from a correctional facility are generally collect calls. You may not be able to accept collect calls for several reasons:
A collect call restriction placed by your local telephone company may prevent you from getting your calls from the correctional facility. You must call your local telephone company to have this type of restriction removed. Please note that once the restriction is removed, it may take up to 72 hours for a collect call to go through.
A new telephone number or changes made to your telephone service (such as a temporary disconnect, changes in your telephone features such as Call Waiting, area code change, etc.) could put a restriction on your line. Please allow 72 hours from the time your number was activated or the changes were made for your collect calls to begin coming through.
If you have received calls in the past from a facility handled by Correctional Billing Services but no longer can, you might have exceeded your payment verification point. Call us at 1-800-844-6591 for additional information.
If you have a new telephone number, it is possible that the previous owner of the number requested a restriction on the line. Call us with the date when you received the number from your local telephone company, and Correctional Billing Services can remove the restriction
How to Block Your Line If you would like to prevent collect calls from a correctional facility (handled by Correctional Billing Services) from reaching you, please call us at 1-800-844-6591 and a representative will work with you to place a restriction on your line.
There is no charge for a restriction. We make every effort to stop the collect calls; however, we cannot guarantee this service for correctional facilities that we do not serve. If collect calls still come into your home from a correctional facility more than 48 hours after a restriction has been placed on your line, please call us at 1-800-844-6591 or send e-mail to support@CorrectionalBillingServices.com to see what more can be done to prevent the calls from reaching you.
About My Bill When an inmate calls your number and you answer, you should hear a brief message that identifies the call as being collect. Information about the name of the correctional facility or the name of the inmate may also be provided. You will then hear instructions to press a button on your touch–tone phone or say "yes" to accept the call. If you do not accept the call or if you just hang up, the call will not be billed to your number.
Calls will appear on your bill only if someone accepts the call. If you don't recognize the calls on your bill, please check with other members of your household or business (or anyone else who may have access to your telephone) to determine who may have accepted the call.
Rates Collect calls are considered "operator-assisted calls." The cost of providing operator assisted calling is substantially higher than the cost of providing normal or long distance calls because special equipment and services are required (equipment and maintenance, billing validation, collections, customer service, etc.).
Additionally, there is a surcharge applied to this type of service which is in addition to the applicable per-minute rate of the call.
Individual calls from a correctional facility will usually have a time limit which varies depending on the facility. While another call may be made to the same number, the surcharge will apply to each call.
The contract to provide collect call phone service to a correctional facility is usually granted based on competitive bids solicited by local, state, or federal authorities. Bidders must meet strict requirements which ensure that they can provide the necessary level of security while providing competitive phone service.
Evercom's rates are competitive and comply with all applicable state and federal regulations.
To request rates use this form
Account Charges You can check your charges with Correctional Billing Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using our automated service at 1-800-844-6591. If you make payment before your charges reach or exceed your payment verification point, it will prevent a restriction from being placed on your line.
If a restriction is placed on your line because you have reached or exceeded your payment verification point, you will need to pay your bill in full before we can remove the restriction.
Local Telephone Payments
If your local telephone company has blocked (restricted) your line from receiving collect calls, you must pay your local telephone bill to remove that block. You should also notify Correctional Billing Services to ensure that we do not restrict your line from receiving collect calls. To report a payment or discuss a restriction, call us at 1-800-844-6591. You can report a payment by faxing a copy of your payment receipt to us at 1-800-578-2627.
Correctional Billing Services (CBS) offers a pre-paid plan that can prevent your line from being restricted as long as there are available funds in your account. Here’s how it works. You sign up and send an initial payment of a least $50.00.
Our automated system can notify you when you need to make additional payments to prevent your line from being restricted. Payments must be a minimum of $50.00. If you choose the prepaid plan, you will not receive any further charges on your local telephone bill.
Payments on pre-paid accounts can be made through Western Union® online.
Or, you can pay in person at a Western Union Agent location near you