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I had the same problem. Although it isn't a verizon problem. The third-party company that gets the contract from the correctional facility is the one who controls whether or not the collect calls go through.
I set up a prepaid account with $60.00. $7 and change was the setup fee and $53.00 went towards calls. I intentially set up this account so he could call my cell phone. They said the calls will go through to it, they lied. He got a busy signal every time he tried. Since I was in another state the calls were $17+ for 15 minutes. I also added my mother's number which was from the same state as the CF. Her calls were much cheaper. Again the rates are set by the CF and they have to go through a third-party company. I guess there are several of them out there. Well it didn't take long (2 calls to me and 3 to my mother) for that money to disappear. What they didn't tell me when I set up the account was that tax was added on as well.
So, my account went over by $2.16. They wouldn't give me a credit, they wouldn't release my mother's phone number from my account so that she could receive collect calls either. They held our phone numbers hostage until they got a payment of $2.16. In order to pay my balance I could either pay $50.00 by credit card (the minimum amount they would charge) or send a check in the mail which would take 7-10 business days to clear. They cut my brother off from calling my mother for a week. It's a disgrace how this situation is treated. Somebody has to do something about it. It really is disgusting.
I can't receive calls again until I set up a new account with the same company in order for him to call me collect which he was able to do before I set up this prepay account.
Here's the kicker. I reported them to the BBB. No Satisfaction.
Yesterday the company was calling my cell phone with an automated message letting me know that I had a balance of $3.10. How the heck did that happen. I owed them $2.16 now I have a positive balance of $3.10. So I called them. They told me in order for me to close the account and get back the $3.10, I had to pay $4.95 for the charge.
What is wrong with this picture.
So, I went and got a pre-paid phone. One which I was going to activate with a phone number close to the facility so it would have the smallest charges. $1.29 connection fee and 5 cents/minute. Great right, not so fast. The pre-paid phones won't accept collect calls so I wasted $50.00 on that phone and I'm done trying to have him call me.
He'll just have to write letters like in the old days.
My brother isn't a murderer, he wasn't an armed robber, he's in for traffic violations and this is the way he is getting treated.
If anybody has any suggestions, any tips or ideas on how I can get collect phone calls to my verizon wireless phone or my pre-paid boost phone, I would be most grateful.
Also, what did somebody write about demanding that the call be put through verizon and them having to do that. Is that a law that I can find out about? Any help in that department would be great too.
You need to find someone at Verizon who can tell you the 'access code'. There is a prefix you can dial before any call that forces the call to be routed over a particular network. It has been a long time, but for AT&T that used to be 10288 (10 ATT). So they way to make an operator assisted (collect or credit card) call over AT&T at least used to be 10288 (force the call to AT&T) 0 XXX(are code) yyy zzzz (telephone number). I think the actual carrier (in this case it would have been AT&T) has to pay the pay phone operator something link 50 cents for the use of the facilities, but that's it (and the 50 cents was charged to you as part of the AT&T charges).
Alternative operator carriers are required by FCC regulations to allow callers to route calls over their preferred network. If they refuse, you can file a complaint with the FCC. I believe there is an alternative operator Carrier Bureau within the FCC that is specifically responsible for dealing with this issue.
Vicky I totally agree with you. I hate using Correctional Billing Services too. I don't know why there is a go-between except that they're in it for the money. They claim that they're helping us keep in touch with out loved ones but um... all our loved ones have to do is call our number collect and voila they're connected to us.
I am mad that I had to pay ANOTHER $50 minimum when adding money to my pre-paid acount with CBS. I thought only the intiial payment had to be a minimum. Hmmmm... itls definitely a scam.
Did you ever get the collect calls thingy straightened out with the CF? If so, can your friend call you directly to your verizon phone or did you have to set up an account with Correctional Billing Services? Are the charges cheaper calling directly to Verizon? Let me know what you did to set it up with verizon to accept the calls (if you ever did)
i am experiencing the same problem. my husband can direct bill my phone when he calls collect (same global tel ink company), but not his mother's (same verizon service that i have). she had to pay the $50, and is out already. has anyone figured this out?