This is an investigation into the billing practices of Global Tel-Link, which is the nation's largest provider of telephone services to prison and jail inmates.
Global Tel-Link contracts with state corrections departments and/or sheriff departments to obtain exclusive rights to place payphones in correctional facilities. The inmate must use the Global Tel-Link payphone to contact his family or attorney. These calls are almost always collect calls, which are billed at ridiculously exorbitant rates that far exceed those rates charged by a typical long distance carrier. In many states this can be as much as $17 for a 15-minute phone call.
In exchange for access to this lucrative market, Global Tel-Link gives the Department of Corrections or the Sheriff a large "commission" from each call (typically between 42% and 57% of every dollar of revenue). This amounts to a huge stream of revenue. For example, in a four-year period the New York Department of Corrections received approximately $68 million in revenue from its contract with MCI. Therefore, these governmental entities have reason to ignore the blatantly unreasonable rates being forced onto the families of incarcerated individuals.
In addition to charging outrageous rates, Global Tel-Link and other inmate phone providers have a history of unscrupulous billing practices. These include: (1) programming phones to start billing before the recipient accepts the call; (2) imposing surcharges in excess of those allowed; (3) disconnecting calls so an additional connection fee can be billed; and (4) billing a call more than once. An audit of one prison revealed that of 90,879 tolled calls, only 13,849 were correctly charged whereas 64,873 were overcharged. These are just some of the tactics Global Tel-Link and other inmate phone providers in this multi-billion dollar industry have been accused of committing.
Currently investigation of the billing practices of Global Tel-Link. If you or a family member have experienced similar problems with Global Tel-Link, and would be willing to discuss your experience with us, please call.
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Global Tel-Link is a telephone company for prisons.
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