Collect Calls are Costly!

United States
February 7, 2010 6:37pm CST
In a recent discussion I mentioned that I couldn't accept collect calls with my service provider. My provider is Vonage. My son tried to get me to accept his call several times one night. I was upset that I couldn't speak with him because of not being able to accept the call. The next day I waited through the options of the call I received from my son. It stated that I would be charged $25 plus processing fees to be able to accept calls from my son. Without batting an eye I went through with agreeing to the charges. I was able to speak to my son. We talked for about 15 minutes. The next day when he called again, I was unable to accept the call due to insufficient funds in my account. So, it cost me $27.50 to talk to my son for 15 minutes. Unbelievable. There has to be a better way to do this. Unfortunately the system won't allow them to call 800 numbers or I would get one through Vonage so that my sons could call and I wouldn't go broke. They encourage phone calls for the inmates to keep up their morale. How can one afford to speak to them even once a month when the cost is so much? ~Sigh~
9 people like this
18 responses
@crazydaisy (3899)
• Canada
8 Feb 10
I think that's a little to much..didn't you make arrangement with the Vonage it shouldn't be that much.You should check out Primus and see if they are better. They could be a little cheaper... cd
3 people like this
• United States
8 Feb 10
It isn't Vonage that is the problem. You can set up an account with them for an 800 number. But, the inmates can't call those numbers, they have to do collect calls which Vonage does not do.
1 person likes this
@polachicago (19073)
• United States
8 Feb 10
Good that you where able to talk... You can buy calling card that has local number to call. Send the card to your son and he can call you using local number and the pin.
2 people like this
@polachicago (19073)
• United States
8 Feb 10
you can talk everyday during one month for $27, if you use calling cards...however he will have to pay for local charges if calling from public phone.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Feb 10
I am not too certain that they can use a calling card. Something that I will have to inquire about.
@Thoroughrob (11750)
• United States
8 Feb 10
That is alot of money for 15 minutes. I know that it is not much better with a phone company like embarq. I had a friend that was always complaining that one of their friends would call for her husband. I don't know how long they talked, but her bill was over 100 dollars. If they want you to take the calls it should be more affordable.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Feb 10
I so agree. The system states that it is good for the inmates morale to have calls from home. Well there needs to be a better way to do this so that the people at home don't go broke in the process.
@BarBaraPrz (21360)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
8 Feb 10
That's outrageous!
2 people like this
• United States
8 Feb 10
I know. Can't afford to do it at all when I think about it. We will have to rely on paper communication.
1 person likes this
@Polly1 (12648)
• United States
8 Feb 10
Thats legal robbery in my book. Phone companies shouldn't be able to charge that much. they have you, they know its hard to not accept a phone call from someone you love. Lets hope when your son does get moved the phone calls will be less expensive. Over 15 yeas ago, my sister was incarcerated in Cal. I'm in Ohio. She called me, I accepted. I had no idea what the charge would be. It was over $5 a minute. I had three phone calls from her before I knew what the charge was. I wonder if it would do any good to write the warden a letter about the outrageous cost of the calls. Take care.....
2 people like this
• United States
8 Feb 10
The system itself would have to be changed. Each state may be different. But in the state they are incarcerated it is costly. If they were in my state it wouldn't be as much. It really isn't fair to the people on the outside who are trying to be supportive of the ones who are incarcerated.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Feb 10
I wish I could help you out on this one Elusive but I have never been in a situation where I have had to accept a collect call from a jail, but I do know that they can get expensive. Last year my mother in law got sick and was put into ICU and they tried to patch a call through for her and it told me in order to do this they would charge my bill $29.50..I about crapped my pants. Lucky thing I had caller ID and I just went ahead and called the number back and asked if she was admitted and what room she was in. I am not sure but what if you were to buy a cell phone? I can't say that would work but I know most plans have it to where you can make and receive free calls after certain hours and on weekends...
2 people like this
• United States
8 Feb 10
Calling a cell phone is not allowed. They can only make collect calls.
1 person likes this
@illfavors (592)
• United States
8 Feb 10
I haven't made a collect call in so many years. I guess because we have cell phones and such that offer unlimited long distance. That is a bit excessive for a collect call. I would find another means of communication.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Feb 10
I had long forgotten how expensive they are. I got a rude awakening.
@ANTIQUELADY (36488)
• United States
8 Feb 10
That is too bad. The only thing i can think of is that u change companies but know that would be a hassle but i know u want to be able to talk to your son. good luck.
• United States
12 Feb 10
Eventually I will probably change companies. Will have to wait and see what happens.
• United States
8 Feb 10
I agree about how collect call's can be expensive. My husband use to work out of town a lot at his previous job and a lot of times he couldn't use his cell phone to call home sometimes because he was at a place that was out of his cell phone range and his cell wouldn't work, so he would call me collect a few times and oh boy, those few collect call's he made really were expensive when our phone bill came it. So we decided that buying a prepaid phone card would be the best bet because it cost $10 for a thousand minutes and it was a lot cheaper then calling collect. Maybe your son should try a prepaid phone card when he call's you?
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Feb 10
I have to check into the prepaid cards. Not certain if that is an option.
• United States
8 Feb 10
When my son was in jail the jail had a sheet of information it listed a number to call so I could recieve collect calls, I remember I also had to call my phone company to get them to unblock collect calls. I'd call the jail and ask about which company they use and get the numberr, I think you may like prepay for his calls if I remember right . then call your phone co and tell them to unblock your line good luck liz
• United States
12 Feb 10
Thanks for the information. I will have to check into this.
@satya4186 (280)
• India
8 Feb 10
according to my view it is not possible that some can speak but not talk in a mannerly because this is not a believably story .
• United States
12 Feb 10
Sorry that you do not understand the discussion. But, it is truth.
@reinydawn (11649)
• United States
14 Jun 10
I hope you no longer are having this problem, but if you are do you think a pre-paid phone would work? You could only give the number to him and take calls that way? I don't know if a prepaid phone can receive collect calls, but it might be worth looking into if you still need it.
@anniepa (27240)
• United States
14 Feb 10
Would he be allowed to have a pre-paid calling card? If so, you could send one to him and put however many minutes you'd like each month. I'd guess it wouldn't be $25 for each call! Annie
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
9 Feb 10
My goodness that is outrageous! Is there any way you can change the plan you have with Vonage or change provider? I wonder if the inmates would be permitted to use a cell phone…My cell provider has a system where every month I receive up to 90 minutes of free calls to other cell phones with the same provider. My sister was holidaying in Italy and I phoned her on her cell from Australia and, because she uses the same provider as me, we spoke for half an hour and it cost me nothing! I don’t know if you have such plans in your country though. I will let you know if I can think of any other way to resolve the problem, can the inmates email? Probably not would be my guess. I would consider a change of provider. I am sorry you are facing this, it’s difficult enough without expensive phone bills!
@jennybianca (12914)
• Australia
9 Feb 10
God grief. That is a shocking. Im fairly sure that in Australia, collect calls are only charged at the normal rate a phone call would have. So, if my daughter had no money, and needed to contact me, she could call collect. This would be added to my bill of 50c, as thaty is what the call would have cost her to ring ftom a public phone, if she had the money.. The system your describe is very unfair. Inmates do have a right to stay in contact with their family.
@gabs8513 (48715)
• United Kingdom
8 Feb 10
Elusive that is just awful Surely there has to be something so that you can talk to your Son I know here the Prisoners get a calling card and they can call home with that but I am not sure how it works I only know this because Friends of mine work in a Prison I really hope there is something that can be done so you can talk to your Son on a regular basis as you both need to be in touch to keep your Morale up Hugs
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Feb 10
That's crazy, is there a way to get on another plan that is better?
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
8 Feb 10
I cannot help you on this one as I know nothing about your telephine companies but it is outrageous and totally disgusting that this amount of money is charged to you. I am so sorry. You can write but talking is more personal. I am s sorry for you and very sorry for him too as I can just imagine how much he would weant to get your calls.