Securus Technologies is a telecom company, based in Dallas, Texas, which contracts with many state prison systems in the U.S. to provide telephone access for inmates to phone their family/friends. Unless a family member outside the prison is an account holder of Securus Technologies, it is impossible to be contacted via telephone by their loved one inside prisons that contract with this company.
I do not own a landline, so I purchased a telephone number from Skype (VOIP) on December 24, 2011. I, then created my account with Securus Techologies on December 24, 2011, using the AdvanceConnect plan, and began receiving calls from an imprisoned close friend at a correctional facility, on January 6, 2012. Three days later, on January 9, 2012, my account was blocked without notice or notification from Securus. I only learned of the blockage when my friend failed to call, as scheduled, that same day. [continued below]....
I finally logged into my Securus Account Management page, which listed my account as 'blocked'. I immediately telephoned Securus Technologies on this same day, January 9, 2012, and I was told by a representative that my telephone number was not a landline, and stated this was the reason my account was blocked from receiving calls. This is clearly a contradictory statement by the Securus representative as their company policy provides that AdvanceConnect account holders can use VOIP as one of the phone types. The exact language used in Securus' Advanced Connect policy reads, "Calls will connect to all phone types such as home phone, cell phones, and internet (such as VOiP carrier) with this Account."
After discovering the false information stated by the Securus Representative, I telephoned again on January 9, 2012, and inquired about the blocked account, once more. This time, a different representative did not mention I needed a landline, and instead, only stated that I would need to provide proof of my phone number to Securus, which I have done on three separate occasions - the latest on January 18, 2012.
My first attempt to provide the information that Securus Technologies requested was on January 9, 2012 when I emailed Securus Customer Services screenshots of my telephone number purchase.
Securus Technologies replied 48 hours later and claimed I am using a "call diverter" to receive calls from the correctional facility. However, as previously stated, I am using Skype, a VOIP provider, not a call diverter. Calls to my telephone number come directly to my Skype account. Calls are not diverted to any landline or cellular telephone.
Securus Technologies informed me that I could continue to challenge their blockage of my account by submitting documentation on Skype letterhead, which Skype kindly provided me in an email. I submitted this document and documents previously submitted to Securus again, only to be notified 48 hours later that all documents must be submitted in PDF format. This was not previously stated when Securus Technologies reviewed and accepted the original JPG documents I sent to them days before.
On January 18, 2012, I resubmitted the documents in the format they requested, only to be told I can contact them again in another 48 hours. I have saved a history of these emails as evidence for a complaint I also filed today with the Federal Communications Commission for unlawful call blocking by a telecom company (Securus).
After much research on my own, I have learned that Securus Technologies has a long history of blocking calls to people who purchase phone numbers which can be dialed locally from a particular correctional facility. This can only be due to the fact that calls which are placed from a facility to a local number (as I purchased through Skype) are much less expensive, thus, lower profits for Securus Technologies.
I am now under the firm belief that Securus is attempting to force me to use a phone number from my own area code in an effort to charge me additional monies to receive calls from my friend in the correctional facility. I am also aware there is another case currently pending before the FCC regarding Securus' blocking practices by another telecom company (ConsCallHome.com), which also provides local telephone numbers for families of prison inmates.
This behavior by Securus Technologies is inexcusable. I have violated no portion of Securus Technologies' terms of service. And, I have submitted proper documentation to prove I am the owner of the phone number I purchased through Skype. The FCC has previously been very clear about call blocking, stating that, "call blocking is an unjust and unreasonable practice under Section 201(b) of the (Telecommunications) Act." Specifically, Commission precedent provides that no carriers...may block, choke, reduce or restrict traffic in any way.
Securus Technologies is in clear violation of FCC rules concerning call blocking and my only goal is to stop this company's practice of poor and misleading customer service, and force them to comply with FCC rules regarding call blocking, as well as making Securus comply with its own terms of service.