SecurePak is a 'package delivery' service contracted by prisons to allow relatives and friends of prisoners send commissary supplies (food, snacks, personal hygiene products, clothing, etc.) to prisoners. As such, it operates as a monopoly governed only by the stipulations of the contract agreement with the imprisoning institution, in this case Santa Barbara County Jail in CA.
I have recently accessed their services on behalf of a friend incarcerated in Santa Barbara.
These have been my experiences:
1. When placing a recent order, which must be made by Tuesday at 4 pm, I experienced difficulty getting Securepak to register a credit card being used for the order. As a result, the order, which I began placing at approximately 3:30 pm, didn't complete until several seconds after 4 pm. As a result of this problem caused by their system, the order was delayed for a week, preventing my friend from receiving much-needed goods.
2. Last week, when ordering coffee supplies, I noticed a 'glitch' in the online order form that caused the first three items in the catalog to repeat endlessly, thus preventing users from ordering ancillary supplies, such as creamer and sugar. I used the SecurePak direct communication pop-up to report this problem and was told that I was mistaken, that, in fact, Santa Barbara County Jail had intervened to interdict creamer and sugar from delivery. I shut down the order and re-accessed the site. Not only was the glitch fixed, but creamer and sugar showed up.
3. On the same order, placed in plenty of time before the deadline, under my account and using my customer number, a mutual friend olf mine and of the prisoner offered to help me defray some of the cost of the commissary shipment by putting the order on his debit card. I received immediate confirmation of the order. However, it wasn't delivered. Yesterday, a week later, I received an acknowledgement that my order was being shipped. When I contacted Securepak's live chat popup to ask for an explanation of the delay, I was told that only the person in whose name the card was issued could address this issue.
It is bad enough that people using this service have to contend with a single, non-competitive vendor, a catalog of unbelievably unhealthy junk food (pork rinds, anyone?) at exorbitant prices (Snicker's bar @ $1.30, 4 oz. instant coffee @ $4.35 come immediately to mind) and off-brand choices, and that they charge a $3 service charge for delivery, which quite obviously is performed by prison guards in the institution, but the fact that Securepak is neither concerned about providing the service it is contracted to provide on time and correctly and that it hides behind 'company policy' to prevent offering responsive information concerning orders shows contempt both for the people they are supposed to be serving and the customers using their service.
And just what are the alternatives for someone dissatisfied with thie service being offered here? Absolutely none!
Frankly, I see this as a major rip-off taking advantage of people who have no other choice but to use this service in order to provide imprisoned friends and relatives a few food and snack items, the only sign of support and concern allowed inmates within our utterly broken system of law enforcement.
It needs to stop. Now.