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New Prison Phone Rate Caps Adopted by the FCC Go Into Effect Today.

February 11, 2014

As of February 11, families of detained and incarcerated loved ones will no longer have to pay predatory phone bills to stay connected.


Today,
on February 11th 2014, the new rate caps adopted by the Federal
Communications Commission for telephone calls to people in prison, jail or
detention centers will go into effect. These rate caps for interstate calls
(calls between two different states) are .25 per minute for collect calls and
.21 per minute for debit or prepaid calls. These rate caps are intended to
limit and reduce the amount prison phone carriers can charge consumers,
significantly reducing the financial burden of families and loved ones of
individuals behind bars.

These
caps represent a significant step in the area of prison phone rate reform. After
today, a charge over these limits will be a violation of federal law. While
certain other pieces of the FCC’s order which were intended to provide further
relief from outrageous fees were blocked by the courts, these rates will apply
to calls made after today. The FCC’s
complaint process is open to consumers who believe their phone call charges are
too high for calls that are made between states.

There are many ways for consumers to file complaints with
the FCC. To telephone the FCC, call 1-888-225-5322.  The complaint form can be completed
online
or on paper.  You can obtain copies of the form by calling
the FCC. To file your complaint, you will need your telephone number, the name
of the phone company, your account number, and the amount you believe you were
overcharged. You can also attach copies of your phone bill to the complaint,
but that is not required.

If you have a complaint about in-state calls—for example if
you live in Texas and you are receiving calls from inside Texas–you need to
complain to the state where you are making and receiving calls.  Consult
this map to find a state regulator.

 

The FCC also has a guide in English and in Spanish about
informal complaints:

Consumer
Guide to Informal Complaints

Guía
para el Consumidor: Presentación de una queja informal

The
TTY number for people with disabilities is 1-888-835-5322. The toll free fax
number for documents is 1-866-418-0232.