Frequently Asked Questions
What is Inmatefone's LocalCall™ service and how does it work?
Inmatefone provides you with telephone service "local" to the institution your loved one is incarcerated in. Inmatefone connects the local service to your home, cell, or office phone anywhere in the world! The inmate benefits from local prison calling rates rather than the very high "long distance" rates.
How does Inmatefone save me money?
When an inmate calls you on your LocalCall™ number the cost is dramatically reduced. Inmatefone works using the prisons' existing phone systems, but makes the calls cheaper because when the inmate reaches you on your home, office or cell phone by dialing a number "local" to the institution and is thus charged for a "local" call instead of a "long distance" call.
Why do I need a phone number local to the prison?
Because the rates charged by the facility are based on the distance to your phone number. The shorter the distance, the cheaper the call. By using our LocalCall™ phone numbers, the distance dialed by the inmate is reduced to one that is as short as possible from the prison thus saving money on each call.
Do inmates who use LocalCall™ service violate prison rules or policies?
No! For two reasons: 1. We do not offer services to inmates. We offer our service to their friends and families. The FCC prohibits prison officials from dictating to you who or where you obtain telephone service. And 2. When inmates dial your LocalCall™ number they must use the same prison phone system they use to make any other prison phone call. LocalCall™ service does not change any of the prison's phone system security features. Your calls can still be monitored by prison staff and you can still deny or accept calls at any time. All facility rules and regulations continue to apply.
Is your service allowed to be used by inmates in Federal prisons?
Yes it is. We do not alter any of the BOP's telephone procedures used to ensure "safe" calls. We provide you with a phone number outside the prison, but still local to it. When a Federal inmate dials your LocalCall™ number, they still go through the prison phone system and they still must put LocalCall™ numbers on their approved call list. This is what allows them to comply with the applicable rules, but changes their calling rate from 21 cents per minute to 6 cents per minute.
I purchased a phone with a number local to the prison and my inmate was still charged long distance rates. How does Inmatefone guarantee local calling rates with the Bureau of Prisons?
The BOP has a very narrow definition for what numbers qualify as "local" calls. Having the same area code does not necessarily qualify the call for local rates. In fact, we found that the BOP does not even follow the definition for local calls followed by most phone companies. We verify every number with our providers to ensure that our lines are charged local rates by each facility. We offer an unconditional guarantee for all our LocalCall™ numbers that local charges will always apply.
Does LocalCall™ service work for state inmates?
Yes it does. It was designed to work with any phone system where there is a price difference between the local and long distance calling rates. If the prison requires the inmate to make collect calls it will be necessary to setup a pre-paid account with the institution's phone provider. But we have found that in most cases you will still receive a large discount from those providers because now your loved one is using a local phone number to call you!
Does LocalCall™ service with city and county jails?
Yes it does. Our service works by providing a phone number local to the jail. If you're already within the jail's local calling area, then it's unlikely that we will save you money on calls. We've discovered that if you're more than 3 miles away from the jail, a local phone will save you money on calls!
How much will I save if my calls are coming from a state prison, or a local jail?
The savings will vary. Since most of these calls will still require a pre-paid account with the phone provider associated with the facility, it will depend on what they discount for local calls versus long distance calls. We have found that these savings are typically 35-80% on each call. Check our website for more information.
Will I or my inmate have to pay any other fees or charges if I sign up for LocalCall™ service?
Yes! Signing up for LocalCall service does not mean you or the inmate don't pay the jail or prison for telephone service. Signing up for LocalCall service only means you'll pay them a lot less for each call. Because the inmate will NOT be using the prison's phone to make a long distance call to reach you. Instead the inmate or you will only pay the jail's phone service for a local call which is much much cheaper.
What do you mean by "destination number"?
The destination number is the term we use for existing phone number(s) you want the LocalCall™ number we issue to be connected to. So the LocalCall™ calls will ring on the "destination numbers" of your choice.
Can I use LocalCall™ service with my current home, cell or office phone service?
Yes you can! LocalCall™ service works with any phone service you currently have: home phone, cell phone, office phone etc. You do not have to buy a new phone, install hardware or order additional service to have LocalCall™ service, so the savings start with the very first call!
Can I have an established LocalCall™ number changed to ring on my new phone if my home, cell or office service changes?
Yes! We accommodate any change to your service free of charge. Moreover, any number of phones can be connected to each LocalCall™ number. There are no fees for changes.
Can I add additional Inmatefone LocalCall™ numbers?
Yes you can! You can have as many LocalCall™ numbers as you like! You can have a LocalCall™ number for every phone you own or you can have each LocalCall™ number ring multiple phones. Additional LocalCall™ number require a monthly fee for origination charges and local taxes. All LocalCall™ numbers may be controlled and charged to a single Inmatefone Account.
What does Inmatefone service cost?
We offer a variety of cost saving plans! Using Inmatefone will dramatically reduce the cost of calls from prison. To find out the cost of our specific plans, please go to our pricing page by clicking here.
Are there any connection or termination charges with Inmatefone?
There are NEVER any connection or termination charges for using our service. There are no hidden costs of any kind!
What happens if my inmate is moved to another facility?
We will allocate you new LocalCall™ numbers that will be "local" to the new facility.
Are there any restrictions or hidden charges?
There are never any hidden charges. Our rates are all inclusive. Any restrictions will always be prominently displayed.
How and when will my credit card be charged?
We will first verify that we have the LocalCall™ number(s) that will work for your inmates' facility in stock. If we do, we will issue you the LocalCall™ phone number immediately and only then charge your account! If we do not have the suitable number(s) in stock, we'll work to get the local number closest to the facility and notify you by email once it is activated and charge your account then!
How do I add more minutes or services to my Inmatefone Account?
Adding services is easy. Just call one of our customer service representatives, or e-mail your request to: clients@inmatefone.com, or log into our website. You can pay with any major credit card, PayPal, check or money order.
Why is the Inmatefone Account denominated in minutes instead of US dollars?
Most prisons do not allow inmate related accounts to be denominated in funds. Minute denomination enables us to do periodic promotions where we can provide inmates with additional minutes for more phone time. If accounts were denominated in cash, we would be prohibited by law and/or violate most prisons' policies for giving inmates anything.
Why is there a monthly fee for additional LocalCall™ numbers even if my inmate doesn't make any phone calls that month?
Each Inmatefone LocalCall™ number is for actual local phone service near the inmate's facility. Every phone number has monthly charges and fees. This monthly charge is part of our cost in providing you service.
How much do I save if my inmate is in a Federal prison?
The Bureau of Prisons charges 21 cents per minute for all direct dialed non-local calls in the United States (and 99 cents for international calls). Our LocalCall™ numbers are only charged 6 cents per minute rate by the prison. So if your inmate is calling for their entire 300 minutes each month, their direct costs (as charged by the prison) for the calls will drop from $63 to only $18 using our service.
My inmate is in a Federal Prison and has TRULINCS e-mail access. Will this be beneficial to him or her in any way?
If your inmate will add us to his approved list, we can send him/her information via the TRULINCS e-mail system pertaining to their account status and information on any promotions, specials or new services. They must first add us to their list, then he must send to Inmatefone the first e-mail requesting information.
Will LocalCall™ service help my inmate save money with calls to other countries?
Of course! In fact our LocalCall™ service may help you more than someone who lives in the US! Most prisons charge inmates punitive rates for making international calls. For example the BOP charges Federal inmates 99 cents per minute for international direct dial calls. Inmatefone is dedicated to providing cost savings to all our clients! Our International Plan will save you as much as 75%!
Why must you know where the inmate is located?
In order to issue LocalCall™ numbers that will save you and the inmate as much money as possible, it is vital that we know the correct location for each. Our service works by making sure that each inmate is dialing a call local to their particular prison.
Do you have a privacy policy?
Yes we do! We do not share or sell your information with any one in any way. We consider the privacy of our subscribers and users to be our primary concern.
What does "back order" mean concerning my LocalCall™ number?
We do not keep all phone numbers in stock. Sometimes we must order them from our own service providers. A status of "back order" means that we know where it is and can have it available for you within a short time. This can vary from 24 hours to up to a week depending on where the number is located.
What does "not available" mean concerning my new LocalCall™ number?
Not available means that we are having difficulty finding a suitable number for your particular facility. We will not just give you any number, but make sure that the numbers we use will save you money. Because of this, sometimes our search takes a little more time. We will notify you via email when we find the right number to save you money on your calls!
Can I place my order over the phone?
Yes! Our sales and support team is available to assist you with your order Monday through Friday from 9 AM until 9 PM, Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM until 5 PM. All times are Eastern Standard Time. Just give us a call at 1(845)326-5300.
How do I cancel my Inmatefone Account?
Simply call us at 1(845)326-5300, send us an e-mail or go to your account management page and cancel the service. Your account will be canceled at the end of your billing cycle and your bank card will NOT be billed ever again.