Complete FAIL! - Telmate

First of all, my experience with TelMate started out horribly. I went online to create an account and schedule a visit with a friend of mine who had been in jail for about a month and had no funds for making calls. So a visit was definitely necessary and long past due.

So I went online to create an account and the instructions for making an account and scheduling a visit are so backwards and confusing I could not figure it out for the life of me. (And in not a slow person). I had to wait a few days before finally I could go to the jail & have someone help me to use the kiosk to set up a visit and account.

After scheduling the visit I got an e-mail saying that the visit got cancelled bc “the inmate would not be at the facility during the time of the visit.” (He called me using his free 3 minutes and told me that he definitely was there and wasn’t going anywhere). I made the visit again, then he made the visit twice – every one kept getting immediately cancelled after being verified.

FINALLY, after a 20 minute phone call with TelMate, 15 minutes of it waiting on hold, the problem of cancelling the visit was resolved. The customer representative had no part in remedying the issue.. I guess I just happened to call at the same time someone somewhere else fixed it.

So I go to my visit, EARLY, in case I had to deal with any more TelMate fiascos, and waited at the visitation screen the guard told me to wait at and logged in. And waited. And waited some more. After 10 minutes of “waiting for ‘So-And-So’ to connect…” I let the guard know what was happening. He made some calls while I waited around some more. Meanwhile my 30-minute visit was slowly ticking away… I switched to a different kiosk. Still didn’t work. Finally the guard had nothing helpful to say to me, and instead said “I don’t think you’ll be able to have your visit today. I wish I could wave my magic wand but my crystal ball isn’t telling me when it will be fixed”. (The latter part was in response to me asking when I would be able to visit next.)

I went back to the visitation screen and then the system booted me off and terminated the visit automatically.

I called TelMate afterwards and they were absolutely no help at all and had no empathy whatsoever. When I ask a simple question that she doesn’t know the answer to her default response is to just say “I am not a tech so I don’t know” and tried to make me feel stupid.

I woke up early for this appointment, drove 30 minutes to the jail, I’ve sat on hold for customer service multiple times with TelMate, I just want to visit my friend. Apparently these issues were happening to everyone at least at the jail I was trying to visit, and not just me.

This is a major issue considering I can’t communicate with my friend at all and I need to know what to do with his belongings and vehicle and things like that. As an American citizen it is his right to be able to have visits and communication and he keeps getting denied these rights and is wasting my time and getting his hopes up. Wasting my gas, taking time away from my work day, etc.

And they were having an issue the day before and apparently it got fixed and now they are having another different issue preventing people from visiting.

TelMate is a complete joke and isn’t worth the trouble at all. It’s too complicated and unnecessary!

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