How to Deal with a Block on Your Phone

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The New York Campaign for Telephone Justice does not condone call blocking and we are working with the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) to develop other calling and billing methods for the next NY prison telephone contract so that call blocking is no longer used by the collect call provider. That said, call blocking still happens under the current contract with Global Tel*Link (GTL). We hope the following information will help you navigate any problems with call blocking that you experience. If you have other suggestions, please email us at info@telephonejustice.org.


If your phone is blocked, we suggest you take the following steps:

1. Call GTL Customer Service at (800) 388-7346. Ask why you phone is blocked and how it can be remedied. Compare what information they give you about the reason for the block to the reasons listed below. Follow whatever steps they outline to remedy the situation. There is a chance that the problem is not rooted in GTL but with DOCS or your general telephone service provider. If the customer service representative cannot figure out why your phone is blocked or tells you that there is no block on your phone, contact DOCS at (518) 457-2540.

2. If the customer service representative you speak with is unable or unwilling to remedy the situation, call Margaret Phillips, who is the Executive Director of Billing Services at GTL. Her direct number is (251) 375-8026. Explain the situation to her and follow whatever steps she outlines to remedy the situation.

3. If you are unable to get your phone unblocked through the above steps, contact DOCS at (518) 457-2540. Explain the situation and the steps you have taken to DOCS and ask them to intervene on your behalf.



According to DOCS, there are 12 reasons why your phone may be blocked from receiving collect calls:

1. CASUAL BLOCK – These are customer requested blocks. Customers (collect call recipients) will call GTL and request that their telephone number be blocked from receiving inmate collect calls from State of NY inmates.

2. FRAUD CONTROL BLOCK – These blocks are placed due to fraudulent activity or if customer verification is needed to rule out the possibility of fraud. For example, a customer may be using unauthorized credit cards or may have switched phone numbers to avoid paying an invoice from a previous account. Oftentimes, these blocks are placed on customers who have used more than one credit card to pay their bill. If you pay your bill with a credit card, we encourage you to use only one card to avoid a call block.

3. NO BILLING AND COLLECTION (B&C) AGREEMENT BLOCK – Customers who are with a LEC/CLEC general telephone provider with whom GTL does not have a billing agreement will be immediately blocked and will be required to set up a direct remit account with GTL.

4. DIRECT REMIT BLOCKS – There are multiple blocks on Direct Remit customers that include:
a. Direct Remit Non-Payment – Automatic block is placed when the customer is 1 day past due.
b. Collections – The customer will already have been blocked for non-payment, but these are also marked that they went to collections.
c. Direct Remit Call Limit Reached (Unbillable LEC program) – These are CLEC blocked customers that have reached their call limits for the month.
d. Direct Remit Dollar Limit Reached (Billable LEC program) – These are Dollar Limit customers (billable LEC customers) who have reached the dollar limit on their direct remit account.

5. DOC HIGH TOLL FRAUD – GTL utilizes the High Toll-Fraud system to help minimize risk associated with fraud loss and bad debt while protecting consumers and the Company. Risk mitigation is performed through account level accumulative usage review across all billing options and products for subscribed and non-subscribed users of the Company’s network. The program is not specific to inmate collect calling services. If a case is deemed to be fraudulent or poses risk to the end user or company, a temporary block may be placed. GTL restricts services only when there are indicators of risk to the customer or to GTL. Restrictions are placed on a customer’s service only after thorough research has been completed and customer contact has been attempted. The High Toll-Fraud process is designed to provide maximum fraud prevention benefits to customers while minimizing the number of customers affected by the process. End-users benefit from the process as it provides protection from unauthorized charges, and from the growing problem of identity theft (i.e., a person fraudulently establishing an account using someone else’s identity.)

6. SPID CODE 99/98/97 BLOCKS – GTL is able to identify “dedicated NPA/NXXs” that are dedicated to cell phones (SPID 99) or to “local prepaid” ANIs only (SPID 98), or an invalid point code (SPID 97). If any of these conditions exist, then the call is blocked.

7. BILLED NUMBER SCREENING (BNS) BLOCKS
– This BNS database is a GTL Corporate database that contains the following types of blocks that are currently honored on our collect calls:
a. Customer who has not paid for some other GTL Service, not just inmate collect calls.
b. Customer who is in delinquent status of inmate collect calls (billed by the LEC or other third party biller.
c. Third party biller blocks because customers refuse to give valid Billing, Name and Address (BNA) to setup direct remit account or third party biller if third party biller cannot find the BNA of the customer.

8. LINE INFORMATION DATABASE (LIDB) BLOCKS – These are collect call blocks placed by the customer’s local phone service provider.

9. CALLING AREA DATABASE (CADB) Block – The destination telephone number is validated against the GTL CADB (Calling Area Database) to make sure that the ANI is valid. If it is not a valid number then the call is blocked.

10. BILLABLE LEC PROGRAM – Customers who are with a billable LEC/CLEC, and who receive more than $100 in inmate collect calls within 30 days, will be identified as a Dollar Limit Required customer. Once a customer has been identified as such, a VRU notice is sent explaining that they have two business days to call into GTL’s Maximum Security Customer Service group in order to setup a direct billing arrangement. If the customer does not call in two days, the telephone number will be blocked.

11. ALLOWED LIST – A customer’s telephone number must be on an approved inmate allowed list. If an inmate attempts a call to a telephone number not on his/her allowed list, the call will be blocked.

12. CALL PRIVILEGES DENIED BY DOC – Sometimes an inmate will have his/her phone privileges taken away by the facility for a period of time. Calls attempted by an inmate with this status will be blocked.