Cell phones can’t receive collect calls because the phone carrier (incoming collect call) doesn’t have anyone to bill for the call. The cell phone carriers don’t permit what is called third party billing. So what do you do if your friend is in the Van Nuys Jail and can only call collect from the jail phones?
The answer is simple. During the collect call you’ll get an automated message saying something similar to this, “This is Global Telink, we have a collect call from John. Please press 1 to connect with Global Telink to set up an account to enable you to receive these collect calls.”
At this time you can choose to press 1 and you will be directed to Global Telink in order to set up the account. Basically, the collect call is being made through the phone carrier Global Telink, but they can’t connect it because they haven’t anyone to bill the cost of the call. The phone carrier will take your credit card and charge a minimum fee, usually $25 or so.
The other way of receiving the collect calls from the jail is to have a landline. This way the phone carrier can bill you through whomever your landline is distributed by. You can always forward the calls from your landline to your cell phone if you venture away from home.
All Van Nuys Bail Bonds agents have landlines for this very reason, the collect calls from the jails. Then, when they step away from the office, they either have a service answer the calls or they forward the calls to their cell phones.
Note, setting up the third party payment system with the minimum amount of $25 is fairly expensive. Normally you’ll get three or four calls from your friend in the jail and then they will either get bailed out or head to court. Therefore you are paying $25 for four phone calls that were probably five minutes in length each. That’s 20 minutes total for $25 or $1.25 per minute. That’s more expensive than calling internationally.