High Third-Party Fees And Other Costs Force Company to Choose Affordability on Behalf of Customers
Securus Technologies today announced that its Outbound Voicemail service will be discontinued effective January 31, 2022. The decision is part of the company’s multi-year corporate transformation, launched in January 2020 to improve affordability, increase access, and better respond to community needs.
“We are working with justice-involved families and reform-minded organizations to remove outlier products and focus on offering more – and more affordable – ways to make staying connected easier and accessible,” said Dave Abel, President and CEO of Aventiv Technologies, parent company of Securus Technologies.
“A number of consumers expressed reservations about the Outbound Voicemail service, prompting a review of the service,” Mr. Abel said. “When we found that the cost of third-party fees made it impossible to reach a price point that was accessible and affordable, we took those concerns to heart and chose to discontinue the service accordingly.”
The Outbound Voicemail service provided incarcerated individuals with an opportunity to leave a recorded message when an outbound call goes unanswered. In order to comply with correctional facility security policies, the voicemail is recorded on the Securus system and a text message is sent to the dialed number, containing a link with instructions on how to access and pay for the voice message.
Depending on the length of the voicemail, the cost may vary. But on average, Outbound Voicemail messages cost approximately $3.42 across the Securus system.
As part of a comprehensive transformation program designed to make products and services more affordable and accessible, Securus has been examining all of its products and services to ensure that they are aligned with its new affordability commitments.
When a product or service is not aligned, the company attempts to reduce costs, but will phase-out any offering that cannot realistically be offered at an affordable price point. Based on feedback from the user community and its own internal review, Securus chose to discontinue the Outbound Voicemail program.
Where Outbound Voicemail is available, family and friends will have access to the service until January 31, 2022. After that date, impacted consumers can utilize Securus’ other services, which include phone calls, e-messages, VideoGrams, and video connections, to stay connected with their loved ones.
“We are sorry that this tool will no longer be available, but the costs just exceed an affordable price point,” Mr. Abel said. “We listened to consumers and have decided to discontinue the service and focus on other products and services that can be offered at more affordable prices.”
This action is the latest in a series of reform efforts that have significantly improved affordability while maintaining the high security standards expected by law enforcement and the public. Earlier in December, Securus announced that those efforts had reduced the average cost of its calls to $0.13/minute, or $1.95 for a 15-minute phone call.