Bail Bond Confessions Blog

Kids, don’t make this mistake…

December 8, 2009
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The other night, as I was routinely ignoring another round of annoyance calls from an inmate at the local detention center ($3 fee/per call if I choose to answer), my finger slipped and I pressed the “7” key.

With Paytel, when you press “7”, you are telling their system that you wish to block all future calls from the jail.  For a bail bondsman, this is what we call a very bad thing.  The following morning, I e-mailed Paytel and asked if they could take the block off and if there was a way to disable this feature so I don’t fat finger it again.  Within 24 hours, they e-mailed me back and told me to contact the jail, though to their credit, they provided the name/number of the person I needed to talk to.  Of course they ignored the second part of my question about disabling the feature.

So I called the person I needed to talk to.  She was helpful, though not particularly kind.  She insisted that I fax her my request on letterhead (again?!?!  Can’t we get beyond this ancient technology?) before she would take the block off.  She couldn’t tell me how long it would take to remove the block, but she told me there is no way to disable the “7” feature.

I just got a call from the jail a couple of minutes ago.  All told, it took about 48 hours to lift the block.  I hate Paytel.

-bbc


Busy yet not busy

October 22, 2009
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My attorney initiative has been paying off…sort of.  I have as many as 4 different potential clients that are all attorney referrals.  Except that for one reason or another, none of them have turned into cash business for me yet.  One case, the family doesn’t have $$$ for the fee.  In other cases, they are either pending and/or likely to get a PR bond.

I have one today where I’m driving to an adjoining county to be on hand in a Simple Assault charge.  I don’t see how the judge wouldn’t give her a PR bond since she is very low risk, but you never know.  So I’m going to go out there “on spec” and be available if the attorney and client need me.  I suppose it is as good of a use of my time as any right now.

I’ve greatly curtailed the PAYTEL calls, which will have a decent effect on my bottom line if I can develop this non-PAYTEL related business into $$$.  I also realized that though the busiest time of year is coming up AND I will have a baby, I still need to carve out some time in December to analyze my projected budget vs. actual and create a new budget for 2010. Fun times.

Meanwhile, I’ve been fighting with Quickbooks 2010 and I think I’ve got it 90-95% setup the way my accountant wants.  I’ll need him to advise me on a few things, but hopefully that won’t be too expensive.

I’m also going to be setup for credit cards by the end of next week!

-bbc


Two more down…

October 19, 2009
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So I had two more bonds last week.  The first one was a baby bond.  The guy had moved here years ago and never changed his driver’s license from the previous state.  In the meantime, he wrote three bad checks in another county, also quite a long time ago.  There was a bench warrant out for his arrest and when he was traffic stopped in my home county, they had no choice but to arrest him. Whats interesting is that they charged him for over $200 on the driver’s license charge, instead of giving him a PR bond.  So for $35, I took care of initial charge and got him transferred to the other county to face the bad check charges.  The judge in that other county gave him a PR bond.  So between Paytel calls and other expenses, I think I earned around $2/hr on his case.  But there is a silver lining here.  The guy was older and had some health problems, so he spent most of his time in jail at the medical ward.

While in there, he referred me to another guy who was accused of stealing a motorcycle.  The guy with the motorcycle was caught because he happened to wreck the bike.  He’s broken in a few places and thus was spending time in medical also.  I took care of his bond for $250 and that went a long way towards covering the phone bill(s).

I only have one other case brewing.  I can’t really say much about it, but he bond is for $50k and there is a defense attorney involved that I would very much like to impress so he will send me more business.  I’m trying to cut a deal on the bond and offered $4,000 with $1,500 down and $2,500 in payments or $3,800 upfront.  I’m hoping to seal the deal in a day or two.

In other news, I’ve discharged my first bond.  Doesn’t mean much, but it is a milestone none the less.

-bbc


Who do I hate more?

October 9, 2009
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On the one hand, there is PayTel.  Their onerous business practices have cost me $300 in collect phone calls and only accounted for $300 in gross income. Thats no way to run a business.  On top of that, I sent them a payment over a week ago. They cashed the check and it cleared my bank on Tuesday.

Today, I noticed I was at the limit and wasn’t receiving any calls from the jail. I tried to call customer service, but after 3 failed attempts (your call could not be completed?!?!) I resorted to the e-mail form. I explained that they have my payment, but the response was that I needed to provide them with proof. I sent them copies of the cleared check and they took it down to accounting. Someone somewhere screwed up.  Meanwhile, they really seem to be a shady company.

Then we have AT&T.  I ordered a business line with an 800 number. The first bill came in at $165. I called and raised a ruckus. I explained that I’m not even using the number to call out, I have it forwarded to my cell phone, so why is it so high?!?

They told me I could reduce the bill by canceling the line and converting it to just a forward.  It would make my bill $50/mo. I specifically asked if I would still be listed in yellow pages and was told yes. They said I would only have to pay $8/mo for the 800 number, plus the per min. charge.

I got my next bill, or should I say bills?  Came out to be around $90 and the 800 number was separate.  The 800 number accounted for nearly $30. I called and raised another ruckus. Apparently, when you go with a forwarding, the 800 number is no longer an $8 add-on. I told them to cancel it. Besides, the only calls I ever received from anyone were wrong numbers because the 800 number was exactly one digit off from a credit card company’s customer service line.

Now, I just received a solicitation from AT&T/Yellow pages. They want to sell me an ad for $50/mo to be listed in yellow and white pages. I said “Wait a minute…I’m already supposed to be there.” Again, apparently AT&T lied to me. You can not be listed in yellow pages automatically unless you have a fully dedicated line.

What bullshit.

-R


Lost another bond

October 7, 2009
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For over a week, I’ve been working on two different bonds. One guy is in for check fraud and the other is in for a variety of problems.  The best deal I can offer the variety guy is $500 up front and weekly payments of $75 for 12 weeks. The problem is that his family and friends can’t come up with the $500. Even his grandmother is refusing to part with $70.  Meanwhile, the guy calls me 5-6 times a day trying to get me to allow him to 3-way call his friends and family to twist their arms into getting him out. I’ve taken on a small percentage of his calls, but even so, I figure I’ve spent over $50 on him. I told him I wouldn’t accept any more of his calls until I hear from his family that they have the money.

The other fellow had to come up with $230, but he couldn’t get his family to do it either.  I talked to him a little less and figured around $30 worth of collect calls. Then, yesterday he tells me he got time served on all but one charge, which would bring his bond fee down to $30.  I told him that I would work with his family and try to get him out first thing in the morning (time served as of Midnight) and that I wouldn’t answer any more calls from him since it’s $3 a call and I’m only making $30.  No problem, right? Even then, he still calls like 12 more times and I ignored the call (mistake?).  I still couldn’t get his mom and brother on the same page to sign paperwork last night (he wasn’t a 1st time offender) and pay $30.  I don’t know what they were thinking, but the mom called me this morning asking why her son was still in jail.

Every time I talk to her, I have to explain the situation.  Then she says she understands, but clearly she doesn’t or why would she have to ask each time? Anyway, I set an appointment time to meet her after lunch (I was meeting with an attorney at lunch to see if I can drum up more business) and collect the fee and signatures.  Just after lunch as I was driving to her house, she called and said that her nephew went to a competitor of mine and bailed him out!

So now I’ve got almost no prospects again and a high Paytel bill to pay.  Great.


Ronnie’s story

September 20, 2009
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This afternoon I was out at the park with friends.  We were having a good time and planning on going to get lunch when I received a call from Ronnie at the detention center.  Now, I’m not at PC and have no way of verifying his story, but he says he was picked up for DUI and it is his first offense.  He is in his 40’s and owns his own home, worked for the same company for over 20 years, and needs help with his $997 bond.  I told him that if his story checks out, I would let him out for $100.  I was able to verify his story when someone at home looked him up on the computer for me.  I connected him with a friend who was able to run to the bank and pick up the fee for me and then the friend met me in the park where I took the fee and gave him a receipt.  I skipped lunch and went home to get cleaned up and then on to the jail.  Approximately 2 hrs later, Ronnie was a free man again and very grateful.  He had spent about 12 hours in jail, but never moved past the intake part.  Unfortunately, his car was in impound and it was too late to pick it up.  I gave him a ride home and called it a day.

It was truly a win-win situation and I’m happy to have posted my first bond. After the BUF fund contribution and Insurance commission are taken out of the amount, I get to keep around $80.  When I got home, I logged into my PAY-TEL account and saw that the balance was $99. I’m still in the negatives, but I have great feelings about this week!

-bbc


Here’s a little story about a man named Zeb

September 19, 2009
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So this whole damn drama just cost me around $30-$35  in collect calls today.  At least I can write it up for posterity sake. Name’s changed to protect the guilty.

So I get a phone call this morning from a man named Zeb.  He was arrested the other day and has a $1275 bail for DUI. Except that he also happens to have a bench warrant with a $653 fine in an adjoining county.  Poor Zeb has is own business mowing lawns and he also details cars for extra money.  He needs to get out because he has some jobs lined up.  Zeb isn’t married, but he has a baby Mama (Genevieve) and they have been together a long time.  In fact, according to court records, they’ve been evicted from a few different places, but it looks like they stayed together through the tough times.  Zeb’s got himself a little girl and I guess I’m a little to empathetic because I tried to help him out more than I should have, which is why the collect calls racked up.

He gave me a number for Genevieve, but she doesn’t have an answering machine and she wasn’t at home since she went to the flea market to sell some stuff. So after trying that # a few times (and there is an issue in that my phone can only 3way call out, but I can’t selectively disconnect one of the parties and try again!), we then called Genevieve’s brother, Abe.  Abe wasn’t too keen on helping and basically told Zeb that she wasn’t around.  This went on once or twice throughout the day.  Finally, Zeb was supposed to call me before lockdown at 10pm, but he jumped the gun and started calling around 8pm.  I ignored the calls until 8:30p and tried Genevieve’s number to no avail. When I finally answered Zeb’s calls, he convinced me to try Abe’s number and lo and behold, Genvieve was there!  This is where the fun begins.

You see, Zeb tells me that Genevieve will be getting paid soon and she will pay his $653 fine in the other county and my $120 fee (yes, that is all that I would make from this ordeal, before expenses).  But when he starts talking with her (and he doesn’t know I’m listening in), she tells him that they can’t afford it or they will be evicted again. He tells her to do it anyway, that he will find them a new place to live, but she doesn’t bite.  Back in the day, Zeb and her must have discussed this scenario of him being arrested again, because she brings up this old conversation of theirs where he told her he would man up and do the time to get it over with.

I guess it is easy to say things like that when you are free, but much harder to follow through when you are locked up.  Poor Zeb started crying on the phone to her.  Begging her to let him out, but bless Genevieve, she stuck to her guns and insisted that she will use that money for rent and not let herself and their child get evicted.  And then they ran out of time and get disconnected.

A little while later, I get a call back from Zeb.  He is quite insistent that Genevieve will pay me on Monday (two days from now) and that will get him out of his current county and transferred to the other county where he will do his time.  I pressed him on this as it didn’t seem like that was how they resolved the last call.  But since he still doesn’t know I listen in, I can’t be too obvious about what I know.  He has no other way of talking to her except through me and yet he didn’t bother to give her my name or contact info.

He assured me that the plan is set and he just needs to tell her how to contact me to arrange payment.  I go ahead and put him through (I’m such a sucker!) and they talk it out a little longer, but again he doesn’t mention me, nor does he even mention the plan.  It’s the same old stuff about him wanting out, she not having the money, and them having to deal with it.  He talks to his kid for a minute and I tear up, but at least it is on mute.  The kid puts Mama back on and they say their good byes.  He asks her to put some money into the Paytel system so he can call her directly, then they run out of time.

At this point, Zeb thinks he has me convinced that I’m getting paid on Monday, but I know better.  I’m sure he will call me in the morning with some excuse for why he wasn’t able to get the plan to her or whatnot.  But what he doesn’t know is that I called Genevieve back a few minutes after their last call. I played dumb and told her basically what he told me.  That she will be paying me on Mon. and he will transfer to the other jail at that time.

Genevieve was all kinds of “hell no!” and she forcefully (but politely) explained to me that they don’t have any money for bail and he is going to sit there and tough it out.  So now I’m ready to call Zeb on his lies to me when he calls me in the morning.  Hopefully, I will get him to scout out at least one good bond while he is in there to make it all worthwhile for me.

So like I said…I’m out like $30 in collect calls, but at least I got a story out of it.

-bbc


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