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JPay Inmate Video Visitation Too-Short Sessions Class Action

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Video Visits Taking Place at Terminals

If a family member or friend of yours was in prison in another state, you might be glad to hear that JPay, Inc. offered video conferencing visits, priced in thirty-minute increments. But the complaint for this class action alleges that the video conferences did not in fact last for the full thirty minutes. 

The class for this action is all natural persons who, after December 1, 2009, paid JPay for a thirty-minute video visitation session and received a session of less than thirty minutes, for any reason.

The complaint claims that more than 500 facilities in 43 states and the District of Columbia are now trying out video visitation. According to the complaint it works this way: The visitor sets up an appointment and pays for it. The prisoner is told to be at a certain computer terminal at a certain time. At the appointed time, the visitor sits at a home computer terminal (or drives to a facility where a terminal can be used) and the prisoner sits at the terminal in the prison, and the video visitation takes place. 

The complaint claims that “hundreds of thousands of inmates and their friends and families depend on JPay to provide video-phone communication.” They reportedly pay between $9 and $15 for the session, but the complaint says that people around the country have complained that the sessions do not in fact last for thirty minutes.

Plaintiff Oumer Salim lives in Colleyville, Texas, but his brother is in Noble Correctional Institution in Caldwell, Ohio. For the past few months, the complaint claims, he has paid $9.90 about twice each month to JPay for video visitation sessions with his brother. The complaint says that JPay is the only company that provides video-phone communication with inmates at Noble. According to the complaint, none of the sessions Salim paid for lasted for the full thirty minutes.

It seems there may be something about shorter sessions in the company’s terms of service. The complaint says “Plaintiff was not affirmatively presented with, and therefore did not review, the ‘JPay Terms of Service’ prior to scheduling his Video Visitation session through JPay.” Even if the Terms of Service were considered as part of the contract with Salim, the complaint says, “JPay breach the terms of that contract because JPay failed to provide Plaintiff with the 30-minute video session he paid for.”

According to the complaint JPay has violated the law with breach of express warranty, breach of contract, and violations of the New York Deceptive Trade Practices Law, and has engaged in unjust enrichment and unconscionable policies and practices.

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