Omaha homeowner billed for false positives
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – An early morning knock on the door surprised an Omaha couple, but what came next came a real shock.
Night owls Betty Miserez and her boyfriend Robert Thompson were up at 1 a.m. one day last month. But they never thought the police would be at their door.
“He asks me if I’m fine and I said yes, I’m fine,” said homeowner Betty Miserez.
“But we don’t have an alarm system, we didn’t call the police about anything, they got to our door,” said friend Robert Thompson.
The City of Omaha False Alarm Watchdog Crywolf Services believed there was an alarm in the house, even though Betty says look around.
“You can search the whole house and there is no alarm system anywhere,” said Miserez.
Still, Betty received four notifications from the city’s false positives reduction program. The first was a $ 25 fee, then $ 45 if she didn’t pay on time.
Finally, an alert could cost an additional $ 100 if the alarm system is not registered.
“I’m afraid they might ruin my credit, I’m afraid they will never give up,” Miserez said.
Since Betty doesn’t have a security system, she says these clues that alerted her were caused by a false positive elsewhere. 6 News contacted city finance, which received the emergency call.
The city discovered that the alarm company’s customer lives about three blocks away.
“I’m glad you just got a wrong address. I’m glad that no one is out there trying to steal my identity, ”said Miserez.
City finance promises that Betty will no longer receive false alarm bills because of the address error in the COX surveillance system.
“I can’t express how relieved I am,” said Miserez.
But she says if she ever gets a house alarm she’ll be sure to type in town.
The city sent Betty a letter of apology, but stressed that the billing error was due to an error in COX alarm monitoring. COX Communications says it uses an outside company for this service, but due to privacy concerns, COX cannot provide details about this fake alarm call.
COX says it will work with every customer to resolve a problem.
Thank you again for contacting us. First, we reached out to the company that manages false positives and asked them to remove the fees associated with Ms. Miserez.
To help you understand the process better, most security companies work with outside companies to manage and monitor calls. Regarding the call in question, after speaking to the company we use, I can confirm that a false positive was sent to Ms. Miserez’s location. Beyond that, I cannot provide any further details as this type of personal information is sensitive and as you can imagine, we take individual privacy very seriously.
For anyone else who may have a dispute or request review of the information, there is usually a defined dispute resolution procedure in place which is described in their notice.
To conclude, I just want to say personally that we appreciate the opportunity to work with any customer who may be struggling. Please do not hesitate to always pass on any customer who needs help and we are happy to work with them individually to resolve anything.
Dear Ms. Miserez,
I am writing to you regarding the false alarm bill that you received by mistake from the Omaha City False Alarm Reduction Program.
After many phone calls to COX Communicaitons and the emergency call center, we discovered that COX had given the wrong address for the emergency number 911. The call should have been sent to [number] Street not [number] Road.
I am enclosing the report from CryWolf (the false alarm billing company) showing that the account has been closed and no balance is due.
I apologize for going through this to resolve the issue, but as I said earlier it was due to a mistake by COX Communications.
Thank you for your patience.
With best regards,
City of Omaha
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