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Omaha homeowner receives bill for false alarm

Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 10:24 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An early morning knock on the door surprised an Omaha couple but what came next has been a real shocker.

Night owls Betty Miserez and her friend Robert Thompson were awake at 1 a.m. one day last month. But they never dreamed police would be at their door.

“He asks me if I was ok and I said yeah I’m fine,” said homeowner Betty Miserez.

“But we have no alarm system, we didn’t call police over anything, they came to our door,” said friend Robert Thompson.

The City of Omaha False Alarm Watchdog Crywolf Services believed there’s an alarm in the house though Betty says take a look around.

“You can look all over the house and there’s no alarm system anywhere,” said Miserez.

Still, Betty received four notices from the city’s False Alarm Reduction Program. The first was a $25 fee then $45 when she didn’t pay on time.

Finally, a warning could be another $100 if the alarm system isn’t registered.

“I’m afraid they could ruin my credit, I’m afraid they’re never going to give up,” said Miserez.

Since Betty doesn’t have a security system she says these notices that alarmed her had to be created by a false alarm someplace else. 6 News contacted city finance which obtained the 911 call.

The city discovered the alarm company’s client lives about three blocks away.

“I’m happy that they just got a wrong address. I’m happy somebody’s not out there trying to steal my identity,” said Miserez.

City finance promises that Betty won’t get any more false alarm bills due to the address error by the COX monitoring system.

“I can’t express how relieved I am,” said Miserez.

But she says if she ever does get a home alarm, she will be sure to key in the city.

The city sent Betty a letter of apology but stressed the billing mistake was due to an error by COX alarm monitoring. COX Communications say it uses an outside business for that service but due to customer privacy, COX can’t share details about this false alarm call.

COX says it will work with any customer to get an issue resolved.

Thank you again for reaching out. First, we have reached out to the company that manages false alarms and asked them to remove the fees associated with Mrs. Miserez.

To help you better understand the process, most security companies work with outside businesses to manage and monitor calls. In regard to what occurred on the call in question, I can confirm after speaking with the company we use that there was a false alarm dispatched to Ms. Miserez’s location. Beyond that, I’m unable to share additional details as this type of personal information is sensitive and as you might imagine, we take individual privacy very seriously.

For any others who might have a dispute or requesting the information be reviewed there usually is a defined dispute process outlined in their communication.

Lastly, I just want to say personally that we always appreciate the opportunity to work with any customer who might be experiencing difficulty. Please feel free to always pass along any customer needing help, and we’ll be happy to work with them individually to get everything resolved.

Rob Trebilcock

Public Affairs

Cox Communications

Dear Ms. Miserez,

I’m writing is reference to the false alarm bill that you received in error from the City of Omaha False Alarm Reduction Program.

After many phone calls to COX Communicaitons and the 911 Center, we discovered that COX gave 911 the wrong street address when they called in the alarm call. The call should have been dispatched to [number] Street not [number] Street.

I’m including the report from CryWolf (the false alarm billing company) that shows the account has been closed and no balance is due.

I apologize you had to go through this to get it resolved, but as I stated it was due to an error by COX Communications.

Thank you for your patience.

Sincerely,

Donna Waller

Treasure

City of Omaha

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