8.26.21- WOAI -by April Molina- SAN ANTONIO
A system that is normally a lifeline under ordinary circumstances, began taking a financial and emotional toll on a man who is disabled from the neck down.
In April of 2019, then retired Army, Major Chauncey Spencer had a life-changing accident.
“I tripped over some wire in the middle of this little dock,” Spencer said.
He fell just 3 feet, but landed on his neck, and it instantly paralyzed him from the neck to the bottom of his feet.
“You can imagine just laying somewhere day in and day out, that’s pretty tough,” Spencer said.
Despite the daily struggles, Spencer has many accomodations that allow him to control his environment.
Even though he has a nearly state of the art set-up, he has been at the mercy of his alarm system for the last year.
He said, his wife, who set up the security system and has the code to disarm it, moved out last summer.
Soon after the incessant beeping began, Spencer reached out to his alarm company, Brinks Home Security.
“I called them and they told me for 50 dollars, we’ll send a technician out to your house and I said why would I have to pay you to check your alarm,” Spencer said.
He didn’t pay the service call fee and the problems multiplied.
Spencer recalled a few times when his alarm system was inadvertantly set off by his home health care workers.
“I accidentally set off the alarm one day trying to make it stop beeping from the beeping that it does,” said caregiver, Angela Lee.
She shared the panic she felt when Spencer told her, he didn’t know the code to disarm the alarm for his home.
According to Lee, Brinks Home Security called and shut off the alarm once they were notified it was a false alarm, but it didn’t stop police from coming.
As per City of San Antonio ordinance, the first 3 false alarms are free in any given year.
After that, an individual can be charged between 50 each time.
“I had almost 3 in one day,” Spencer said. “Next thing that happened was I got a letter from SAPD telling me I had to pay this fine.”
Spencer requested police waive the fee, but said he was told they had to enforce the ordinance.
“Why couldn’t they just give me a new code,” Spencer said.
His last resort was to request Brinks completely deactivate the system.
The company responded in a letter that said, “We’re sorry to see you go” and a note explaining he would have to pay out the remaining 633 dollars to cancel his contract.
Prior to calling News 4 San Antonio, Spencer reported the issue to the Better Business Bureau.
On August 6th, the Trouble Shooters sent an inquiry to Brinks.
Brinks has yet to respond to the Trouble Shooters email, but a couple days after News 4 sent it, Spencer said he got the news he was hoping for, which was an email from the BBB, explaining Brinks was offering to cancel Spencer’s contract at no cost to him.
The Trouble Shooters also reached out to San Antonio Police explaining Spencer’s unique cirscumstances, requesting he be refunded the more than 200 dollars he paid in alarm fees.
SAPD responded within 2 days, issuing a check refunding Spencer all the money he had paid.