Deaf Woman Has False Alarms Fines Voided

An ADT customer with a hearing impairment was slapped with false alarms fines totaling $348 after she was unable to communicate with monitoring center dispatchers.

VALLEJO, Calif. – City officials here rescinded $348 in false alarm fines levied against a deaf woman after a local television station lobbied on her behalf.

KGO-TV, an ABC affiliate in San Francisco, reported that Barbara Hyde, who is hearing impaired, contracted with ADT to install a monitored alarm system to help keep squatters out of her backyard. However, she says the system was prone to false alarms and resulted in her being fined twice.

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ADT normally calls the home phone in the event of an alarm activation, but Hyde is unable to hold a conversation on the phone. ADT agreed to text Hyde instead after KGO-TV contacted the company at her request. ADT gave Hyde a free upgrade to a more advanced system, which allows her to receive text alerts. But she couldn’t text back.

“That doesn’t solve my problem. I need to get a text and send back a text because I can’t hear on the phone,” Hyde told KGO-TV.

She demanded that ADT pay the fine, saying police and fire would not have come had she been given the ability to communicate with ADT. The company refused. The television station then contacted the city of Vallejo and it agreed to rescind her fines.

“The bottom line, ADT needs to be accessible to me the same way any other person can have access to their system,” Hyde said.

KGO-TV reported ADT did not return their requests for comment. ADT had previously offered Hyde the opportunity to cancel her alarm contract but she refused, saying she wants her alarm protection just like everybody else, according to the report.

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