TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – For years, a 71-year-old Hillsborough County man has been paying for a medical alert and home security service for his deceased wife. Ronald Giddings says his wife died more than three years ago but the billing for the service keeps coming. 8 On Your Side is digging into why Giddings has to pay for a service he doesn’t need.
“Actually, there’s nowhere to go but you,” said Ronald Giddings. “Where else am I going to go?”
The 71-year-old lives in a quiet mobile home community near Washington and Valrico Roads.
The summer of 2016 was a stressful and difficult time. His wife, Alma Jean Giddings, was hospitalized with a serious heart problem.
“I spent 30 solid days in the hospital with her, day and night,” said Giddings. “I would have done anything to help her.”
Help came right up to his door that summer. Giddings says a salesman struck up a conversation in his driveway.
“He found out your wife was sick and he presented you with this solution?” asked investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi.
“Correct,” said Giddings.
Giddings was preparing to bring Alma Jean home but he worried she may be home alone during a medical emergency. He says an agent with the company Safeguard America showed him a medical alert bracelet.
“She would just push the button and then help would arrive?” asked investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi.
“That was the way it was supposed to work,” said Giddings.
The desperate husband signed a contract, agreeing to pay about $45 a month for five years. The salesman explained how home surveillance was included.
Sadly, Alma Jean never had a chance to wear the medical alert bracelet. She passed away on Sept. 28, 2016.
“I was by her bedside at the hospital when she died,” Giddings said.
Since 2016, Giddings has received a nearly $45 bill each month. For a retiree on a fixed income, the bill is crushing.
He’s contacted the company to try and explain the situation.
“I said, my wife has passed away I don’t need the monitor anymore,” he said.
The company representative reportedly told him he was still being billed because he was still getting home surveillance.
“Why do I need a monitoring service? I don’t have anything really worth stealing,” Giddings said.
For days, 8 On Your Side has been trying to reach a manager and explain the situation. We have called the customer service line. We’ve also sent emails and messages on social media.
If Giddings wife would have signed the contract, it would be null and void.
8 On Your Side will continue to follow this story.
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