Collection agency calls 100-year-old customer over cable bill
A collection agency calls a 100-year-old customer over a cable bill. The NBC 10 I-Team looks into the collection at a time when most utilities in Rhode Island have been instructed to halt collections through May 31st. (WJAR)

Bill Caldarone and his wife Jill, both 100 years old, left their Cranston ranch style home in late February for a nursing home in Pascoag. 

 The couple’s health quickly deteriorated and both contracted COVID-19. 

 A $419 dollar Cox cable bill went overlooked and unpaid. The bill went to a collections agency. 

 “It’s pretty sad it has to come to this, a good customer you treat like that. A 100-year-old man,” son Rich Caldarone told the NBC 10 I-Team. “He couldn’t have paid them. The man didn’t drive, he was in lock up/lock down at Crystal Lake nursing home.”

Rich Caldarone began calling the bill collector, Radius Global Solutions, from his home way out in Hawaii. 

 He was hitting a brick wall. 

 “We want to speak to him directly. I said, well, he’s not speaking,” said Caldarone. 

 Sadly, Bill Caldarone, a former Marine, died in the nursing home on Tuesday. 

 “There should be a little bit of mercy here, if they were your good customer, you don’t treat them like dirt because they can’t pay you,” said Rich Caldarone.

The family called the NBC 10 I-Team. 

 A reporter made calls to the collections agency and wrote emails to higher-ups at Cox Communications. Jeffrey Lavery, a Cox spokesperson, quickly went to work on the issue and got it resolved. 

He told the I-Team the family will not be contacted by the collections agency.

Seniors and all customers should know most companies have waived late fees because of COVID-19. 

 Cox has offered customers payment options and Verizon offers no late fees or termination of service until June 30th. 

 The RI Public Utilities Commission has directed gas, electric, and wastewater companies to halt certain collections until May 31.

The decision by Cox now allows the Calderone family to care for mom, Jill, who at 100 years old herself, continues to fight the coronavirus.

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