Verizon has a different take on the story about a Philly’s family house being set on fire by a FiOS installer hitting their electrical wire — especially the family lawyer’s assertion that Verizon is only offering the family $1,800. Eric Rabe, Verizon Senior Vice President of Media Relations told The Consumerist:
It is not true that “Verizon is only offering the couple $1,800” as their lawyer has told the press. We have paid the couple that amount as an advance to cover some of their initial expenses, and we are attempting to negotiate an agreement to cover the remainder of their loss. Meanwhile, we are providing temporary housing for the couple at a nearby suit hotel while their landlord is renovating their rental apartment. Nonetheless, the couple involved in this case has decided to sue Verizon….
The reality is that anytime you drill into a wall, there is a risk of hitting hidden wires. Our technicians take precautions to avoid such accidents, of course, but occasionally they happen anyhow. We regret it when they do occur, and we do everything possible to resolve resulting issues fairly for all concerned. We do not consider fires started during FiOS installations to be a widespread problem, but, of course, even if such an incident only happens once, it is one time too many.
It’s not unheard of for a plaintiff to spin their opponent’s weaknesses to the press to gain more bargaining leverage. It is odd, however, for companies to set their customers’ houses on fire, although in Verizon’s case, there’s been a clutch of recent incidents of FiOS techs doing exactly that. We hope the Sammlers get through this difficult time, and that both parties get exactly what they deserve. For the Sammlers, that would be a fire and smoke-free house in working order. For Verizon, that would be for for CEO Ivan G. Seidenberg to pull a Michael Jackson during his next on-stage product demo.
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