When Cable Installer Accidentally Kills Your Pet Lizard, Can Anything Make Up For The Loss?

Over the years, we’ve heard complaints about cable techs and installers kicking holes in walls and leaving behind messes, but it’s incredibly rare — and genuinely heartbreaking — when the actions of an installer lead to the demise of a family pet.

This is exactly what Consumerist reader Paul says happened to him last week when a DirecTV installer came by to set up Paul and his fiance with satellite service.

“The installer had to do some drilling through an interior wall near the tank that we keep our Gecko ‘Roland’ in,” writes Paul. “Apparently while he was moving things around he unplugged the heat source to the tank.”

But that heat source wasn’t just for Roland’s comfort. Geckos are cold-blooded, and thus need the external heat to survive, especially during the winter months in Paul’s home state of Ohio.

Alas, the DirecTV installer apparently failed to plug the heat source back into the wall and Paul’s 9-year-old son later found Roland dead in his tank.

Paul contacted DirecTV about the issue, and while the front-line customer service rep he spoke to was sympathetic, she didn’t seem to think there was anything she could do. So Paul asked to speak to a supervisor.

“I was put on hold for over half an hour only for her to come back and tell me that her supervisor said that they cannot do anything for me and that I need to file a police report,” he tells Consumerist.

Paul insisted on actually speaking with that supervisor and, after another lengthy wait on hold, he was offered a $50 credit to his account.

“While no amount of compensation can make up for the loss of a pet, I don’t think a $50.00 credit is sufficient,” he explained at the time. “I understand that her options are probably limited but less than one month of service?”

And so Paul sent an Executive E-mail Carpet Bomb to various top-level suits at DirecTV. We also reached out to some media contacts at the company. That same day, Paul

“She was much nicer and professional than anyone I spoke with,” he tells Consumerist. “They offered and I accepted a credit for three months of service. It doesn’t replace Roland but it feels like more of an adequate compensation for what happened.”

A spokesperson for DirecTV tells Consumerist, “This was an unfortunate accident. We have apologized to the family and have compensated them for their loss.”