$1800 For FiOS House Fire Family Is Just An Advance, Says Verizon

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.

PREVIOUSLY: Verizon FiOS Sets Another House On Fire


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  1. xredgambit says:

    I see it now, company sets your house on fire and gives you $1800 for an upfront coverage but plans to negoate what they will pay you instead of just saying we’ll replace everything for you.
    Damn those bastard Sammlers, suing such a generous company, as a matter of fact they should pay them to have the honor of being in their graces.

    Now lets see if verison is currently billing them for their services they “installed.”

  2. humphrmi says:

    This is great spin by Verizon, but most attorneys will know it’s BS. I hate to sound litigious, but there is no way in hell a company who’s first obligation is it’s shareholders and it’s own bottom line is going to offer a fair settlement. The only way to resolve a major catastrophe like this is, sadly, in court. I’ve been involved in one lawsuit – a guy totalled my car and put me out of work for two months – and the lawyer showed me the release I had to sign in order to get the insurance company’s “advance” – basically it required me to stipulate all sorts of minor points in the case that, if it ever went to trial, would have weakened my case. I’m sure this situation is no different. I’m sure this family’s attorney read the release they wanted in order to get the advance, and said “Yeah, right. Pass.”

  3. Buran says:

    @humphrmi: Hopefully, you passed too?

  4. humphrmi says:

    @Buran: My attorney wasn’t even that good and he saw through it.

  5. Antediluvian says:

    we are providing temporary housing for the couple at a nearby suit hotel

    Is that a fancy way of saying hotel that caters to business travelers, or is it an upscale euphamism for “dry cleaners?”

    Eh, probably just a case of “accidental honesty in press releases.”

    Either way, I think I’d be more comfortable with a suite. :-)

  6. coffee177 says:

    What is really the problem here? The problem is that we are living in the age of corporations. These corporations run the country in the fact that their “Bribes” to political entities shape the future of the United States. The last time something like this happened is when Teddy Roosevelt broke up the corps back in the early 1900s.

    Whether its comcast, Verison, at&t, or any other large corp- we are being financially and mentally raped by them.

    Its time to put it to a stop. We need to send a clear message to them in the best way possible letting these companies know that we have had enough of the abuses.

    I propose as a start:

    1. Never, Ever, Get their “triple Play” offerings. Keep your phone line seperate from the cable, internet. This fosters competition.

    2. Stay away from anything other than “Basic plus expanded” tv offerings. Drop the HBO,SHOWTIME ect.. This will help send a clear signal that we are getting fed up.

    3. Whenever you have a problem with reception and you know its on their end (cable internet down ect…) When they tell you they have to send out a tech “Next week” Always agree to this. Tie up their techs as much as possible with service calls that could actually be handled on their end.

    4. When answering a sales pitch on the phone or in email about adding more “services” to your account remind them that they are not “qualified” or have the ability to provide such services in your opinion. Bring up someone and their current problem to point out the issue. I.E – “I would never entertain the idea of expanding service with you until I hear the problem with ‘jane doe’ service is resolved to her satisfaction.

    These are just 4 things that you can do to fight back against stupid companies. To sit idle and fall to their wishes is not enough. You work hard for your money and you deserve a quality experience with these companies. Its time we did something instead of complaining. Lets get going!


  7. ColdNorth says:

    The “Coffee Manifesto”?

  8. enm4r says:

    @coffee177: Or you could, you know, just not give them any of your business…not quite sure why you took that off the table if you’re going to be so strict about “rules” to follow.

    Between (legal) tv shows offered online, I really feel no need to rebuy the cable package I used to have. Granted, it’s only been about 6 months, but after the adjustment, it hasn’t been half bad. Between cable tv websites offering their shows online, and services like Joost, supplemented with OTA HD of course, it’s been an easier transition than I thought.

    Note, as the NBA season starts up, it’s really making me reconsider so I can get TNT/ESPN. Fortunately my cable internet package supports ESPN 360 so I feel only marginally disconnected.

  9. smoothtom says:

    Umm … exactly how does this happen, anyway? Yes, it takes an idiot to be careless enough to drill into a live wire, but it’s got to take a perfect combination of events to make the place go up in flames. I’ve shorted out a live wire before–I made a bright blue spark and a puff of smoke, but the breaker tripped instantly, preventing further damage (which is, of course, what it was designed to do.) Either the spark was just right and caught the framing on fire, or the breaker didn’t trip quickly enough. Either way, the landlord had better look at upgrading the apartment building’s wiring.

  10. XTC46 says:

    @smoothtom: Unless it was before the breaker in the unit, it still probably tripped the main breaker for the building, but it would have taken longer and in that instant the sparks would be huge, inside a wall with some insulation as a starter it could happen pretty fast.

    Maybe Verizon should make their techs carry fire extinguishers?

  11. AndyDuncan says:

    I took two guys 8 hours to install my fios service, and they put a staple through the ethernet cable that caused intermittent outages for months until verizon came out and replaced the cable. The whole install is a pretty involved procedure and does involve a lot of drilling, so I’m not surprised they’ve lit a couple houses on fire.

    It’s fast as snot though, I’d let them light my house on fire, maybe just a little.