Customer Pulls Shotgun On Late Dish Network Repairman

A San Diego Dish Network repairmen got more then he bargained for when he showed up late for a service call: homeowner Gary Thomson pulled a shotgun on him and threatened to kill him if he didn’t fix the TV. “The repairman, who told detectives he was terrified, went inside and fixed the problem. Thomson put the shotgun away at some point during the visit,” reports the San Diego Union Tribune.

Homeowner allegedly threatens repairman with shotgun [San Diego Union Tribune] (Thanks to Sean!)
(Photo: Getty)


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  1. ehrgeiz says:

    Well that is one way to get your issue fixed the first time they show up.

  2. UpsetPanda says:

    Holy crap, that’s worse than the old lady who smashed up Comcast offices with a sledgehammer. That’s just taking it way too far. This guy needs help.

  3. smitty1123 says:

    Dumbass. Shotguns are for threatening your daughters dates and killing your government, not as a motivational tool. However, sure seems effective.

  4. Giolon says:

    @UpsetPanda: Obviously this guy went too far, but cases like this and the hammer lady just show how fed up people are these days with the cable companies’ bullshit.

  5. @smitty1123: @ehrgeiz: You can’t argue with results.

  6. renegadebarista says:

    According to the article it was a repair person for Dish not DirecTV.

  7. TheBigLewinski says:

    Bubba just wanted to be sure he didn’t miss the wrestling match. (I like the picture, nice work.)

  8. The Porkchop Express says:
  9. @Giolon: True. You want help, you wait on the phone for an hour, then you get a rep who makes it seem like they were the ones waiting. You then have to take a day off of work, and if they are late, or reschedule, then you have to try and get the next day off, or wait yet another two weeks. Damn, I’m frustrated already.

  10. forgottenpassword says:

    lol That’s what happens when you treat the customer like crap. Do it too much… he eventually snaps.

    And these days, with miserable cust. service by the cable/satellite companies…. you cant even trust them to not lie to you (example… the cable tv guy that lies & said he showed up but noone answered the door when he actually did NOT show).

  11. Trai_Dep says:

    Well, at least he put away the loaded shotgun at some point during the installation. Because holding it to his temple the entire time? That’s simply rude!

  12. B says:

    Stay Classy, San Deigo.

  13. UpsetPanda says:

    @Giolon: I don’t actually see it as people being fed up with companies. If it wasn’t Comcast or DirecTV or Dish, it would’ve been Best Buy or Sears coming to fix an appliance, or a plumber. Company X did not make anyone pull a gun. You can’t argue “well, if the repair person weren’t late then this wouldn’t have happened” because regardless of how late this repairman was, it just isn’t right to pull a gun on someone, you don’t threaten violence. It shows there is something about these people in these cases that is not about whether a repairman will arrive on time or not, they’re obviously not in a healthy state of mind.

  14. ninabi says:

    Do not confuse carpet bomb with shotgun.

  15. Giolon says:

    @UpsetPanda: I didn’t excuse his behavior, but I mean just take a look at what GIT EM STEVEDAVE said:

    “True. You want help, you wait on the phone for an hour, then you get a rep who makes it seem like they were the ones waiting. You then have to take a day off of work, and if they are late, or reschedule, then you have to try and get the next day off, or wait yet another two weeks. Damn, I’m frustrated already. “


  16. Angryrider says:

    Wow.. That was too far… But I hope this’ll teach a lesson to all those late @#$@s.

  17. So which one of us is he? C’mon: fess up!

  18. faust1200 says:

    @BayStateDarren: I could see Ben doing it if they were trying to make him sign an arbitration agreement.

  19. axiomatic says:

    Announcer: “This TV repair brought to you by the fine folks at Depends undergarments. When there’s a shotgun in your face, you can depend on Depends.”

  20. Maybe he saw Pleasantville one too many times and let it warp his perception of television service personnel.

    Shotgun dude: “I ain’t gonna let you trap me on a TV show goddammit! I know how you people work!”
    Tech: “Uh, WTF?”
    Shotgun dude: “Especially not now that the writers’ strikes making them all boring!”

  21. ludwigk says:

    @Git Em SteveDave: Neat trick, but you can only do it once. Try getting the repair man to come back!

    Seriously, people, don’t pull guns on your service technicians.

  22. themediatrix says:

    Um…this consumerist headline made me think the guy was dead.

  23. This ought to be tagged “bad consumer,” no?

  24. wring says:

    @sotally tober: i was gonna say that.

  25. m4ximusprim3 says:

    Let me first assure everyone that not all of us in san diego are crazy like him.

    That being said, I’m with stevedave: It’s the only story I’ve ever seen on consumerist where a tech fixed anything on the first try.

  26. emax4 says:

    Now you know WHY they show up late, which is so they hope they don’t have to deal with customers like him. If I were the technician I would have fixed the TV (although he was an installer, not a TV repairman), got the hell out of there, called the cops, then called the office to cancel his service.

  27. amccoll says:

    I work for a small cable company, one time we had a woman call in multiple times threatening to come to our call center with a shotgun for turning off her internet due to non-payment. Sure, companies/reps/whatever can be jerks, but there are some customers out there are dangerously too many fries short a Happy Meal.

  28. macinjosh says:

    The Dish guy should have called his supervisor and said “tell my sister I love her”. :)

  29. macinjosh says:

    The Dish guy shoulda called his supervisor and said “Tell my sister I love her”

  30. macinjosh says:

    sorry for double-post. i guess it took a few minutes for my original to show up.

  31. MrEvil says:

    I heard a story about a fellow Dell field tech in Lubbock Texas have this happen to him. He went to a customer’s house to replace a Hard Drive under warranty. Now I assume that quite a few of you wonderful (I’m sincere about that) Consumerist readers know that a computer warranty does not cover software. This includes reinstalling the OS after a hard drive replacement. If I had to install the OS for each and every customer I’d never get anything done, plus I’m not paid to do it.

    The technician replaces the hard drive and tells the customer that he does not handle the software reinstall, but that Dell tech support will help him, or he can hire someone to do it for him. That was not what this customer wanted to hear. The customer pulled a gun on the tech and the tech being smart went ahead and installed the OS and drivers. Afterwards the customer got to meet some very lovely gentlemen from the Lubbock PD.

    I know one thing, first customer that pulls a gun on me (and I’ve had some that really felt like it.) is going to live to regret it. And I don’t mean I’ll shoot back either. what with the castle doctrine and all. I think I may have to invest in some body armor.

    @macinjosh: Nice Lost reference :p

  32. Rusted says:

    @smitty1123: Also other social hill billy events like shotgun marriages.

  33. @ludwigk: That’s when you tell the cable guy the address across the street, take over the broom closet, and bring your box over there to get fixed. Damn Blacklists.

  34. Hyperman says:

    I install dish we are usually late because out of 20 jobs the office receives in a day 15 or so are morning appointments. Most of the time people are cool with rescheduling them later in the day. Then there are the people that think because its an AM appt. If we get there at 11:45 we should be done by noon. Or they are way over demanding like in a 4 room hook up people always want extra rooms hooked up and heaven forbid we drill a hole in the dumpy trailer or cannot bury the line due to the ground being frozen. A tech from our office had a gun pulled on him and when he left and it was reported to dish they sided with the customer telling the tech he was wrong.

  35. macinjosh says:

    @MrEvil: Thanks! I was watching that scene at the same time I was reading this article, so it was kinda right there. :)

  36. EtherealStrife says:

    @macinjosh: No Josh, unfortunately we don’t have a code for “there’s a dish customer with a shotgun pointed at my head.” But clearly we should.

  37. Parting says:

    What a psycho. I hope this ”customer” will do prison time. And I’m sure the company will cut his service. No company is under obligation to provide a service to a customer that ”broke tha rules”.

    I’ve seen customers banned from companies for insulting and verbally abusing staff. (I mean, screaming poor employee head off, because the store doesn’t have a charger in stock? Especially, when employee offers to order it, or find a store where the customer can buy it now? Some people are crazy. Even when service is good)

  38. Parting says:

    @sotally tober: No ”crazy” consumer. A bad consumer just abuses the system.

  39. banmojo says:

    This psycho belongs in jail. TV just isn’t that f$#@ing important.

  40. KJones says:

    I did something similar once, but nothing so egregious.

    I went into a particular pizza shack one afternoon to pay for in advance and preorder a delivery for dinner that evening. I had done this several times before without any problems.

    The delivery boy arrived with the wrong order: one pizza instead of two, wrong toppings, wrong size and no side orders.

    I told the delivery boy I wanted my money back. He called his store on his cell, then handed it to me to speak to the manager. After three minutes of screwing around and insisting I was wrong, the idiot manager finally checked his computer and admitted I was right.

    The manager’s feeble idea was to have the delivery boy go back to the store and get the money. Given that he had already lied once and had sent the wrong order, I politely said “No, you will bring it yourself,” after which he finally agreed to send someone else with my refund.

    After finishing the call, I held onto the delivery boy’s cellphone; I didn’t pocket it, it was in my hand. There were six or seven calls which I did not answer, then nothing. The delivery boy was too afraid to ask for the phone; I wasn’t threatening or visibly angry, he just knew I wasn’t in the mood for any more nonsense.

    It’s amazing how fast they’ll show up when their delivery boys can’t make deliveries and the business can’t make any money.

  41. coold8 says:

    2nd amendment right!

  42. weg1978 says:

    I suppose you folks wouldn’t be as cavalier if a rep from a cable co showed up and pointed a shotgun at you for not paying your bill. Where’s the ‘bad consumer’ tag?

  43. Nighthawke says:

    As a service tech, I’ve seen plenty of firearms on display in racks or cabinets, but never had one brandished against me.

    Being a firearms aficionado, I do have a true appreciation of the art, but most of the firearms I’ve seen in their houses are in poor condition. Several having bad galling on their structural parts, guaranteeing a severe malfunction if fired.

  44. PoofDaddyChatty says:

    HAHAHA When i first read the headline for the bit i thought late meant deceased as opposed to tardy. That would have been something else.

  45. michaelduff says:

    @MrEvil: I live in Lubbock and would like to confirm that every last one of us is this crazy and that every resident has a closet full of guns.

    I hope the techs and customer service reps will remember this fact next time they need to fix a problem in Lubbock.

    Show up on schedule and fix it right the first time. Best way to avoid lead poisoning.

  46. Gadgetgirl says:

    The customer should have stolen the repairman’s ID and placed it in his shirt pocket and tapped it ala Queen Latifah in “Set it Off.”

  47. MPHinPgh says:

    Extreme, but apparently effective.

    Unfortunately, our gunslinger probably STILL won’t be able to enjoy his (now working) Dish service. That is, unless he gets house arrest as a sentence…

    Still, I kinda admire his approach.

  48. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    Hmm they can do a new “one call resolution program” restrictions apply of course.

  49. MainframeSysop says:

    I agree this is going way too far, and I hope the person who did this had his gun permits all revoked. BUT… God knows I have felt like doing that 100’s of times. Even though I don’t agree with his tactics I would be lying if I didn’t say I have been there myself. Luckily I don’t own a firearm. :)

  50. BeulahFapack says:

    Hero tag for the armed and pissed off customer!