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Verizon Sued After Tech Punches Customer In Face 493

Posted by samzenpus
from the can-you-hit-me-now dept.
suraj.sun writes "A Verizon customer filed a lawsuit after the tech the company sent out got a little punchy. Instead of fixing the customer's problem, the tech allegedly hit him in the face. The New York Post says the tech attacked the customer after he asked to see some ID before allowing access to the apartment. From the article, '"You want to know my name? Here's my name," Benjamin snarled, slapping his ID card into Isakson's face, according to Isakson's account of the December 2008 confrontation. "The guy essentially snapped. He cold-cocked me, hit me two or three solid shots to the head while my hands were down," said Isakson, a limo driver. He said the pounding bloodied his face and broke his glasses. But things got uglier, Isakson said, when Benjamin squeezed him around the neck and pressed him up against the wall. "He's prepared to kill me," Isakson said. "That's all I could think of." The customer broke free and ran away. The Verizon tech then chased the customer until he was subdued by a neighbor who was an off-duty cop.'"

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Verizon Sued After Tech Punches Customer In Face

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  • Dude (Score:4, Funny)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @12:32PM (#29107165) Journal

    You got beat up by an IT guy. Either he is a paraplegic, elderly or both.

    • Re:Dude (Score:5, Funny)

      by palegray.net (1195047) <philip.paradisNO@SPAMpalegray.net> on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @12:38PM (#29107287) Homepage Journal
      Calling Verizon techs IT guys is a bit of a stretch, don't you think? That's like calling a Comcast tech a "network engineer."
      • Re:Dude (Score:5, Funny)

        by Kierthos (225954) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @12:43PM (#29107371) Homepage

        That's better then most of the names we want to call them.

      • Re:Dude (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gad_zuki! (70830) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @02:02PM (#29108729)

        Exactly. Ive seen some really dumb thugs doing this kind of work. To say they lacked customer service skills is something of an understatement.

        Recently, we upgraded my dad's directv service to HDTV and the guy they sent over was somewhat rude, but I didnt care as log as he got the job done. Turns out the job was harder than he thought so he said he was going to his van, left the dish in the snow, and never came back. Yep, he just said "fuck it" and went home. I doubt he got fired.

        A little while after that I got Dish network at my place and was talking with the installer. I told him Ive put up dishes before at old places. He looked surprised. he said that they have guys with 5 weeks training that cant even up a dish.

        5 WEEKS to mount and point a dish? Wow. These arent the brightest bulbs.

        • Re:Dude (Score:5, Funny)

          by snspdaarf (1314399) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @02:04PM (#29108775)
          Hey, "lefty-loosey, righty-tighty" takes time to master.
        • Re:Dude (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Brian Gordon (987471) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @02:09PM (#29108855)

          Our DirecTV guy pointed the dish to full signal strength by eye. He could find the satellite by memory.

          • Re:Dude (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Spazmania (174582) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @04:00PM (#29110527) Homepage

            Our DirecTV guy pointed the dish to full signal strength by eye.

            That's what you think.

            Pointing a dish by eye where you start picking up the signal is not too hard if you do it often. Even an amateur only needs a compass, a level and the software which calculates the elevation and bearing for your approximate position.

            Centering the dish with no tools to evaluate signal strength and no reference landmarks except the position of the sun? Buddy, you got taken by a lazy joker who figured out that you can't tell the difference.

  • So.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by sconeu (64226) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @12:38PM (#29107289) Homepage Journal

    Can you !(*^&%$%^$#-ing hear me NOW????

    • It's probably hard to hear much of anything when your ears are bleeding.
    • Re:So.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by netruner (588721) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @01:07PM (#29107799)
      The previous post was brought to you by AT&T
      - Our service may suck, but our techs won't beat you up.
    • Re:So.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @01:34PM (#29108237)

      Can you !(*^&%$%^$#-ing hear me NOW????

      When reading this, did anybody else have the voice of Samuel L. Jackson going through their heads?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @12:39PM (#29107301)

    If not, the customer is going to have to wait another month for a new appointment.

  • More to the Story? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @12:40PM (#29107313)
    While it's possible the tech just snapped and went apeshit on the guy (after all, there are violent headcases out there...), why do I get the feeling that there's a whole lot more to the story than we're getting from the victim?...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      While it's possible the tech just snapped and went apeshit on the guy (after all, there are violent headcases out there...), why do I get the feeling that there's a whole lot more to the story than we're getting from the victim?...

      You mean like the customer consenting to getting beat up, right? Because everyone knows that kicking someones ass is totally within your rights as a citizen of the USA, don't they?

    • by tsa (15680)

      I guess the victim first told the Verizon guy how bad his company was, in not too friendly words, and hen asked him for an ID.

    • by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @01:02PM (#29107717)
      It honestly really doesn't matter -- unless this Isakson character physically assaulted the tech first, it makes no difference how obnoxious or belligerent he was being -- the tech had no right to assault him (even if he totally deserved it). What seems to have happened here is that a somewhat hot-headed tech who was already having a bad day went out to a house, just trying to do his job, and had some smartass give him all sorts of attitude for no reason and get in the way of him trying to get his job done. I have been in many similar situations before and can certainly see how someone of a violent temperament could snap and hit someone, but it certainly does not make it defensible.
      • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @01:37PM (#29108289) Homepage

        I think the key here is that Verizon told the customer that they would be able to fix it without sending a tech out. Then somebody comes out unannounced to fix the problem? He had every right to have his guard up.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        If it's a simple case of criminal assault why is the guy suing Comcast at all?

        If I get beat up by some drunken idiot I don't sue his employer, I bring charges against him and claim criminal compensation for time off work (paid either by him or the state if he can't pay).

      • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @02:05PM (#29108787) Homepage Journal

        What seems to have happened here is that a somewhat hot-headed tech who was already having a bad day went out to a house, just trying to do his job, and had some smartass give him all sorts of attitude for no reason and get in the way of him trying to get his job done.

        Nope. Much as I've wanted to punch certain customers when I worked tech support, there's no way this is the victim's fault. If I saw that particular crackhead look-a-like sauntering up to my door, I'd also ask to see his ID before letting him in. How much could the victim possibly have egged him on considering the tech hadn't even made it in the front door yet?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mikael_j (106439)

          How much could the victim possibly have egged him on considering the tech hadn't even made it in the front door yet?

          Well considering that back when I worked tech support I had plenty of calls that started with what could best be described as "a shitstorm of racial slurs (against white people like myself!), accusations of me and all my coworkers being homosexual and other general nastiness" I can definitely imagine that he managed to get out a whole bunch of undeserved crap. Hell, most of those calls I got weren't people who had been without DSL for weeks or anything like that, it would be people who's DSL had gone out mi

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by BobMcD (601576)

            Okay, understood.

            Do you have trouble imagining that the tech's response was inappropriate?

            I teach my sons: "Fight words with words, and action with action."

    • by TimeTraveler1884 (832874) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @01:05PM (#29107755)

      [the customer] asked to see some ID before allowing access to the apartment

      I think you are on to something. It seems more likely the alleged assailant has very strong feelings about the right to privacy and is making a statement about how a national ID card would be against the founding principles of this country; and that such a system does nothing ensure the safety of the public at all as the bureaucrats in Washington would have you believe, but in reality only serves to further the government's agenda towards a police state that will only result in violence towards its own citizens.

      Surely, I can't be the only one to have gathered that from the summary?

    • Probably because there is, however, no matter what the situation was, even if he belittled the guy's mother, you never have the right to cause physical harm to another human being (unless you are Jack Bauer from 24)

    • by LoRdTAW (99712)

      You are 100% correct. Its just like the Abner Louima case here in New York City, cops just dont violate people for fun. Not saying that the cops are justified in their actions but some people can only take so much verbal abuse.

      That customer must have been a total piece of shit prick and probably even deserved the beating he took. I have dealt with plenty of snobby, nasty, pricks that deserve to be shot in the head and left to rot in the sun. But you just have to keep your cool, and get the job done as fast

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @12:45PM (#29107395)

    I can only look on in envy.

  • Racism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I expect the tech assumed racism from being asked for his ID, much like Dr. Gates did in the encounter in Boston.

  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @12:47PM (#29107425) Homepage

    Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? What's my name, bitch! Say it!

  • by PPH (736903)
    Another customer switches to Comcast.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SatanicPuppy (611928) *

      What are you kidding? Getting the crap beat out of you vs dealing with Comcast? I'll take the beating any day.

      The real pisser is, the guy probably deserved it, but other people at Verizon are going to have to fricking kiss his feet every time he needs something just because one tech lost his temper.

  • After dealing with Verizon about some fiber issues I can totally say I got it worse than this guy.
  • Hero (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pak9rabid (1011935)
    I think his actions speak for 90% of the people that have ever worked a support job.
  • by lymond01 (314120) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @12:52PM (#29107531)

    He shouldn't need to show identification. All Verizon guys walk around with an entourage of hundreds of jumpsuited, smiling techs and assistants. You really can't miss them.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @01:05PM (#29107765)

      He shouldn't need to show identification. All Verizon guys walk around with an entourage of hundreds of jumpsuited, smiling techs and assistants. You really can't miss them.

      Yea right, My wife had a PGW worker ( Gas Works) knock on the door saying that he needed to check for a possible leak
      He was wearing PGW garb but when she asked for ID he said it was in the truck and would be right back. He never did come back.
      We called PGW asking and they said that no one was scheduled for our address. ALLWAYS ask for ID before letting someone into your house.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by arcade (16638)

        So, what do you do when the guy shows you his ID? Let him in? Or do you make a point of always noting down what the ID says, closing and locking the door, figuring out what the company's phone number is, then call them and verify that it is the correct person at your door?

        If not - how do you know whether the ID is fake or not?

  • You know, like maybe the customer was doubting that DSL was "broadband". (And I don't mean Josie and the Pussycats)
  • by Caffeinated Geek (948530) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @01:00PM (#29107671) Homepage
    The fact the Verizon tech still has a job is interesting.
    "In the months since this incident, his conduct has been blameless. As a result, we will not take further action," Young said.
    The lesson here is if you work for Verizon you get to punch the customers as long as you only do it every now and then.
    • Wow, can I get this kind of slack where I work?
      .
      Excuse me, I have to go visit the office of some loud co-workers....

    • by krou (1027572)

      "In the months since this incident, his conduct has been blameless. As a result, we will not take further action," Young said, as Benjamin punched him repeatedly in the face.

      Fixed that for you.

    • That was my thought too -- I don't think I've ever worked in a job where you could beat the crap out of the customer and still keep your job, even if the DA dropped the charges. I would think even a loud verbal altercation that prompts the customer to complain would be enough to get a warning at least; but physical violence to the point of the poor bastard needing a doctor -- Verizon are idiots for keeping this guy on their payroll and even worse for defending him. I hope the customer wins the lawsuit.

  • Verizon rep: You don't need to see his identification. Bloodied customer: We don't need to see his identification. Verizon rep: These aren't the droids you are looking for. Bloodied customer: These aren't the droids we are looking for. Verizon rep: He can go about his violent business. Bloodied customer: You can go about your business. Verizon rep: Move along. Bloodied customer: Move along. Move along.
  • I figure 'Aubrey Isakson' is exaggerating the damage as this did happen in the United States of I'll-Sue-Your-Ass-off-Man !! Like, I worked front-desk in a tourist hostel, who forgot to give a guest his wake-up call. He threatened to sue them for missing his flight, meeting etc. Get the fuck out of my hotel, man !!!

    • That might have been me. No, I won't hit you or otherwise assault you. But if you forget my wakeup call and I miss my flight, it will be YOU paying for my flight and lost time.

  • by Tsar (536185) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @01:02PM (#29107721) Homepage Journal

    Verizon spokesman Rich Young said the company has "zero tolerance for any sort of unethical or illegal behavior" and noted Benjamin was not convicted of any crime. "In the months since this incident, his conduct has been blameless. As a result, we will not take further action," Young said.

    Wow, they've gotten no complaints from the HUNDREDS of homes they've sent this guy into since "this incident." Makes you feel warm and trusting all over, doesn't it?

    Apparently "zero tolerance" doesn't mean the same thing to Verizon that it does where I work. Do they at least give their service techs "___ Days without Attacking a Customer" buttons?

  • by swb (14022) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @01:03PM (#29107739)

    In "The Armed Citizen" in American Rifleman than on Slashdot.

    • by Tihstae (86842)

      In "The Armed Citizen" in American Rifleman than on Slashdot.

      This was in Queens (City of New York). The city government has made it quite clear that only felons are allowed to own weapons there. This wouldn't have happened in a state/city where the Second Amendment still exists. And I agree with you completely. This would have made a great article for the Armed Citizen. It is the one section I always read in American Rifleman.

      • by Splab (574204)

        Interesting how assaults like this continuously fail to happen here in Denmark where guns aren't allowed...

        • by rainer_d (115765) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @02:49PM (#29109479) Homepage

          It also doesn't happen a lot here in Switzerland, where all the adult male natives have assault riffles and ammunition at home (in case the country gets invaded).
          If the society is shit, banning guns is useless. Just ask the stabbed teenagers in the UK.
          That said, I don't really want to own a weapon (other than my exquisite collection of kitchen knives).
          Most of the problems the western world has (drugs, violence) are only symptoms of the decay of a society that has no direction, no leadership, no common consensus, no purpose other than monetary gains.
          While societies need regulation, laws, the sheer existence of laws (and even strict enforcement) doesn't automatically make those societies safer per-se.
          Politicians want to make us believe the opposite, though.

  • Think Twice (Score:4, Funny)

    by CodeInspired (896780) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @01:06PM (#29107775)
    This is so damn funny. If we all start punching people in the face when they ask stupid questions, I'm guessing they will start RTFM. I'm off to the gym to start training.
  • by east coast (590680) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @01:14PM (#29107929)
    The words of the Verizon tech before the attack was supposedly "Mister, if you don't shut up I'm gonna kick one hundred percent of your ass!"
  • by Tekfactory (937086) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @01:15PM (#29107947) Homepage

    NO CARRIER

  • by LaminatorX (410794) <sabotage@NosPAm.praecantator.com> on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @01:34PM (#29108245) Homepage

    Unless the dude had a history of violence/instability that they were aware of and ignored, I can't see why VZ should be held liable.

    The dude should be charged criminally with assault.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      He represents that company. As such the company has a certian degree of respopnsibility.

      I wonder if Verizon protects there employees from liability?

  • by itsanx (1534709) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @01:48PM (#29108471)
  • by sycodon (149926) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @02:15PM (#29108947)

    ...I have a begrudging respect for the Verizon guy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by atari2600 (545988)
      What made you stay in tech support for 12 years? Not enough "respect" for yourself?
  • by nimbius (983462) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @02:44PM (#29109409) Homepage
    it happened in New York...and in accordance with verizons standard operating procedures for the empire state physical violence is the second step to trouble-resolution, right after shouting and gesturing obscenities.
    the technician may not have been properly trained, and mistook the customer for telco equipment...this happens occasionally and other companies like AT&T can certainly attest that customers, especially if on fire, tend to resemble things like routers.

    why yes, Ive done some PR work before, why do you ask?

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