CenturyLink, Arizona AG reach settlement on consumer fraud claim
PHOENIX – CenturyLink has reached a settlement with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office after accusations of using deceptive and unfair advertising and billing methods, AG Mark Brnovich announced Monday.
CenturyLink, which provides phone, internet and television services, allegedly committed consumer fraud in instances including its sign-up “Closer Discount” in which the company often did not apply the cost markdowns.
From 2013 to 2016, the company withheld $1.9 million in discounts that was promised to customers.
CenturyLink was fined almost $11 million. It has been instructed to return the $1.9 million to consumers who did not receive the “Closer Discount,” spend $2 million to invest in fiber-optic infrastructure improvements the Attorney’s Office deems necessary and pay $7 million to the state of Arizona.
Customers who were impacted will receive a refund on their account.
“This settlement holds CenturyLink accountable to customers and will provide significant technological infrastructure investment for the state,” Brnovich said in a statement.
Other infractions the company was accused of includes not telling customers fees added to bills, including the Internet Cost Recovery Fee, which increased the monthly cost even for customers who used the Price-Lock promotion.
It also allegedly omitted terms and conditions including early termination fees, improperly billed customers for returned equipment and charged customers after they cancelled services.
In addition to the fees, CenturyLink was required to fully disclose all terms and conditions including fees and surcharges, charge consumers only the amount quoted, send order confirmations within three business days and change policy to the Internet Cost Recovery Fee. That fee will no longer be charged to new consumers, and existing customers can switch or cancel it without paying the early termination fee.
People who believe they have been the victim of consumer fraud are encouraged to file a complaint at the Attorney General’s website or call the office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.