CenturyLink will refund $672,000 to 8,212 Oregonians who were overcharged for their services.
The payout is part of a $4 million settlement Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced Tuesday. It follows a five-year investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice. In the past five years, the DOJ has received more than 1,200 consumer complaints about the company.
According to a press release from Rosenblum’s office, CenturyLink had engaged in deceptive advertising by door-to-door salespeople, deceptive billing practices and undisclosed fees. The company had also failed to give customers promised discounts.
Customers said the company charged them more than the promised price, sent multiple bills, billed for services after customers had cancelled and billed for modems that had not yet been installed. Some customers also said internet speeds were slower than promised and, in some cases, were so slow it was unusable.
“Purchasing internet, phone service and cable is confusing enough without false promises, and confusing prices and fees. Today’s settlement sends a clear message that hidden fees and other forms of unfair and deceptive business practices will not be tolerated in Oregon,” Rosenblum said.
Under the setlement, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, CenturyLink will have to stop charging an Internet Cost Recovery Fee, a Broadband Cost Recovery Fee, allow current customers to transition to a plan without the fee and clearly disclose all fees in future ads. It will also have to stop charging cancellation fees and fees for equipment that has not been returned, unless those fees are disclosed at the time of sale.
CenturyLink will directly contact the customers slated to receive refunds, according to the press release.
Oregonians who believe they have received bills that include undisclosed fees should file a consumer complaint or contact the Attorney General Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392.
The DOJ is also leading a separate securities class action lawsuit over the same problem.