CenturyLink owes the state and Colorado customers $8,476,000.

The company is charged with "unfairly and deceptively charging hidden fees, falsely advertising guaranteed locked prices, and failing to provide discounts and refunds it promised to consumers who signed up for internet, television, and telephone services in Colorado", according to Colorado's Attorney General.

According to the release, CenturyLink:

  • Created a disguised surcharge called "Internet Cost Recovery Fee" starting at $.99 that continuously increased to $3.99 over 3 years
  • Made false contractual advertisement promising “price lock” and “fixed price” contracts but charged customers more
  • Had pricing schemes and a billing system that misquoted consumers
  • Sometimes billed customers more than twice the promised rate
  • Did not deliver promised discounts
  • Sometimes failed to deliver refunds for returned equipment after customers ended their service

The state attorney general's office protected future customers from such violations by requiring CenturyLink to agree to:

  • Disclose the actual price of its services, including charges and fees, at the time of sale and in sales materials and advertising
  • Send the customer an “Order Confirmation” that includes a complete bill summary within three days after a customer orders services from CenturyLink
  • Stop adding the Internet Cost Recovery Fee to future orders
  • Stop charging unreturned equipment fees to customers who return equipment on time.

CenturyLink is now required to submit compliance reports for 3 years to the Consumer Protection Section of the Attorney General’s Office while also keeping all sales call recordings and written sales correspondence for 2 years.

CenturyLink must refund $1,701,000 customers by March 31, 2020, and pay $6,775,000 to the State of Colorado for violating the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.

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