Glen Post, CEO of CenturyLink, is refuting claims made by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson that the telco is not cooperating in an investigation related to its internet and video services billing practices.
Post said in an e-mail sent to employees late last week, which was cited by Reuters, that he disagrees with Swanson’s position that the company is being “uncooperative” during the investigation.
"We take these allegations very seriously and are diligently investigating them," Post said in the e-mail.
Earlier this month, Swanson filed a lawsuit against CenturyLink (PDF), saying her office has also found evidence of repeated and systemic billing fraud at the company.
One of the practices the Minnesota AG cites is the telecom industry practice of advertising one rate, then using bogus fees to charge customers more.
The Minnesota lawsuit cites 37 examples in which customers were overbilled by CenturyLink, which the AG said the telco refused to remedy even when customers provided proof of the original advertised price. In addition to charging for services that consumers did not ask for, the company apparently used fees like its internet cost recovery fee to further increase prices.
CenturyLink said it hired law firm O'Melveny & Myers to conduct an independent review of its billing practices related to the suit.
Minnesota is just one of several states that have filed lawsuits over CenturyLink’s questionable billing practices.
CenturyLink’s billing practices first came to light when former employee Heidi Heiser sued the telco over claims that she was fired for alerting the company about charging customers millions of dollars for services they never ordered.
Since Heiser filed her initial suit, a number of states have also joined a growing class action suit. Each of these states has cited consumer stories of how CenturyLink has been overbilling customers. One of the latest states to join the suit was Arizona. And Los Angeles-based firm Geragos & Geragos filed suits over the billing practices in several other states, including California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Colorado.