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Oregon reaches $4 million settlement with CenturyLink following consumer complaints

The Attorney General's office said that it had received more than 1,200 customer complaints about CenturyLink, prompting the suit.

Posted: Dec 31, 2019 3:57 PM
Updated: Dec 31, 2019 4:06 PM

SALEM, Ore. — An investigation that began in 2014 has culminated in telecom company CenturyLink settling with the state of Oregon for $4 million in addition to other concessions, according to the state Attorney General's office.

The state alleged that CenturyLink engaged in deceptive advertising and billing practices, charging customers undisclosed fees, and failing to provide promised discounts to customers.

“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,” said Attorney General Rosenblum.

Oregon's Department of Justice (DOJ) opened an investigation into CenturyLink back in 2014 after receiving more than 1,000 consumer complaints, according to the Attorney General's office, "including complaints about the company misrepresenting the price of services, failing to inform consumers of terms and conditions that could affect the price, and billing consumers for services they never received."

In 2018, complaints about telecommunication companies topped the DOJ's list of top 10 consumer complaints. Since 2014, the number of complaints against CenturyLink alone have gone beyond 1,200, according to Rosenblum's office.

Under the settlement, CenturyLink will have to refund $672,000 to more than 8,000 Oregonians who were either overcharged or did not receive a promised discount. The telecom is supposed to contact those people directly.

The settlement also stipulates that CenturyLink must do the following:

  • Stop charging new customers the “Internet Cost Recovery Fee,” a fee that was not always previously disclosed to consumers until they received their first bill.
  • Stop charging a “Broadband Cost Recovery Fee.”
  • Allow current customers to have an opportunity to transition to another plan without the fee.
  • Clearly disclose all mandatory fees and charges in future advertisements.
  • Stop charging cancellation and unreturned equipment fees if they are not disclosed at the time of sale.

Rosenblum's office said that the DOJ is also pursuing a separate securities class action lawsuit against the company for similar conduct.

Any Oregonian who believes they have received bills with undisclosed fees can file a consumer complaint, or contact the Attorney General Consumer Hotline at 877-877-9392.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 208
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Marion153947
Washington137920
Clackamas75124
Umatilla5334
Union3421
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Lane1653
Linn1519
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Wallowa100
Curry70
Baker40
Grant10
Harney10
Sherman10
Gilliam00
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Confirmed Cases: 238681

Reported Deaths: 6169
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Riverside18041463
San Diego14623370
Orange14413345
San Bernardino12746258
Imperial652397
Alameda6156136
Fresno528975
Kern476876
Santa Clara4572158
Tulare4323128
San Joaquin391454
San Francisco364850
Sacramento339768
San Mateo3311108
Contra Costa324877
Ventura309646
Santa Barbara289629
Kings250434
Marin239419
Stanislaus231044
Monterey169115
Solano140225
Sonoma11857
Merced113111
Placer72411
San Luis Obispo6422
Yolo55524
Madera5415
Santa Cruz3993
Napa3334
San Benito2392
Lassen2330
El Dorado1980
Sutter1973
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Humboldt1334
Shasta1294
Nevada1171
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Yuba941
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