Minnesota calls out CenturyLink over questionable consumer charges

Lori Swanson
CenturyLink customers should check their bills and should not trust that the company is giving them any deal it puts on the table, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said Wednesday.
Jim Mone | AP file

Updated 2:40 p.m. | Posted 2:08 p.m.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has sued CenturyLink, charging that the telecom company has failed to give many customers the prices they're quoted for internet and TV services.

"I want the company to knock it off," she told reporters Wednesday. "It's not OK for a company to quote one price and then charge another for something as basic as cable television and internet services. So, we want an injunction so the company stops doing this to other people."

Customers should check their bills and should not trust that the company is giving them any deal it puts on the table, she added.

At a press conference at the attorney general's St. Paul office, Minneapolis attorney Allen Gibas said he ended up paying hundreds of dollars more than he expected, based on a written offer he received. When he complained, Gibas said CenturyLink told him he had received all the discounts for which he was eligible.

"The promise that was made to me that was put in writing — thank heavens, I asked to have it put in writing — was not kept," he said.

Swanson said she hopes to get restitution for consumers and give them the option of ending contracts without facing $200 penalties. The attorney general used subpoena authority to obtain internal company communications and recordings of sales agents speaking with customers angry because they weren't getting promised prices.

In a statement, CenturyLink said it's been cooperating with Swanson's inquiry and was "disappointed" she used a press conference "to communicate her concerns instead of contacting CenturyLink directly. We take these allegations seriously and will review and respond in due course."

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