Class-action lawsuits are piling up against CenturyLink, with cases now filed in California, Colorado, Oregon, New York and Washington alleging massive billing fraud.
The latest class-action suit was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado on behalf of Anthony Chavez, a former CenturyLink customer, alleging “fraudulent and unlawful addition of false charges to its customers’ accounts.”
The complaint alleges CenturyLink has engaged in a “widespread and continuous practice of designating customers as having additional accounts that they had not requested or approved, charging customers more than the quoted price for contracts, charging termination fees for canceling contracts, and continuing to bill customers after they closed their accounts. As a result of these bogus charges, (CenturyLink) was able to add millions of dollars in charges to their customers’ bills for services they did not request.”
This suit follows a lawsuit filed in Arizona by former employee Heidi Heiser, who said she was fired from her job as a CenturyLink customer service and sales agent days after notifying CEO Glen Post of the alleged billing scheme.
Soon after, a class-action lawsuit seeking as much as $12 billion was filed in California by Geragos & Geragos, followed by class-action suits filed in Washington and Oregon. In addition, the Pomerantz Firm in New York has filed suit in New York on behalf of CenturyLink investors.
Geragos & Geragos is working with law firms in each of the states where class-action suits have been filed involving CenturyLink customers. Ben Meiselas, co-lead counsel in the suits, tells Channel Partners they intend to file class actions in every state where there are CenturyLink customers.
“This is an unprecedented revolt against their unlawful practices and consumers have banded together … coast to coast,” he said. “The response by CenturyLink has been abysmal and a case study in how not to react to appropriate consumer outrage toward their corporate conduct. Their response has been blame the consumer, blame the customer.”
Mark Molzen, CenturyLink spokesman, said “unfortunately, these types of opportunistic follow-on claims are not unexpected.”
“The fact that a law firm is trying to leverage a wrongful termination suit into a putative class-action lawsuit does not change our original position,” he said. “Our employees know that if they have any concerns about ethics or compliance issues, we have an Integrity Line in place, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our former employee did not make a report to the Integrity Line and our leadership team was not aware of the alleged matter until the lawsuit was filed. The allegations made by our former employee are completely inconsistent with our company policies, culture and unifying principles, which include honesty and integrity. We take these allegations seriously and are diligently investigating this matter.”