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CenturyLink Lawsuit: ‘Don’t Defraud Your Customers,’ Say Oregon Officials

Lawsuit

Oregon is the lead plaintiff in a national securities class-action lawsuit against CenturyLink, alleging the company’s revenue contained “ill-gotten gains that were unsustainable.”

Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum made the announcement this week. A federal judge in Minnesota confirmed the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund as lead plaintiff in the case. The pension fund is suing to recoup losses the state says it experienced due to the company’s actions.

Read authorized the case on behalf of the pension fund.

The initial lawsuit was filed in 2017 after “revelations the company urged employees to add services and lines to customer accounts without obtaining the necessary clearance, leading to millions of dollars in unauthorized charges,” the announcement reads.

Disclosure of CenturyLink’s actions caused the value of the company’s shares to “nosedive,” according to the suit. Losses to Oregon public trust funds as a direct result of the “fraud and subsequent disclosure” are estimated to be $6 million, depending on when stock values are computed, it said.

“The message here is pretty simple: Don’t defraud your customers and shareholders,” Read said. “If corporate misbehavior undermines the sustainability of public trust funds, Oregon will demand accountability on behalf of taxpayers, schools, communities and public employees.”

In addition to Oregon, class-action suits have been filed against CenturyLink in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Washington. There’s also a suit filed by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson and numerous investor class-action suits.

CenturyLink's Mark Molzen

CenturyLink’s Mark Molzen

Mark Molzen, CenturyLink spokesman, said “this is not a new lawsuit and CenturyLink’s position has not changed.”

“These allegations are completely inconsistent with our company culture,” he said. “However speculative or unfounded we think these claims may be, we are treating them very seriously and will vigorously defend against them.”

As a lead plaintiff in the case, Oregon will set legal strategy and spearhead settlement negotiations. The state also will have the opportunity to press for new management practices.

“Every year, telecommunications issues make our list of consumers’ top complaints,” Rosenblum. said. “Oregonians want to know that when they sign up for cable or internet, the company providing these services will be honest and reliable. And, when a company in Oregon does engage in fraudulent behavior, consumers expect us to hold its management and directors accountable.”


4 comments

  1. Mary June 9, 2018 @ 10:34 am

    Where do I join the “unauthorized charges” lawsuit as a former Oregon customer.

  2. Dyane Lloyd July 3, 2018 @ 5:28 pm

    I’d like to know how customers can find out more concerning lawsuit. They double charged me and took money out of my bank account without authorization. They basically trap a person into going paperless by raising the amount of the bill and then giving a discount to go paperless. There’s lots more, a whole year of constant problems.

  3. Anny September 12, 2018 @ 10:23 pm

    Why isn’t the State of Oregon filing criminal charges against them for theft?

  4. Onthecoast November 23, 2018 @ 1:37 pm

    It is still ongoing. CenturyLink has left lines down in front of our house for the last 3 weeks. We’ve been without service for almost 2 weeks, and our bill jumped 25% at the beginning of this year, while service reliability and speed has gone down. There are no other providers in our area or I would switch. They have a Monopoly and it has been approved by the FCC. we pay almost 100 dollars a month for service that in January cost 75 dollars. 6 months before that we were paying 45 a month. Do not use CenturyLink if you can help it. Their billing is all over the place and you’re destined to spend a lot of time fighting with them on the phone for overcharging, lack of service, or other problems like double billing for equiptment. CenturyLink is the worst provider I have ever been forced to do business with. My only other option is to go without service at all because even our cellphones don’t work here.

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