SEATTLE — Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that CenturyLink will pay $6.1 million to the state following a lawsuit accusing the internet and TV provider of deceiving customers.
Ferguson's office said that CenturyLink added additional charges to customer bills without accurately informing customers of those fees, impacting 650,000 Washingtonians.
“CenturyLink deceived consumers by telling them they would pay one price, and then charging them more,” Ferguson said. “Companies must clearly disclose all added fees and charges to Washingtonians.”
Nearly $900,000 of the money CenturyLink must pay will go directly to refunding customers for discounts they were promised but did not receive.
The remaining money will be set aside until a nationwide class-action suit filed against Century Link resolves.
Washington state began investigating CenturyLink in 2016 when it received complaints that customers' bills were actually more than the advertised price or higher than what they were promised by a sales representative.
According to the Attorney General’s office, there were three main fees that CenturyLink did not disclose to customers: a broadcast fee of $2.49 per month, a sports fee of $2.49 per month, and CenturyLink’s “Internet Cost Recovery Fee, ranging from $0.99 to $1.99 per month.
That Internet Cost Recovery Fee was charged to 650,000 Washingtonians. Of those, another 60,000 were also charged the broadcast and sports fees. These fees alone added up to $7 per month to a television subscriber’s bill — $84 per year.
As a result of the suit, CenturyLink is required to submit compliance reports to the Attorney General’s Office over the next three years and must retain all sales call recordings for two years.
Washingtonians who believe they have received bills that include undisclosed fees are encouraged to file a complaint with the Attorney General's office.