CenturyLink Accused of Scheme Similar to Wells Fargo
A former employee at CenturyLink Inc. has claimed that she was fired because she blew the whistle on the telecommunication company’s sales culture of high-pressure that left its customers paying many millions of dollars for unrequested accounts, indicated a lawsuit in Arizona that was filed earlier this week.
Shares at CenturyLink were down the most in the past six weeks following the news, while shares at Level 3 Communications Inc. a merger partner dropped sharply.
Heidi Heiser the plaintiff in the lawsuit worked at home as a sales agent and customer service representative for CenturyLink between August of 2015 and October of 2016.
Her suit claims CenturyLink fired her just days after she notified CEO Glen Post of the scheme during a session of questions and answers held on a company internal message board.
Her complaint alleged that CenturyLink allowed persons with a personal incentive to add lines or services to the accounts of customers to indicate falsely on the system of CenturyLink the approval by the customer for new services or lines.
That at times resulted in charges that were not authorized by subscribers according to Heiser’s complaint.
Currently CenturyLink is in the middle of a merger of $34 billion with Level 3, whose CEO Jeff Storey is set to become the CenturyLink CEO in 2019 with the new entity going against the heavy hitters in the industry like AT&T in the bidding for the heavy Internet usage of businesses.
CenturyLink, which provides data and communication services across the nation as well as hosting, information technology and cloud services, booked net income of $816 million from sales of $17.5 billion in 2016.
CenturyLink and its employees hold the highest ethical standards and had in place a safety net Integrity Line 24 hours per day, seven days per weeks, said a company spokesperson.
Heiser’s complaint claims she became concerned more and more after observing what she did at CenturyLink and seeing news about the regulatory troubles of Wells Fargo.
The complaint compares what Heiser said that sales agents from CenturyLink did to the scandal at Wells Fargo and estimates the unauthorized fees reached the millions of dollars
She added that her concerns had been bolstered by posts that she had read on a number of review sites.
A review of Pissed Consumer and Yelp finds there was evidence that irate customers existed.
Apparently, when customers complained about charges that they said were unauthorized the CenturyLink agents were told to say that the system showed the client approved the service, thus making it the client’s word against CenturyLink.