FCC, CenturyLink reach settlement for unauthorized charges on customers’ bills

FCC, CenturyLink reach settlement for unauthorized charges on customers’ bills

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KEYC) - The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau announced a settlement with CenturyLink on August 13 to resolve an investigation into the company’s putting of unauthorized third-party charges and fees onto consumers’ bills.

The FCC says the practice, known as cramming, is unjust and unreasonable under the Communications Act. As part of the settlement, CenturyLink has agreed to pay $550,000 to the government and has committed to a compliance plan designed to protect consumers and prevent future cramming.

During its investigation, the FCC reviewed complaints from CenturyLink customers, who said they found unauthorized third-party charges on their bills and, in some cases, had difficulty getting timely refunds.

In the settlement, CenturyLink agrees to cease billing for third parties, with certain narrow exceptions, and to implement a process for providing refunds or credits to customers with valid complaints about unauthorized charges. CenturyLink will also allow customers to block future third-party charges and have available upon customers’ request all recent billing information related to third-party charges.

The FCC says CenturyLink also commits to revise its processes, conduct staff training to avoid any further placement of unauthorized third-party charges on customers’ bills, and file regular compliance reports with the Commission.

CentryLink provides internet, TV and phone service across parts of Minnesota and Iowa.

Copyright 2019 KEYC. All rights reserved.