Already under fire from a wrongful termination suit, telecommunications company CenturyLink Inc. faces another battle with the lodging of another civil suit. The lawsuit, representing 2 CenturyLink customers, seeks to represent other customers who have been mistreated and defrauded by allegedly unethical sales practices of the telecomm company.
These lawsuits are always never welcome at any time, but their timing couldn’t have been worse. The telecomm company is reportedly in the midst of negotiations with Level 3 Communications, Inc which could result in a $24 billion merger.
The Previous Civil Suit
The new civil suit stemmed from a previous wrongful termination case filed by a former employee of CenturyLink. The case filed on behalf of ex-employee Heidi Heiser alleged that the telecomm company had run a sales incentive program and that she was fired for exposing the fraudulent practice.
According to this wrongful termination suit, the sales culture at the telecomm company resulted in a high pressure sales environment that caused some sales employees to practice unethical sales methods. The suit alleges that customers of the company paid a total of millions of dollars in fees for services that they didn’t request.
The Current Civil Suit Against Telecomm
The new class action suit lists Craig McLeod and Steven McCauley as plaintiffs, and both are customers of the telecomm company. The suit cites the allegations of Heidi Heiser as proof that the customers the suit represents were indeed defrauded by the sales practices implemented by CenturyLink. The civil suit claims that CenturyLink was guilty of fraudulent practices, unfair competition, and also unjust enrichment
With the 6 million subscriber base, the suit estimates the total damage to range from $600 million to 12 billion. This means that the average customer overpaid anywhere from $100 to $2,000.
Aside from Heiser’s allegations in her own case, the class action suit cite several online customer reviews as well as similar accusations that have appeared on various social media websites.
Plaintiff McLeod has a similar story as well. According to his account, he accepted an offer from a CenturyLink sales agent that provided him a faster Internet connection for just an extra $2 a month. The agreement called for a 2-year contract.
However, McLeod reports that he was actually made to pay much higher fees than was originally quoted by the sales agent. In addition, he was even charged for a repair service which never took place.
Heiser, the employee who alleges that she was fired because she exposed the program, recognized the fraudulent aspects of the company’s sales practices when she learned about the notorious scandal involving Wells Fargo. In that case, the unreasonably high sales expectations from upper management tempted various bank employees to open credit card and bank accounts for customers, even without the customers’ consent.
The similarity of the situation in CenturyLink compelled Heiser to speak out. And as the suit alleges, she was fired for doing so.
The class action suit brought on by the customers remains a viable tool to recover monetary loss as well as to compel corporations to behave ethically. If you have been defrauded by a consumer service company, you may want to consult with one of our lawyers so that you can find out if there are already other class action suits filed against the company that defrauded you.
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