Susan
  • Report: #901871

Complaint Review: CenturyLink

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  • Submitted: Sat, June 23, 2012
  • Updated: Sun, July 01, 2012

  • Reported By: Lawrence — Tucson Arizona United States of America
CenturyLink
100 CenturyLink Drive Monroe, Louisiana United States of America

CenturyLink Fraudulent Billing Practices -- Abhorrent Customer Support Monroe, Louisiana

*Consumer Comment: Good adjectives!

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Judging by the similar complaints to my own existing on just this website regarding CenturyLink, one can easily discern that something is very wrong with the management of this company which is a very important utilty for our modern society.

In 2009 I was warned by a friend who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada about the poor service and corrupt billing practices of CenturyLink. She told me that I was LUCKY to still have QWest. Then in 2011 CenturyLink acquired QWest and good service and honest billing practices became a thing of the past. It is a shame that the regulatory body in Arizona, the Arizona Corporation Commission, is nothing but a "rubber stamp" for this kind of customer hostile activity by CenturyLink.

Regardless of the activity, we as a people get more of what we subsidize. I cancelled my 24 year association with the local telephone company now being mismanaged by CenturyLink because I WILL NOT subsidize miserable rudimentary customer service and fraudulent billing practices. Note also that I cancelled my service on 25 April 2012 and it took effect on this date. In a bill dated 19 May 2012 I received a bill for $1.07 for services on 26 April 2012, THE DAY AFTER MY CANCELLATION, for services NOT rendered. This is fraudulent billing through and through.

See below for a run down of how a business lost a long time loyal customer in less than four weeks. If one were to compare the way CenturyLink is currently being managed with other well known formerly household business names that were reduced to oblivion by their own mismangement by their Board of Directors and other executive officers, one can easily see that CenturyLink is being intentionally run into the ground. (Perhaps to be sold at a bargain basement price to some other entity.)

============
Letter #1
============
>>> TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE <<<

11 April 2012

Mr. Glen F. Post III, CEO, President and Director
CenturyLink, Inc.
100 CenturyLink Drive
Monroe, Louisiana 71203-2041
Phone: 318-388-9000

VIA FAX TRANSMISSION TO (318) 388-9488
NUMBER OF PAGES INCLUDING THIS ONE:3

Ref: Telephone: (###) ###-####
Service Address: ####
Mailing Address: ####

Dear Mr. Post:
It seems that you will be losing me as a customer when my monthly bill cycles on 18 April 2012. It seems that those you employ are not capable of doing a competent job in what they do and as a result it seems that it is time for me to move on. After being a customer of Mountain Bell which became U.S. West and then QWest it seems that this merger to CenturyLink was purposefully designed to lose the customer base which it inherited.

It all started when I received my March, 2012 bill which covers the period 19 March 2012 to 18 April 2012. In it was the invitation for an account review. So I called the telephone number provided. At first, I was told that I was not eligible for any cost concessions as I have been a customer for 24 years and the need to do such a thing was not possible. I was rather annoyed as you offer to new customers internet access at $25 less than what I am paying. This is an extremely negative strike in terms of good customer relations when you advertise better rates for new customer than you do for those who have been long time customers. When I complained then I was transferred to a "loyalty" customer service representative and we worked things out with the new services and modified pricing to begin on 18 April 2012.

Even though this left a "bad taste in my mouth" from the experience I considered the concern resolved. But then I received an eMail "verification" of the changes to my account and they were inaccurate. Note that CenturyLink knew my eMail address that QWest provided to me and that you now provide. So it is clear that you know how to contact me when you want to. This is important to remember later on in this letter.

So I called the customer service telephone number and it was verified that the "confirmation" eMail was inaccurate and that the services I wanted and did not want were what I had established earlier. Now, if CenturyLink is going to send out a "confirmation" anything then it should be accurate. So the fact that I had to re-verify what I had set up was rather annoying and caused an unnecessary phone call.

Mr. Post, I do not like to contact customer service of any company for anything. It is not like it was 30 years ago when one spoke with someone with a functioning brain and who was trained. Furthermore, being on hold while an inadequately staffed customer service department is overburdened is not among the things I like to engage. And finally, usually when one is on eternal hold one has to listen to idiot advertisements for services one does not need nor want thus priming me to be extremely agitated when the brainless customer service representative finally answers. So if I break down and call a business it must be extremely important for me to be willing to put up with a limited amount of orchestrated nonsense.

Now, if something is not handled competently and quickly I get very impatient and I quickly re-evaluate whether or not I should continue to conduct business with this customer hostile entity. I do give the executive offices of a company a chance, however, to do what the customer service departments are supposed to do but are ill equipped to handle. I am not like most people who are lemmings and will tolerate the orchestrated nonsense companies create for customer contacts. I have learned from experience that there is no service that I need to the point of putting up with preventable and unnecessary aggravation. I have also learned from experience that businesses need customers however customers do not need businesses.

It may sound like I am overly demanding. All I want is for things to work, communications to be accurate and for pricing to be competitive. If things work you do not hear from me. If communications, such as the eMails I mentioned above, are accurate then you do not hear from me. If pricing is competitive then you do not hear from me. I believe that what I have just stated is extremely reasonable.

So now, returning to my re-verification of service modification phone call as mentioned above. I considered the concerns taken care of. And if that was it I would have been satisfied and I would not be corresponding with you now. Yet I receive two eMail asking me to participate in a survey operated by a third party -- Satmetrix. Mr. Post you had no authorization to give my personal information to ANY third party. As one who has been a victim of identity theft three times I find it most annoying that businesses co-opt customer information. Customer information is a liability to a company not an asset and enough of us customers are annoyed enough we will one day make this clear to businesses to the point where some will be legally forced into bankruptcy. As a matter of good ethics it should be a matter of opting in for these intrusions instead of opting out.

Consider this, if you and I met would you allow me to rummage through your wallet or your wife's purse. If you have any good sense the answer would be an absolute no! So imagine a complete stranger unknown to you or most anyone else rummaging through your wallet or your wife's purse. This is how we customers assess this passing of our personal information to some unknown third party until it is disclosed to us -- after the fact!

So I contacted the writer of the messages, Kathy Victory, Senior Vice President of Customer Care, and she cannot and will not be bothered with the concern so she passes the "buck" to a Donna Powell. This Donna Powell wants to know my contact information. Is she for real? You have my eMail address that you provided to me, and was in the "Reply To" section of the eMails I sent. Much of this information I pointed out above, and your employees do not know how to contact me? Not even with the 1876 invention called the telephone? (Remember, my telephone number is linked to the eMail address you provided to me.) This is incompetence on an extremely high level. I do not have any kind of tolerance for this kind of nonsense.

I then contact Kathy Victory again. She again passes the buck and this time to a Luangela Kendrick who again asks for my contact information. SHE HAS IT!!! Or at least she should be able to look in the CenturyLink databases and get it via the linakage. Again, when CenturyLink wants to contact me it knows how to do it.

A customer service representative who bureaucratically and non-genuinely claims that help is desired to be given but is "unable to do so" when in reality the tools should be readily available to give this help, is nothing but annoying to a customer. This is what is known as negatively priming a customer. Not all of us customers are stupid idiots. And for many of us customers this is how we become former customers.

This is nothing but idiocy and neither one of us would be dealing with it were it not for it being promulgated through idiotic marketing and idiotic customer service or "care" practices.

So it seems that CenturyLink wants to play nonsense games with customers. I want nothing to do with this nonsense. So unless you are willing to intervene and provide BASIC good customer service of the reasonable nature I specified above, it seems that it is time for me to find another entity to provide my telecommunications and internet needs -- one who will not engage in such nonsense. (And if there are none then I will do without.) So 18 April 2012 will either be the date when our business relation is terminated or the services I requested two weeks ago will be activated. If it is the former these nonsense customer relations nonsense games will continue to be played and it will be clear that it will be at your full endorsement; if it is the latter then you will see to it that these nonsense customer relations nonsense games are put to a stop.

Respectfully,
Lawrence Kabakoff
===============
Letter #2
===============
02 May 2012


Mr. Glen F. Post III, CEO, President and Director
CenturyLink, Inc.
100 CenturyLink Drive
Monroe, Louisiana 71203-2041

Ref: Cancelled Telephone: (###) ########
Service Address: #####
Mailing Address: ####
Final Payment Check for $17.88 attached to page 3

Dear Mr. Post:
It seems that you are quite content to lose your customer base and set your company up for legal action based on fraudulent billing practices. As I indicated in my fax letter of 11 April 2012 (a copy is included with this one) I made it crystal clear that I would not put up with customer service nonsense. To prevent detailed repetition from this letter see the attached copy of the fax letter. Apparently, it fell on deaf ears or was ignored by your employees altogether.

In short, when I was given my customer review on 29 March 2012 at about 13:48 Tucson Time, Adam assured me that my monthly bill beginning with the 19 April - 18 May 2012 cycle would be $76.60 for this and the remaining eleven months in the coming year which would then increase to $96.60 -- barring additional government fees and taxes --with the 19 April 2013 cycle. I then get an eMail on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 indicating that the bill is $95.92. So I called and spoke with a David at 08:40 Tucson Time.

This David was of the opinion that since the bill indicates "Long Distance Service Period: Mar 12 - Apr 11" that I had to pay an additional $17 plus tax, the old rate for this service for domestic calls, to "catch up." I was furious. On top of everything else with CenturyLink's mismanagement of my account the past four weeks this was the last straw! I was clearly being swindled and scammed! When I started the domestic long distance unlimited service under QWest in September, 2008 -- at the time it was $15 -- I was billed in advance for this service. The five week lag was to indicate, as I was told at the time by a QWest representative, the availability of the detail of the calls I made not for payment. QWest nor Century Link ever gave me an itemized list of the domestic long distance calls I made with the bill, I was just informed that they were available. In addition, this five week lag would also include any international calls I made during this time period for which I would reasonably have to pay additional. See the attached copy of page three of my current bill I received today; I have circled in red the items being discussed.(See below a listing from the bill.)

Mr. Post I will not pay twice for domestic long distance service I was supposed to get when I paid for it once. Since I had full CenturyLink service for seven days 19 April - 25 April 2012, with 25 April being a partial day, I will pay only for these seven days based upon the promised bill amount by Adam on 29 March 2012 of $76.60. This means that one day's cost is $76.60 divided by thirty days, the length of the current billing cycle from 19 April - 18 May 2012, equalling $2.5533. Seven days would be seven times this figure: 7 x $2.5533 equalling $17.88, rounding up to the nearest penny. Attached is my final payment check of $17.88. Any attempt to collect more or damage my reputation in any manner will result in serious litigation and serious public exposure of your company's swindling activities. I trust I demonstrated my resolve when I warned in my 11 April 2012 fax letter of my imminent cancellation of my account if things were not fixed.

I doubt that I am unique in this billing swindle. A mistake, an additional demonstration of incompetence, is fixed quickly and with no argument; both things failed to occur with my discussion with David on 25 April 2012 as he was not going to fix the problem and he was adamantly defending the indefensible. Apparently, it is clear that this double billing is an orchestrated swindle against customers. My neighbor will be looking over her next bill carefully and if she is being swindled as well expect to lose her as a customer, and immediately at that among other legitimate concerns.

Mr. Post, I do not deal with swindler outfits, as CenturyLink has demonstrated itself to be to me. I never had this kind of problem with Mountain Bell. I never had this kind of problem with U.S. West which acquired Mountain Bell. I never had this kind of problem with QWest which acquired U.S. West. Yet I do have this kind of problem with CenturyLink which acquired QWest. Why is this? Is swindler activity against customers the new element introduced into the erstwhile QWest region by CenturyLink? If so, expect to have serious problems from the authorities not to mention your disgusted future-former customer base.

Now, if CenturyLink desires to conduct business in a customer friendly atmosphere, eliminate the incompetence, not attempt to double bill, not pass on customer information illegally to third parties, such as Satmetrix, and cease the bad business practices then please contact me and explain the measures taken to fix the serious problems you have with your company for which you are extremely well compensated to properly manage.

It takes fewer resources, less effort and results in less grief for all parties involved to do the job correctly and honestly than it does in the readily apparent way your business is currently being conducted. If things were done as I have just stated in the previous sentence then the only contact I would have made with CenturyLink over the past five weeks would have been with Adam on 29 March 2012 and none of the negative elements that transpired since would have occurred and I would have still been a satisfied loyal customer today irrespective of the initially bad start to that contact. (Refer to the attached copy of my fax letter of 11 April 2012 to you to remind yourself as to why I despise contacting the customer service departments of companies and what happened initially on this call.) I don't see where anything that occurred since 29 March 2012 inured to the benefit of CenturyLink; in fact, anyone with good judgment would recognize that it was just the opposite.

Remember, loyalty goes both ways. Swindling a customer by double billing him is not a proper demonstration of loyalty!

Respectfully,
Lawrence Kabakoff

Attached: Final Payment Check for $17.88
Page 3 of current bill
Copy of fax letter to you of 11 April 2012

** From the dated 19 April 2012 -- Page 3 of 6

Internet and Voice Monthly Charges
Internet and Home Phone

$80.00
(The three lines after this parenthetical explanation are in tiny type)
(apparently to mask the fraudulent billing. Notice also that these )
(itemized charges are written in words, also to mask the fraudulent )
(double billing.)
Includes internet service for thirty-five dollars
Includes local phone service and features for thirty-five dollars
Includes long distance unlimited service for ten dollars

Long Distance Service - Unlimited

$17.00

(So notice that I am being charged the first time $10 for the unlmited long distance as part of the $80 charge and charged a SECOND time for $17 for the service again!)

(As indicated above, this fraudulent billing practice is not unique. Everyone who has the unlimited long distance is being DOUBLE BILLED for an additional five weeks of mislabeled and not delivered service. If one considered that maybe 20 million customers have this "service" and multiplies this figure with $17 one gets $340 million in fraudulent overcharging. And I am being extremely conservative with this set of estimates as I would warrant that the number of affected customers is much, much higher and the fraudulent overcharging is concomitantly much, much higher, as well.)

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/23/2012 04:45 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/CenturyLink/Monroe-Louisiana-71203-2041/CenturyLink-Fraudulent-Billing-Practices-Abhorrent-Customer-Support-Monroe-Louisiana-901871. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Good adjectives!

AUTHOR: The Truth Hurts - (United States of America)

I have never found that great adjectives help in getting great customer service. 

Their behavior may be odious, but sending letters to Glen Post when you are mailing in your final $17, or discussing a charge of $1.07, when I am certain that you don't understand their billing system that well, (and admittedly I don't think they do)  just may be a waste of time. 

I could be wrong, but I think you may be a consumer who would be very hard to satisfy.    I do know having worked for phone companies for years that they can be a bit hard to work with most certainly.

Best of luck either way
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