Cable and internet provider CenturyLink has settled a lawsuit with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, after it was accused of overcharging customers for services and lying about its prices.
The lawsuit was filed in Anoka County District Court by former Attorney General Lori Swanson in 2017. It alleged CenturyLink repeatedly offered one price to customers but billed them for another, among other deceptive billing practices.
The lawsuit came about as a result of complaints filed with the Attorney General’s office, totaling almost 5,000 at the time of the settlement.
Examples laid out in the lawsuit include a Blaine man who alleges he was told he’d be charged $39.97 per month but in reality was billed $71.97 per month.
The final settlement, announced Wednesday, includes $844,655 to go to 12,094 Minnesota customers. The Attorney General’s office will also receive $8,055,345, which it will distribute to customers.
“There’s no amount of money that can fully reimburse every Minnesotan that CenturyLink defrauded for all the money they were overcharged and all the time they lost in trying to get CenturyLink to do the right thing in the first place," Ellison said on Wednesday.
"Even so, this settlement will put money back into the pockets of thousands of Minnesotans. Just as importantly, it requires CenturyLink to fundamentally reform its billing practices going forward, which should save all consumers money and heartache going forward."
The settlement also requires CenturyLink to reform its billing practices to prevent further issues. These requirements include disclosing actual prices in advertising and billing, providing order confirmations and eliminating sham fees.
According to a press release, the information brought to light in Minnesota’s lawsuit has been used by AG offices in Colorado, Oregon and Washington to settle similar suits.