Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Businesses Communications Network The Almighty Buck

Former CenturyLink Employee Accuses Company of Running a Wells Fargo-Like Scheme ( 61

A former CenturyLink employee has filed a lawsuit this week claiming she was fired for "blowing the whistle on the telecommunications company's high-pressure sales culture that left customers paying millions of dollars for accounts they didn't request," reports Bloomberg. From the report: The plaintiff, Heidi Heiser, worked from her home for CenturyLink as a customer service and sales agent from August 2015 to October 2016. The suit claims she was fired days after notifying Chief Executive Officer Glen Post of the alleged scheme during a companywide question-and-answer session held on an internal message board. The complaint alleges CenturyLink "allowed persons who had a personal incentive to add services or lines to customer accounts to falsely indicate on the CenturyLink system the approval by a customer of new lines or services." This would sometimes result in charges that hadn't been authorized by customers, according to the complaint. Heiser's complaint alleges that she became increasingly concerned about what she observed at CenturyLink after news of Wells Fargo & Co.'s regulatory troubles broke in September. In that case, Wells Fargo employees opened deposit and credit card accounts without customers' consent to earn incentives and meet sales goals. Without admitting wrongdoing, Wells Fargo ended up firing more than 5,000 employees and agreeing to pay $185 million in fines, in addition to compensating customers for fees related to the unauthorized accounts. The complaint likens what Heiser said CenturyLink sales agents did to the Wells Fargo scandal and estimated the alleged unauthorized fees amounted to "many millions" of dollars. She says her concerns were bolstered by posts she had read on review websites.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Former CenturyLink Employee Accuses Company of Running a Wells Fargo-Like Scheme

Comments Filter:
  • There is more (Score:5, Interesting)

    by darkain ( 749283 ) on Friday June 16, 2017 @11:37PM (#54637677) Homepage

    Besides signing up entire new accounts, they add services to existing accounts without asking. They also will up-sell you on "free" services that require service fees up the ass. I've been fighting with them for months to remove all this bullshit off of a family member's bill. On top of that, they are charging sales tax on arbitrary amounts on the bill, and their percentages between state and local (both of which SHOULD be based on the same initial figure) don't calculate out properly at all. I've tried going into the store, calling tech support, calling billing support, and when I ask, they all just hang up on me (or when I went into the physical store, the guy just called their billing department, which I already did, and then handed me the phone and refused to speak with me about the billing questions)

    • Doesn't anybody call the Better Business Bureau anymore? Rumor had it that they were pretty effective at shutting this shit down. Or have they been gutted too?

      • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @02:24AM (#54638021)

        The BBB is a scam like Yelp. You pay them to improve your rating.

        Now don't get me wrong, you should still post your complaint with the BBB, Yelp, the Federal Trade Commission, on Twitter, on Facebook, etc.

      • File a report with the FCC, I had a billing issue with AT&T we could not get resolved. One FCC report later the Presidents office called me back and promised it would be fixed, next month it was still happening and before I even got the bill they called me back again to say that they would zero that bill and the next month is was fixed.
    • file a lawsuit.
      far more effective than complaining.

  • by that this is not und ( 1026860 ) * on Friday June 16, 2017 @11:46PM (#54637697)

    We recently tried to pare back our CenturyLink service from their antiquated dsl and a landline to just the barest of landlines. The order confirmation twice has consisted of a bunch of extra stuff like a long distance plan, etc. It has almost been like their order taking staff made up after the fact what they wanted us to have rather than what we ordered.

    It's become apparent ( and is in part the reason we've finally shut off their dsl and lept into the maw of Xfinity!) that really corrupt shit has been happening at CL. Customer service so bad it has seemed like they just didn't want to sell services over copper anymore.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Took me three months for them to cancel my landline. Cancelled it, unplugged the phone and never used it again. Still got billed three times. First they tried to say "well, you were still using it", I argued no, look at your records and tell me what usage I had. Said the had to do an audit. Two months later I asked to speak to Supervisor and threatened to take issue to media, attorney general and that wouldn't be good publicity at a time they are trying to move into larger markets. That finally did the tric

  • Let's look at Wells Fargo, with all its money laundering and phony accounts, and they are doing better than ever, just like all the other crooked banks. Extortion works, eh? However CenturyLink, whoever thy are, is a two bit player. They can't bring down the economy like Wells Fargo can. So if the story is true, somebody might actually go to jail for it, but I doubt it. This kind of fraud is pretty standard stuff.

    • CenturyLink = Pacific Northwest Bell + West Bell --> Mountain Bell --> US West Communications --> Qwest --> CenturyLink
    • Actually, Wells Fargo just got done firing a bunch of people. Also, the local Wells Fargos were renting their change counting machine. (Huh?!!?) They didn't renew the contract. So now when you bring in change someone will sit down and help you fill up some trays. I almost feel like applying for that job. I wonder if it comes with benefits.
      • for what it's worth, BMO Harris does also. They are also removing them as they have signs in all the branches.
      • by jon3k ( 691256 )

        Wells Fargos were renting their change counting machine. (Huh?!!?)

        This isn't really surprising. It allows you to convert the purchase of a capital asset into an operational expense. Presumably this lease also included service and possibly installation and removal at the end of a lease. We do the same thing with our large multi-function printers.

        • They also get machines maintained as part of the lease. Fixed cost, predictable.

          Until they decide to replace them with a simpler device - tray. And you fill the tray.

          They don't really want your bulk change anyways...

          • by jon3k ( 691256 )

            They also get machines maintained as part of the lease.

            Agreed, that's what I meant by "service" in my original post. This isn't an unusual arrangement at all.

    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @06:28AM (#54638405)

      I have accounts at Wells Fargo, mostly because I'm too lazy to move them to a credit union. I keep high balances so it's free, and the branch is convenient.

      I recently sold a boat and had to pay the loan off at another bank as quickly as possible to get the lien release for the buyer. I went into the bank that held the note, and they said they could process the lien release same day if I wired the money to pay off the loan. They gave me their wire transfer info, and I went into Wells to wire the money.

      Wells wanted $30 for the transfer of $19,800. I complained, long time customer, etc, and they wouldn't waive it. So I said "OK, why don't you just give me $19,800 in cash. You could, of course, just do the wire transfer for nothing because it would save your employees the labor of counting the cash and the Treasury reporting for cash withdrawals in excess of $10,000."

      They still refused, so I took the cash. They tried to give it to me with just a money counter total, but I made the teller count it manually in front of me, too.

      • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @12:01PM (#54639071) Journal

        For anyone who moves from the UK and probably many other European countries), banking in the USA seems like it is a time warp, It feels like you have stepped 20 years back in time.

        From my home, I can log into my bank's website. From there, I can initiate transfers, either domestically at no charge, or internationally. It uses 2-factor authentication: the bank gave me a little card reader and I use this to validate that I have one of my bank cards.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    NextDoor is *full* of stories of people who signed up for service with "special package" offered door-to-door, only to receive bills that have a pile of extra crap on them, equating to 3-4X the agreed-upon monthly price. People are spending hours and hours on the phone transfered all over the place, told that it's "fixed", then get the same bill (or higher) the next month. This goes on for month after month for a lot of people.

    Now, I just signed up for gig fiber and nothing else through their website (yes

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Don't waste your time with the BBB, they haven't been relevant for decades, I'm have no idea why after all this time anyone thinks they can do anything. A "member" company (who pays them protection money, er I mean membership fees) gets a better rating. And anyone who isn't a member, they are completely toothless to do anything.

      The PUC (assuming it isn't run by lazy fucks who don't care) is the only place with the power to do anything, they are the part of your state government that is supposed to keep the

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @12:10AM (#54637749) Journal

    This sounds like a perfect time for more deregulation. And maybe another round of bailouts.

    • Sure.... more deregulation is great, IF that includes removal of all the government granted exceptions to free market participation these telcos still receive!

      As I've always said before: Comcast would be out of business, they way they've done business, if they were competing in a real free market. Apparently, same can be said for CenturyTel.

  • monopoly. On my street in Seattle, CenturyLink only provides "up to 1.5 Mbps" DSL: []

    Even that isn't reliable so I had to drop back down to dial-up again. It sucks that CenturyLink has taken so much money in taxes to provide universal service, but they are not offering it.

  • CenturyLink charged me for services they never rendered, then didn't cancel them when I called it, and I had to fight them for months to get the service shutdown, then they would only refund the last three months. They also added a phone line after I explicitly told them not to.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    had to go AC to not waste the mod points I already spent, but I'm so sick of dealing with CenturyLink that I'd just rather accept paying a few more dollars on my bill rather than fighting their customer DIS-service reps over it.

    They've just made themselves so hard to deal with and I have no other choice besides Comcast whose customer DIS-service is just as bad.

    I noticed the other day my internet connection was slow. I'm paying for 45 Mbps down, but I'm getting between 10-15 instead. It used to be that fas

    • CL went down in my area on Super Bowl Sunday, from the night before to the night after.

      Still no credit. Still not even acknowledgement.

  • I have the dubious pleasure of "enjoying" the services of Wells and Century Link. A few years ago, I could not walk into that bank without an employee, under the guise of better customer "service" trying to hawk credit cards, various of combined account services, and other crap. Even the tellers. For internet the choices here are the race to the bottom competition between Comcast and Century Link. Don't want to pay for cable, so we have CL. And for $45/month we get 3/0.7 Mbs down/up. Called yesterday
  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @10:16AM (#54638829) Journal

    I'll have to say, CenturyLink did an AWFUL job as the "middle man" selling our company a fiber broadband connection in to one of their offices in the midwest.
    We signed a contract with them because they guaranteed us a rate far below the next lowest bid we received, so we were willing to put up with a certain amount of inferior customer service.... I mean, once fiber is installed, it usually "just works" -- and the random, occasional outage is something that happens no matter which company you pay. (Can't stop the idiot with a backhoe who digs without checking what's in the ground first, etc.)

    But the insanity started, just getting the initial connection up and running. CenturyTel kept scheduling installation appointment times where a technician would show up, but then was stuck because he had to call in to get things done on the back end. They'd put him on endless hold, followed by one excuse for another -- causing him to have to leave and reschedule another time! This went on for at least 3 appointments in a row. One time, the call center actually told the guy "Everyone was in a company meeting so nobody could assist him with the install." Who runs a call center like that?!

Man will never fly. Space travel is merely a dream. All aspirin is alike.