Help, my CenturyLink bill is $#!*#d up — can you fix this thing?

Question: I’m trying to get a billing problem fixed with CenturyLink, but am having no luck. I recently signed up for a CenturyLink-DirecTV bundle without phone service through the CenturyLink website. I agreed to pay a rate of $24.95 a month.

When I got my first bill, I saw several fees and charges I didn’t recognize, including an “Internet” charge of $34.95 and a related one-time fee of $5.95.

I called CenturyLink and was advised that the $24.95 rate was only valid for a bundle package of home phone and Internet. I showed a representative the order form on the CenturyLink website, but even after I did, the company refused to adjust my bill.

I still have the order form that I agreed to when I signed up for the bundle, and have sent it to CenturyLink, in an effort to fix this. But I’m getting the runaround. Can you help? — Dona Ricci, Denver

Answer: If you had an agreement with CenturyLink on paper, then this should have been fixed quickly.

But it wasn’t. A CenturyLink representative insisted that the $24.95 rate was a mistake and then, when you proved it wasn’t, the company simply went into radio silence.

If a company digs in its heels, you have a few options. First, you can cancel your service and buy cable TV from someone else. That may or may not have been an option for you, depending on your neighborhood, and frankly, it’s the easy way out and lets CenturyLink off the hook.

The second choice is to take this to the regulators. Every state regulates utilities to some degree, and companies like CenturyLink also have to answer to federal authorities. Appealing to Colorado regulators or to the Federal Communications Commission may have yielded some results, but they aren’t guaranteed.

Finally, you could have gone the legal route, sending a lawyer letter to CenturyLink or taking the matter to small claims court. But the amount of money you would recover is probably not worth your time.

In reviewing your correspondence, I noticed that you went directly from phone calls to a written appeal to the executive office. I think you may have skipped a step along the way.

Most companies of CenturyLink’s size have a “contact us” form, which assigns a tracking number to every case. I always recommend trying that before an executive appeal. And remember, phone calls are the least efficient way to fix a billing error, because talk is cheap. There’s no way to prove anything, since you’re not recording the call.

I contacted CenturyLink on your behalf, and it adjusted your bill.

Should CenturyLink have honored the rate on its website?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Google Plus

  • Adam_The_Man

    You are evil for voting “NO”.

  • Adam_The_Man

    You are evil too for voting “NO”.

  • EdB

    Reread the story. She got the bundle with internet. It didn’t have the phone. So she had 2 out of 3 of the items, which is still a bundle.

  • emanon256

    When I got my first bill, I saw several fees and charges I didn’t recognize, including an “Internet” charge of $34.95 and a related one-time fee of $5.95.

    I interpret that as her not expecting to also have Internet service. If she wanted the Internet service, is this whole case really about a $5.95 fee?

  • EdB

    ” I recently signed up for a CenturyLink-DirecTV bundle without phone service through the CenturyLink website.”

    She said she didn’t have phone in the bundle. DirecTV would be for the TV and that would leave CenturyLink as internet. The OP didn’t really explain what the “Internet” charge was about. It sounds to me they wanted to charge her $34.95/mo for what she was told she would get at $24.95.

  • emanon256

    That why I asked to see the form. The bundle rate on the adds I get states that direct TV is $24.95 a month when bundled with high speed internet for an additional $34.95 a month. They do have the internet listed in fine print which annoys me. But when you go on-line you can’t order the direct TV without internet and it states the price boldly.

    It still sounds to me like she thought she was getting Direct TV only, or maybe she thought Direct Tv and Internet combined were $24.95 a moth total? But it sounds like she is rebutting getting internet. I wish Chris would clarify what she thought she was buying and what she actually got.

  • EdB

    I would go with the second one where she thought DirecTV *AND* internet was $24.95/mo but that fine print got her. $25/mo for both DirecTV and Internet would be a hell of a deal. I pay twice that just for Internet, but then I pay for faster service than the basic internet package.

  • JenniferFinger

    If they’re going to hold themselves out as one rate, their representatives need to honor it instead of saying, “Oh, sorry, that applies to something else.” That’s deceptive.

  • Ashley

    I signed up as a new customer in June 2013 with the bundle package that’s advertised for $89.95 per month for all three services & ended up with a monthly payment of $126 which I agreed on. Got my first month’s bill…$267! Included shipping charges of $40 which I was not once told about & a few more things. Call them, rep. explained that the first month would be that amount then starting with the second month my bill should be the $126. Rec’d my second month’s bill today…$205! Never have rec’d gift cards in the amounts of $150 & $100…have spent numerous hours on the phone with them just since June & as of today…they still can’t get my bill right! I have NEVER, NEVER in my life been given the run around so much & lied too as I have with DT & CL! I’m dropping them tomorrow! Stay away from them…they’ll cause you to have a heart attack!

  • Landshark

    Working as a DTV Sup I have seen too many instances of CLK incompetence, their reps are the worst I have *ever* had the displeasure of having to interact with.

  • EdB

    DTV? DirecTV? If so, this is really funny given my experience that DirecTV has some of the worst reps I have ever dealt with and why I am no longer with them.

  • Lex

    Direct TV did the SAME exact thing to me… the page said it was a 1 yr commitment but when I got the bill they claimed 2 even though I printed out the webpage saying otherwise.

  • Lex

    Also I’m dealing with Century Link now… when I signed up I told them I wouild be moving out of state (to a state they don’t service) the guy said no problem you can just cancel. Now they sent me a $200 early termination bill even though legally they can’t charge me if I move outside their service area…I’ve already told them that I MOVED yet I kept on getting bills and threats of sending me to collections….i’m connacting my attorney general and FCC and *HOPE* they can kick their ass.