Our credit rating is too important to take any chances on it. All it takes is one bad report to lower your rating, which can then inhibit your ability to obtain a loan and make any large purchases you might need, such as a home or automobile. Unfortunately, such a situation can open opportunities for companies to practically hold consumers’ credit ratings hostage until they pay their bill – even an undated bill to which the customer was never alerted.
That’s what Mandi H. alleges happened after she canceled her account with CenturyLink at the end of 2015 as a result of poor service. At the time, her account showed Century Link owed her $26 and she did not receive any other bills or communication from CenturyLink.
It wasn’t until a few months later that Mandi H.’s credit-reporting services alerted her to the fact that there was a negative report on her credit history from a company called “CenturyTel.” Hanifen did not recognize the name, but she investigated and found it was an older name for CenturyLink. When she confronted CenturyLink, Hanifen alleges they showed her a bill for $127 – the bill contained no date and Mandi H. alleges she had never seen the bill before that time. Nevertheless, CenturyLink allegedly refused remove their negative credit report on her history and continues to demand she pay a bill she insists she never received.
Rather than pay the bill, Mandi H. has opted to sue CenturyLink. She is the lead representative for a proposed class action consumer lawsuit that was recently filed against CenturyLink in Boise, Idaho. The complaint alleges there could be as many as 5 million potential class members, with damages totaling between $600 million and $12 billion.
This is far from the only legal dispute currently facing CenturyLink. Similar consumer class action lawsuits have been filed in California, Washington, Colorado, and Oregon. They are also facing a whistleblower lawsuit from Heidi H., a former employee who was allegedly fired after she brought to her supervisors’ attention her concern that some of the billing and sales techniques she had observed at the company did not look to be legal.
Firing an employee for bringing forth concerns about illegal activity is prohibited under the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989. Although it’s not proof of anything, the existence of multiple lawsuits against the same company, all alleging illegal billing practices, is enough to raise suspicion in the minds of other potential consumers, not to mention jury members.
Additionally, these lawsuits come at a particularly bad time for CenturyLink, which is currently in the midst of a merger with Level 3 Communications, Inc. – a merger that has been valued at $34 billion. Even the high end of the estimated damages in the consumer lawsuit doesn’t reach that high, but if successful, the class action lawsuits against CenturyLink could potentially put a significant dent in the company’s valuation. Level 3 Communications might also be affected as a result of getting into bed with another company that has allegedly been defrauding its customers for years.
Our Oak Brook, Illinois consumer rights private law firm handles individual and class action gift card, data breach, privacy rights, deceptive advertising, predatory lending, unfair debt collection, lemon law and other consumer fraud cases that government agencies and public interest law firms such as the Illinois Attorney General may not pursue. Class action lawsuits our law firm has been involved in or spear-headed have led to substantial awards totalling over a million dollars to organizations including the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Consumer Law Center, and local law school consumer programs. The Chicago consumer lawyers at Lubin Austermuehle are proud of our achievements in assisting national and local consumer rights organizations obtain the funds needed to ensure that consumers are protected and informed of their rights. By standing up to consumer fraud and consumer rip-offs, and in the right case filing consumer protection lawsuits and class-actions you too can help ensure that other consumers’ rights are protected from consumer rip-offs and unscrupulous or dishonest practices.
Our Wheaton and Schaumburg consumer attorneys provide assistance in data breach, privacy violation, fair debt collection, consumer fraud and consumer rights cases including in Illinois and throughout the country. You can click here to see a description of the some of the many individual and class-action consumer cases our Chicago consumer lawyers have handled. A video of our lawsuit which helped ensure more fan friendly security at Wrigley Field can be found here. You can contact one of our Naperville and Park Ridge consumer protection, gift card and data breach attorneys who can assist in consumer fraud, consumer rip-off, lemon law, unfair debt collection, predatory lending, wage claims, unpaid overtime and other consumer, or consumer class action cases by filling out the contact form at the side of this blog or by clicking here. You can also call our toll free number at 630-333-0333.