Most of us have looked at a cable or phone bill and questioned a random charge we felt shouldn’t have been there. Usually this is an error, but a former CenturyLink employee claims that some workers at the telecom company were deliberately adding these charges to pad their sales figures. What’s worse, she says she was fired after bringing this possible scheme to the CEO’s attention.
Bloomberg reports that the former employee filed a lawsuit in Arizona this week, claiming that CenturyLink created a high-pressure sales environment that led employees to add lines and services to customers’ accounts without permission — a scheme reminiscent of the Wells Fargo fake account fiasco.
According to the lawsuit, the woman — who worked as a customer service rep for CenturyLink from Aug. 2015 to Oct. 2016 — claims she was fired after notifying the company’s CEO of the scheme on an internal question-and-answer forum.
The complaint alleges that CenturyLink sales staffers were incentivized to convince customers to add services or phone lines to their accounts. However, according to the lawsuit, some employees placed these additional charges on customer accounts without permission.
To cover their tracks, claims the former staffer, these employees falsely indicated in the CenturyLink system that the customer had approved these updates.
Thus, notes the plaintiff, when customers called to complain about these additional charges, she says they would be told that they had okayed the changes to their accounts.
The lawsuit alleges that CenturyLink made “many millions” of dollars from unauthorized add-ons.
The former worker says she became concerned around the time Wells Fargo’s account fiasco came to light. At that time, she notified superiors of the scheme, Bloomberg reports.
In response, the suit claims, she received an email that told her to “stay positive” and not bring up the issue again.
However, the woman claims that she once again brought up the issue during a companywide question-and-answer session with CEO Glen Post on an internal message board last fall.
Two days later, the employee says she was fired.
The lawsuit says that CenturyLink’s official reason for firing the plaintiff was that she had dropped too many customer calls. The former employee says these dropped calls were due to a “malfunctioning system” that she had previously brought to CenturyLink’s attention. She maintains that her dismissal was a direct result of the Q&A session.
A rep for CenturyLink tells Bloomberg that the company has received the lawsuit, and is reviewing the allegations.