By Anica Padilla

DENVER (CBS4) — More than 200,000 Coloradans will soon receive checks in the mail from a 2019 settlement with CenturyLink — because the company deceptively overcharged consumers for services. Payments to the 205,000 consumers who were overcharged will range from $12-$83 depending on how long they were charged an “Internet Cost Recovery Fee.”

CenturyLink building in downtown Denver, Colorado. (credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

An investigation uncovered evidence dating back to 2014 that CenturyLink unfairly and deceptively charged hidden fees, falsely advertised guaranteed locked prices, and failed to provide discounts and refunds it promised to consumers who signed up for internet, television, and telephone services in Colorado.

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As part of a settlement with the state, CenturyLink refunded $1.7 million directly to consumers for overbilling errors before March 31, 2020.

CenturyLink also paid $6,775,000 to the State of Colorado for violating consumer protection laws. The attorney general’s office is now distributing those funds to consumers that CenturyLink harmed with their deceptive conduct.

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The settlement also required CenturyLink to change its business practices and explain clearly its pricing terms—including fees and surcharges—in its advertising and sales. The company also agreed to stop charging an Internet Cost Recovery Fee for future orders and to stop charging unreturned equipment fees to customers who return equipment on time.

The funds will go to two categories of consumers: the nearly 205,000 consumers who were overcharged, and to the more than 500 individuals who filed complaints about CenturyLink through the attorney general’s office consumer protection website, StopFraudColorado.gov. Consumers who filed complaints will receive $100.

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Anica Padilla