CenturyLink's special committee investigation finds no sales-related misconduct
CenturyLink announced that a Special Committee of independent board members has reported the findings of its review of the company's policies, procedures and practices relating to consumer sales, service and billing. The company's outside directors promptly and voluntarily formed the Special Committee after a former employee alleged that the company engaged in sales-related misconduct, including charging customers for services they did not order-a practice known as "cramming." The Special Committee's key findings: the investigation did not reveal evidence to conclude that any member of the company's management team engaged in fraud or wrongdoing; company management did not condone or encourage cramming, and the evidence did not show that cramming was common at the company. However, the company's investment in consumer sales monitoring was not sufficiently effective in proactively detecting and quantifying potential cramming. Some of the company's products, pricing and promotions were complex and caused confusion, and the resulting bills sometimes failed to meet customer expectations. Additionally, limitations in the company's ordering and billing software made it difficult to provide customers with estimates of their bills and confirmation of service letters that reflected all discounts, prorated charges, taxes and fees. Systems and human errors led to certain customers not receiving an offered point-of-sale discount. The company did not fully address this issue in a timely manner for some customers.