Former employee accuses CenturyLink of running a Wells Fargo-like scheme

A former CenturyLink employee claims she was fired for blowing the whistle on an alleged Wells Fargo-like scandal at the telecommunications company that left customers paying millions for accounts they didn’t request.

Bloomberg reports Heidi Heiser, who worked from her home as a customer service and sales representative between August 2015 and October 2016, sued the Monroe-based company in an Arizona state superior court last week.

Heiser claims she notified CenturyLink CEO Glen Post that customers were being bilked during a companywide Q&A session on an internal message board and was fired days later.

She alleges CenturyLink “allowed persons who had a personal incentive to add services or lines to customer accounts to falsely indicate on the CenturyLink system the approval by a customer of new lines or services.” This would sometimes result in unauthorized charges for customers.

Heiser says she became increasingly concerned about what she observed at CenturyLink after news of Wells Fargo regulatory troubles broke in September. In that case, Wells Fargo employees opened deposit and credit card accounts without customers’ consent to earn incentives and meet sales goals.

The bank never admitted wrongdoing—though it fired more than 5,000 employees, agreed to pay $185 million in fines and to compensate customers for unauthorized fees.

Heiser likens what CenturyLink’s sales agents allegedly did to the Wells Fargo scandal. She says her concerns were bolstered by posts she read on review websites. Heiser also claims she told her direct superiors about her suspicions and was told to “stay positive and not to mention her concerns again.”

A CenturyLink spokesman says the company “holds itself and its employees to the highest ethical standards” and has “an Integrity Line in place, 24 hours a day, seven days a week … Our leadership team was not aware of this matter until the lawsuit was filed. We take these allegations seriously and are diligently investigating this matter.”

Heiser did not make a report to the Integrity Line, the spokesperson says.  

Bloomberg has the full story.

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