Overbilled by CenturyLink — and now a $200 early termination charge?

Who broke the contract — CenturyLink or Terri Trier? That’s the question we have to answer today. At stake: a $200 early termination charge.

Question: Several weeks ago, I received a bill for my new CenturyLink service that didn’t match the amount that I had agreed to pay when I signed up. I called the company and was told I was being charged more because I had probably not signed up for auto pay or paperless billing.

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When I explained that in fact I had signed up for auto pay and was receiving paperless bills he said that I was wrong. I canceled my service. I was told I would have to pay a $200 early termination charge. But I didn’t break my contract — CenturyLink did when it started charging me more for my service.

I don’t want to pay a $200 early termination charge. Can you help me persuade CenturyLink to drop the charge? — Terri Trier, Henniker, N.H.

Answer: True, CenturyLink imposes an early termination charge if you cancel your service before the end of your contract. Check out section 12 (c) of your subscriber agreement.

But you also have a valid point. By charging you more than you agreed, did CenturyLink effectively break its own contract?

I’m not a lawyer, but do you really need a law degree to know when something is wrong? When CenturyLink raised its price for your service, it acted inappropriately. It shouldn’t have imposed a $200 early termination charge.

I can’t believe a company rep flatly told you that you were “wrong.” What kind of customer service is that?

You definitely should have appealed this to someone higher up at CenturyLink. A review of your correspondence suggests you spent a lot of time — way, way too much time — corresponding with the company. All for nothing.

I contacted CenturyLink on your behalf. A representative called you and admitted that the company had been overcharging you. The rep agreed that you had, in fact, signed up for auto pay and paperless bills. Your early termination charge has been waived.

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