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UTC staff recommend $252,000 plus penalty to CenturyLink for lack of documentation and customer service response times

Staff found company violated requirements for live representative response times and providing documentation

Editor's Note: This news release reflects the position of staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) and NOT the views of the three-member commission. It discusses enforcement actions and penalties that the commissioners have not yet reviewed. Any positions taken or comments offered by commission staff regarding this proceeding should be attributed clearly to staff members and NOT to the UTC.

LACEY, Wash. - The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission filed a complaint against CenturyLink Communications, LLC for excessive wait times to reach a live customer service representative and not providing required documentation to the commission.

In an investigation, UTC staff found that CenturyLink violated commission rules by not connecting customers with a live representative within 60 seconds from the time the caller selected to speak to a live representative. Staff found that CenturyLink committed nine violations of this law from March 2022 through November 2022.

During the investigation, staff also found that CenturyLink failed to provide all requested documentation to the commission within 10 business days of the request. Staff found that CenturyLink committed 234 such violations from March 2023 through February 2024.

Staff are asking the commission to assess CenturyLink a penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation of requested documentation, totaling $243,000. Staff are also requesting an additional $1,000 per each violation of customer service response times, totaling $9,000. The combined total amount for all violations recommended is $252,000.

Initially, UTC staff discovered the violation after receiving several complaints from CenturyLink customers about excessive call wait times and their inability to reach a customer service representative.

The Utilities and Transportation Commission will hold a prehearing conference to establish a schedule to review the complaint at 1:30 p.m. on April 8.

CenturyLink, part of Lumen Technologies, is the largest local telephone company in Washington, serving approximately 650,000 residential and business lines.

The UTC regulates the rates and services of telecommunications companies, investor-owned electric utilities, natural gas and water companies, garbage-collection haulers, household-goods movers and passenger transportation companies, commercial ferries, pipeline companies, marine pilotage, and a low-level radioactive waste repository. The commission does not regulate the rates of broadband, cellular, cable, or internet service.