Missing Price Link Found at CenturyLink
After much confusion, CenturyLink, America’s third-largest telecommunications provider, turns out to be more guilty of poor employee training than deceptive price scheming.
It all started when I asked a CenturyLink customer service representative why the company charges a high-speed Internet subscriber $2 more per month — $6.95 instead of $4.95 — to lease a modem if a technician does the installation rather than the subscriber, in addition to charging a one-time installation fee of $22.95.
The answers that followed — “That’s just the way it is in the computer,” “That’s not true,” “That’s a good question,” etc. — led me to believe that no one could give a straight answer because there was no good reason for the price difference; that CenturyLink was just sneaking-in a way to milk money surreptitiously from subscribers. Even Alex Juarez, a Phoenix-based Market Development and PR executive at CenturyLink, gave two different answers to the same question — one of which was wrong, while the other was only kind of right.
Finally, though, Tom Davis, another CenturyLink executive, gave specific clarification when he explained that Qwest, before CenturyLink acquired the company, would charge its subscribers a $99.95 up-front installation fee for Internet service. CenturyLink executives, though, wanted to spread out that cost to lessen the financial burden placed on its new and current customers. So they decided to charge a $22.95 up-front fee plus an additional $2 per month for leasing a modem, for a term of about three years, to make up the difference.
This arrangement won’t last long enough, though, to see if the company would drop the modem lease rate to $4.95 once the subscriber pays off the installation cost. In October 2011 all subscribers who lease a modem will begin to pay $5.95 per month, regardless of whether they had a professional installation or installed their modems themselves.