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CenturyLink committee reports findings of review into policies, practices

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CenturyLink committee reports findings of review into policies, practices

A special committee of CenturyLink Inc.'s independent board members, created to review the company's policies, procedures and practices relating to consumer sales, service and billing, found no evidence of any wrongdoing.

The committee was created after a former employee accused the company of engaging in sales-related misconduct, including charging customers for services they did not order, a practice known as "cramming," the company said Dec. 7. Over the past six months, the special committee, together with independent counsel from O'Melveny & Myers LLP and forensic data analysts, collected and searched more than 9.7 million documents as well as 4.3 terabytes of billing data consisting of more than 32 billion billing records. The committee also interviewed more than 200 current and former company employees.

As part of the review, the committee concluded that the company's management did not condone or encourage cramming, and the evidence did not show that cramming was common at the company. The committee also found that the company maintains specific policies and procedures that prohibit and are designed to prevent and deter cramming.

The committee, however, found that some products were "complex and caused confusion, and the resulting bills sometimes failed to meet customer expectations." Additionally, software limitations 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.