It’s tough being a cable company. You have this perfect monopoly over a valuable resource, but customers keep on complaining about “service” and “price” and “satisfaction.”

So your only option to generate more record profits is simple: just tell your sales reps to stick extra services and charges on the bill without permission. I mean hey, it worked for Wells Fargo, right?

That’s pretty much the allegations being levelled against CenturyLink by a former employee and customers. A new class-action lawsuit is seeking damages up to $12 billion, based on claims that the company routinely added services and lines they didn’t ask for and didn’t want.

It all started last week when former employee Heidi Heiser, a work-from-home sales rep, filed suit against CenturyLink. Heiser said that she asked CenturyLink’s CEO why the company”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” during a company Q&A on an internal message board. According to the suit, Heiser was fired the next day.

Today a new class-action suit was filed in California on behalf of customers seeking compensation for damages. It cites Heiser’s suit, as well as public complaints about similar-sounding problems. It was filed by Geragos & Geragos, the firm of celebrity lawyer Mark J. Geragos.

Simply filing the suit doesn’t do anything to prove CenturyLink’s guilt. Filing a class-action suit after a high-profile allegation is brought is common, doubly so because CenturyLink is in the middle of a $34 billion merger with Level 3 Communications. The end goal for the attorneys is likely to be to sign on a few thousand CenturyLink customers, take the case to CenturyLink, and shoot for a quick settlement.

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