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.

Chris Mills has loved tinkering with technology ever since he worked out how to defeat the parental controls on his parents' internet. He's blogged his way through Apple events and SpaceX launches ever since, and still keeps a bizarre fondness for the Palm Pre.