Local News

February 24, 2014

Windstream settles false advertising claim

Windstream Communications has agreed to pay $600,000 to settle an inquiry by the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection into allegations of false advertising, state officials said on Monday.

“This is essentially a truth-in-advertising case,” said John Sours, administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection, in a press release. “What consumers thought they were getting from a major company was significantly different from what they allegedly received. People need to be able to make informed choices about buying the services they need to communicate and do business. We are confident that this settlement will ensure that will now occur here.”

In the press release, the office said Windstream “advertised that it would provide certain Internet speeds to its customers that it could not provide and/or guarantee, particularly for Georgia consumers whose network equipment is supported by copper-fed wires.

“When customers called Windstream to complain about their slow Internet speeds, Windstream representatives allegedly misrepresented the time frame within which the customers’ issues would be resolved, or, in the case of customers whose equipment is supported by copper-fed wires, failed to tell customers that it was unable to resolve the issue. ...

“Windstream also allegedly advertised a free six-month ‘Hulu Plus’ subscription but did not clearly disclose that consumers who failed to cancel the subscription at or before the six-month period would be charged membership fees every month thereafter, until the membership was canceled.”

In a statement, Windstream said it “is committed to advertising its services in an ethical manner that adheres to legal and industry standards, and it has cooperated fully throughout the inquiry by Georgia’s Office of Consumer Protection.”

“Windstream is pleased to resolve this inquiry by entering an assurance of voluntary compliance with all applicable advertising laws. That agreement includes no finding or admission of violation by the company. Windstream is committed to providing quality, reliable broadband service to our customers in Georgia,” the statement said.

Windstream provides residential telephone, Internet and digital TV service as well as voice and data network services to business. It has some 1,200 employees in Georgia, including about 275 in Whitfield County. The company has about 13,500 employees.

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