When I first moved to Phoenix in June 2015 I was shopping for Internet service. I called Cox and CenturyLink, since these were my only options in the area, and started finding out about the different service levels offered. I settled on CenturyLink as the prices seemed better for the level of service provided. | I called and started the account creation process, and told the person on the line that I didn’t need their hardware, as I would purchase my own when I started with CenturyLink. At no point did I sign any contracts with CenturyLink. | After that call, I did some research independently on the real-world performance of CenturyLink and Cox in Phoenix specifically, and it looked like Cox came out better. Further, I read horror stories about people working with CenturyLink, and the nightmares of dealing with their customer service. I decided to go ahead with Cox instead. I called back to CenturyLink and asked to cancel the order that I had made the previous day. I was told that no order had ever been placed in the system, and so not to worry about it. | A week or two later, after I had moved into my new home, I received a “welcome” package from the company. I called again to ask why this had been sent, and was told that the account had been created after all, and was never cancelled, but that I was still within the 30 day cancellation grace period, so they would cancel the account for me. I was relieved, and agreed to this. I asked if there was anything else that I needed to do, and was told “no – you didn’t order a modem, and we’re just cancelling within 30 days”. Everything was done. I never opened the package, but held on to it just in case. | From that date until today, I had no further contact from CenturyLink – no phone calls, no emails, no letters, and assumed that all was well. On Monday of this week, I received a letter from a collections company called Central Credit Services LLC demanding a payment of $143.23 for CenturyLink – on an account that doesn’t exist, for services I never received, and for billing that was never communicated to me. | I am absolutely aghast. Is this is CenturyLink’s standard operating procedure? CenturyLink has acted in extremely bad faith throughout this entire process. | I contacted their collections agency, and was informed that the package that I had received was in fact a modem – despite CenturyLink’s representative telling me that I did not order a modem. The collections person told me that “if I had opened it” I would have seen the policy was that I had to return it within 30 days. Well, I hadn’t opened it. Am I supposed to be psychic? I opened it and discovered that sure enough there was a modem inside. In order to avoid this account appearing on my credit report, I paid it with the collections company – though I do not admit that this payment was in any way authorized. The collections agent informed me that my other option was to wait 9 months until the account reverted to CenturyLink so that I could deal with them directly again – which was insane. I wasn’t about to wait 9 months so that this could sit ruining my credit. | The collections agent informed me that CenturyLink’s policy was that I had to return the equipment within 30 days of cancelling, or they considered that I owned it. | I don’t want it. I don’t need it. I didn’t think I had it. I was told by CenturyLink’s representative that I didn’t have it. And yet, somehow they have found a way to charge me $150 for not doing business with them. | The behavior I saw was underhanded, shady, and unhelpful. If they had sent me a bill – or told me they needed me to return the modem, I’d have paid the bill and returned the modem. They didn’t.