(Saint Paul, MN – Insurance News 360) – On Jan. 4, the Minnesota Commerce Department filed an investigative report with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission alleging a failure by Frontier Communications to provide adequate, reliable phone and internet service to customers in Minnesota.
The report suggests that the company be made to refund or credit customers for service outages and unauthorized charges; the company should also add customer service staff, and invest in infrastructure and equipment to better the level of services provided.
The investigation focused on the service quality, customer service and billing practices of Frontier Communications of Minnesota, Inc., and its affiliate, Citizens Telecommunications of Minnesota, LLC. Those companies provide landline phone service to almost 100,000 Minnesota homes and businesses, and internet service in northeastern and southern Minnesota, as well as the Twin Cities metro area.
SEven public hearings occurred throughout Frontier’s service area, and the report is based on more than 1,000 consumer complaints and statements, as well as the company’s responses to questions and request from the Commerce Department.
The investigative report details a wide range of concerns about Frontier:
Frequent and lengthy service outages, including loss of customer access to 911 emergency services;
Delays in repairing and restoring service;
Failure to provide expedited responses to service outages affecting vulnerable customers with medical needs;
Failure to maintain and repair equipment, causing service outages and leading to public safety hazards such as lines and damaged equipment on the ground;
Lack of investment in infrastructure to ensure reliable service;
Frequent billing errors, including inaccurate and unauthorized charges;
Failure to provide refunds or bill credits for service outages;
Lack of timely, responsive customer service, including lengthy call wait times, inaccurate information and “lost” repair tickets; and
Discriminatory practices such as prioritizing new service installations over repairs of existing service and providing slower repair services in rural areas compared to more populated areas.
The report is available on the Minnesota Commerce Department website (mn.gov/commerce). It is also available on the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission website (mn.gov/puc). Click on the eDockets link to go to the search page and then type 18-122 for the docket number.
Source: Minnesota Department of Commerce.