By Anjali Athavaley
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Minnesota filed a lawsuit against CenturyLink Inc alleging the telecommunications provider charged customers more than they agreed to pay for internet and cable services, the state's Attorney General Lori Swanson said in a statement, sending its shares down on Wednesday.
The lawsuit alleges that CenturyLink often refused to honor the lower prices customers had initially been given by sales agents, saying that they were misquoted or did not qualify for promotional discounts.
"We’d like to see the company change its practices," Swanson said in an interview. "If a company quotes a rate, that rate should be honored."
CenturyLink shares closed down 3.2 percent on Wednesday at $22.50. The company is in the process of acquiring Level 3 Communications Inc for about $24 billion.
Level 3 shares fell 1.8 percent to close at $57.41.
CenturyLink said in an emailed statement to Reuters that it has been cooperating with Swanson's office and has provided all information that was requested.
"We take these allegations seriously and will review and respond in due course," it said.
A separate class-action lawsuit filed against CenturyLink in June in California alleges it signed up customers for services they did not request.
Moody's said in a research note last month that any settlement amount is likely to be limited, but potentially credit negative.
(Reporting by Anjali Athavaley; editing by Phil Berlowitz and G Crosse)