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News Release
Press Advisory - Qwest Refund Fact Sheet
September 18, 2000 (2000-044)
Contacts: Ron Eachus, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Roger Hamilton, Commissioner 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Backgrounder for media
Qwest Corporation, formerly U S WEST, will issue a refund to its current residential and business Oregon customers. The refund to current customers will be credited on their bills between September 22 and October 22, 2000. The refund is a result of an Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) order. In order to qualify as a current customer you must be a customer of record at least 60 days prior to the September 22 refund date. So if you are a current customer, and have been since before July 24, 2000, you need to do nothing. The company will automatically credit the refund to your bill. Please do not call the company or the PUC unless the bill you receive between September 22 and October 22 does not contain a refund credit and you feel you are entitled to one.
The agreement also provides one-time refunds of Qwest revenues to companies that buy local exchange and access from Qwest. Local exchange businesses resell Qwest local exchange service. Access customers sell long distance service. There is no provision in the agreement directing how these companies will treat the refunds.
The total refund amount for local and access customers is $283,930,565.  In May of 1997 the PUC ordered the refund. Since the order the amount has grown with interest.  A negotiated settlement last spring resolved a lawsuit over the issue.
The refunds are one-time bill credits of $123.92 for residential customers and $297.42 for business customers ($334.59 for complex business customers). The credit will be rolled over until it is exhausted. The refunds are credited on a per line basis. Refund bill credits are provided, in various denominations, for CENTREX station lines, ISDN Primary Rate lines, and private line customers (analog and digital customers).
In addition, on September 22, 2000, Qwest will begin temporary monthly bill credits and switched access rate reductions. The temporary bill credits and switched access reductions will remain in effect until the rate design portion of UT 125 is concluded and permanent rate changes are implemented. Temporary bill credits and switched access rate reductions will result in a $63 million reduction to revenues based on August 1997 financial results of operations.
Provisions of the refund also apply to former customers who had service for any six-month period from May 1, 1996 to September 22, 2000. Five percent of the total local refund amount is withheld to pay claims to former customers. Claims will be paid as they are verified. If this fund is exhausted by claims filed against it, no further claims will be paid. Notification of former customers will occur by newspaper advertisement. Refunds to former Qwest customers will be based on the number of telephone lines billed by Qwest on the last day the customer was on the system.
Former customers will need to fill out and mail to Qwest a refund request form. The forms will be available in several Oregon newspapers and on the PUC web site after October 22, 2000. Please do not attempt to obtain a refund check before that date. Although not required, if you kept a copy of a past U S WEST invoice, bill, or receipt indicating proof of service, please send a copy with the completed form in order to speed the verification process.
Mail the forms to Qwest Corporation. The correct address will be available after October 22. Claims must be mailed by January 20, 2001, to qualify. Claims will be verified by company records. If funds are exhausted prior to verifying your claim, you will not receive a refund, therefore, the sooner you respond the more likely you are to get a refund.
If you are a former customer with a question about the claim process and no longer have a bill available, call Qwest:
Residential customers 1-800-244-1111
Small business customers 1-800-603-6000
Large business, government, education 1-800-403-3174
Federal service 1-800-879-2807
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