Qwest Communications seeks relief

March 8, 2004 at 1:10 PM

SEATTLE, March 8 (UPI) -- Qwest Communications has asked Washington state regulators to end an agreement to hold it liable for its quality of customer service.

However, the state Utilities and Transportation Commission says that they are reluctant to allow the company to drop this added assurance that Qwest will do good by its customers, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Monday.

This year, in accordance with a deal made with the commission, Qwest will pay $1.9 million in credits for failing to meet five of eight service standards that the company agreed to as a condition of its merger with USWest Communications in 2000.

"It's not as if we're going to get away with anything," said Mark Reynolds, Qwest's regulatory director. "If anything changes, our service is going to get even better."

That's because a few dozen new telephone outfits have changed competition in Washington so dramatically that Qwest workers know they must perform to customers' expectations or risk losing them, he said.

And service has improved. Qwest's penalties have decreased since the company was first assessed $3.2 million in customer paybacks in 2001.

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