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Flood Victims Irked By CenturyLink Service, Hefty Bills

DENVER (CBS4) - Residents of Big Elk Meadows, a mountain community between Lyons and Estes Park, say they've lacked phone service since last September's historic flooding -- but in many cases, they're still being charged hefty bills.

"Most people don't have phones," said Patty Overton, who hasn't had CenturyLink service since Sept. 11, 2013. "If I'm at home and I have an emergency, I'm not able to call 911."

Her bill has now topped $200, even though she said CenturyLink advised her to put her service on a vacation hold so she wouldn't be charged. She said CenturyLink said it wouldn't turn her service back on until she paid her bill, and she worries she may be sent to a collection agency.

Overton's husband, Greg, has repeatedly contacted customer service. "They kept saying, 'Call this different number, or that different number,' " he said.

That hasn't helped, however: "The answer is always the same: 'Your balance will be zero and you can keep your phone number.' "

Residents say there are 165 homes in the community, and many are still experiencing phone problems.

CenturyLink told CBS4 it issued bill credits to cover service wiped out by the floods and that although it tried contacting customers through statement notices and letters, it's possible some customers didn't receive the correct credits related to September's floods.

That doesn't assuage the Overtons' frustrations, though.

"You say the word 'CenturyLink' around here, and people roll their eyes and walk away," Patty Overton told CBS4.

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