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FTC sues Dish Network, alleges firm violated telemarketing rules

August 23, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • The FTC says Dish Network has violated telemarketing rules.
The FTC says Dish Network has violated telemarketing rules. (Associated Press )

Apparently satellite broadcaster Dish Network Corp. doesn't like to take no for an answer.

The Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit against Dish charging that it kept calling people who had previously indicated that they did not wish to be contacted by the pay-TV distributor, which is a violation of "do not call" rules.

According to the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in the Central District of Illinois, since 2007 Dish or telemarketers working on behalf of the satellite broadcaster made "millions of outbound telephone calls to phone numbers of persons who have previously stated that they do not wish to receive an outbound telephone call made by or on behalf of Dish Network."

"We have vigorously enforced the Do Not Call rules and will continue to do so to protect consumers' right to be left alone in the privacy of their own homes," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz in a statement. "It is particularly disappointing when a well-established, nationally known company -- which ought to know better -- appears to have flagrantly and illegally made millions of invasive calls to Americans who specifically told Dish Network to leave them alone."

If found guilty, Dish could face a hefty fine. The fine for violations committed before Feb. 9, 2009 is up to $11,000; for violation committed after that, it is up to $16,000. The difference in fines is due to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act.

A Dish spokesman said the company "respectfully disputes the merits of the complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission" and added that it will "defend ourselves vigorously against them."

Dish is not the first pay-TV distributor to get in hot water with the FTC. DirecTV has paid almost $8 million over the last seven years to settle charges that it violated do not call rules, and Comcast paid $900,000 in a settlement.

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 Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.

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