Colorado-based satellite television provider Dish Network was slammed with a record $280 million fine for violating the federal Do Not Call registry. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois found Dish liable for telemarketing acts that violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule.
Dish was found to have made over 55 million illegal calls using an automated robo-call system, violating the National Do Not Call Registry. Dish was called “a serial telemarketing violator” in court documents.
“The National Do Not Call Registry is a popular federal program for the public to reduce the number of unwanted sales calls,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “This case demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to smart enforcement of consumer protection laws, and sends a clear message to businesses that they must comply with the Do Not Call rules.”
U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough ruled that the company must pay $168 million in civil penalties to the federal government and $84 million to Ohio, California, Illinois and North Carolina. The $168 million judgment is the largest civil penalty ever for a violation of the FTC Act.
In a statement, Dish said the company “respectfully disagrees with today’s decision by the Court,” and promised to appeal the ruling. The company added that the $280 million settlement “radically and unjustly exceed, by orders of magnitude, those found in the settlements in similar actions.”
Dish went on to say that “the court is holding Dish responsible for telemarketing activities conducted by independent third-parties, including in circumstances where such third-parties intentionally hid their telemarketing efforts from Dish.”
“The outcome of this case shows companies will pay a hefty price for violating consumers’ privacy with unwanted calls,” said Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Acting FTC Chairman. “This is a great result for consumers, and I am grateful to FTC staff for their years of tenacious work investigating and developing this case. We and our DOJ and state partners will continue to bring enforcement actions against Do Not Call violators.”
The offenses took place between 2005 and 2008, but charges against Dish were not brought about until 2015.
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.