FTC Sues Dish Network For Violating Do Not Call List

A lawsuit has been filed against Dish Network by the U.S. Justice Department (on behalf of the FTC) alleging that the company violated “Do Not Call” rules by phoning potential customers without their permission.

According to the lawsuit, Dish violated the rules by encouraging its dealers to use robocallers.

In a statement, Dish said it can’t be “held responsible for Do Not Call violations by independent retailers.” The company said the FTC is “equating merely doing business with an independent retailer to ‘causing’ or ‘assisting and facilitating’ violations by that retailer.”

From Reuters:

“Because a few bad actors still don’t get it, we want to make it crystal clear. If you call consumers whose numbers are
on the Do Not Call Registry, you’re breaking the law,” said Eileen Harrington, acting director of the FTC’s consumer
protection unit.

Keep reporting those DNC scofflaws!

UPDATE 1-US accuses Dish of violating do-not-call list [Reuters]
Dish Network Accused of Violating ‘Do Not Call’ Rule (Update3) [Bloomberg]
(Photo:frankieleon)

Comments

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  1. KarbonKopy says:

    Too bad Dish isn’t the one selling auto warranty’s! Good to know the FTC is standing up for folks on that list.

    • rugman11 says:

      @KarbonKopy: Yeah, what’s up with them? I’ve gotten to calls from them on my cell in the last week or so. Unfortunately they call while I’m still asleep so I haven’t had the opportunity to tell them to go to Hell yet.

      • Papa Midnight says:

        @rugman11: 8 calls on average per 12 hour period.

      • Anonymous says:

        @rugman11: I don’t tell them to go to hell…I keep them on the phone as long as possible, listening to their greed-infested drool drip on their telephone headset, until I get bored and tell them, “Okay, I really don’t have a 2002 Toyota. Never had one. I just wanted to see how long I could suck up your time.” I’ve been getting remarkably fewer calls lately…

    • MikeHerbst says:

      @KarbonKopy: HA!!!

      I was just going to make the same snarky comment.

      I want the UK-style roving vans with direction-finding antennae and keyhole-satellites tasked solely with finding the Automotive Warranty people. Then when we find them, we dress ‘em up in AIG corporate-logo’d clothing and dump them out of a moving car in Time’s Square.

    • czetie says:

      @KarbonKopy: This looks to me like the FTC going after the “soft” target, i.e. a real company that’s easy to find, rather than the blatant and widespread Auto Warranty abusers with the robodiallers, faked caller ID, and failure to remove people when asked. How many different parts of the code do those people have to be breaking before the FTC acts?

      And incidentally, who is selling phone service to those people? Don’t they have some responsibility? Or do they just hold their noses and deposit the checks?

      So no, I give the FTC no “warm and fuzzies” for this, regardless of who is right.

    • Sidecutter says:

      @KarbonKopy: I JUST got that call a few minutes ago. I asked them which car, since we have more than one, and they said it would have to be 2007 or newer, because factory warranties run out after three years.

      Obviously I laughed to myself, because almost every car in the last fifteen years has had more than three years warranty, and ten years has been increasingly common for a long time now.

      Then, since I had established they were scammers and had no business calling me, I introduced them to Mr. Air Horn. Mr. Air Horn has been handy to have around.

  2. Cocoa Vanilla says:

    I don’t think this is the first time they’ve been sued for this, but I may be wrong.

    • DataRaider says:

      @Cocoa Vanilla: Actually, this is the first time the FTC has had to sue a company for violating the do not call list. Prior to this, every company has agreed to pay up when they were first busted.

  3. AraCBR says:

    phew!! Finally!! I have personally been a victim of this BS from Dish and have formally complained to them and to the do not call registry several times. Nice to hear somebody is taking them to task.

  4. SacraBos says:

    Good! I’ll never do business with Dish Network. Over the many years, I’ve gotten telemarketing calls and junk-faxes. That the FTC has sued them for illegal marketing methods comes as no surprise to me. I doubt it will be the last time, either.

  5. legwork says:

    “Nooo, but we’re not responsible!” Big surprise.

    Does anybody else get the feeling Dish rode an elevator with a bunch of payday loan stores, and something nasty rubbed off? Sheez.

  6. XTC46 says:

    As long as the penalty + court costs/lawyer fees < the profit gained from these practices this wont do anything.

  7. zacwax says:

    Christ talking about the autowarranties I just got another one. This shit is annoying.

    • the_wiggle says:

      @zacwax: so’re the auto loan ones.

      new when the revolution comes order up ‘gainst the wall:

      violators of do not call
      bankers what were the last straw for the market
      politicians
      lawyers

  8. Chumas says:

    I’ve been pulling a rather horrible game on the people who call my home wanting to sell me services. I answer the phone with: “Hello, you’ve reached the law offices of Neal & Dye. Where can I transfer your call?”
    At this point, most of the little bastards mumble something about putting me on their do not call list and hang up.
    For the robocalls, I go the extra mile because I *AM* an asshole. I follow the prompts to get to a person and inform them that they’re talking to “Mr. Neal” of the law firm of etc. etc. and I’d like their name, their physical address and the names of their supervisors so I may label them as defendants in the forthcoming lawsuit.

    After about three weeks of this, my phone has been silent for many many days. :)

    • GMFish says:

      @Chumas: “I follow the prompts to get to a person…

      I do something similar. I get a real person on the line and then ask for this imaginary guy named Hank Rosco. I have this whole back story built up to waste their time. “He works in HR.” “This is the number he gave me, so it must be right.” “You know him, he works next to the fat and smelly lady.” Yada yada yada. I’ve once had one of those poor souls on the phone for over ten minutes before she finally hung up on me.

    • Hoss says:

      @Chumas: Your strategy is actually given them permission to call you. Businesses can’t be on the Do Not Call list.

      • Chumas says:

        @Hoss: See, the nature of the beast is the people are shit scared they’ll be sued and off the number goes.
        The only company to keep calling me was a Dish Network shill and I took them to small claims. Ka-ching: $500+court fees.
        Annoying that the company hasn’t paid it yet, but victory nonetheless.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      @Chumas:

      You have called the Law Offices of
      Dewey, Cheatem & Howe

  9. RedSonSuperDave says:

    Pshh, I just get a human on the line, then gradually talk quieter and quieter until I’m almost whispering, then give them a nice blast with an air horn. Haven’t had a warranty robocall in over three months.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      @RedSonSuperDave: Ha! That’s an awesome solution…I think I’ll try that technique the next time my ex-husband calls.

    • snowburnt says:

      @RedSonSuperDave: While these solutions are funny, after you tell someone to put you on their do not call list you can take them to small claims and make money off them. There was a post a while back on doing this…every time they call it’s worth like 5 hundred bucks

      • RedSonSuperDave says:

        @snowburnt: Yeah, but those “car warranty” assholes like to spoof their Caller ID information, and for some reason they’re reluctant to give out their real names or addresses, even if I pretend that I’m interested in what they have to sell.

    • Sidecutter says:

      @RedSonSuperDave: You might be the one who gave me the idea to do that. I know it was a Consumerist poster.

      So far I’ve nailed the car warranty asshats (just a few minutes ago) and the credit card interest rate fools.

  10. Enduro says:

    I finally got some info from one of those car warranty calls. They’re Essex Information. I have more information jotted down on my desk at work like the location of their two call centers. Can we e-carpet bomb these a**holes?

    • ralfhutter says:

      @Enduro: I’m up for that. Big Time!!!!

    • Enduro says:

      @Enduro: Geez, I meant Essex Insurance, if that’s even a real company. I’ll look up the little info they (finally) gave away to me the other day and send it to the webmasters.

      • scoosdad says:

        @Enduro: “And in other news, a small family-run business named Essex Information that sells knitted phone-book covers reported today that their email server actually melted down and caught fire for unknown reasons…”

        That’s why I cringe when people here suggest doing the vigilante thing. Sometimes you just might get it wrong and hurt the wrong people. Four hundred people probably googled these guys and started emailing them between the time of your first post and your correction five hours later.

  11. KMan13 still wants a Pontiac G8 says:

    I’ve been getting Phillip Morris these days … ON MY CELL PHONE!

  12. ralfhutter says:

    I’ve called DISH back for this. Them and the companies they hired are a bunch of pricks.

  13. Jessy Irwin says:

    I used to work for Dish (good way to pay for my college apt), and that was EXACTLY the script they used. While I worked there, I began getting these calls despite being on the do not call list, some harassing, and had NOTHING I could do about it. While I worked there (almost a year), I probably got 3 calls a shift about this, though one night I handled 20+ calls and felt like my hands were tied behind my back for trying to help people.

  14. Mr_Mantastic says:

    I have Dish and they raised my rates 5 dollars a month without notifying me prior to, which is stated in the contract. Also, when I login to my account online, it still gives me the option to select different services, and they are all at the original prices when I signed up, including the one I have. Is there something I can do to get my original rate back? Dish pissed me off with this, because according to the contract, they can raise the rate to whatever the hell they want and I still have to pay it.

    • TheSpatulaOfLove says:

      @Mr_Mantastic:

      They pulled this crap with me too. I asked the ESL-CSR from India if she knew the definition of a CONTRACT.

      This was right after I reupped with them for 18 months to get the HD setup. We’ll see how the story changes when the contract is up in two months… I may even put an extra special present in the box when I ship the receivers back.

    • econobiker says:

      @Mr_Mantastic

      Or EECB the Dish execs with the online vs actual pricing issue…

  15. twophrasebark says:

    In a statement, Dish said it can’t be “held responsible for Do Not Call violations by independent retailers.”

    It sounds like they’re holding you responsible.

  16. BennyBullOnRoids says:

    These guys starting to call me on a phone incessantly. I finally tracked the guys down and filed complaints with the NYAG, the FTC and the Flordia AG. I’m really glad they held Dish responsible for this scum.

  17. prodpoke says:

    thank god, their operators have been badgering my house constantly! my poor mom; she picks up the phone all the time and they choose to pick operators that exclusively speak mandarin and she has to tell each one off. xDDD

  18. Cary says:

    I agree – Dish is a bunch of assholes.

    Almost as bad as my other two options:

    1. DirecTV who tried to screw me over WHILE I WAS ORDERING THEIR SERVICE (disputing the charge for the order I never finished placing with Mastercard took care of that one).

    2. Time Warner who couldn’t give me a solid day where all of the channels had both left and right channel audio and a clear picture… for YEARS.

    I stopped the nagging phone calls from Dish by subscribing. Worked beautifully.

    Now if I can only stop the recorded messages from that fat fart Newt Gingrich.

    • Ragman says:

      @Cary: “I stopped the nagging phone calls from Dish by subscribing. Worked beautifully.”

      Lucky you. When I was a Dish subscriber, I kept getting calls to sign up for Dish. Took them a few months to get it in their systems that I wasn’t going to buy a second subscription.

  19. ckaught78 says:

    Now if only we could get the ftc to go after the car warranty company that keeps calling me.

  20. NotATool says:

    …and get them to go after the people who “have made several attempts” to reach me regarding my credit card. “This is the final attempt,” they always say. Then two days later, they call back.

    I did press 1 to talk to a live person once, who called me an a$$hole for wasting their time and if I didn’t want to order anything I was welcome to just not pick up the phone when they call.

    I think they’re the same company as the car warranty people.