FTC Sues Dish Network Over 'Do Not Call' Violations

Even if a consumer isn’t on the National Do Not Call Registry, when they ask a telemarketer to stop calling them, said telemarketer is legally obliged to honor that request. According to a new lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission, the folks at Dish Network (allegedly) ignored this request from millions of annoyed Americans.

The lawsuit [PDF], filed yesterday in a U.S. District Court in Illinois, alleges that for at least the last five years Dish possessed but ignored a list of people that had told the satellite provider or one of its authorized dealers that they didn’t want to hear from Dish.

The complaint alleges that since September 2007 both Dish and outside telemarketers hired by Dish “engaged in initiating 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. “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.”

The Department of Justice is also litigating a separate case against DISH Network for allegedly calling consumers on the National Do Not Call Registry.

Both suits seek to put an end to the calls and to recoup civil penalties from the company.

UPDATE: Dish releases the following statement to Consumerist:

“DISH respectfully disputes the merits of the complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission. We manage our marketing practices to best-in-class standards. In fact, our policies have been certified by an independent third party industry expert after an extensive audit. Notably, the FTC was recently denied the ability to assert these same claims by a federal court in another contested matter, and we will defend ourselves vigorously against them.”