Dish Found Liable For Tens Of Millions Of Calls In Violation Of Federal Telemarketing Rules

More than five years after being sued by the Federal Trade Commission for years of allegedly illegal telemarketing calls, Dish Network has been held liable by a federal court in Illinois for tens of millions of calls made in violation of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) beginning as far back as 2007.

The FTC announced today that the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois issued partial summary judgement finding Dish liable for more than 57 million calls to consumers who were either on the National Do Not Call Registry or the company’s internal list.

The judge’s ruling [PDF] is in response to a complaint filed by the FTC, California, Illinois, Ohio and North Carolina in 2009 that alleges Dish initiated, or caused a telemarketer to initiate, outbound telephone calls to consumers in violation of the TSR.

In 2012, the FTC sued Dish [PDF] again for allegedly failing to abide the requests of customers who asked to never receive telemarketing claims again. Those allegations were subsequently rolled into the original complaint.

While the judge did not hand down any penalties with regard to the lawsuit, according to the original complaint [PDF] by the FTC regulators and state are asking for between $500 to $16,000 per violation, meaning the company could end up paying billions of dollars for the unwelcome calls.

According to the ruling, Dish is liable for 4,094,099 calls it or its vendors made to numbers on the Registry and for 2,730,842 calls its retailers made to numbers on the Registry.

The court found that the government met its burden to hold Dish liable for the retailers’ calls since the company retained the retailers, authorized retailers to market Dish products and services, and the retailers violated the TSR by initiating Dish telemarketing calls to numbers on the Registry.

The court also found Dish liable for 1,043,595 calls to consumers whose telephone numbers were on the company’s internal do-not-call list or were marked “DNC” by Dish’s telemarketing vendor.

Additionally, the court ruled Dish liable for 49,738,073 calls that Dish and three of its retailers made and then abandoned before consumers could answer the phone.

Several portions of the complaint against Dish will be resolved at trial, including any penalties assessed, beginning in July 2015.

Court Grants Partial Summary Judgment in FTC Case against Dish Network, Finding the Company Liable for Tens of Millions of Telemarketing Violations [FTC]