Dish Network Could Pay $24B In Fines For Millions Of Illegal Telemarketing Calls

When a company hires a telemarketing contractor, and that company makes telemarketing calls on your behalf, should you be held responsible for what that contractor does? This week, a trial in federal court began against Dish Network, where the feds and four state governments are seeking more than $24 billion in fines against the satellite TV company to resolve accusations that it made illegal calls.

Dish is accused of making (or having made on its behalf) more than 55 million telemarketing calls and telemarketing robocalls to landlines and mobile numbers. Dish Network counters that these calls were made way back in 2008, and compares the fine to the mere $75,000 that one of its resellers had to pay recently for similar violations.

“Most of the Dish calls complained about took place almost ten years ago and Dish has continued to improve its already compliant procedures,” the company said in a statement. However, state and federal laws on telemarketing fine callers per violation, and there are 55 million documented violations. At $16,000 each, that adds up.

The total fines, most of which are owed to the four states suing, add up to roughly the entire value of the publicly traded company. The other 46 states settled for a total of $6 million, but prosecutors for the federal government and for California, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio are not messing around.

DOJ and 4 states want $24 billion in fines from Dish Network for telemarketing [Ars Technica]
Dish facing up to $24 billion in fines in trial over robocalls [Bloomberg News]