Jury Finds Dish Liable For Annoying Telemarketing Calls By Dealer

Image courtesy of Zachary Rupert

Poor Dish Network. After its dealers engaged in illegal telemarketing years ago, now everyone’s holding it responsible for those calls: first it was federal and state regulators, and now the jury in a class action lawsuit in North Carolina has concluded that the satellite provider’s sales force broke the law.

Out of more than a million calls placed by a Dish Network dealer that’s no longer in business, 51,000 of them were repeat calls to people on the National Do Not Call Registry. The ten-person jury had to decide how much each violation should be worth, from $0 to $500, and it settled on $400 per illegal call. That adds up to Dish owing the plaintiffs $20.5 million. If that seems like a lot, note that there are over 18,000 people registered in the class.

The lead plaintiff was a man from North Carolina, which is why the five-day trial was held in the Middle District of North Carolina, in the city of Greensboro. In a statement released by his attorneys, he emphasized what the case has really been about: protecting Americans from annoying telemarketers.

“This case has always been about enforcing the Do Not Call law and protecting people from nuisance telemarketing calls,” he said in the statement. “I am thrilled with the jury’s verdict, and thrilled we were able to win this enforcement action.”

We contacted Dish Network to find out what it had to say and whether it plans to appeal the verdict, and will update this post when we hear back. In a statement to the Durham Herald-Sun, a company spokesperson emphasized that the company totally follows telemarketing laws now.

“Dish has long taken its compliance with telemarketing laws seriously, has and will continue to maintain rigorous telemarketing compliance policies and procedures, and has topped multiple independent customer service surveys along the way,” the statement said.