The Federal Trade Commission and four state attorneys general have accused a Dish Network subsidiary of numerous violations of the federal “do-not-call” law by assisting authorized dealers in telemarketing via “robocalls.” Dish is denying any wrongdoing.
“We respectfully disagree with the allegations made today by the Federal Trade Commission and certain States that DISH Network has engaged in ‘do-not-call’ violations and that DISH Network should be held responsible for ‘do-not-call’ violations by independent retailers. An independent audit demonstrates that DISH Network is in compliance with ‘do-not-call’ laws, has proper controls in place, and is well within the safe-harbor provisions of the law. We also believe that the FTC is equating merely doing business with an independent retailer to ‘causing’ or ‘assisting and facilitating’ violations by that retailer, which creates a strict liability standard that does not exist in the law and was not intended by Congress. We look forward to resolving these differences of opinion through the judicial process,” Dish said in response to the federal law suit.
The government is seeking a permanent injunction against Dish Network that prohibits the satellite TV provider from violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), either directly or through its authorized dealers; requires Dish Network to monitor and enforce its authorized dealers’ compliance with the TSR; and prohibits Dish Network from assisting and facilitating violations. The government also seeks civil penalties for Dish’s violations.
“Since the National Do Not Call Registry was launched, it has been enormously effective at protecting millions of Americans from unwanted telemarketing calls at home,” said Eileen Harrington, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But 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. If your authorized dealers call consumers whose numbers are on the Registry, you’re breaking the law. Either way, we will protect the privacy of American consumers and we will hold you accountable,” she said.
The lawsuit is being brought jointly by the FTC and US Department of Justice with the Attorneys General of California, Illinois, Ohio, and North Carolina as co-plaintiffs.