FTC dishes it out to telemarketers


Two companies which were trying to help satellite MVPD Dish Network gain subscribers have run afoul of the Do Not Call Registry, and both were hit with hefty FTC fines. However, the amount Planet Earth Satellite and Star Satellite will have to pay is far below the number the FTC cited in its original charge.

Planet Earth was charged with making marketing calls to DNC-registered numbers. The FTC hit it with a whopping $7M fine, but reduced in to $20K based on the company’s ability to pay. Star Satellite was cited for abandoning calls – specifically, not getting a live voice onto an automatically-dialed call within two seconds – and was fined $4.37M, of which it will only have to pay $75K altogether. Both companies are liable for more if the FTC finds they were less than forthcoming in their financial claims.

RBR/TVBR observation: We have recently moved and changed home phones, and as a result briefly found ourselves back in the group of Americans who can almost expect dinner to be interrupted, not to mention receiving unwelcome interruptions at almost any time. Our simple rule – if any company calls us unsolicited, on the off chance we’re in the market for whatever it’s selling, we’ll go to almost any length to give our business to the competition so as not to reward the telephone home invaders. So the way we see this particular case is that even though Dish Network did nothing and is not being charged with anything by the FTC, we will still blame Dish since the calls were made on Dish’s behalf. If we were thinking about subscribing, we’d choose DirecTV, cable or a telco instead of using Dish. So no matter what your business, if you’re farming out your marketing to a telemarketer, we believe it’s in your best interest to make sure they’re playing by the DNC book, because you could ultimately be the loser.