The Dish Network allegedly violated laws regarding the national Do Not Call Registry by helping their dealers to send automated messages to consumers, according to the Federal Trade Commission and four states.
The FTC and the states of California, Illinois, Ohio and North Carolina are suing the Dish Network for its practice of automated "robocalling." They claim that the satellite television provider assisted and supported authorized dealers in using an auto-dialer that delivered pre-recorded telemarketing messages to people whose names appear on the Do Not Call Registry.
“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,” Eileen Harrington, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a press release. “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."
Naturally, the Dish Network denied any wrong doing, saying that merely conducting business with independent sellers doesn’t equate to helping or causing them to violate the law. "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," the company said in a statement.
The government is looking for civil penalties and a permanent injunction against the Dish Network, requiring the company to monitor its authorized dealers and enforce the Telemarketing Sales Rule, which includes the Do Not Call Registry.
This isn’t the first time the Dish Network has butted heads with the FTC. Last summer, the government sued two other authorized dealers, who in turn settled for combined penalties of $95,000.