Dish Network’s violation of the “Do Not Call” registry included 57,606,609 illegal telemarketing calls. A federal judge in Illinois has ruled that the satellite TV company Dish Network is liable, and it all began because consumers had enough of getting telemarketing calls from Dish. According to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report on Jan. 21, one of those consumers who brought upon the lawsuit was a woman who worked at night and who was on the Do Not Call list, but was still pestered by Dish’s telemarketing calls.
For most people, the first line of defense (after being put on the Do Not Call list) is simply not answering the phone. For the North Carolina woman who helped initiate the lawsuit against Dish, ignoring the phone was not an option since her husband has a serious medical condition.
After having had enough of unwanted telemarketing calls, the woman described in the FTC report went from being a victim to taking action. “After getting repeated calls about Dish service, she took steps to put an end to the annoyance. She listened to the whole recorded sale pitch, hoping a live person would pick up so she could beg them to stop calling. When she finally got somebody on the line, she told them to put her on their Do Not Call list. She started sleeping on the couch with pencil and paper in hand so she could document the calls when they woke her up. Ultimately, she filed two complaints with her State AG.”
The woman’s complaints against Dish Network’s illegal telemarketing calls, along with the complaints of other consumers, led to the ongoing case file against Dish. The Department of Justice is pursuing the case on behalf of the FTC and in cooperation with the states of California, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio.
The complaint against Dish alleges that the satellite TV company violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, related rules, and state telemarketing laws. On its website, Dish offers customers the chance to get off its sales-call lists. However, as the North Carolina woman and the FTC discovered, that actually never happened.
One of the loop holes that companies like Dish Network might use to get around the Do Not Call regulation is pretending to call someone because of service issues, billing, or similar topics related to one’s service. However, the FTC informs that a company has to comply if a person says that they do not want to be called anymore. The Illinois judge ruled that Dish was responsible for 1,043,595 of those types of illegal calls.
In addition to fake “service calls” being illegal, so are abandoned calls. If you run out of your shower or drop everything to answer a phone call just to find out that nobody is on the other line – abandoned calls are also illegal.
“Under the Telemarketing Sales Rule, companies that place a call have to connect people to a sales rep within two seconds after the consumer finishes saying hello. The Court found Dish liable both for calls it abandoned and for abandoned calls by its retailers.”
“The Court found Dish responsible for 49,738,073 abandoned calls.”
The Dish Network Do Not Call lawsuit – initiated by consumers who have had enough of illegal telemarketing calls – is ongoing and a trial is set for July in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. Penalties for violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule can be up to $16,000 for each instance. “Some of the penalties attached to these types of telemarketing violations can also include payments to consumers who got the unwanted calls.” The Federal Trade Commission National Do Not Call Registry allows consumers to register their home or mobile phone number — and to file a complaint.