Dish Network, the US direct-to-home satellite television provider, has been slapped with penalties totaling USD280mn in response to ‘millions and millions’ of telemarketing violations. In a press release, the US Department of Justice described the fine as the ‘largest-ever telemarketing penalty’ in US history.
Dish Network repeatedly invaded the privacy of consumers by violating the US Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, which prohibits telemarketing calls to phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough of the Central District of Illinois found that not only had Dish Network violated the do not call laws, but that it knew or should have known that its actions were illegal.
Judge Myerscough also found that Dish Network was liable for telemarketing violations by ‘retailers’, call centers staffed with employees who used any possible means to sell Dish Network programming. Her opinion stated that:
Dish’s reckless decision to use anyone with a call center without any vetting or meaningful supervision demonstrates a disregard for the consuming public
She also noted that the large penalty was appropriate because:
Dish caused millions and millions of violations of the Do Not Call Laws, and Dish has minimized the significance of its own errors in direct telemarketing and steadfastly denied any responsibility for the actions of its [retailers]. The injury to consumers, the disregard for the law, and the steadfast refusal to accept responsibility require a significant and substantial monetary award.