Do Not Call fines slashed from $11M to $95,000 for Dish Network tele-violators

The Federal Trade Commission today said two companies telemarketing Dish Network programming have agreed to pay a total of $95,000 for violating rules of the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry. What's unfortunate here is that the FTC had judgments in place for over $11 million but both companies said they couldn't pay those settlements so the fines and restitution were significantly reduced.

The court orders, filed by the US Department of Justice on the FTC said Planet Earth and its president violated the DNC Rules by illegally calling consumers whose phone numbers are on the DNC Registry. The complaint against Star Satellite charges that the defendants violated the Do Not Call provisions of the Commission's Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) by abandoning outbound telemarketing calls to consumers, because they failed to connect the call to a live telemarketer within two seconds after a consumer answers. The complaint also alleges that the company, its president, and additional defendants made money from unlawful practices.

The court orders entered against the defendants settle the Commission's charges in both cases. The order against the Planet Earth and Star defendants prohibits them from calling consumers whose phone numbers are on the DNC Registry. The order also prohibits the defendants from violating other provisions of the Commission's Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and includes monitoring terms to ensure their compliance.

The FTC noted that because of their inability to pay more, the order required the Planet Earth defendants to pay $20,000 as a civil penalty, and suspends a judgment of more than $7 million.

A judgment of $4.37 million against the Star Satellite was also suspended in lieu of a $56,665 payment. The additional defendants bring Star's payments to $75,000. As the FTC always states in these case: If the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition, the entire amount will become due.

The FTC last week touted the over-arching success of the DNC registry saying with over 145,000  million registered telephone numbers, 22 successful court cases against violators, $21 million in fees in the bank and an almost 70% approval rating, the DNC has been a blessing for consumers.

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