FTC AND STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL ALLEGE TELEMARKETING VIOLATIONS
On March 25, 2009, at the request of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit based on various violations of federal and state telemarketing laws against Dish Network and two telemarketers working on its behalf. The Attorneys General of California, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio joined with the United States in its suit against Dish Network.
The United States alleged that Dish Network, directly or through its telemarketers, violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”) by initiating outbound calls to persons’ telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry and by failing to connect outbound calls to a sales representative within two seconds of the call having been answered. The state Attorneys General alleged that Dish Network, directly or through third parties acting on its behalf, violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) by placing telemarketing solicitation calls to consumers who were registered with the National Do Not Call Registry and by using an artificial or prerecorded voice to deliver a message without the consent of the called party.
In addition, the Attorneys General of California, North Carolina and Ohio alleged state law violations based on calls to consumers who were registered with the National Do Not Call Registry. The Attorneys General of California, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio alleged state law violations based on the use of prerecorded messages. And the Ohio Attorney General alleged that Dish Network committed unfair and deceptive acts or practices by acting as a telephone solicitor without having registered as a telephone solicitor in Ohio.
The United States seeks civil penalties for every violation of the TSR as well as a permanent injunction to prevent future violations. The state Attorneys General seek damages for each violation of the TCPA, civil penalties for violations of state law, and permanent injunctions for future violations of the TCPA and state law.
The United States also filed complaints against Vision Quest and New Edge Satellite, both telemarketers acting on behalf of Dish Network, for initiating outbound telephone calls to persons registered with the National Do Not Call Registry in violation of the TSR. In these complaints, the United States also seeks civil penalties for every TSR violation and a permanent injunction to prevent future violations.
We at Dreher Tomkies routinely advise clients on compliance with both federal and state telemarketing laws. If you are seeking guidance on compliance with these laws, we would be happy to assist you.
- Judy Scheiderer