Two authorized dealers of the satellite television provider Dish Network, formerly known as EchoStar, have agreed to settle charges that they violated the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule by calling consumers whose numbers are on the Do Not Call Registry.
At the FTC's request, the U.S. Department of Justice filed complaints against the dealers in March of this year, and at the same time charged Dish Network itself with violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule, both on its own and through its authorized dealers. The lawsuit against Dish Network is still in litigation.
Under two separate agreed-upon court orders announced, the Dish Network dealers and their owners are prohibited from calling any phone number on the Do Not Call Registry and from violating any other provision of the Telemarketing Sales Rule. The settlement orders also include monitoring terms to ensure the companies' compliance.
The final court orders are against Vision Quest, LLC, and its principal Brian K. Cavett, and against New Edge Satellite, Inc., and its principal Derek LaVictor. The court orders impose a $690,000 civil penalty against Vision Quest and Cavett, and a $570,000 civil penalty against New Edge Satellite and LaVictor.
In the summer of 2008, the DOJ also filed complaints against and settlements with two other Dish Network dealers, Planet Earth Satellite, Inc., and Star Satellite, LLC, as well as their principals, for Telemarketing Sales Rule violations.
The FTC's National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry not only contains more than 189 million telephone numbers from consumers who do not want to be contacted by telemarketers, but helps telemarketers screen out consumers who do not want to be contacted, making them more efficient as well.
There are several exemptions to the Registry. The FTC's statutory authority prevents it from reaching political calls or calls from non-profits and charities. Also, calls from legitimate "survey" organizations are not covered because they are not offering to "sell" anything.
In addition, calls are permitted under an "established business relationship." This includes calls from companies with which you have done or sought to do business. Specifically, a company can call you up to 18 months after you last did business with it; a company can contact you up to three months after you have inquired about something it sells.