FTC, DOJ Announce Historic Civil Penalty against Dish Network
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FTC, DOJ Announce Historic Civil Penalty against Dish Network

The court ordered penalties totaling $280 million

June 9, 2017

A federal court in Illinois has issued a record civil penalty against Dish Network as the result of National Do Not Call Registry litigation.

The suit was filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as well as the states of California, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio. The court ordered penalties totaling $280 million, with $168 million awarded to the federal government, while the states receive the remainder. The judgement is the largest civil penalty ever obtained for a violation of the FTC Act.

The court found Dish liable for millions of calls that violated the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) -- including National Do Not Call Registry, entity-specific, and abandoned-call violations -- the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and state law.

"The outcome of this case shows companies will pay a hefty price for violating consumers' privacy with unwanted calls," said Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Acting FTC Chairman. "This is a great result for consumers, and I am grateful to FTC staff for their years of tenacious work investigating and developing this case. We and our DOJ and state partners will continue to bring enforcement actions against Do Not Call violators."

"The National Do Not Call Registry is a popular federal program for the public to reduce the number of unwanted sales calls," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department's Civil Division. "This case demonstrates the Department of Justice's commitment to smart enforcement of consumer protection laws, and sends a clear message to businesses that they must comply with the Do Not Call rules."

The complaint claims that Dish initiated, or caused a telemarketer to initiate, outbound telephone calls to phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, a practice that is in violation of the TSR.

In awarding the civil penalty amount, the court found that Dish's culpability for the violations was significant.

The court also awarded injunctive relief, with provisions spelled out in the permanent injunction designed to protect consumers from future harm.