FTC Fines DirecTV

NEW YORK Satellite television provider DirecTV has been hit with a $5.3 million fine by the Federal Trade Commission for violating the FTC’s “Do Not Call” telemarketing regulations. This is the largest civil penalty the FTC has ever disclosed in a case enforcing any consumer protection law.

The complaint names as defendants DirecTV, five firms that telemarketed on its behalf, and six principals of those telemarketing firms.

“This multimillion dollar penalty drives home a simple point: Sellers are on the hook for calls placed on their behalf,” said FTC chair Deborah Platt Majoras, in a statement. “The ‘Do Not Call’ rule applies to all players in the marketing chain, including retailers and their telemarketers.”

The complaint charges DirecTV with knowingly contacting consumers on the DNC list, abandoning calls by failing to put a live representative on the line within two seconds of the consumer answering the call, and providing assistance to telemarketer Global Satellite, even though DirecTV knew Global was violating the DNC law.

Along with Global, the complaint also names telemarketers DRD Inc., Nomrah Direct, Communications Concepts and American Communications of the Triad.

The proposed settlements, if adopted by the court, would settle the FTC’s complaint and end its litigation against the case’s defendants.

—Brandweek staff report