FTC to Dish: Do Not Call Means Do Not Call

Dish stands by its telemarketing practices

The Federal Trade Commission is suing Dish Network, alleging the satellite TV provider called millions of consumers after they asked telemarketers not to call them again.

The complaint, filed Aug. 22 in the U.S. District Court for the central district of Illinois in Springfield, alleges that since September 2007, Dish Network violated the FTC's telemarketing sales rule when it called millions of people who stated they didn't want to get calls from the company. The FTC is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent further violations, monetary civil penalties and legal expenses.

Getting unwanted phone calls is high on the list of consumer complaints, making enforcement of the Do Not Call Rules a top priority of the FTC. 

"It is particularly disappointing when a well-established, nationally known company, which ought to know better, appears to have flagrantly and illegally made millions of invasive calls to Americans who specifically told Dish Network to leave them alone," said FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz.

Dish said in a statement that the lawsuit is without merit and that it would defend against the suit: "We manage our marketing practices to best-in-class standards. In fact, our policies have been certified by an independent, third-party industry expert after an extensive audit."

The lawsuit filed Wednesday is the second telemarketing lawsuit against Dish. The Department of Justice, working on behalf of the FTC, is litigating a 2009 case charging Dish with calling consumers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.