A plaintiff has filed suit against DISH Network LLC alleging that the company made more than a dozen unsolicited telemarketing phone calls in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by using authorized retailers acting on its behalf.
“Over the past four years, DISH and/or its retailers or authorized agents have engaged in widespread advertising via unsolicited prerecorded telemarketing calls and auto-dialer use in violation of the TCPA” to both residential phone numbers and cell phones, according to the complaint.
Filed in Colorado federal court, the suit seeks to certify a nationwide class. According to the complaint, the plaintiff received 16 prerecorded and live calls from DISH representatives between January 2006 and March 2009, even after he placed his phone number on both the company’s internal and the federal Do Not Call list. When he received live calls, he repeatedly requested that they stop, the suit contends.
The plaintiff argued that the satellite television programming company knew or should have known its retailers were engaging in telemarking via auto-dialer and/or prerecorded messages to consumers, including those who were listed on the Do Not Call registry.
The complaint emphasizes that a person or entity can be liable under the TCPA “for calls made on its behalf, even if the person or entity does not directly place the calls.”
The suit seeks injunctive relief to stop the calls as well as damages – $500 for negligent violations and $1,500 for knowing violations of the TCPA.
To read the complaint in Donaca v. DISH Network LLC, click here.
Why it matters: DISH is no stranger to such allegations. It reached a settlement agreement with 48 state attorneys general in 2009 over unlawful telemarketing and was named in a federal lawsuit the same year by the Federal Trade Commission for making telemarketing calls to numbers on the Do Not Call list. The agency, in conjunction with attorneys general from California, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio, alleged that DISH had been making such calls since 2003. In an argument that it could deploy in the civil suit, DISH said at the time that it had complied with the law and should not be held responsible for violations by independent retailers. “An independent audit demonstrates that DISH Network is in compliance with ‘do-not-call’ laws, has proper controls in place, and is well within the safe-harbor provisions of the law,” the Colorado-based company said.