Four states and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) are seeking up to $24 billion in fines from Dish Network after a judge ruled that the company and its contractors made more than 55 million illegal telemarketing calls using recorded messages and phoning people on do-not-call lists. The trial to decide whether Dish was aware that it was breaking the law and whether the company is responsible for calls made by its subcontractors began yesterday.
A spokesperson for Dish, which is based outside of Denver, Colorado, noted in an e-mail to Ars that “Most of the Dish calls complained about took place almost ten years ago and Dish has continued to improve its already compliant procedures.” The spokesperson added that in 2008, the satellite TV and Internet provider hired Possible Now, a company that specializes in marketing and regulatory compliance, to make sure that Dish’s marketing practices were legal. According to Dish, Possible Now gave the company a passing grade on compliance with federal regulatory rules.
However, the DOJ as well as Ohio, Illinois, California, and North Carolina say that Dish disregarded federal laws on call etiquette. US lawyers are asking for $900 million in civil penalties, and the four states are asking for $23.5 billion in fines, according to the Denver Post. “Laws against phoning people on do-not-call lists and using recorded messages allow penalties of up to $16,000 per violation,” the Post added.
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