DirecTV has agreed to pay $2.31 million and Comcast $900,000 to settle a suit filed by the Justice Department alleging they had violated the Do Not Call provisions of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). A DirecTV telemarketer will pay an additional $115,000.
DirecTV was settling charges that by violating the TSR, it was also violating a 2005 court order barring it from such conduct. (DirecTV had paid $5.3 million to settle a previous alleged Do Not Call violation.) Both Comcast and DirecTV are prohibited from future violations by the agreeement.
Both companies had been accused of calling people who had specifically asked the companies not to call them again, said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “What makes DIRECTV’s actions especially troubling is that it is a two-time offender: DIRECTV violated not only the FTC’s Do Not Call Rules, but also a previous federal court order barring it from exactly this type of conduct. Simply put, we won’t tolerate firms that disregard consumers’ specific requests not to be called, and we will be especially tough on companies that ignore their obligations under prior court orders.”
The FTC said Comcast had the distinction of being the first company to have a complaint against it solely for violating the so-called entity-specific Do Not Call provision, which means a company calling again after it had been specifically asked not to.
“Comcast fully supports all Do-Not-Call regulations and we are committed to preventing unwanted telemarketing calls,” said Sena Fitzmaurice, executive director, corporate communication and government affairs, for Comcast. “The FTC found our compliance with the national Registry to be 99.85% and chose not to pursue any claim against Comcast in that area. This settlement is limited to alleged calls made to persons identified on our internal do-not-call list, where our compliance percentage was at 99.74%. Both compliance percentages are greater than those reported by the FTC to Congress last year as evidencing ‘highly effective’ performance. Since the period under review, we have further strengthened our policies and procedures to prevent unwanted telemarketing calls.”