The Justice Department has filed suit against DISH Network charging it with multiple violations of its Do Not Call Registry and seeking civil penalties.
That came at the request of the Federal Trade Commission, which said that DISH directly and through dealers had called consumers on the do-not-call list. In addition, DISH was charged with violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule by supporting dealer robo-calls.
The suit was joined by the attorneys general of California, Ohio, Illinois and North Carolina.
The government wants DISH to stop the robo-calls and monitor its dealers for compliance as well as civil penalties.
Justice filed suit against two DISH dealers for the same conduct in 2008. They wound up settling for $95,000.
Wednesday's complaints were filed against DISH, as well as dealers Vision Quest, LLC, and its principal Brian K. Cavett; and New Edge Satellite Inc., and its principal, Derek LaVictor.
DISH was preparing a response at press time.
"We respectfully disagree with the allegations made today by the Federal Trade Commission and certain states that DISH Network has engaged in ‘do-not-call' violations and that DISH Network should be held responsible for ‘do-not-call' violations by independent retailers, said the company in a statement. "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. We also believe that the FTC is equating merely doing business with an independent retailer to ‘causing' or ‘assisting and facilitating' violations by that retailer, which creates a strict liability standard that does not exist in the law and was not intended by Congress. We look forward to resolving these differences of opinion through the judicial process."