Dish Settles Telemarketing Suit for $210 Million

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Dish Network has agreed to settle an 11-year-old lawsuit that found that the satellite TV service provider made millions of illegal telemarketing calls to potential customers in four states -- California, North Carolina, Ohio and Illinois -- for $210 million.

The states originally brought the suit in 2009, and in 2017 a federal court in Illinois found that Dish violated telemarketing laws by making more than 55 million pre-recorded automated calls, also known as “robo-calls,” to thousands of homes in the four states, many on the federal Do Not Call registry, to sell and promote its satellite TV services. The court had originally ruled that Dish would pay the states $280 million. 

Dish appealed that judgment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which upheld the lower court’s judgment and injunction. But the appellate court vacated the lower court’s damages and penalties award, adding that it should be recalculated. The parties agreed to resolve the remaining monetary portion of the case with today’s settlement.

As part of the settlement, the federal government will receive the bulk of the settlement ($126 million), followed by California ($39.9 million); Ohio ($17 million); North Carolina ($14 million) and Illinois ($13.04 million) 

“Unwanted telemarketing calls are a nuisance and can be an illegal invasion of privacy,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a press release. “Californians have the power to join the Do Not Call list to avoid harassing calls. Unfortunately, Dish Network flouted the rules and now they will pay.” 

A copy of the settlement, which still requires court approval, can be found here. 

Mike Farrell

Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.