Two authorized dealers of the satellite television provider Dish Network, formerly known as EchoStar, have agreed to settle charges that they violated the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule by calling consumers whose numbers are on the Do Not Call Registry.
At the FTC’s request, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed complaints against the dealers in March of this year, and at the same time charged Dish Network itself with violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule, both on its own and through its authorized dealers (see press release at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/03/echostar.shtm). The lawsuit against Dish Network is still in litigation.
Under two separate agreed-upon court orders announced today, the Dish Network dealers and their owners are prohibited from calling any phone number on the Do Not Call Registry and from violating any other provision of the Telemarketing Sales Rule. The settlement orders also include monitoring terms to ensure the companies’ compliance.
The final court orders are against Vision Quest, LLC, and its principal Brian K. Cavett, and against New Edge Satellite, Inc., and its principal Derek LaVictor. The court orders impose a $690,000 civil penalty against Vision Quest and Cavett, and a $570,000 civil penalty against New Edge Satellite and LaVictor. The penalties have been suspended because of the defendants’ inability to pay. However, the court may order the defendants to pay if it later finds that they misrepresented their financial conditions.
In the summer of 2008, on the Commission’s behalf, the DOJ also filed complaints against and settlements with two other Dish Network dealers, Planet Earth Satellite, Inc., and Star Satellite, LLC, as well as their principals, for Telemarketing Sales Rule violations (see press release at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/07/dishtm.shtm).
The Commission votes approving the stipulated final orders announced today were 4-0. Both lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The order against Vision Quest and Cavett was signed by the judge and entered by the court on August 10, 2009, and the order against New Edge Satellite and LaVictor was signed by the judge and entered by the court on August 28, 2009.
NOTE: Stipulated court orders are for settlement purposes only and do not necessarily constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. Stipulated orders have the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the stipulated orders are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,700 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.