News

DirecTV, Comcast Settle Call Suit

4/18/2009 2:00 AM Eastern

To settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department alleging the companies had violated the “do not call” provisions of the Telemarketing Sales Rule, DirecTV has agreed to pay $2.31 million and Comcast $900,000.

A DirecTV telemarketer will pay an additional $115,000.

DirecTV was settling charges that by violating the federal rule, it was also violating a 2005 court order barring it from such conduct. DirecTV had paid $5.3 million to settle the previous alleged do not call violation.

Both Comcast and DirecTV are prohibited from future violations by the agreement. Both companies had been accused of calling people who had specifically asked the companies not to call them again, said Federal Trade Commission 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,” he said. “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 called again after it had been specifically asked not to.

The FTC still has a complaint outstanding against Dish Network and two of its telemarketers for do not call violations.

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