L.A. To Probe Dish Net Telemarketing


The Los Angeles County Consumer Affairs Department is investigating the
source of telemarketing messages to area homes to determine if the caller is
exploiting the Adelphia Communications Corp. bankruptcy in an attempt to scare
consumers into switching to competitive technologies.

The investigation, disclosed by The Los Angeles Times last week, began
after Adelphia vice president Bill Rosendahl personally complained about the
messages to Los Angeles city attorney Rocky Delgadillo.

The city attorney -- who does not investigate consumer abuses, only
prosecutes them -- turned the Adelphia complaint over to the county agency,
according to Delgadillo's spokesman.

The calls leave pre-recorded messages on home answering machines.

One message recorded by a Multichannel News reporter said Adelphia has filed
for bankruptcy and has been involved in one of the biggest corporate accounting
scandals in U.S. history.

The message added: 'Adelphia customers are already reporting service outages
and blackouts.'

To minimize the impact on customers, the caller offered to replace cable
service with free satellite technology.

The marketer is promoting EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish Network

A call to the number provided in the message reached a full mailbox for a
company identifying itself as 'Satellite Solutions.'

But MCN could not find an address or alternate phone number for such a
company. A Dish Network spokesman told the Times several retailers that
distribute Dish use that name.

'Competition is one thing. Misleading the public is quite another,' said Ana
Garcia of the district attorney's office.

The competitor might not be violating laws by mentioning the bankruptcy or
corporate accounting problems, but the city has no record of service outages,
she said.

Adelphia officials have assured the city that the company does not intend to
reduce or change service.