Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

FTC settles Do-Not-Call complaint with DirecTV

Out-Law News | 14 Dec 2005 | 12:17 pm | 1 min. read

The US Federal Trade Commission yesterday announced a settlement with DirecTV over charges that telemarketers working for the satellite TV provider had been calling US consumers in violation of the rules of the National Do-Not-Call Registry.

DirecTV will pay $5,335,000 to settle the charges – the largest civil penalty the FTC has ever announced in a case enforcing any consumer protection law.

In a complaint filed with a Los Angeles District Court, the FTC alleged that five telemarketing firms, calling on behalf of DirecTV, contacted consumers registered with the National Do-Not-Call Registry. This is a body, similar to the UK's Telephone Preference Service, which gives consumers the right to opt-out of receiving telemarketing calls at home.

In addition, the complaint alleges that one of the telemarketers – Global Satellite – directly or through another entity, abandoned calls to consumers by failing to put a live sales representative on the line within two seconds after the called consumer completes his or her greeting, in breach of the Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR).

Finally, the complaint alleges that DirecTV provided substantial assistance and support to Global Satellite, even though it knew or consciously avoided knowing, that Global Satellite was violating the Do-Not-Call provisions of the TSR.

All five telemarketers, six principals of those firms and DirecTV are named in the complaint.

The FTC announced yesterday that it has settled the charges with DirecTV, two of the telemarketing firms – Communications Concepts and American Communications of the Triad – and their principals, although the settlement still has to be approved by the Court. None of the defendants have admitted breaching any rules.

FTC action against three other firms – DRD Inc, trading as Power Direct, Nomrah Records, trading as Direct Activation and Global Satellite, trading as Mavcomm – and their principals is continuing.

“This multimillion dollar penalty drives home a simple point: Sellers are on the hook for calls placed on their behalf,” said FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras. “The Do-Not-Call Rule applies to all players in the marketing chain, including retailers and their telemarketers.”