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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > August 2017 > Protecting Consumers from Do Not Call Violations

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Protecting Consumers from Do Not Call Violations

With all the telemarketing calls you probably receive, you may wonder if there are penalties for making illegal calls. Read about a federal court ordering Dish Network to pay a record-breaking penalty for more than 82 million violations of the Do Not Call laws. 

In June, following a years-long case brought by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the federal government, and other state attorneys general, a federal court in Illinois ordered Dish Network to pay penalties totaling $280 million to the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and to the attorneys general of Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, and California. Dish Network was found liable for more than 82 million violations of the Do Not Call laws.

The states and federal government argued that Dish had violated the law by making calls to phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, calls to subscribers who had previously requested no further calls, and autodialed or prerecorded voice messages. They also alleged that Dish Network knew or consciously avoided knowing that the telemarketers it had hired were engaged in violations of the law. 

The court commented that Dish initially hired retailers “based on one factor, the ability to generate activations. Dish cared about very little else. As a result, Dish created a situation in which unscrupulous sales persons used illegal practices to sell Dish Network programming any way they could.”
Concerns about telemarketing calls are a common source of consumer complaints. If you are receiving unwanted telemarketing calls:
  • Put your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Your registration is permanent, but if your phone number changes, you must register your new phone number. Register at or by calling 888-382-1222.
  • Ask to be put on a business’s internal do not call list. In addition to the National Do Not Call Registry, telemarketers must maintain an internal list of consumers who ask them to stop calling.
  • If you do not recognize a phone number, don’t answer the call. If you have an answering machine or voicemail and the call is important, the person likely will leave a message.  By answering an unknown number, you may increase your chances of receiving additional calls because answering may signal to the caller on the other end that they have reached a live number. 
Keep in mind that while some unwanted calls may come from legitimate businesses, other calls are placed by scam artists who won’t abide by the Do Not Call laws. If your number is on the Do Not Call Registry and an unknown number is calling, there is a good chance it is scam.

Report illegal or suspicious calls to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.