Deep Dish Trouble: Dish Network Completely Fails Telemarketing 101
How many National Do Not Call List violations does it take to get yourself a class-action lawsuit? The magic number would appear to be 57,606,609—or at least it is in the case of "United States of America, and the States of California, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio v. Dish Network, L.L.C.," currently working its way towards a verdict.
It would seem that Dish Network's telemarketing campaign was just a bit too forward-facing; or rather, their automation software might have been having a bad day. Or a lot of bad days. Customers who wanted to be removed from Dish Network's calling list were told that they had been—only to be hounded by even more calls. But behind a massive statistic like 57 million, there are individuals, and some of the personal testimonies in the FTC's case are just harrowing. One FTC report details one woman's struggle:
"One consumer works the night shift at a North Carolina hotel. Turning the phone off when she tries to sleep during the day isn't an option. Her husband has a serious medical condition and she needs to be available in case of emergency. After getting repeated calls about Dish service, she took steps to put an end to the annoyance. She listened to the whole recorded sale pitch, hoping a live person would pick up so she could beg them to stop calling. When she finally got somebody on the line, she told them to put her on their Do Not Call list. She started sleeping on the couch with pencil and paper in hand so she could document the calls when they woke her up. Ultimately, she filed two complaints with her State AG. Dish responded that she probably already was on the company's entity-specific Do Not Call list, but she would be added "in an abundance of caution." But despite all that, the calls kept coming—and according to the government's motion, she was never put on the entity-specific list."
And with the FCC's penalty for violating the Do Not Call List sitting pretty at up to $16,000 per call, it looks like Dish will most likely be learning a very pricey lesson on how to treat its customers. "I wasn't the one doing the calling!" is no excuse, either. The law makes sure of that. Marketers everywhere should be reminded to keep a watchful eye on any subcontractors working on their campaigns, to avoid similar catastrophes.