On June 5, 2017, an Illinois federal court ordered satellite television provider Dish Network LLC (“Dish”) to pay a record $280 million in civil penalties for violations of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) and state law. In its complaint, the FTC alleged that Dish initiated, or caused a telemarketer to initiate, outbound telephone calls to phone numbers listed on the Do Not Call Registry, in violation of the TSR. The complaint further alleged that Dish violated the TSR’s prohibition on abandoned calls and assisted and facilitated telemarketers when it knew or consciously avoided knowing that telemarketers were breaking the law. Continue Reading Federal Court Imposes Record Fine on TV Provider for Do Not Call Violations
On November 1, 2016, the FTC announced that a group of entities known as the Consumer Education Group (“CEG”) settled FTC charges that, between late 2013 and 2015, it made millions of telemarketing calls, including pre-recorded robocalls, to consumers on the national Do Not Call (“DNC”) Registry, in violation of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”). Continue Reading FTC Announces Settlement Over Illegal Telemarketing Calls
On June 1, 2016, a new do-not-call list (the “BLOCTEL list”) was implemented in France. French residents who do not wish to receive marketing phone calls may register their landline or mobile phone number online at www.bloctel.gouv.fr.
On October 2, 2015, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced that her office settled a lawsuit against home design website, Houzz Inc. (“Houzz”). Houzz was charged with secretly recording incoming and outgoing telephone calls for training and quality assurance purposes without notifying its customers, employees or call recipients, in violation of California eavesdropping and wiretapping laws. As part of the settlement, the Attorney General required Houzz to destroy the recordings, pay a fine of $175,000 and hire a Chief Privacy Officer to supervise its compliance with privacy laws and conduct privacy risk evaluations to assess Houzz’s privacy practices. This is the first time that the Attorney General has required the hiring of a Chief Privacy Officer as part of a settlement.
On September 25, 2015, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (the “ICO”) issued a fine of £200,000 (approximately $303,000) to Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd. (“HELM”) for making a large number of automated marketing calls in violation of the UK’s direct marketing laws. This is the largest fine that the ICO has issued to date in connection with automated marketing calls.
On January 21, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission announced that the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois granted partial summary judgment on December 12, 2014, to the federal government in its action against Dish Network LLC (“Dish”), alleging that Dish violated certain aspects of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”) that restrict placing calls to numbers on the National Do-Not-Call Registry and an entity’s internal Do-Not-Call list. The federal government is joined in the action against Dish by four state attorneys general alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and certain state laws related to telemarketing.
On October 24, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it intends to impose a $10 million fine on TerraCom, Inc. (“TerraCom”) and YourTel America, Inc. (“YourTel”) for violating privacy laws relating to their customers’ personal information. This announcement marks the FCC’s first enforcement action in the data security arena as well as its largest privacy action to date.
The UK government has announced proposals designed to make it easier for the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) to fine companies responsible for nuisance calls and text messages. Under the proposals, the current maximum fine of £500,000 would remain unchanged, but the threshold for imposing fines would be lowered.