DirecTV telemarketers to pay $100,000 for do-not-call violations

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The Federal Trade Commission has entered into court settlements with the final defendants charged with violating the Do Not Call provisions of the Telemarketing Sales Rule by calling consumers whose numbers were on the Do Not Call Registry in an attempt to sell them DirecTV satellite television subscriptions.

The orders require the defendants to pay a total of $100,000 in penalties and bar them from future TSR violations. The final judgments and orders were filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on the FTC's behalf on Dec. 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division.

In December 2005, the FTC charged El Segundo, CA-based DirecTV and other defendants that telemarketed on DirecTV's behalf with violating the DNC Rule and the TSR by calling consumers, despite the fact that their numbers were on the National DNC Registry.

In settling the charges, DirecTV paid $5.3 million, representing the largest-ever DNC penalty obtained by the Commission.

The final court orders settle the FTC's charges against the following defendants: D.R.D. Inc., also d/b/a Power Direct; Daniel R. Delfino, individually and as an officer of D.R.D.; Global Satellite LLC., also d/b/a Mavcomm; William King, individually and as an officer of Global Satellite; and Michael Gleason, individually and as an officer of Global Satellite.

According to the FTC, the D.R.D. and Global Satellite defendants violated the DNC provisions of the TSR by telemarketing DirecTV subscriptions on behalf of DirecTV to consumers whose numbers are on the National DNC Registry. Defendant Global Satellite also violated the TSR by using pre-recorded telemarketing messages that resulted in abandoned calls.

Under the TSR, each abandoned call is a violation of the rule if not connected to a live operator within two seconds after the consumer answers.

In other news, operators who promised Spanish-speaking consumers "designer" merchandise but delivered knock-offs and outdated electronics will give up approximately $235,000 to settle FTC charges that their scam violated federal laws including the DNC Rule.

The telemarketers called Spanish-speaking customers, telling them they had been selected to get a valuable "prize," such as a laptop or digital video camera. They told consumers that to get the prize, they would have to purchase "designer" merchandise, such as watches and fragrances. The FTC alleged that all consumers received for their payment of $213 to $250 were cheap knock-offs and outdated electronics.

The FTC also charged that the operation called telephone numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.

The settlement with Del Sol, LLC its principal, Fernando Gonzalez Lopez, prohibits them from making misrepresentations in the advertising or sale of any product or service and prohibits them from violating any provision of the Telemarketing Sales Rule, including the FTC's DNC Rule.

A $1.6 million judgment against the defendants is suspended based on their inability to pay. They will give up approximately $235,000. If it is found that the defendants misrepresented their financial status, then they will be liable for the full amount.

The stipulated final order for permanent injunction was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Dec 5.

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