Dish Network co-founder (and EVP) Jim Defranco, testifying at a trial where his company is alleged to have made millions of tele-marketing phone calls to potential clients, says Dish had no knowledge that a sub-contractor were violating State and Federal laws forbidding the actions.
The trial opened on January 26th and is likely to last some 4 weeks. The penalties for Dish could be severe if the company is found guilty. The judge in the case has already accepted that one way or another Dish made some 55 million tele-marketing calls.
The telephone abuse rules in place allow for penalties of up to $500 for each call or text made, and can be tripled if a jury finds that the calls were deliberately made. Federal law permits another tier of potential penalties, amounting to $11,000-$16,000 for each call made – which combined could end up costing Dish billions in fines and penalties.
However, other not dissimilar cases have seen fines levied but of a much lower magnitude.
Defranco told the court that its marketing sub-contractors hid their actions from the company. Dish “had no way to control the day-to-day operations” of these contractors, DeFranco said under questioning.
In his company’s defence, Defranco exhibited a video, made in a 2007, which warned suppliers that they must follow the rules regarding sales calls. “We are not flexible on this,” he stated in the corporate video.