Dish Network Telemarketing Companies Fined $95,000 for Ignoring Federal Do-Not-Call List

Two telemarketing companies that sell Dish Network Corp.'s satellite TV services have agreed to pay fines of $95,000 for ignoring the federal do-not-call list and making customers listen to recordings for too long, federal regulators said Tuesday.

Planet Earth Satellite Inc., of Phoenix, Ariz., and its president have been charged with calling consumers whose phone numbers are on the National Do Not Call Registry.

Star Satellite LLC, based in Provo, Utah, was accused of making telemarketing calls that failed to connect consumers to a live telemarketer within two seconds after consumers answer the call.

The FTC said the company, its president and other defendants were "unjustly enriched" by these "unlawful practices."

The FTC said the two-second rule was implemented after concerns by consumers, especially women and the elderly, that they were being stalked when they picked up the phone and no one answered.

Calls to Thomas Teichert, Planet Earth's president, and to the attorney for Star Satellite were not immediately returned.

The FTC initially sought a $7 million settlement from Planet Earth and $4.37 million from Star Satellite.

Based on the companies' ability to pay, the amounts were reduced to $20,000 and $75,000 respectively. But the larger amounts will be due if the companies are found to have misled federal regulators about their financial condition.