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Dish sued by FTC over 'Do Not Call' rules

The satellite TV provider faces a lawsuit over charges that it called consumers who had asked to be taken off their call list.

People who've received unwanted sales calls from Dish Network may yet get some satisfaction.

The company is the target of a lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission alleging that it made sales calls to millions of consumers even though they had asked not to be called again.

The calls reportedly violated the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule. According to that rule, a telemarketer cannot call someone who has asked to be taken off the company's call list, even if the person is not registered with the National Do Not Call list.

The FTC's lawsuit alleges that Dish violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule by calling consumers in an attempt to sell its satellite TV sevice. Consumers received the calls directly from Dish and through the company's authorized dealers. The complaint further states that Dish made millions of sales calls since September 2007 to consumers who had previously asked not to be called.

"It is particularly disappointing when a well-established, nationally known company -- which ought to know better -- appears to have flagrantly and illegally made millions of invasive calls to Americans who specifically told Dish Network to leave them alone," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement.

The FTC is looking for Dish to put an end to the unwanted sales calls and to pay damages for the violation.

Dish is already in trouble with the government, specifically the Department of Justice. The DOJ is in the midst of another case on behalf of the FTC against the company for violating the National Do Not Call Registry and the Telemarketing Sales Rule.

Dish spokesman John Hall told the Associated Press that the company will "vigorously" defend itself against the charges and that Dish's marketing standards were "best-in-class."

Update 12:47 p.m. PT: Dish responded to CNET's inquiry with this statement:

DISH respectfully disputes the merits of the complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission. We manage our marketing practices to best-in-class standards. In fact, our policies have been certified by an independent third party industry expert after an extensive audit. Notably, the FTC was recently denied the ability to assert these same claims by a federal court in another contested matter, and we vigorously will defend ourselves against them.