The Federal Trade Commission has filed suit against Dish Network for placing telemarketing calls to millions of US residents who had previously requested that the satellite provider stop contacting them. If true, such calls would violate provisions of the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule. Those regulations make clear that even if a consumer is not on the federal Do Not Call Registry, telemarketers are prohibited from making contact again if the consumer asks to be added to a company's individual do-not-call list.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz didn't mince words in outlining the reasons for the suit, saying, "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." The FTC's complaint alleges that Dish was ignoring do-not-call requests as early as September 2007. As for potential penalties, the agency feels it has authorization to collect up to $11,000 for each TSR violation on or before February 9th, 2009, and up to $16,000 for each violation thereafter. From the sounds of it, Dish could quickly find itself facing an exorbitant fee.

Worse still, today's move by the FTC isn't Dish's first run-in with the government: the company is already entrenched in litigation with the Department of Justice, which is suing the company for allegedly violating the aforementioned National Do Not Call list.