Called by Dish? You may receive $1,200 in a legal award

Violating the Do Not Call Registry is proving expensive for at least one company.

A federal judge in North Carolina has tripled the award for more than 50,000 people on the Do Not Call Registry who were contacted by Dish Network (DISH), setting up a potential $60 million payout. Under her ruling, people on the registry who were called by Dish could receive $1,200 each, up from the $400 per-person award set by a jury in January. 

In her decision, Judge Catherine C. Eagles Eagles said Dish and its agent, Satellite Systems Network, willfully and knowingly violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The judge called the decision "appropriate to deter Dish and to give suitable weight to the seriousness and scope of the violations Dish committed."

In January, Dish Network said it was considering an appeal of the jury's decision in the class-action lawsuit.

The case marked one of the first jury verdicts in a class-action lawsuit alleging Do Not Call violations, according to the National Law Review

The Federal Trade Commission created the Do Not Call registry in 2003 to put a halt to unwanted phone solicitations, yet many Americans report being bombarded with more unsolicited calls than ever. More than 29 billion robocalls bombarded Americans last year, or roughly 90 robocalls for every man, woman and child.

While the Do Not Call registry certainly keeps some consumers from receiving unwanted calls, many telemarketers decide violating the law is worth the risk. Others are located overseas, where it's harder for the U.S. government to track them down and prosecute them.

Satellite Systems Network, a Dish dealer, made the calls on Dish's behalf, although Dish argued that it wasn't responsible for their actions, according to the National Law Journal. The settlement covers people who received telemarketing calls between May 1, 2010 and August 1, 2011, from Satellite Systems Network on behalf of Dish. Consumers must have also been on the Do Not Call list for 30 days before receiving the calls, or have been on the internal do-not-call lists of either company. 

More information on the class-action lawsuit can be found here