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Lawyer in DISH Network telemarketing lawsuit having trouble contacting people owed

Lawyer in DISH Network telemarketing lawsuit having trouble contacting people owed. (CBS Graphic)

Thousands of people who got a telemarketing call for Dish Network in 2010 or 2011 may be able to collect $1,200 per call.

If you think that sounds too good to be true, you're not alone, because lawyers say they are having trouble convincing people to sign up to get the money they're owed from the $61 million class action lawsuit.

Deborah Turner, a Chicago resident, said, “When someone is on the Do Not Call list, it means do not call.”

But telemarketers called Turner. Salespeople for Dish Network allegedly dialed the Chicago banker 15 times in 2010 and 2011 and asked her to sign up for their satellite television service.

Turner said, “’I'm not interested in changing companies, strike me off a list and move forward.' but to continue to call, and to continue to call, and continue to call and you're getting that same information from me, 'I'm not interested in changing,' 'I'm not interested in changing,' then it became annoying.”

When she got another call recently, from a man telling her she could receive up to $1,800 through a class-action lawsuit.

Turner said, “’Uh, yeah. Right.’ Is my first thought. Right?”

Attorney John Barrett is hearing that a lot as he tries to contact a group of people who may be eligible for thousands of dollars each.

Barrett said, “Talking to them firsthand, I learned that they thought that we were A, telemarketers. Or B, trying to scam them. And trying to take their money.”

Some won't answer. Others hang up on him. That's despite the fact he did win a lawsuit against Dish Network for what a jury found was illegal telemarketing.

The jury awarded $400 for each of the 51,000 calls made in violation of the Do Not Call registry. Not only that, a judge later determined Dish, "willfully and knowingly violated" the law and tripled the damages to $1,200 per call.

Barrett said, “The evidence was that Dish Network knew what was going on. It had the ability to control. It had the ability to put an end to it. But didn't.”

Dish is appealing the ruling. The company blames an outside contractor which has since shut down and telling CBS news, "these calls violated Dish's express instructions to the contractor.”

As the appeals process plays out and turner waits for her money ...

Turner said, “I have bills to pay. I have a mortgage. I have a car note.”

Barrett is hoping more people pick up the phone to join in.

He said, “We have an obligation to be standing up on the mountaintops shouting about the result that we got in this lawsuit to try to reach the people that need to be reached.”

The lawsuit is in addition to a separate government case in which a court ordered Dish Network to pay a $280 million penalty.

Visit the Krakauer v. DISH Network, LLC Claims Administration website to look up a phone number that could be eligible.

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