SPOKANE – Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced settlements with two Spokane-based corporations accused of violating telemarketing and charity laws.
“Commercial telemarketers are prohibited from using automatic dialing and announcing devices in Washington and from calling consumers who have registered with the national Do Not Call list,” McKenna said. “A telemarketer whose primary goal is to sell a product or service is not exempt from those regulations simply because a portion of the sales revenue is used for charitable purposes.”
The Attorney General’s Office reached agreements with Regal Satellite, a Spokane-based retailer of satellite television and radio service, and The Cancer Relief Fund. Brady K. Nelson, of Veradale, owns Regal Satellite. Nelson also owns The Cancer Relief Fund with Ryan Nelson and Danna Nelson.
Under the settlements filed last week in Spokane County Superior Court, Regal Satellite and Brady Nelson agreed to pay $25,000 in civil penalties, with all but $5,000 suspended if they comply with the settlement terms. They must also pay $12,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.
The Cancer Relief Fund and the Nelsons agreed to pay $5,000 in civil penalties, suspended on condition they comply with the settlement terms, and $2,500 in attorneys’ fees and costs.
The agreements do not include a finding or admission of wrongdoing.
The Attorney General’s Office contacted Regal Satellite last spring after receiving complaints from consumers who said they were contacted by the company even through they are listed on the Do Not Call registry.
The Nelsons formed The Cancer Relief Fund in March 2006, shortly before the Attorney General’s Office began to receive complaints. The organization is also known as Flame of Hope Cancer Relief Fund and Flame of Life Cancer Relief Fund.
“Regal Satellite claimed that they had the right to contact people on the Do Not Call registry and to use automatic dialing and announcing devices because the company donated $5 of each sale to The Cancer Relief Fund,” said Senior Counsel Shannon Smith, of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. “They also informed consumers that the Attorney General’s Office had authorized their activities because Regal Satellite is associated with a charity. Of course, we did not give that consent.”
The Attorney General’s Office accused Regal Satellite of misrepresentations and of soliciting donations without registering as a commercial co-venturer. The Cancer Relief Fund was accused of soliciting donations without registering with the state Secretary of State’s Office, as required.
The settlements prohibit Regal Satellite from using automatic dialing and announcing devices for commercial purposes, soliciting anyone on the Do Not Call registry and making repeat calls to anyone who requests no further solicitations. The company must not represent it is associated with a charity unless it has registered as a commercial fundraiser or co-venturer. If Regal Satellite raises funds for any charity operated by the Nelsons, it must disclose that relationship to consumers.
The Cancer Relief Fund is prohibited from seeking donations unless it has registered with the Secretary of State’s office and from indicating that it has IRS tax-exempt status unless that status has been granted.
Regal Satellite Complaint
Regal Satellite Consent Decree
The Cancer Relief Fund Complaint
The Cancer Relief Fund Consent Decree
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Contacts: Kristin Alexander, Public Information Officer, (206) 464-6432
Shannon Smith, Senior Counsel, (206) 389-3996