By: Nathaniel Wadsworth, Partner / Attorney, The Law Offices of Rowley Chapman & Barney, LTD.

December 28, 2015 7:07 am EST
Satellite Dish

The football season is well under way, the television season is in full swing, and presidential debates are attracting viewers in record numbers. Admit it, you love watching TV. And, if you have a commercial office or store somewhere, you might think it would be a good idea to set up some TV’s in your lobby to make your customers’ experience more enjoyable and hopefully increase your revenue. But is a TV by itself enough? Maybe you’re thinking that what you really need to attract people is a full channel lineup, covering things like sports, cooking competitions and zombie shows. If only it didn’t cost so much for cable or a satellite service. Actually, come to think of it, you do have an extra receiver box for your satellite service provider at home. You could save a lot of money by just taking that and hooking it up to a TV at the office. Brilliant, right? Hold the phone. Before doing that, consider this advice: Don’t do it!

Your agreement with your service provider almost certainly prohibits you from using the services at any location but your house. And don’t think you can easily get away with it. Satellite TV service providers are known to send out “secret shoppers” to investigate violations of their service agreements. They may come into your salon pretending to be interested in getting a manicure, when really they are wearing a hidden camera to document the fact that you are showing their programming at a location when you have no right to. They will examine the receiver box and remote to make sure the equipment is connected with their services. Then they will leave (probably without buying anything from you). Later, you will receive in the mail a letter demanding that you cease and desist showing the programming and also that you pay a few thousand dollars in order to avoid going to court. In cases such as this, federal laws provide for statutory damages of $1000 to $10,000 for a violation and potential “enhancement damages” of up to $100,000. There is no way you can afford this (or if you can, there is no way you want to).

As in almost all situations, you will be much better off if just follow the law from the beginning. Just pay for the commercial account for the satellite services. Then you and your customers can enjoy watching television at your office without you having to live in fear.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s). Core Compass’s Terms Of Use applies.

About the author

Nathaniel Wadsworth is a partner with Rowley Chapman & Barney in Mesa, Arizona.  Mr. Wadsworth practices principally in the areas of commercial litigation and commercial transactions.  He can be contacted by email at or by phone at (480) 833-1113.

satellite TV servicescommercial accountsservices theft
Editor's Selection

Business Taxes

HRAs Are Back

In 2017, Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) will be available to employers with fewer than 50 full-time-equivalent employees and are tax-free as long as employees also have health insurance.

Intelligent Investing

Become the Landlord of Your Stocks

If you are able to understand the principal concepts of how to become an effective landlord of real estate, then applying the same principles on how to become an effective landlord of your stock portfolio is highly achievable.

Intelligent Investing

The Grand Divorce

How does total domination in a sector of the economy play out for the shareholders of the leading company involved?

Personal Taxes

Caution With S Corporation Losses

The Tax Code allows you to deduct losses to the extent you have money invested in the S. If you try to deduct beyond that threshhold and it isn't your personal money, expect problems with the IRS.

Intelligent Investing

Net Neutrality or Level Playing Field

“Net Neutrality” is a worthy concept in theory, but the loss of its most powerful supporter and bureaucrat will significantly change the landscape of internet access and concentration issues in more traditional media outlets.