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Cross Media Hires Former FTC Lawyer

Cross Media Marketing Corp. has appointed Marc S. Roth as general counsel.

Roth, a contributor to iMarketing News, previously served as outside counsel to Cross Media while associated with New York-based law firm Brown Raysman Millstein Felder and Steiner. Prior to that, Roth served as a staff attorney with the Federal Trade Commission, specializing in advertising, marketing, consumer credit and antitrust law.

Roth takes over as general counsel with Cross Media's magazine subscription unit, Media Outsourcing Inc., which is facing FTC charges with misrepresentations and inadequate disclosures about subscription agreements and buying club memberships in its telemarketing campaigns. The FTC also charged the company with failing to fulfill cancellation and refund requests and failing to monitor sales agents.

Cross Media's telemarketers misled consumers with “free” offers that ended up costing consumers money, the FTC said. Citing Securities and Exchange Commission documents, the FTC said Cross Media's magazine subscription packages cost an average of $600.

The FTC claimed it had compiled “massive and compelling evidence” against Cross Media, including tapes of telemarketing calls in addition to written and sworn testimony by consumers. Cross Media also has said it has taped evidenced and has claimed it already has refuted some of the consumer complaints.

In addition to violations of federal law, the actions of Cross Media telemarketers violate a 1996 FTC agreement with Direct Sales International, according to the FTC. Direct Sales International became Media Outsourcing after Cross Media purchased the magazine subscription-marketing firm for $25 million in January 2000.

The FTC has requested a temporary restraining order be placed against Cross Media. A judge in U.S. District Court in Atlanta is scheduled to hold a hearing on the FTC's request on April 30.

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