News & Resources

Author attempts to collect from bankrupt publishing agency

Jun 16, 2011 Mike Garretson

Rebecca Eckler, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother-To-Be, recently took to Twitter in an attempt to collect $9,000 in debt owed from her now - defunct publishing company. According to Forbes, publishing house Key Porter Books printed her most recent book, The Lucky Sperm Club, on January 18. During that same month, Key Porter announced that it would be temporarily suspending its operations. The Quill and Quire reports that Eckler was still owed $9,000 from Key Porter, which represented the last part of her advance for the novel. Eckler explained to the media outlet that the publishing company "ignored me and ignored my agents." Earlier this month, Eckler began attempting to contact Key Porter using Twitter, acting as her own personal debt collection agency. After a plethora of tweets, Forbes points out that Eckler has begun to ask for less money, most recently reducing her request to $8,000. The Star reports that Key Porter's demise began in 2009, when it lost a major distribution line that represented 35 percent of its revenue. The company published approximately100 Canadian non-fiction titles per year. The topic of using social media as a tool for debt collection has raised controversy in the past. Although the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits collectors from sharing debt information with a third party via Facebook wall post or tweet, many agencies use social media sites to obtain personal information about debtors. "All we're after is a phone number or an address that we might not have otherwise had," Brad Klein, president of the Arizona Collectors Association, tells KNVX-TV. "The responsible debt collector is going to use that information just like they would a phone book." However, the use of email to contact defaulters is seen as a grey area for many agencies. "Communicating through an email is not specifically prohibited," Klein explains to the news source. He points out that it's risky, because collection agencies don't know if the email will potentially be seen by a third party. Klein adds that if an agency makes contact via a social media platform, the firm should be contacted and a complaint must be filed. Even if the collector did not follow the rules properly, the debt should not be avoided, since it "doesn't just go away due to a mistake."