An alert on The Robins Agency (Cris Robins) has been added to the Alerts for Writers page of Writer Beware.
On May 15, 2006, a default judgment against Cris Robins of The Robins Agency was entered in Washington Superior Court for King County (case no. 06-2-16530-6SEA) for breach of contract, fraudulent business practice, and consumer protection violations in regard to the promised provision of paid editing services and promised representation of the plaintiff's manuscript to publishers. Ms. Robins has been ordered to pay $8,320 (treble damages) plus interest and attorney fees.
According to a recent post on Absolute Write by plaintiff Christopher Dahl (which he has given me permission to quote here), "This judgment will affect her credit and may lead to garnishment of her bank account, as well as a visit from the sheriff to collect on the judgment with cash or personal property, if Robins fails to pay or settle the judgment. I have also submitted complaints with the Better Business Bureau and the Missouri Attorney General's Office which both show up as Unresolved/Disputed."
Remember back in March, when Robins claimed that the validity of her agency was based on the fact that she had never lost a court case? Whoops.
(Hurry and take a look at that link, because it may be gone soon. My response is here.)
Christopher Dahl's experience echoes the many documented complaints and reports Writer Beware has received about Cris Robins and The Robins Agency over the years. (All details and quotes that follow are from the complaint filed by Dahl with Washington Superior Court.)
Dahl submitted a proposal and manuscript to Robins in 2003. Robins contacted him to offer representation--however, she told him that the work would have to be edited. Dahl, who didn't want to do any more editing himself, was willing, as long as the edits would be fully completed by Robins and there would be no costs beyond the quoted editing fee. In December 2003, she agreed to both provisions, and promised to complete editing within three (3) months.
Fast forward eleven (11) months, to November 2004. Dahl's ms. was finally returned to him, marked up with "sparse and sporadic" pen editing and general suggestions (described in the complaint as "cursory and often confusing"), plus a short memo with "primarily generic comments with some detail from the work slipped in, indicating the Work had been only cursorily reviewed." When Dahl contacted Robins, she told him that he would have to perform the rest of the editing himself based on her comments. Attempts to get her to finish the editing, or to provide feedback on the editing Dahl eventually attempted on his own, proved futile.
At last, in November 2005, Robins finally emailed Dahl that his edits "looked fine to her." She also sent him a representation agreement requiring an upfront payment of $3,250 (her standard "retainer")--despite her previous claim that there were to be no more fees.
That was the point at which Dahl decided to file his complaint.
This is an example of what can happen when a scam victim refuses to be intimidated or discouraged. Dahl is willing to help other Robins victims. From his AW post, mentioned above: "I will happily provide my complaint filings or lawsuit documentation as sample drafting to make it easier for others to proceed against Robins...Feel free to contact me for more information."
Christopher Dahl, Esq.