Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
As a rule, I advise clients to ignore these civil demand letters. Unless you signed some agreement to pay this store, you owe them nothing. In order for you to owe them something they would have to sue you and win. However, It would cost them much more to sue you than they can ever hope to recover so they usually don't pursue it. With that in mind, I would advise that they can still take legal action against you by filing suit in small claims court. If you ignore these actions, a default judgment will be entered against you. So, although you can ignore the civil demand letter, do not ignore anything that comes from a court.
Answer Applies to: California
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
If the victim will allow you to pay restitution to avoid a case, then you may very well want to do so to avoid being arrested/summoned/cited.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
LeadfootSpeedingTicket.com | Andrea Storey Rogers
Ignore the civil demand. Most attorneys (including me) advise clients to refuse to pay it. The store has to sue you in court and win a judgment against you before you legally owe them anything, and I seriously doubt they will do anything over a fruit roll up.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
The lawyers for the stores usually send a letter and hope you will pay. They almost never bother to pursue the matter due to the time, effort, and cost, but if you stole from a store maybe you should send them a $100 and an apology and thank them for not having you arrested. Shoplifting costs stores billions every year and some smaller stores even go bankrupt due to employee theft, security costs, shoplifting, and competition from the larger chains. When you steal from stores you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Answer Applies to: New York
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
Often times when a person is caught shoplifting the store has a lawyer send a civil demand for money. If the merchandise was returned to the store is saleable condition I would suggest you ask them what the damages were. When we represent people charged with shoplifting, we typically handle that civil demand letter for them as well. In most cases, there is no damages and therefore no grounds for the civil demand.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
My advice: pay it. This is a civil penalty for theft. They can get a civil judgment against you. You are lucky you were not criminally charged. Shoplift is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. Next time you think about stealing, ask yourself if you are willing to live with the consequences of a poor decision. If you have not been charged, consider this your lucky day. Pay the civil penalty.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
You would be violating the terms of your probation and could get the full range of your sentencing guideline. Also, check the state provision, they may be charging you to much. Generally, it twice the value of the item stolen.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Langford Law Firm | Theresa Langford
There are NO guarantees, however, most of these collection efforts exist on the odds of scaring people into paying. The huge majority will not go any further than sending a few letters. It isn't worth their time and expense to pursue $150.00. If they do, then it would be in JP court, and they would have to prove the direct expense you incurred in increasing their damages.
Answer Applies to: Texas