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Civil demand: Can they use it against me?

Sacramento, CA |

Im 19 and was charged with 490.5 for stealing at macys under $50. The fine was $425. The lady said I was lucky shes giving me a break and that I did not need to go to court. I just have to pay the civil demand. No police, no charges were filed. Just had to sign forms agreeing im banned from macys for 3yrs. I was scared and ddnt know better so i set up a payment plan w/ macys and already paid 50$ as of the moment but im plannig to cancel it. Ive been doing some research and found out i dont have to pay it. Is paying macys different from paying palmer ,reiffler associates? I ddnt get a letter from the firm since i paid the first month $50. I prolly will be receiving one on the nxt month since im not giving them money. Since i paid macys can they use it against me if they try to prosecute me?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

You state you were "charged" wiht 490.5. Then a "lady" said you did not need to go to court. Then, "no police no charges were filed". Finally you have made partial payment on a civil demand letter. Now that you have started paying the payment could be used as an "admission" of liability, but it all assumes that there would be a court proceeding. If "No police, no charges were filed" that does not appear to be the case. The practicality of suing you for $375 is very, very small, and on that basis you might consider not paying.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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1 comment

Asker

Posted

If i cancel my autopay and not continue paying will it affect my credit? I used a checking account since i dont have a credit card

Posted

The difficulty with not paying once you have signed up for a payment plan and not paid is that the demand has now become a contract and Macy's would have the right to report you to credit agencies for not paying the balance. You can always demand that your explanation be included but you should be very careful how you word it so as not to mention shoplifting which would kill your credit forever. I think it's worth asking a lawyer to help you draft such a statement if non-payment is reported.

The demand/contract has no effect on any criminal action that could have been brought. In other words if you don't pay you will not pick up a criminal charge.

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Asker

Posted

So even if i cancel the payment plan, it would still hurt me? I dont have money to pay for a lawyer.

Asker

Posted

Cancelling the autopay is not gona be of much help then if i decided not to pay it? What can i do?

Asker

Posted

Btw i did not give them my credit card since i dont have one, just a checking account

Asker

Posted

Is it possible to cancel a payment plan?

Posted

I generally advise clients to ignore the civil demands. You don't owe them anything. In order for you to owe them something they would have to sue you and win. Even if you signed a "contract" with them, in order for them to collect or even report it to the credit reporting agencies they would have to sue you and obtain a judgment. The cost of doing so is more than they can ever hope to recover and as such they never do. Paying Macy's is the same as the Palmer clan. Nothing will happen to you if you don't.

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5 comments

Asker

Posted

What are the chances of them suing me for that small amount? Mr. Kaman above says it gives them the right to report me to credit agencies since i made a contract with my checking acct. Pls explain.

Benjamin J Lieberman

Benjamin J Lieberman

Posted

I totally disagree with Mr. Kaman. Like I said, the likelihood of them coming after you is extremely small. ---------------------------------------- This email was sent by: Avvo, Inc. 1501 4th AveSuite 1900 Seattle, WA, 98101-1588, USA We respect your right to privacy - visit the following URL to view our policy. ( http://click.mail5.avvo.com/?qs=a547da8816389f9d9ad910786de88f3bc27705e54e751a35389ce3644e807999c5985ab49809f38c ) ----------------------------------------

Asker

Posted

YOURE A COMPLETE IDIOT!!a few months back I postd a question about a civil demnd letters in illinois. A lawyer answered that nothing would happen if ignored the letters from the stores lawyers. I ignored all their letters. I now got postcard from court clerk that default judgement enetered against me. I checked with the clerk who syas judgment is for $3,250 to the same store. How can this be? and what can I do now? I really cant pay this and don't know what to do next. The store never cam to court for the chrges were dropped

Benjamin J Lieberman

Benjamin J Lieberman

Posted

I believe that there is substantially more to the story than you are posting if it is even true. I NEVER said that you should ignore lawsuits, summonses and complaints. I said you should ignore civil demand letters. If the store got a default judgment against you it's because you didn't answer a lawsuit, not just a letter. The reason I say to ignore the letter is because by an in large the store never follows through with the lawsuit and even if they did you can always settle it then. Depending on what did or didn't happen (if there really is a default judgment against you) you may be able to get the default vacated. If you cannot afford an attorney speak to the pro se clerk. While they cannot give you legal advice there may be some forms they can give you. Then again you say that the store never showed up so it was dropped, so your facts are confusing (unles you mixing up civil and crim al matters in the same post). BTW thanks for the compliment.

Asker

Posted

my comment was directed to the "Asker" and a bad way of teling her to just call a lawyer cuz of what happen to me. What is a pro se clerk? the sores lawyers won't settle anyhting now. No one showed for the criminal court date is what I meant. Advise was ignore the letters nothing would happen and the papaers delivered were form the same lawyers and left with my nephew. i called clerk again tghey dont know what pro se clerk is either and ajudgment is now on my credit.

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