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Civil demand letter came in..should i pay?

Fresno, CA |
Filed under: Litigation

I finally recieved "civil demand" letter. They are asking i pay $415.98. If i fail to pay within 25 days they may take all legal steps in order to recieve the full amount, and by they i mean something called "sears holdings inc." It also says that paying does prevent criminal prosecution..im not really sure what this means. Im really confused since this is the first time ive been going through this. Should i really ignore this letter?? Ohh and just to add no police were called, if that matters.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

No. A civil demand is not a debt and you would only have to pay it if they successfully sued you. The likelihood of that happening is extremely small.

Paying or not paying the civil demand will have no effect on any criminal actions which might be brought against you.

Learn from this mistake, and don't shoplift anymore.

Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.

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Posted

A civil demand letter creates no indepedent obligation to pay.

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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5 comments

Asker

Posted

So i can ignore this letter without any worries they will actually sue me?

Michael Charles Doland

Michael Charles Doland

Posted

There are no 100% guaranties, but it is very, very unlikely given the amounts involved.

Asker

Posted

Okay. Just to set the record straight no one has really ever been sued by not paying one of these right??

Asker

Posted

Okay. Just to set the record straight no one has really ever been sued by not paying one of these right??

Asker

Posted

Okay. Just to set the record straight no one has really ever been sued by not paying one of these right??

Posted

Attorneys Chen and Doland provided you with excellent advice. Do not pay the civil demand because it has no legal force whatsoever. If you didn't sign anything, you don't owe anything. Any threat to prosecute is nothing more an idle threat. You're lucky you didn't get arrested. Lesson learned I guess.

My comments are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications through Avvo should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Lawyers are licensed to practice on a state by state basis; do not act on information contained on this website without first speaking to an attorney licensed to practice in your state.

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7 comments

Asker

Posted

Basically the day it happened the lady took me to the back of the store into a little room. I returned the merchandise and i did have to initial a paper saying i was aware of the happenings.it wasnt anything about agreeing to pay. After that the lady said i wasnt banned from the store..she advised me not to do this again..which i wont. Soo im guessing i still shouldnt pay right.

Slavik Steve Leydiker

Slavik Steve Leydiker

Posted

It would depend on what you initialed. If you signed something agreeing to pay some sum, then you may have a binding contract. That said, don't pay anything. If they threaten, let them make the first move. If anything, these will be scare tactics.

Slavik Steve Leydiker

Slavik Steve Leydiker

Posted

It would depend on what you initialed. If you signed something agreeing to pay some sum, then you may have a binding contract. That said, don't pay anything. If they threaten, let them make the first move. If anything, these will be scare tactics.

Slavik Steve Leydiker

Slavik Steve Leydiker

Posted

It would depend on what you initialed. If you signed something agreeing to pay some sum, then you may have a binding contract. That said, don't pay anything. If they threaten, let them make the first move. If anything, these will be scare tactics.

Asker

Posted

Okay..so one last question. Have you ever seen or heard of anyone being sued by not paying?? Thats my main concern.

Asker

Posted

Okay..so one last question. Have you ever seen or heard of anyone being sued by not paying?? Thats my main concern.

Slavik Steve Leydiker

Slavik Steve Leydiker

Posted

Never. If they sue you in small claims court, somebody from the store will have to show up. An attorney cannot represent them in small claims court. That means that someone (with knowledge of the facts) will have to show up and waste their time in court. That will not happen. These stores use attorneys to write these letters, but that's pretty much the extent of it. They collect on scare tactics. Don't worry about it.

Posted

Though more facts may be needed, you should seek advise from a consumer attorney. Keep the letter and the envelope that it came in as the phraseology of the latter MAY have RFDCPA violations and it is possible that you may actually have a case. When trying to collect a debt, creditors have to be cautious in the language that they use. However, whether you have a case or not cannot be established without having all the facts and/or seeing the letter that you mention.

The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as forming an attorney-client relationship. No attorney-client relationship between the reader and Abbas Kazerounian has been formed.

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Asker

Posted

I do not have a court date..nor was i told i was going to get one..when they caught me all they said was that i should expect a letter in the mail..now where can i find a consumer att

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