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Daughter was caught steeling and item from a KMART, which was not even $7:00. Item recovered no damag

Chicago, IL |

Daughter was caught steeling and item from a KMART, which was not even $6:00. Item recovered no damage. When she was looking in her purse item fell in but she never removed it.When we were leaving the checkout line and headed to the door, security stopped us and asked that one of the parents accompany our daughter to the back. Police were not called but plain clothes Security Guard stated that a company will send you a letter Palmer, Reifler & Associates with an amount that has to be paid. When I asked how much, she stated 50, 100 so I figured fine. I receive a letter for $250. I offered to settle for $150, since wife not working and only one income. Should I call the States Attorney in Illinois or Miami. Why wont they take 150?

Attorney Answers 6

  1. This is a simple civil demand, a negotiation, and not a matter for the state attorneys office. Personally, I think offering $150 seems too generous, but that’s your call. While they have a right to initiate a civil lawsuit, based on the circumstances, I don’t think that will be the case here. While ultimately it is your decision, but I would not pay them anything.

  2. I generally advise clients to ignore these civil demand letters altogether. You don’t owe them anything. In order for you to owe them something they would have to sue you (in some jurisdictions prove damages) and win. To do so would cost them substantially more than they can ever hope to recover even if they win. As such they don’t pursue it. They send out these letters because it’s cheap to do and they are hoping that you don’t know better and will simply send them the money. Nothing will happen to you if you don’t pay it.

  3. Where was the offense committed? Better not to call the States Attorney and simply pay the amount requested Make sure that they agree not to seek prosecution. In Illinois, the merchant is entitled to a statutory fine even if the item taken was much less in value. How old is your daughter. You may want to consult an attorney to make sure you are doing the right thing.

  4. Some collection firms, such as Palmer-Riefler, are infamous for issuing these demand letters. Be advised that while there is an Illinois statute that permits them to pursue these claims, a well crafted denial letter that I typically issue in response to these claims has so far been 100% successful in getting them to abandon the claim. (My fee is always less than the demand). If you ignore it, they will continue sending demand letters, often demanding a higher amount each time under the guise of "attorney's fees." If you choose to ignore them, you risk having a judgment entered against you. If you pay, you may be wasting your money on a frivolous, defensible claim, and get yourself or your daughter listed in a database retailers use to bar people from obtaining employment. Did you sign anything at the store? Free consultation is available.

  5. 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.

    Legal disclaimer: The answer provided is general in nature and because not all facts are known, it should not be construed as legal advice. The answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. You should speak to an attorney for further information.

  6. Careful when ignoring these claim letter is my advice. I handle these differently than other attorneys. I have seen these collection firms file civil suits to recover the amounts and they can also add in the court costs and attorneys fees, making the amount due quite a bit higher.

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