I'm 18, this happened in Texas. I was caught shoplifting at walmart, the amount was under 20$, I was given a warning, and I haven't and won't ever shoplift again. Today I received a letter from florida, and it was titled a Settlement Offer and went into saying basically, this law firm represents walmart concerning it's civil claim against you, and they asked me to make a 200$ payment within 20 days from today.
Do I have to pay this?
In the letter it also mentioned that if full payment is not made that walmart can take further civil action and make a higher settlement and in the future they might consider a lawsuit.
I've read other questions on here, saying to just ignore it because it was under 20$, but I just wanted to make sure.
Employment / Labor Attorney
I am not licensed in TX, so cannot give legal advice. But if you are attempting to learn what Wal-Mart regularly does in these situations, you may want to check the internet. They may send these out all the time and not take action. Or alternatively, they may file these suits all the time. That may be on the internet chat boards. So that would be the start of your inquiry.
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Debt Settlement Attorney
The real question here is what risk do you want to accept for not paying. The debt is so low that it would be extremely unlikely that Wal-Mart would pursue a civil claim against you. The cost of filing the action might even exceed the amount of possible recovery in a civil action so it wouldn't even make sense for them to do so. The only legal option they have to force you to pay is to file a lawsuit and obtain a judgment against you. If there is a criminal action, they may obtain this through some restitutionary proceeding if available in your jurisdiction, but that is a diferent matter, Like most debt collectors, especially with nominal debts, they are likely just blowing smoke. You might want to refrain from paying and then cross this bridge again if they do end up filing a lawsuit against you. Remember, if they believe the debt is valid then it may adversely affect your credit history, regardless of whether or not a civil action is filed.
This answer is intended to provide general information only. It does not create an attorney client relationship nor should it be construed as legal advice or an opinion on specific situations. Donald A. Green is only licensed to practice law in California and Oregon.
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