The item that was stolen was lets say a timer that was $15 that timer was switched out with a similar timer box that was about $12 then paid for at check out zone then on the way out i was stopped at the door and this want to be cop who escorted me to this back room where i was forced to sign a paper and i got my picture taken and they said that it would be on walmarts record but it wouldn't go on my record no police were called. 5 days later i got this civil claims letter saying i need to pay $250 and i have 30 days to pay it. Remember when i tried to save $3 by switching the boxes. Well when i was aloud to leave the little room i was escorted by a manager to the customer service area where i returned the little box and i paid for the big one and i have the receipt to it. Dam wannabe cop
There is a law in most states, including Wisconsin, which allows for civil action collection when there is a retail theft. Most people choose to ignore the demand. They get a few more letters, each time asking for more, and then they stop. While the retailer can sue you, I have never heard of anyone actually getting sued. You do not owe any money unless you are sued and the retailer wins. This is a common ploy. Do not pay. If you do, you will be in a database which could affect your ability to get a job and could impact your life in other ways. If you are uncomfortable, have your lawyer write a letter. That should be the end of it.
(copied from Illinois Atty. Judy A Goldstein’s post but it is my opinion as well) http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/60448-il-judy-goldstein-1137006.html
See also: http://addbalance.com/civildemand.htm
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You are under no obligation to pay the civil demand letter. Whether you pay it or not, it has no effect on the prosecutor's office that may or may not prosecute you in District Court in your county. I advise my clients not to pay it. BUT, if you are sued, served with legal service of process you must respond; if you receive a criminal summons to appear at criminal court, you must appear. Get counsel if you have any questions/concerns.
I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this response on the avvo website. I have not been retained to represent you. I am licensed to practice law in Kentucky and in federal court in this state and the Southern District of Indiana. You need to seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your area..