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Do civil demand letters show up in a background check?

Portland, OR |

I received a demand letter a couple days ago saying to pay for $350 worth of shoplifted goods from a year ago. I was to pay the law firm within ten days. I have read online to ignore these letters and it'll go away. I am looking to buy a house in the next 30 days, will any of this show up on a background/credit check? No police were involved and they didn't get my social security number. Just want to make sure when it comes down to closing on the house that this doesn't come up as an outstanding issue. I don't think it will, just wanted to double check.

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer
Posted

Normally, a civil demand letter would not show up on a credit report, which is likely what your lender will review when you buy a home. However, if the debt and demand is based on contract, the creditor may be able to report you to a credit bureau. It sounds like you have a civil demand based on an alleged crime. If there is merit to the charges, a settlement may protect your future. The merchant could still press for charges to be filed, and if they can get a letter to you they can get enough information to law enforcement to charge you with a crime. Law enforcement can get your social security number. If you are buying a house, and there is merit to the allegations, paying the demand could be a small price to pay to protect yourself. However, if there is no merit to the charges, you may want to respond putting it on record that you did not commit the charges. If you are charged criminally, the judge could order you to pay the amount as restitution and you will have to pay the $250 and have a criminal record. I have known of businesses to make a civil demand on shoplifters to cover their losses and give the perpetrator an opportunity to avoid prosecution. You need to consider the merits and the risk of a future criminal prosecution in deciding how to respond.

This answer is for general discussion purposes only, and my answer does not create or imply an attorney-client relationship between the questioner and me. I do not represent any person without a conflict check and written agreement.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for the advice!

Posted

The demand letter will not show up but the creditor may have reported such to one or more credit bureaus.

Posted

You should just pull your credit report instead of wondering.

Asker

Posted

Good idea since I need to run it anyways to know my credit score. I didn't know if I will see everything that the lender would see.

Christine B. Adams

Christine B. Adams

Posted

Your credit score will not be there for free, but open an account with creditkarma.com. Good Luck

Posted

Pull your credit report - go to annualcreditreport.com . You can get a copy of your credit report from all three agencies once a year through this website.

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