I'm a New York State resident. I bought 13 items at a WalMart in Garland, Tx, paid for 11 of them and walked out with the other 2 items in the bag (I didn't check the 2 items out), which totaled approximately $20. I was caught. No police were called because of the low dollar amount. I was given an Asset Protection Recovery letter at the store and was given the number to the office of a New York attorney who sent me a demand letter for $300. WalMart got their merchandise back and this is a first offense. Demanding 15 times the price of 2 shoplifted items that the store got back seems outrageous. I'm not trying to defend what I did but, at the same time .......... 15 times the amount? I'm on Medicaid and can't afford that. The woman at the attorney's office said I could pay $50 a month for 6 months but I've read advice on the internet from a majority of sources that say not to pay it because my name will be put on a list. Please advise and thank you very much for your time.
You should probably consult with an attorney in Texas. If the occurrence were in New York I advise clients to ignore the letter. It costs more to sue than they would recover.
I have never seen a store sue to collect the civil demand but I don't know what they do in Texas. I suggest that you try reposting your question on the Texas Avvo page.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been handling criminal defense and personal injury cases for over 18 years. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails, is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
I don't know how retail establishments operate in Texas with respect to civil demand letters arising from a larceny. In New York State many attorneys advise their clients against paying the demand as the store will not typically spend the time and resources to sue on the civil demand.
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