I advise my clients to never pay these civil demands. It will cost far more than it is worth to sue you. You should be very grateful that you were not cited or arrested.
Brian Tyrone is a licensed Texas attorney. Any answers I provide are not intended to be legal advice, nor do they establish an attorney-client relationship. Because there is no attorney-client relationship established by any answers I provide, you should consult with a licensed attorney in order to understand your legal rights and responsibilities.
Talk to an experienced attorney. These civil demand letters can escalate and cause you all kinds of problems later on. You may find that simply negotiating a settlement is in your best interests. Contact an attorney.
Its not a scam, per say. The only way that they could enforce the demand letter is to file suit. Which will most likely cost way more than what they intend to collect. But it is possible for them to file suit. Just maybe unlikely.
My answers are not intended as anything more than an educational response to generic questions posted on this site.
Retailers have legal authority under the Texas Theft Liability Act to pursue civil action against individuals who have been charged with theft. Do you need to pay it? The short answer is: no. You can probably ignore this letter and any other letters that they send to you. However, be sure that the demand letter is only that - a demand letter. If it merely threatens a potential lawsuit, it is a demand letter. If it includes language stating that "you have been sued" and "you have a deadline to respond to the suit", then it may be a filed lawsuit. If it is a filed lawsuit, it will include the specific court that has jurisdiction over the case.