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Should I pay a civil demand letter from a lawyer named Steven F. Christiansen?

Brockton, MA |

I'm a 19 year old female and about 3 weeks ago I was stopped by an LP outside the store at Sears for taking a cologne. The retail price was 57$. He told me they would not press charges or call the police but I had to come in the back and sign some papers admitting to the theft. Today I received a civil demand letter from Steven F. Christiansen stating that I need to pay 375$ within the next 25 days or if not "Sears Holdings, Inc. may hire counsel to take all legal steps which may include civil action in court to collect the full amount allowed by the statue". What will happen if I don't pay it? I'm a broke college student, I don't have an attorney and I live with my mother. Should I go back to Sears and try to work something out?

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Attorney answers 3


Different attorneys recommend different approaches to this letter. I have prepared an informative guide, which you can access at the link below. It explains your options.

Providing users with information is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. However, if in reading my response, you are interested in retaining me to represent you, please do not hesitate to contact me.


I always advise my clients not to pay the civil demand. So far, none of them have gotten in trouble for not paying. If Sears wants to pursue you for the $375 they will have to hire attorneys, file suit, then pay their attorneys to take you to trial. All that will cost a lot more than $375. As well, the attorney who sent you the demand letter gets a percentage of what is collected. They are hoping you will pay out of fear or ignorance.

Hope I have helped you with this matter.

Attorney Lauren Craig Redmond ~ 617.953.6116 ~ No attorney/client relationship is established or implied by any email or phone conversation.


I concur with Atty. Redmond. I too recommend that my clients not pay this civil demand. Best of luck.

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.