What will happen if you ignore them? Most likely nothing. As far as I can tell, NOBODY in California has ever been sued for refusing to pay one of these civil demand letters.
The law firms that send out this garbage are nothing but bullies. They hope you will be scared into sending them money because they know darn well that they would only get about fifty bucks if they actually sued you.
They work on commission, keeping a percentage of what they collect, then sending the rest to the store. Expenses, like printing and postage, come out of their share, so they will cut their losses and move on to the next guy if they don't get a response from you.
On the other hand, if you acknowledge their letter in any way, they'll know they have a "live one" on the other end and will probably continue to hassle you.
This question comes up so often on Avvo that I've written a legal guide. Check out the link below this post.
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Ignore the civil demand letter for shoplifting. Thousands of these letters are sent out every month. If you do not respond they move on to the next person on their list. They do not follow through and sue because it costs more to sue than the amount they can recover.
The consensus on Avvo is not to respond and they will go away.
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