I got a civil demand letter in the mail asking for 250, do I have to pay it?

I was caught shoplifting for a make up
brush around 50. It was my first time,
I regret it and would definately never
do it again. The police were called and
I paid a 100 fine, but wasn’t arrested
or anything. Now, a month later, I
received a letter in the mail demanding
I pay 250. What should I do?

Asked on April 11, 2016 under Business Law, Illinois


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

 The fact is that you don't have to pay a civil demand. Most stores do not attempt enforce their rights for these in civil court; they don't bother to sue since it's typically not worth the time and expense. That having been said, if a llawsuit is brought and a judgement is awarded, you could end up being liable for paying the money and ordered to pay it and the store's attorney's fees. 
At this point, do not pay unless the store actually files suit. Just know that you will probably receive another and for a higher amount but again you can choose to ignore it.

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