What to do if I bought some items that didn’t scan correctly so I was stopped by an employee and the items were given back but now I’m being asked to pay a civil claim?

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What to do if I bought some items that didn’t scan correctly so I was stopped by an employee and the items were given back but now I’m being asked to pay a civil claim?

No charges were filed. However, now I received a letter from a lawyer saying that I have to pay a certain amount for a civil suit. Do I need a lawyer? Can they still press charges even though nothing was taken?

Asked on January 29, 2016 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

What you have received is called a "civil demand letter". While they are typically made in such letters but usually aren't acted upon. Consequently, you will probably never be sued (but there a chance), so you can choose to ignore it if you want to. Just know that if you don't pay, you'll most probably get anoher, which will request an even higher amount. Again, you can choose to ignore it. 
If you do decide to pay try to negotiate, then write them, don't speak with them directly as they can be quite intimidating in trying to collect. the amount. Hoever, write a letter - do not speak firectly to the attorney. They can be exeremlt intimiadaing when trying to collect. 


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