Should I pay a civil demandifI wasfalsely accused of shoplifting?

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Should I pay a civil demandifI wasfalsely accused of shoplifting?

I was falsely accused of shoplifting a $4 toothpaste from a supermarket. I was not arrested nor do I have a court date. However I just recently received a civil demand letter from a lawyer demanding $225 ($125 penalty and $100 for the lawyer). Should I pay for this or not?

Asked on January 31, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under the circumstances, I would not advise you to pay this.  the fact is that in situations such as this, thesedemands are routinely made - however - they are rarely acted upon.  Your chances of being sued are virtually zero.  So you can ignore this letter if you want.  Just be aware that if you don't pay this first demand you will get second, and for possibly an even higher amount.  Again, you can ignore it if you choose.  However if, at that point, you decide to make payment, pay no more than the cost of the item (and possibly a few dollars over).  Put this in a letter to them - do not speak with them directly.  These people are notorious for their threatening and intimidating tactics.   


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