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Legal-Guru
Legal-Guru, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Experienced Criminal Trial Attorney since 1998.
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I had a shoplifting incident at wal mart and was brought into

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I had a shoplifting incident at wal mart and was brought into a room with security, they filled out my information and i returned the merchandise and the cops were not called. I then received a letter from wal mart asking to pay $300. The item that is in question was only 8 dollars, and i was wondering if i should pay wal mart, or if this is just their way of trying to get money because i dont know any better?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Legal-Guru replied 10 months ago.
Welcome to JustAnswer. Many states have laws that entitle the merchant to sue shoplifters. I am researching Louisiana law and will be with you shortly.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

okay thanks i will wait for clarification

Expert:  Legal-Guru replied 10 months ago.
Louisiana does in fact have a civil remedy statute for shoplifting. It entitles the merchant to sue for the value of the merchandise if it is not returned in a merchantable condition plus a penalty of $50 to $500. (See link below.)

http://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2011/rs/title9/rs9-2799-1

So since they got the property back and assuming the item was still in its original packaging, if you went to court and they proved you shoplifted the judge could order you to pay anywhere between $50 to $500.

Also, even though the statute I linked to mentions leaving the premises with the property, there is a Louisiana Court of Appeals opinion that says that does not matter. (See link below.)

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/la-court-of-appeal/1173216.html

One thing you might try is making a lower counteroffer perhaps $100 or $150 and see what they say. Otherwise, your options are to pay it or take your chances with the judge.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

so if i dont pay it at all they will seek legal action?

Expert:  Legal-Guru replied 10 months ago.
Almost certainly. The law firms that do these cases for Wal-Mart make a decent amount of money based on the large volume of cases they handle for them. Most of the money probably goes to the law firm. Wal-Mart is not really in it for the money. They just want to discourage shoplifting.
Legal-Guru, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1342
Experience: Experienced Criminal Trial Attorney since 1998.
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