Do I have to pay the $300 damages and penalties for shoplifting incident committed by my son?

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Do I have to pay the $300 damages and penalties for shoplifting incident committed by my son?

The merchant has asked me to pay regarding shoplifting by my 14 year old son. I am low income worker so I cannot afford to pay what they are asking.

Asked on November 21, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

What you are being asked to pay is known as a "civil demand". In such cases, these demands are routinely made, however, they are rarely acted upon.  As a practical matter, your chances of being sued are almost zero. So you can ignore the letter if you want. Yet, 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 choose to ignore it. However if you decide to make payment, pay no more than $50 or so. Write a letter to them - do not speak with them directly. These people are known for their intimidating and threatening tactics. 


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