Shoplifting incident followed by civil demand letter, 42 Pennsylvania. C.S.A. S 8308 demand for $197.97

UPDATED: Mar 16, 2012

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Shoplifting incident followed by civil demand letter, 42 Pennsylvania. C.S.A. S 8308 demand for $197.97

Recently I had a shoplifting incident at a local Kmart. About a month later I’ve received a letter stating “Pursuant to 42 Pennsylvania. C.S.A. S 8308 a demand is being made to you in the amount of $193.97. Unless this amount is received within seven 7 days from the date of this letter Sears Inc. may take further effort to enforce its rights under this law.” The only losses they received in total was the $43.97 in merchandise that was removed from the store. So I’m not sure where they got the $193.97 Ive seen a few results about civil demands suggesting that I ignore these letters.

Asked on March 16, 2012 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

All states in this country have statutes allowing the vendor to make a civil demand for payment against the person accused of shoplifting its merchanise where the payment would prevent any civil lawsuit arising from the incident. The $193.97 amount is some statutory amount in your state per code being sought most likely based upon the value of the item taken.

If you ignore the letter, you will get a second one for a higher demand. Most likely if the civil demand is not paid, your credit report will be impacted by a claim by the merchant. If you pay the demand, then if you get a release in writing you will not have to worry about a civil lawsuit by the merchant.

It is your call as to what you are willing to do. Pay the $193.97 for a full release and not have to worry about a civil lawsuit and the time/costs to defend it or run the risk of it and a possible judgment against you.

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