Lots of people get accused of shoplifting sometimes the person gets charged, sometimes the person gets told never to come back to the store again and sometimes the person just gets let go. For the people that get charged, like with all other criminal charges, a number of outcomes are possible. However, regardless of the outcome of your experience being accused of shoplifting the store will often try and recover their cost for enforcement and loss. Many of us feel that these demands are extortionist, and do not represent a valid claim. Few proceed beyond the annoying letter, despite many of these letters getting summarily filed under “G”. Clearly though, these letters are responsible for anxiety among their recipients and the apparent frequency with which they are sent off would seem to indicate that some people make attempts to pay these demands.
A recent article in the Law Times has reported on a B.C. Lawyer speaking up against such letters. Unfortunately this resulted in a fine being imposed upon him by the Law Society. While many of us share his sentiments about these letters, his tale is a cautionary one which we would all be wise to heed. It behooves us all as lawyers to keep our language civil while we advocate strongly on behalf of our clients.
The message from the BC law society seems clear, it does not matter that these letters may be an attempt to extort money from the unfortunate person who has been accused of shoplifting, it does not matter that the amount that these letters often claim, is in excess of any amount that the individual store might be out of pocket, nor does it matter that the letters themselves may seem mean-spirited and designed to create anxiety in their recipients. What does matter is how you respond and that you do so in a way that does not attack the personal integrity of the other party, even if you truly feel that the other party could have crawled out of the slime and muck in which s/he usually resides, to write that damn demand letter. Care in all things especially in writing creative insults to vermin. See the Law Times blog article, at: