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GoodOldWorkingClass wrote (edited )

In civil demand letters, many jurisdictions have laws that prohibit them from threatening criminal charges if you don't pay (just like collection agencies are prohibited by law from telling you that you'll go to jail if you don't pay up -- because that's a lie).

In any case, criminal charges are not the store's to file. That is up to the district attorney. Example: if your area has a statute of limitations on petty theft, say six months, and that time has passed, then it doesn't matter what is said in the standard civil demand letter. District Attorney's office can't charge you.

As a rule, treat civil demand letters just like collection agency letters: they're demands for payment, coated in lies, mostly empty threats, and misinformation. Their goal is to scare you into paying, of course. The people behind them have no interest in you knowing your rights and knowing the truth. That would defeat their purpose.

And finally, for them to send you a civil demand letter, they would need your name and address. The only way for them to get any of that is for you to cooperate with LP. Don't give yourself up. Think about what's worse: them calling the cops on you without having any info other than what you're wearing, or them having your name, your ID, and knowing where you live. With all that info, they can blackmail you until the end of time.