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Common Questions

I was caught shoplifting, and now the store has sent me a letter demanding money. Can they do this?

Last reviewed in March 2023 by the Clicklaw Editors

If you’ve been caught shoplifting, you may get a letter from the store telling you to pay them money. Stores do this to try to get compensation for the store's costs, such as paying store security, relating to criminal offences such as theft and fraud. For more information on these types of letters, see the following resources: 

  • Shoplifting, from People's Law School, covers several topics, including what will happen if you are convicted of shoplifting.
  • Defending Yourself: Theft Under $5,000, from the Legal Aid BC, is a guide for people who want to plead not guilty to a charge of theft under $5000. It describes what theft under $5,000 is, what the prosecutor must prove in court, how you can defend yourself, the sentence you could get if the judge finds you guilty.
  • Defending Yourself Against a Criminal Charge, from People’s law School, explains what you can expect when you are charged with a criminal offence. It covers all the steps in the process, from your first appearance in court to sentencing.

If you’ve been served with legal documents starting a court claim against you, you should get legal advice from a lawyer right away.

Need more help?

See our related common questions:

shoplifting, shoplift, civil demand letter, collection agent, civil recovery demand letters