Skip to comments.Big Retail Chains Dun Mere Suspects in Theft
Posted on 02/20/2008 2:03:50 PM PST by Winged Hussar
After Miami handyman Glenn Rudge was accused of shoplifting an $8 set of drill bits at Home Depot, he thought he'd settled the matter when he showed his receipt to prosecutors and they dropped the charge.
But a few weeks later, a law firm hired by Home Depot began sending him letters demanding first $3,000, then a total of $6,000, implying he'd be sued if he didn't pay it.
In an escalating battle against theft, retailers are going after anyone suspected of shoplifting, turning over their names to lawyers and collection firms, who pursue the suspects for stiff penalties and split the take with the retailer.
There is little oversight of a system retailers call "civil recovery," created by special laws passed in all 50 states. With no proof of theft, the retailers demand money -- often $200 but sometimes far more -- and promise to avoid suing if it is paid quickly.
...Lord & Taylor, for instance, never follows up civil-demand letters by suing suspected shoplifters, its loss-prevention manager said in deposition about a year ago, citing the cost of going to court. Lord & Taylor collected about $1 million in civil recovery from suspected shoplifters in a recent year, up from $850,000 the year before, the official testified.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
A good reason to stay away from Home Depot (also known for acquiring land taken by eminent domain for its own private use, http://www.reclaimdemocracy.org/articles_2004/eminent_domain_bigboxes_wallst.html) and Lord & Taylor.
Home Depot sucks. Stay local or go to Lowe’s.
Another example of “corporatism” run amuck. I heartily believe in and practice free market capitalism, but I despise the practies of most of these mega-corporations.
Thanks for posting. Very interesting.
I have no sympathy for actual shoplifters, but it sounds like Mr. Rudge was completely blameless, and The Home Depot made multiple mistakes in persecuting him. The article didn’t say how much money they had to pay him as a result, but I expect that the WSJ article cost them far more.
True. My friend's wife got nailed by RiteAid for using the cosmetics testers. They never called the cops, never filed a police report, but did get all her information. Few weeks later she got a certified letter demanding payment of $500 or civil charges would be filed for $1000.
My friend sent them back a certified letter with a photocopy of his hand with middle finger extended, written on it is sharpie was "file criminal charges or face harassment charges". Never heard from RiteAid or the lawyers again.
Sounds like they are looking for intimidated people to pay anyway without charges, like unscrupulous debt collectors.