FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY AM I RECEIVING THIS LETTER?
Our client (the retailer) has retained Corporate Protection & Investigative Services Risk Management & Legal Services Unit to your file to make a restitution and/or civil damages settlement request, Civil laws have been enacted by Ontario Provincial legislatures allowing for civil remedies which to a certain extent are used to compensate retailers for a variety of losses, costs and expenses associated with theft and shoplifting generally as well as the legal damages associated with the specific incident in question. These laws were often enacted in part to serve as a deterrent against theft offenders or responsible individuals apart from any possible criminal punishment and to make it less likely for the theft offenders to commit theft again.
Restitution may be requested to compensate the retailer for any actual loss associated with the incident, such as damage to merchandise or theft of cash, while civil damages may be requested to reimburse the retailer for additional losses associated with theft incidents and can sometimes include both actual damages and exemplary damages components.
The exemplary damages component of these civil damages requests is often allowed to be requested even if the merchandise or property was recovered and not damaged.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE STORE HAS ITS MERCHANDISE OR PROPERTY BACK?
Restitution will not be requested if the store has received its merchandise or property back undamaged. However, whether the item or property was or was not damaged, or whether it was returned to the store has little, if any bearing on whether there will be a civil damages request or the amount of that separate request. If restitution has been made, a civil damages request may therefore still often be made. The civil damages settlement amount being requested by the retailer is not to compensate it for the merchandise, but for the invasion of a legal right to the retailer's ownership of and control over its property.
WHY AM I STILL BEING ASKED TO PAY?
Store personnel are typically the ones given authority to decide whether to call the police or not. These civil damages request is separate from and independent of any criminal action that may or may not have been taken.
I WENT TO CRIMINAL COURT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY THIS?
Whenever a person commits, or attempts to commit a theft, that action may be considered both a crime and a civil tort. The retailer may request the state to file criminal charges, and it may choose to request civil damages. These civil damages request is separate from and independent of any criminal action that may or may not have been taken. So even if criminal charges are pending and regardless of the outcome of the criminal matter, the retailer may still make civil damages request pursuant to Provincial legislation.
IF I PAY THE CIVIL DAMAGES CLAIM, DO I STILL NEED TO GO TO ONTARIO SUPERIOR COURT?
Payment of this civil damages request does not relieve you of any obligations associated with a possible criminal proceeding but does ensure that you will be relieved of civil damages liability for the incident. Which is distinct from each other cases and proceedings.
WHAT IF I CAN'T OR DON'T PAY?
If you are currently unable to pay the entire civil damages amount being requested, please call the Corporate Protection & Investigative Services Risk Management & Legal Services Unit, using the number listed on the letter to discuss the matter.
Failure to respond to our client's request for settlement within the time specified in the Settlement Offer may, depending on the jurisdiction, will result in the request of a higher settlement amount.
Refusal to pay the requested settlement amount may also, at the discretion and direction of our client, result in the filing of a civil lawsuit against you in the Ontario Superior Court.