Saturday, November 29, 2008

Are you the victim of extortion by Palmer, Reifler and Associates?

If you have found this site, it is probably because you have decided to research a supposed law firm that has sent you a threatening letter demanding a civil payment on behalf of one of their retail clients. You may or may not have been convicted of shoplifting by this retailer. Some have, some have not.

The fact is, Palmer, Reifler and Associates sends out about 1.2 million of these letters every year in an attempt to intimidate you into paying a civil penalty without asking questions or costing them anymore then the price of paper, ink and postage.

Well, before you go shelling out cash to these people, do some research first. This tactic rides a fine line that separates it from a legitimate legal practice and mob-like extortion or shakedown.

First, let me start by telling you what happened to my daughter. My daughter is a good kid. College girl who stays out of trouble; gets good grades; star pitcher for her college softball team; volunteers for charities… I don’t mean to make her sound like a saint, but she is a good kid.

Last year she made a bad decision and shoplifted from a retail chain where she worked. Not realizing how quickly the store would figure this out based on register receipt discrepancies, she was quickly caught and arrested.

She cooperated with the store, plead guilty in court, paid a civil penalty to the store for the amount of the merchandise, paid all lawyer fees, lost her job, suffered the embarrassment of being escorted out of the store in handcuffs and did a summer worth of community service. Bottom line, she screwed up, got busted and took responsibility for her mistake.

Thinking this was all behind her, she went off to school and almost a year later received a threatening letter from a law firm called Palmer, Reifler and Associates demanding that she pay a $1775 civil penalty to the retailer or face further criminal penalties. Sound familiar?

She freaked out over this, but instead of paying this, she immediate contacted the lawyer who handled her case. He explained something to her that we would have never known had she not gotten some legal advice.

What he told us was that Palmer, Reifler and Associates is nothing more than a glorified debt collection agency that has found some loop-hole in the law that lets them exploit the system and shakedown individuals that may or may not have been convicted for shoplifting. Apparently, the retailers give them names of everyone who was involved in anything closely related to shoplifting and Palmer sends out a threatening letter in hopes of scaring you into paying them.

He said that they send out over a million of those letters every year, but only takes about ten cases to court every year. That is 10 out of 1.2 million. He told us to ignore the letters and not waste our time even calling them. He said the name on the letter was just some lawyer they found to carry out their dirty work in our state and not a lawyer employed by their firm.

I started doing more research on this "Law Firm" and what I found really made me sick. I am posting this in hopes that you will do the same and not just be intimated into paying these people. Do some research first. Let them take you to court where you can use your Constitutional right to defend yourself in a court of law with a jury of your peers. Even if this is a civil case, you still have rights. You are only obligated to pay if a judgment has been passed against you in court.

The reason that I am posting this is to spread the word about this practice in hopes that people will not pay them and maybe find a way to stop them. There was a class-action law suit filed against them in June of 2008. You can find information about that if you Google Palmer, Reifler and Associates.
In my opinion, these people are blood-sucking, ambulance-chasing dirt-bags that need to be stopped. I hope to get involved in some cause in the future that helps to make this type of "extortion" illegal.