When it comes to shoplifters, Home Depot apparently thinks it’s smarter to leave the cops out of it and use a shakedown tactic to profit.
That’s according to an ABC News story
that details the story of Jimin Chen, who claims to have accidentally forgotten to pay for a pair of work gloves he used when making a $1,400 lumber purchase.
Chen wasn’t arrested, but rather was told to stay out of the store and warned that Home Depot might take legal action—either criminal or civil.
Home Depot chose civil, and that’s where things get hairy.
Chen, according to the report, got a letter from the law firm Palmer, Reifler and Associates demanding that he fork over $350 or get sued. When he didn’t pay, the bill went up to $625.
Here’s the thing: Palmer Reifler had no intention of suing Chen or any of the thousands of Home Depot shoplifters their client had encountered.
Let’s say 20 percent of them paid (and they did, according to the story). That’s millions of dollars for the firm and Home Depot to pocket.
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That sounds like a scam to Chen’s lawyers. They’re calling it a “fraudulent business practice” in their lawsuit.
Home Depot’s only response to ABC? “We do disagree that the generally practice of [making] civil demands is unlawful.”
Home Depot is taking some heat for the story on Facebook. In response to a post asking for customer suggestions for new inventions, one commenter wrote, “I would invent a way to stop your lawyers from extorting people.”