Consumers sometimes abuse sellers. One familiar technique is shoplifting. Of course, shoplifting is a crime. However, the criminal process is cumbersome and often does not result in monetary recoveries for sellers. As a result, at least 43 states now have laws permitting store owners to impose civil fines, the collection of which is usually turned over to a lawyer or collection agency with a threat to sue in civil court, file criminal charges, or both if payment is not forthcoming. Fines may range from $50 to $5,000 or more, depending on the value of the item stolen. a. Defense lawyers say this civil fine system is unfair. Why? b. On balance, is the civil fine approach to shoplifting a good idea? Explain. c. Cite some other examples of consumers abusing businesspeople.
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