Question: If I tried stuff and didn't buy is it considered a crime?
Question Detail: I was shopping at a store looking for lipstick. I was trying the color I didn't damage nothing I was just looking for the right color. After I finished shopping and got what I need one of the customer service stopped me at the door and said to me that I can't try stuff and don't bay for them. I didn't know that and they didn't put any sign. Any way after a long conversation he told me that don't be worried they are just going to make me pay the price of the stuff I tried and the will send a bill for me. I wasn't happy with that he gave me a number; I called them they said my case isn't in the system yet call when you get the bill. Today I got a bill with $300 but in mind that I tried stuff cost $16 and they said that I took the stuff which I didn't and informed me if didn't pay they are going to sue me. Additional information, I called them trying to know what's going on they refused to explain nothing to me. Please help me I don't know what to do and I feel it's unfair to pay them for nothing I didn't do.
Answer: Your explanation is difficult to believe; as a lawyer I doubt you're telling the truth or are making an accurate description of what occurred. If you were sitting in my office I'd have to ask a whole lot of questions and get straight answers before I could figure out how to help you. No lawyer can give advice based on inaccurate facts. Here allow me to explain myself. Let’s say I drop over to your house, say hello and then start rummaging through your refrigerator. I see you have cherry pie and I like cherry pie so I help myself to a couple of bites. Then I head to the liquor cabinet and pour myself a gin and tonic just to make sure the gin you have in stock is of the quality I like to drink. After that I remember my gas tank was a bit low so I head out to your garage and siphon off a couple of gallons of gasoline. Im not intending to steal it but would like to know it's of the right grade. Now it occurs to me you were wearing nice jewelry and so into your bedroom I head to “just try on” some of your jewelry, but I’m a bit absent minded and so I forget to take it off and I leave with the jewelry while you’re busy doing other things. Oops! You mean I’m stealing? Moi? Are you kidding? I was just trying all this stuff out.
Get real you know better. Pay the bill and learn. You’re lucky they didn’t call the police and have you charged with theft under Iowa law, Chapter 714.1.
Iowa Theft Laws
There are several reasons you could be facing theft charges. Theft applies to all of the following situations:
- Taking possession of the property of another with intent to deprive,
- Misappropriating or disposing of someone else’s property even if your possession of that property is lawful,
- Obtaining services or labor from another where payment is expected and neglecting or refusing to pay,
- Possessing stolen property when the fact that it is stolen is known or should be known,
- Taking, destroying, or disposing of property in which someone has interest with intent to defraud,
Ref: IA. St. §714.1