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RLP FAQ's. What do they mean? - Reviewed - September 2015

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In the post below is a set of FAQ's sent by RLPlink3.gif to one alleged shoplifter and in my opinion it is full of misleading information.


I have tried to respond in a factual way but if I am wrong, I would hope to be picked up on it.


The post below could not have been made without the excellent assistance of Stu007.




Frequently Asked Questions – Retail Loss Prevention Limited (RLP)


How Can I Contact You?

You can contact us by telephone on 0844 893 2181 (00 44 0844 893 2181 from outside the UK). Our telephone lines are charged at local rate and are not premium lines. You may contact us in writing at PO Box 5413 Nottingham NG7 2BJ.


What is the basis of the Claim Against Me? – I Live in England/Wales

The claim is brought in the law of tort. A tort is a civil wrongdoing. The claim is separate from any criminal action which may have been taken. The relevant torts are conversion and trespass (or fraud in the case of refund fraud or price swapping). Trespass and conversion are actionable pursuant to the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977. Where a tort has been committed, a business is entitled to recover its losses. This claim is not a debt or a fine. It is a “Claim for Damages”.

This is partially correct. A business IS entitled to recover its losses but only those actually incurred. The 'damages' RLP are claiming are a penalty as they do not portray a factual loss to the business.


What is the basis of the Claim Against Me? – I Live in Scotland/I Live in ROI

If you are in Scotland, the cause of action lies in Delict and Spuilzie. There are torts of trespass, conversion and fraud in ROI. The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 is not however applicable in ROI. References to the DPA include the Data Protection Act 1988 & 2003 in ROI. Some Claimants may issue their Claims in a County Court in England and Wales and some may issue it in the Sherriff’s Court in Scotland or the County Court in ROI. This will depend upon the question of jurisdiction.


Technically correct so no input here needed


What are the Losses Being Claimed?

If any of the goods were not recovered or not in a fit state for resale, the claim will include the value of the goods. The losses also include a contribution to the following: The cost of the loss prevention department deployed to detect your actions and protect the goods; the cost of other personnel diverted from their duties dealing with your actions and all necessary tasks associated with it; the administration costs, the cost of general disruption to the business.


This is where RLP enter the world of fantasy. If the goods were not recovered or were recovered and not fit for sale then these costs can be reclaimed with an administrative fee based on the actual cost the retailer incurred. The loss to the 'loss prevention department' cannot be reclaimed as they are a core cost already incurred by the business whether or not a crime is committed. Usually security is subcontracted to a third party and the cost of them is reflected in the price consumers pay at the till so by saying the above, it is at best misleading.

If a member of the store staff NOT related to the security is involved with the detention then those costs can be reclaimed.


Why is the Contribution Sought? You Have to Break Down Every Element of the Claim

The Claimant is required to proceed its case in a proportionate manner. Due to the low value of the claim, it would be disproportionate to calculate every component in every case, as it would as it would cost far more than the value of the claim to prepare a breakdown in every individual case. It is disproportionate to record and calculate every minute of time which each member of staff spent undertaking each of the tasks, and to calculate the costs of each unit of electricity, discs, paperwork, photocopying, telephone calls, etc used. The Claimant has calculated what it costs typically to deal with an incident of this nature, which is between £300 and £500. The contribution sought is therefore lawful, as it does not exceed the actual losses.


Again, more fantasy as was proved in the 2012 case of A Retailer and Ms B & Ms K Short version here


The Staff are Paid Anyway/Security Equipment and CCTV was Already Install in the Store. How Can These Costs be Claimed From Me?

The law allows a business to recover the costs of its loss prevention departments where they are engaged to detect the wrongdoing others. The law makes no distinction whether loss prevention personnel are employed, or third party. The law also provides for a business to recover the costs of other staff when they are diverted from their profit making duties when dealing with the wrongdoing of others. A loss of profit does not need to be calculated. A business may recover at least the cost of the diverted staff’s employment. Business spends millions of pounds every year on security equipment, CCTV installation and maintenance costs. The law allows for a proportion of these costs to be recovered from those who commit wrongdoing. Only a small contribution to these large costs is being sought against you.


As mentioned above, where NON security staff are diverted from their regular duty, this loss can be claimed for however, security staff are employed to detect and prevent shoplifting. These are core costs to the retailer and a part of running a business and the staff are paid irrespective of whether they actually apprehend anyone therefore RLP are misleading us again.


Is the Claim a Speculative Invoice?

No. There is no such thing as a “Speculative Invoice,” The Claim is a claim for compensation which has arisen as a result of your action.


Oh dear, RLP do not like CAG using 'speculative invoice'. Shucks because that is exactly what it is. IF RLP chased for the actual losses incurred by the retailer and not the fictitious amount they dreamt up, there would be no complaints by anyone.


You Recovered the Goods, but they are being Claimed For

Sometimes recovered goods cannot be put back for resale for various reasons. The law on health and safety prevents a retailer replacing certain cosmetic and medical back on the shop floor. There are also certain food items like chilled or frozen food which may not be offered for resale. There may be damage to products or packaging which prevents it being replaced back on the shop floor for resale.


A correct statement for a change however frozen food can be placed back in the freezer IF it hasn't been out for too long

I paid for the Goods at the Time

If you paid for the goods at the time, the claim should not include the value of the goods. If you paid for the goods or made a charity donation as a result of the Police’s Restorative Justice or a Community Resolution, this has no effect upon a civil claim. If you were permitted by the store to pay for the goods because the store believed you made a honest mistake this may be a defence. We need to know the circumstances surrounding the alleged payment for goods. You must advise us so this can be investigated.


You could engage in letter tennis between yourself and RLP but is is worth it when you know they cannot take court action against you: Only the retailer can and if they have allowed payment, there is no loss.


What is the Difference between a Civil and Criminal Matter?

Criminal proceedings are brought by the Crown, to convict, punish and rehabilitate offenders. Guilt needs to be admitted or proved. The Crown must prove “guilt” beyond reasonable doubt. Civil proceedings are brought by the victim, in this case, the business which has sustained the losses. In a defended case a court may decide upon liability and the level of compensation, on the balance of probability. Civil Courts encourage their parties to settle their cases without the need of going to court wherever possible. The Practice Direction for Pre action Conduct and the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 set out the procedure for civil actions (“CPR”). (http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil). There can be both criminal and civil proceedings running separately. If no criminal proceedings, a civil action may still proceed. A criminal conviction is admissible in civil court as evidence of wrongdoing, pursuant to Section 11 Civil Evidence Act 1968. Meaning where there is a conviction, there is no defence to liability in the civil claim.


CAG insist that the police and the courts (where necessary) are the best people to deal with shoplifting. The short sharp shock for first time offenders is the best we believe. There may be no civil defence to liability but that is not being questioned here. It is the imaginary inflated costs RLP state are recoverable. IF that was the case, you would have to ask why no retailer (to my knowledge) has taken court action since 2012.


I Have Paid a Fine to the Magistrates Court, OR I Have Paid a Fixed Penalty Notice to the Police

These payments were to conclude criminal proceedings. The payments were made to the Crown. They do not in any way compensate business victim for its losses. The Civil Claim therefore remains outstanding.


Not strictly true. A criminal court may make a compensation order to the retailer (see below). As regards the civil claim, refer to the above comments.

I Paid Compensation in the Magistrates Court

If compensation is paid to the Magistrates Court (as opposed to a fine, costs and victim surcharge) it will be deducted from the civil claim on production of proof of payment to our offices. A business may not double recover its losses.


True but also a retailer cannot profit from a civil claim either so by attempting to claim for monies over what the business has incurred they seem to think they are above the law.


The Police Didn’t Prosecute Me. It was Dealt With by way of Restorative Justice, or Community Resolution. I Thought That Was End of it.

This was a conclusion to the criminal proceedings. The store agreed to this rather than mar you with a criminal record. The store wants you to pay for the losses incurred. This is set out in the Notice of Intended Civil Recovery.


Restorative Justice or Community resolution is (in my opinion) the best way to deal with shoplifters. The retailer could go to court to recover its losses but the amounts quoted in the Notice of Intended Civil Recovery do not relate to the actual costs incurred as was proved in the above case link.


The Police Were Not Involved/Took no Action Against Me

This is a civil claim for compensation and is not negated by the criminal outcome or whether police attended. The business has sufficient evidence to establish civil liability on the balance of probability. If you believe you have a defence you must provide details to us. Any representation you make will be investigated. If there is a valid defence the claim will not proceed.


This statement is very misleading. The business may have sufficient evidence but that paragraph is laid out in such a way as to make the recipient of the FAQs believe that the retailer WILL proceed with a claim if a valid defence is not submitted. Only the retailer can take action and has been mentioned so many times before, they don't!


Do I Need a Solicitor?

It is prudent to seek legal advice from a Solicitor or suitably qualified adviser especially if you have any difficulty understanding the claim or have any concerns regarding your position. Please ensure any advice you rely on is from a reliable, legally qualified source.


Your choice of course but ensure that the solicitor used is qualified in civil law as otherwise a solicitor will say 'pay up'. Better still, ask for input from the experienced members of CAG. None of us are qualified but we do see behind the guff spouted by RLP.


Can Another Person Contact you on my Behalf?

If you instruct a Solicitor or legal adviser, we will correspond with them. If you wish a family member or a friend to contact us, we are not allowed to discuss your case without your consent due to your privacy being protected under the Data Protection Act “DPA”. You may provide your consent in writing, or by contacting us by telephone to give verbal consent, after satisfactorily completing security questions.


Correct but that means actually contacting them which we don't agree with (with some exceptions)


I do not Believe I am Liable. The Store may Have Made a Mistake. My Actions Were not Intentional. I was Affected by Illness and my Medication. It was not Me, it was the Person I was With.

If any of these apply. You may have a Defence to the claim. You must notify us of the circumstances and provide your account along with any supporting evidence you have. Your Defence will then be fully investigated. If the Defence is valid, the Claim will be withdrawn. If you do not provide the information, we will rely upon the Claimants account, and the case will proceed.


MUST! No, you have no obligation to supply anything of the sort. If you chose to, write to the retailer as RLP are only acting on behalf of the retailer


I am Suffering from a Serious or Chronic Physical or Mental Illness. Or I am on Medication.

If your illness or medication affected you, which meant your actions were not intentional or deliberate, this may be a Defence to the Claim. It is important that you tell us, as the Claim will not proceed if there is a Defence on this basis. If your illness or medication did not incident, but has a significant or negative effect upon your life, it will be taken into account if you advise us. You may be asked for evidence or information regarding your condition. Whilst there is no obligation upon a business to consider “mitigation” factors, as companies, we and our clients have agreed Operating Principles to protect the vulnerable, with the ACPO (the Association of Chief Police Officers) which are now also incorporated into Codes of Practice for Civil Recovery.


Agreed processes to protect the vulnerable? Why would anyone want to share personal and private info to this company who have no right to know anything and the fact that they also say there is no obligation to accept mitigating circumstances speaks volumes. You could supply your entire medical history and they still may not accept it. In fairness, I have seen a thread or two where RLP have abandoned a claim.


What if I Need More Time to Respond?

This is no problem for valid reasons. Simply telephone us to advise and the case will be put on hold for an agreed period of time. You need to provide the reason for the delay. (E.g. waiting for an appointment to see a Solicitor, you are going on holiday/going into hospital).


You can take as long as you like as RLP can do nothing except pass on the details to their pet debt collector who can do even less than RLP.


What if I Cannot Afford to Pay or Need More Time?

You may contact us and ask for your financial circumstance to be considered. You may be asked to send information and evidence of your financial circumstances. You could be offered an instalment plan, a reduced settlement or a deferred payment date. In certain circumstances of long term severe financial hardship a claim may be indefinitely suspended. We cannot advise on options if you do not contact us.


Why oh why would anyone contact any company that pretends you owe them money. It doesn't matter what they say as they can do nothing to you.


The Defendant is Vulnerable and Lacks the Capacity to Fully Understand or to Deal with this Claim

All of our clients takes reasonable steps to identify vulnerabilities and cases are not proceeded where there is known vulnerability and you wish to make representations on a vulnerable persons behalf, you need to either provide consent of the Defendant, or sufficient information of vulnerability, for us to access the balance of the Defendants right of privacy under the DPA against the risk to the Defendant having the capacity to respond to the Claim. This is in accordance with guidance from Information Commissioners Office (“ICO”).


What guidance? I have asked the ICO and they have no information regarding this. Perhaps RLP would like to supply us with their correspondence. Also, what are they doing using words like 'defendant'? This should be either respondent or alleged shoplifter. As for the 'defendants' rights under the DPA, more on that below


What is the Position With – My Data, Any Information I Provide to you – The Data Protection Act

Any information you supply will be used for the sole purpose of determining whether to proceed with the claim. It will not be processed further or passed to any third party. It will be confidentially destroyed. If you believe the information we hold is not accurate it is for you to advise us so we hold an accurate account which the DPA requires. Please see the reverse of our letter for more DPA information.


On the RLP website they have some downloads. This one relates to under 18s.


IF,as RLP claim above that they do not pass on any details to a third party, where does that leave them in relation to the guidance linked above. There is one thread where RLP wrote to a juveniles parents.


There is also the case where they have stated that they will store alleged offenders details on a 'dishonesty database. IF, as they say, they destroy the data, where does this leave them.


What Will Happen if I Ignore Your Correspondence?

The case will continue. The data held will be relied upon as accurate. The file may be transferred to our specialist agent which recovers debts and undisputed claims for damages. If the claim is not settled it will be evaluated and returned to the client with advice on the relevant issue of proceedings. If proceedings are issued this could result in increased liability due to Court Costs, interest and costs, an undisputed County Court Judgement will affect your credit rating. Enforcement proceedings then incur further liability of costs and can result in Bankruptcy action or Attachment of Earnings Orders, or in higher value claims, High Court Enforcement Officer action, or a Charge on your Property or Bankruptcy. The law allows for a civil claim to be issued up to 6 years after the incident, but if your case arises from a the allows up to 15 years to bring a claim.


Do you think that the store will continue a claim after so long a time, forget it. As soon as you have left the store, they have forgotten about you. These are scare tactics as only once a judgement is obtained in their favour can they do any of the above. It also strikes me that if an alleged liability is passed on as an 'undisputed claim for damages' it is by virtue of being passed on as being 'disputed.


I am not the Person Involved. Somebody may Have Used my Identity/ The Person you Wrote to Does Not Live at My Address

The identity of the Defendant was verified as far as possible at the time of the incident. Your identity and/or address may have then been used fraudulently. It is important that you contact us to advise if this is the case. We also recommend that you alert the Police as someone may be committing offences using your identity and/or address. We are not permitted to share information regarding the case with you if you not the person involved due to the DPA. We can however share this information with the Police pursuant to Section 29 DPA. We may require some identification from you e.g. copy driving licence, passport, proof of residence to assis in establishing fraud. Information provided will be processed solely for dealing with the fraud. It will not be passed to any third party for any other reason false identity has been established this will be recorded. A record of the incident will be retained in case someone uses your identity address again. Your name and address will not be affected in any way.


This is the only time we will agree with RLP. Hardened shoplifters will give any details other than their own. This rarely happens with first timers who are so scared they will give correct details.



I was only One of the Persons Involved in This Incident

If you committed your wrongdoing jointly with others, you are responsible to pay the collective sum sought. The sum is be you. It does not matter whether one of you pays the whole sum, or you share the payment between you, provided the claim is settled, it is advisable to speak to your co-defendant/s to arrange how to share payment. If you wish to contact us to make an offer to settle your liability, this can be agreed and the remainder of the claim will continue against your co-defendant(s) and no proceeding could be issued against you.


This is neither her nor there as you're not going to be contacting them are you?



While it is my strong belief the above is factual, I am not legally trained however to go further, here are two opinion from Richard B Mawrey QC on behalf of RLP






and also the claim from Citizens Advice




and the rebuttal from RLP




In the following links are threads related to the judgement mentioned above.



This is the short judgement. If you feel like trawling through 150 pages, here is the full judgement on this thread.



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