Spotting a Tricky CLRA Demand Letter


Many of you have seen the Consumer Legal Remedy Act (“CLRA”) demand letters from attorneys.  It’s pretty easy to spot one of those. They usually have big letters saying “CLRA” and they have their law firm letterhead.

However, recently, some plaintiff’s lawyers are trying to make you think that the letter you are seeing was by some crazy customer.  The letter will come under the name of the customer, and not a lawyer.  It will have all kinds of legal language.  It will also have an outrageous demand for punitive damages, sometimes asking for several hundred thousand dollars just in punitive damages.  It will also have a demand for attorney’s fees, even though the letter does not seem to be from a lawyer.

Your first instinct is to throw the letter straight into the garbage can together with the rest of the junk mail you received, thinking it’s from some crazy customer.

Watch out for this kind of letter. 
They are most certainly written by a lawyer and it is a CLRA demand letter.

How can you tell which letter is a CLRA demand letter and which one is not?  Under the law, all CLRA demand letters must be mailed to the dealer by certified mail.  If you see the words “via certified mail” on the letter, or if the letter is delivered to you via certified mail, make sure you pay serious attention to it no matter how it looks.

Under the CLRA, you have 30 days to respond to a CLRA Demand letter.  These tricky plaintiff’s lawyers want you to miss your 30-day deadline to respond because it gives them much greater leverage in asking for more outrageous settlement demands.  While in their letter they might demand attorney’s fees of $7,500, if you miss your 30-day deadline, they will then ask for more than $15,000 in settlement.  Their interest is in having you miss your 30-day deadline.

Remember, responding to a CLRA demand is tricky.  There are a number of things that need to be stated in the letter for it to qualify as a proper response, even if you offer a reasonable offer to the customer.  So make sure you contact an attorney with experience in this area of the law.

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