What You Need to Know About Maryland Senate Bill 508

What You Need to Know About Maryland Senate Bill 508


On October 1, 2016 Maryland Senate Bill 508 will go into effect. Under this new law a retailer will not be able to pursue statutory civil penalties in the state of Maryland. A retailer can only demand the following remedies from a shoplifter: (a) the stolen merchandise (b) if it cannot be recovered, or it is recovered in damaged condition, or “otherwise has lost all or part of its value”, the merchant can demand an amount equal to the merchandise sales price plus (c) pay the merchant for any other “actual damages.”  Store security, lost time, or wages associated with the apprehension or prosecution of the shoplifter can no longer be considered as demand.

Maryland Demand Letter: The demand letter must be prepared by a lawyer admitted to practice law in the state of Maryland.  This letter must then be either hand delivered personally to the responsible person, or mailed to that person’s last known address by certified mail, return receipt requested.

  • If payment in full is not received on or before the date specified in the initial demand letter, a second and final letter shall be sent to the responsible person.

  • If the second letter is returned unclaimed to the merchant or if the full payment is not received on or before the day specified in the second demand letter, the merchant may file a civil action to recover damages, along with court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.

Maryland Reporting: On or before January 15th of each year, a merchant that sought damages during the preceding calendar year must submit a letter to the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation that includes the following information for the preceding calendar year:

  • The number of alleged shoplifting or employee theft incidents.

  • The number of demand letters sent and the amount of money received in response to the letters sent.

  • The number of criminal prosecutions sought after by the merchant and the final dispositions of those prosecutions.

  • The number of civil suits filed under this subtitle by the merchant and the final disposition of those suits.

If you have any questions, please respond to this email and we will follow up within the next business day. To review the complete Senate Bill 508 visit the state’s website at http://mgaleg.maryland.gov.