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FCC - I sat in First Class with a Standard Ticket - Advice Desperatley Needed


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Hello,

 

I am worrying myself sick and would be very greatful for any advice.

 

I had a really busy day and work today, was 40 minutes late leaving th office,

practically ran from Old Street to Farringdon to get a train as I needed t get back home at collect my eldest child age 6 at 19:00.

 

I got the 17:57 from Farringdon which was packed, very packed, it was the first coach so there was a choice of get squashed or go in to first class.

 

I was feeling faint and very stressed at the thought of not getting home in time.

 

I have a annual season ticket and knew it was wrong but I sat in first class with every intention of getting out 2 stops later when seats were free in standard.

 

The inspectors got on, I admitted I was wrong explained that I was feeling ill and had planned to move when there were free seats,

they disagreed and said they I was only going to move because I saw them.

 

He then CAUTIONED me like I was a criminal asked me loads of questions.

 

Why I hadn't got off etc if I was feeling ill, I explained I had to get home to collect my child.

 

I have never been in trouble with the FCC or the law before, I only use my ticket for 3 days of the week but still pay the full £3300 pa.

 

I never sit in first class I always get a seat on my normal 16:57.

I was polite gave all the information that was asked for even though the inspector was clearly trying to intimidate me,

he even suggested that CCTV would be looked at to see how ill I was.

 

I've been googling, and the outcome looks very scarey, prison and £1000.

 

Can someone please tell me what will be the likely outcome for me and what I should do?

 

Also I can not have a criminal record with my employer and am the main income earner at home.

 

Am very scared.

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I'm no expert so can only go on what I've read and common knowledge I have but I believe the fines are given by magistrates .... Fines I've seen seem to range from £100 upwards..

 

Edit: Just read the MAXIMUM fine is 3 months in jail :-( although apparently its rare to see that and its usually a fixed penalty given out.

 

I'm sure more knowledgeable people will be able to give better advice but you may want to search around a few threads on this site to see how things play out.

 

S.

Edited by the_shadow
wowzers - had a blonde moment there

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Deal with your debts:

STEP ONE - Dont Panic! | STEP TWO - Priority & Non Priority Debts | STEP THREE - Personal Budget Sheet | STEP FOUR - A SAFE bank Account | STEP FIVE - Dealing with Priority Debts | STEP SIX - Non-priority Debts | STEP SEVEN - Non-Priority Debt-Repayment Opt1 | STEP EIGHT - Non-Priority Debt-Repayment Opt2 | STEP NINE - Perils of Consolidation | STEP TEN - RE-Evaluate Frequently

 

***** SERIOUSLY IN DEBT, DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO, TRY NationalDebtLine's MoneySteps *****

 

 

IMPORTANT: Please take my advice in the spirit it is given and on the basis that I am expressing my opinion, These opinions are not endorsed by CAG in anyway and are offered informally without prejudice or warranty of any kind. These opinions are solely based upon the knowledge I've gained from this fantastic site and life in general. I have NO legal training.

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Do you know how much the full first class fare for your journey is?

 

S.

Are You as Anonymous on CAG as You Think You Are? *Link*

 

The CAG is a free help site,should you be offered help that requires payment,please report it to site team.

 

Deal with your debts:

STEP ONE - Dont Panic! | STEP TWO - Priority & Non Priority Debts | STEP THREE - Personal Budget Sheet | STEP FOUR - A SAFE bank Account | STEP FIVE - Dealing with Priority Debts | STEP SIX - Non-priority Debts | STEP SEVEN - Non-Priority Debt-Repayment Opt1 | STEP EIGHT - Non-Priority Debt-Repayment Opt2 | STEP NINE - Perils of Consolidation | STEP TEN - RE-Evaluate Frequently

 

***** SERIOUSLY IN DEBT, DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO, TRY NationalDebtLine's MoneySteps *****

 

 

IMPORTANT: Please take my advice in the spirit it is given and on the basis that I am expressing my opinion, These opinions are not endorsed by CAG in anyway and are offered informally without prejudice or warranty of any kind. These opinions are solely based upon the knowledge I've gained from this fantastic site and life in general. I have NO legal training.

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Hello,

 

I am worrying myself sick and would be very greatful for any advice.

 

I had a really busy day and work today, was 40 minutes late leaving th office,

practically ran from Old Street to Farringdon to get a train as I needed t get back home at collect my eldest child age 6 at 19:00.

 

I got the 17:57 from Farringdon which was packed, very packed, it was the first coach so there was a choice of get squashed or go in to first class.

 

I was feeling faint and very stressed at the thought of not getting home in time.

 

I have a annual season ticket and knew it was wrong but I sat in first class with every intention of getting out 2 stops later when seats were free in standard.

 

The inspectors got on, I admitted I was wrong explained that I was feeling ill and had planned to move when there were free seats,

they disagreed and said they I was only going to move because I saw them.

 

He then CAUTIONED me like I was a criminal asked me loads of questions.

 

Why I hadn't got off etc if I was feeling ill, I explained I had to get home to collect my child.

 

I have never been in trouble with the FCC or the law before, I only use my ticket for 3 days of the week but still pay the full £3300 pa.

 

I never sit in first class I always get a seat on my normal 16:57.

I was polite gave all the information that was asked for even though the inspector was clearly trying to intimidate me,

he even suggested that CCTV would be looked at to see how ill I was.

 

I've been googling, and the outcome looks very scarey, prison and £1000.

 

Can someone please tell me what will be the likely outcome for me and what I should do?

 

Also I can not have a criminal record with my employer and am the main income earner at home.

 

Am very scared.

 

 

 

good evening.

 

you cant have googled us then.........

 

nothing will happen to you.

 

all you need to do is wait until/if you get a letter through

 

then simply send the grovelling letter detailed in sev threads in this forum.

 

you'll get no record, no one banging at your door, nor the rim greaPER THROWING YOU IN DEBTORS JAIL.

 

opps caps sri........

 

 

read a few threads in this forum.

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Usually charged as a byelaw, but very unusual to get to court as penalty fare normally charged.

 

I wouldn't worry just yet, wait for the letter.

 

As a heads up for the site team:

 

County Court = Civil

Magistrates Court = Criminal

 

I do think that telling people nothing will happen to them without knowing all the facts is very misleading.

  • Haha 1
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Usually charged as a byelaw, but very unusual to get to court as penalty fare normally charged.

 

I wouldn't worry just yet.

 

As a heads up for the site team:

 

County Court = Civil

Magistrates Court = Criminal

 

:-) Cheers SRPO realised my error, there should be a law about drinking and typing at the same time :-/

 

S.

Are You as Anonymous on CAG as You Think You Are? *Link*

 

The CAG is a free help site,should you be offered help that requires payment,please report it to site team.

 

Deal with your debts:

STEP ONE - Dont Panic! | STEP TWO - Priority & Non Priority Debts | STEP THREE - Personal Budget Sheet | STEP FOUR - A SAFE bank Account | STEP FIVE - Dealing with Priority Debts | STEP SIX - Non-priority Debts | STEP SEVEN - Non-Priority Debt-Repayment Opt1 | STEP EIGHT - Non-Priority Debt-Repayment Opt2 | STEP NINE - Perils of Consolidation | STEP TEN - RE-Evaluate Frequently

 

***** SERIOUSLY IN DEBT, DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO, TRY NationalDebtLine's MoneySteps *****

 

 

IMPORTANT: Please take my advice in the spirit it is given and on the basis that I am expressing my opinion, These opinions are not endorsed by CAG in anyway and are offered informally without prejudice or warranty of any kind. These opinions are solely based upon the knowledge I've gained from this fantastic site and life in general. I have NO legal training.

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hic

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Try not to worry yourself too much, Noah.

 

You'll receive a letter in 6-8 weeks typically, and this will detail what they intend to do. Chances are they'll seek to prosecute you in Byelaw 19.1 which is being in a class of accommodation not meant for you in laymans terms. When you receive this letter I suggest you write back and tell FCC how sorry you are, explain your reasoning, and state that you do know how wrong it is. I wouldn't go on to say how much you spend on a season ticket, as you don't want to put their backs up. I'd say that an offer of paying all reasonable admin charges is the way to go, along with a grovelling letter. If they accept then you'll pay the admin costs and the matter will be closed. If it goes to court and you're found guilty, although not recordable on the Police National Computer, you'll potentially receive a hefty fine and a criminal record.

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There is generally a big difference between what can happen and what does happen, and the 'best of us' can only guess on the outcome based on past experience or expertise.

 

'Google' correctly shows 'maximum' penalties, the 'offence' can be charged contrary to section 5,3,a of the Regulation of Railways Act.

 

It could be charged contrary to one or other of the Byelaws, perhaps a FCC person might let us know their 'normal' choice, the line nearest to me does not have 'first class' carriages, so I have never had to worry that much about it.

 

I have been 'watching' Court outcomes for rather a few too many years. I have not yet seen a 'maximum' sentence handed down for anything in a Magistrates Court. I think it is pretty safe to say that you can forget prison. You can forget about '£1,000.00 fines'. It just won't happen.

 

If the prosecution team at FCC see the report, they will write to you. That may indicate what they think they want to do, but for you, the important thing is, their letter will give you their case reference number. Reply to that, tell them why you chose to sit in first class. They will then make a choice between 'dropping the case', accepting some form of administrative penalty (ie 'money') or prosecuting the case under one or other of the available peices of law.

 

Your reply may set the tone of 'what happens next'. A basically apologetic letter, setting out that you felt unwell, may cause them to want to avoid Court. I will warn you not to exagerate anything, the Inspector may well have made notes on how you behaved on the day, and they will look to see if your comments are consistent with his report. Lies at that stage will send the case straight to Court.

 

An example of the frequent excuses for 'overtravel' (more serious than your situation, but stuff that I have seen quite a bit of) is 'I fell asleep amd missed my stop.' The evidence will normally describe what the passenger was doing, making a phone call, standing up or whatever, and, in my experience, many people choose to fundamentally lie in their responses. Which takes away any credibilty for 'defence' and 'mitigation', so I urge all readers to be honest at that point of process.

 

The 'prosecutor' will think through how a Magistrate will see the case. Will a Magistrate think 'the railway is being too harsh', or 'this passenger is taking the mick'. He will not want to prosecute a case where the Magistrates will think that the railway is 'out of order'.

 

For now, be patient, let us know what sort of letter you get, when you get it, we will 'advise' further.

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Hello,

I got the 17:57 from Farringdon which was packed, very packed, it was the first coach so there was a choice of get squashed or go in to first class.

 

17:57 to Sutton? If so, this train does not actually convey First Class accommodation however trains that have a First Class section are often put on these trains (just last week I got a train to Sutton like that, and sat in this area on a Standard ticket), when this occurs First Class is considered 'declassified';. However RPIs will often 'try it on'; I know someone who experiences this on FCC all too often. If you got this train, then you should win on the basis that the PF is null and void. I believe you must have got this train, as the only other train at 17:57 goes to Bedford and your excuse that you had 'every intention of getting out 2 stops later'; wouldn't wash in that case as 2 stops later would be St Albans!! Good luck. If you need further advice I suggest a specialist rail fares forum...
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I heard a rumour that the FCC prosecutions manager is also a magistrate....

 

I can make some enquiries. Can you private message me with any more info? I know some people who work for FCC...

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Whether or not the FCC chap is a Magistrate will make no difference to an individual case.

 

He would not be allowed to sit in any cases where his employment would potentially conflict with his impartiality.

 

All of us who spend time in Court try to guess how a Court will view the cases we work on. Whether we are presenting a prosecution or a defence, it is sensible to try to look at our own positions from the persepective of the 'Bench'.

 

After more than 30 years, I still cannot fully predict outcomes.

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I can make some enquiries. Can you private message me with any more info? I know some people who work for FCC...

 

He is, but exactly as Wriggler7 states, it makes not the slightest difference.

 

He cannot sit and hear rail cases, nor can any Guard, Driver, Signalman, Platform Staff, or any other rail staff who may also be Magistrates and I know and have known a great many in that position over the past 30 years too.

 

One of my own team is in exactly the same situation. I wouldn't read anything into that other than such people have a clear idea of how the system works, but cannot have any direct, or judgemental input in cases such as these.

Edited by Old-CodJA
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17:57 to Sutton? If so, this train does not actually convey First Class accommodation however trains that have a First Class section are often put on these trains (just last week I got a train to Sutton like that, and sat in this area on a Standard ticket), when this occurs First Class is considered 'declassified';. However RPIs will often 'try it on'; I know someone who experiences this on FCC all too often. If you got this train, then you should win on the basis that the PF is null and void. I believe you must have got this train, as the only other train at 17:57 goes to Bedford and your excuse that you had 'every intention of getting out 2 stops later'; wouldn't wash in that case as 2 stops later would be St Albans!! Good luck. If you need further advice I suggest a specialist rail fares forum...

 

If the poster were to have an annual ticket to anywhere on the Wimbledon / Sutton loop, I think it would cost less than the £3,300 per annum that she pays for an annual ticket.

 

An annual ticket between Farringdon and Luton Airport Parkway is £3,280.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you to everyone who as posted advice on this thread, I have now received my letter which I have attached. Would appreciate some thoughs on an appropriuate response. Many Thanks

CCF09062011_00000.jpg

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How does this sound for a genuinelly sorry letter?

On 17th May 2011 I had a really busy day and work, and was unavoidably 40 minutes late leaving the office, I practically ran from Old Street to Farringdon which is just over a mile in distance to get a train as I needed to get back home at collect my daughters age 6 and 7 at 19:00 from their Girls Brigade club.

 

I got the 17:57 from Farringdon which was packed. I was feeling faint and much stressed at the thought of not getting home in time to collect my girls, I was on the first coach of which was half was for first class passengers. I do know how wrong it is to sit in first class without a valid ticket, but I was genuinely feeling ill, I had worked through lunch & hadn’t eaten, and what with the run to get to Farringdon I felt faint & queasy. I needed some space so that I could try to arrange for someone to step in and collect my children. I sat in first class with every intention of moving to economy once the train emptied at St Albans.

When we got to St Albans I was busy texting/phoning trying to see if anyone could help me, everyone else moved out of the carriage I was about to move when the inspector got on. The inspector disagreed with my explanation he then CAUTIONED me like I was a criminal and asked me loads of questions.

 

I’ve been using this train line since 2003 and I have never been in trouble with the FCC or the law before, I purchase an annual season ticket year in year out. I never sit in first class I always get a seat on my normal 16:57. I was polite gave all the information that was asked for even though the inspector was clearly trying to intimidate me, he even suggested that CCTV would be looked at to see how ill I was.

I am so sorry that I made the decision to sit in first class that day, I would be so grateful if you could show leniency on this occasion and allow me to pay any administration costs that you may have incurred so that I can avoid this matter going to court. A criminal record would not bode well with my employers (Post Office Ltd), also I & my husband are on a Debt Management Plan and I am the main income earner so I really can not risk losing my job. The implication of this matter going to court would be absolutely devastating for my family.

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Thank you to everyone who as posted advice on this thread, I have now received my letter which I have attached. Would appreciate some thoughs on an appropriuate response. Many Thanks

 

Sorry, it's too small for me to read. When I enlarge it, it goes blurred.

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hello again. Regarding your letter asking for leniency, it has been suggested before on the forum [not by me, one or two of the experts] that you run it through spell and grammar checks before you send it.

 

Others will comment, but I'm not sure whether criticising the member of staff who apprehended you is a good idea, however justified you feel it is.

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi, you have written

 

"The inspector disagreed with my explanation he then CAUTIONED me like I was a criminal and asked me loads of questions."

I suggest that something along the following lines might be considered to be a bit less directly critical, but still drawing attention to your concern.

 

'I was somewhat suprised that having never experienced being cautioned before, the Inspector seemed rather forceful in questioning me in front of others, although I do understand I was in the wrong carriage....'

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A common 'theme' in many threads is the resentment at being cautioned 'like a criminal'.

 

At the time that any investigator cautions, the person being spoken to must have done enough that there is suspicion that he or she has committed an offence.

 

The caution is one of the requirements in place to prevent 'investigators' from taking advantage of a person during question and answer. This country has a highly developed, and in some eyes, very liberal, approach to investigating 'crime', if a ticket inspector cautions you, perhaps you would care to reflect on the situation that might apply in other parts of the world, or other times in history, where we might consider that human rights are not respected.

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While Wriggler and Old-CodJA offer sensible advice in the main, I have a feeling that in this case they are advising effectively pleading guilty in a situation where no offence took place. If 1st class was "declassified" (as it would be if not officially offered on the service in question) then the RFI who issued the Penalty Fare was acting in an illegitimate manner - something which seesm far too common on FCC according to a more specialist forum (RailUKforum) I also view.As such I have taken the liberty of posting a link to this thread on that forum as was suggested by "yorkie2" who I strongly suspect is "yorkie" on that forum and as such is an absolute expert on rail ticketing issues, the rail National Conditions of Carriage and other related issues.I am unable to post links (not enough posts on here) but see:www . railforums . co .uk, (remove spaces)Fares, tickets & routingFrom another website - CAG

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While Wriggler and Old-CodJA offer sensible advice in the main, I have a feeling that in this case they are advising effectively pleading guilty in a situation where no offence took place. If 1st class was "declassified" (as it would be if not officially offered on the service in question) then the RFI who issued the Penalty Fare was acting in an illegitimate manner ...

I think that the suggestion that this was a Sutton bound service is somewhat disproved by the following snippet from the letter that the OP is planning on sending to FCC.

How does this sound for a genuinelly sorry letter?

... I sat in first class with every intention of moving to economy once the train emptied at St Albans.

When we got to St Albans ...

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Yeah, I have checked the timetable and the 1757 from Farringdon has a 1 above it.

 

It is a fairly unfair system that a train which looks identical, has the same number of carriages can be used between two stations but depending on its origin it might or might not be classified as having First Class and as such a passenger may or may not be liable to prosecution. It doesn't really fit in with the metro style operation on Thameslink which FCC hold the franchise to run.

 

There are countless examples of other TOCs asking customers to leave First Class if they don't have a correct ticket. FCC seem to really go to town on those who fall foul of the rules.

 

As a matter of interest, does a customer without a ticket sitting in First Class face the same penalty as one with a ticket sitting in First Class?

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