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Hi,

I just got caught misusing my son's oyster by mistake. Someone who presented himself as a police officer asked me in the cabin, where they sell tickets. I didn't realize what I had done and I showed him my own oyster card and it proved that I have enough money in it. However, he took my name, address, place of birth and country of origin and made a radio check. This is the first time I deal with police, apart from a speeding ticket 3 years ago.

 

When I asked him "What is it going to happen now" he simply told me that my son has to apply for another card since they keep the one I'd used and I have to be more careful which card I touch next time. Never mention a fine or court, never signed anything.

 

When I checked what I did in the internet I got really scared. Do I face criminal prosecution? What can do to avoid criminal record?

 

Thank you for you patience and please excuse my English, I'm obviously not a native speaker.

Edited by honeybee13
Adding spacing.

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Is your son's oyster a concessionary one (where you may have aoided paying a fare due)?.

If your son's Oyster was a standard PAYG Oyster then it is likely that you have paid your fare.

 

If your son's Oyster held HIS periodic travelcard, or was a concessionary Oyster (Student, or e.g. Feeedom Pass) then it may be that it was 'non-transferrable' to you.

 

We'd need more details to answer correctly : what sort of Oyster was his (did it have a photocard with his photo on?), what wallet was it in such that you could confuse it with yours, and why?.

 

The fact that you had your own PAYG Oyster with money on it is not of significance ; you can consider it the same as having your wallet with you with money on it (in fact, it is in effect an 'electronic purse') : you had funds with you, but they weren't used to obtain a ticket.

 

If they decide to persue this, you can expect a letter within 4-6 weeks, which will usually ask you to give an explanation (rather than them just issuing a summons).

If you do get such a letter, post back on this thread with the details (of what they say in the letter, not your personal details!), and we can (with the other details) then advise.

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Thanks a lot!

My son's oyster is with photo, issued for he is a student. I know they have lower rates for students. He and the rest of my family left UK last week, that's why I wanted to return the cards and take the remaining money back.

I wanted to return the all cards after the journey I was heading because I'm leaving the country next week, too. That's why I took all four cards with me, but because they where too thick I move them in pairs into one holder. Two holders in total. I don't really know how exactly I used his, I guess I just didn't pay enough attention. I know it is stupid and I had to start with returning the cards but I was in a hurry, so I decided to do it afterwards. What is done is done.

The officer didn't tell anything about prosecution, is it the way it works? Shouldn't he have warned me or something? I specifically asked what would happen.

Is it possible to get away with it? I'm really worried because when I leave UK there is no one who can take care of this matter but I don't want to have criminal record.

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Hello again.

 

Is it possible to get away with it? I'm really worried because when I leave UK there is no one who can take care of this matter but I don't want to have criminal record.

 

I realise that English isn't your first language, but CAG is not here to help people 'get away with it'.

 

Are you likely to come back to the UK?

 

You might consider letting TfL know your new address or will there be someone here forwarding your mail? Or you could ask Royal Mail to do that.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thank you very much for your answer!

 

Please excuse me, I didn't mean that I want to avoid penalty for something that I've done. Mistake or not, I did it. I only wanted to know what to expect, because it is a real problem.

 

I feel very ashamed, and I know - no "ifs" no "buts". But if I could turn back time I would be more careful. I appreciate the help you provide to people in my situation and I'm far for asking for tricks how to escape deserved punishment.

 

I can ask one of my colleagues to answer on my behalf once the letter comes, but how should I do it? Is it a problem if he writes with its own writing as if it is me? The problem is, for what I read here, that I'll have two weeks period to write them back and if he re-sends the letter to my country it will take ages for my answer to come to Tfl. Besides, how will I send them the money from home?

 

By the way, what is the sum they normally charge you for such an offence?

 

Thank you for your help, and excuse my English once more.

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Forgot one part. Most likely I'll be visiting UK again.

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Thank you very much for your answer!

 

Please excuse me, I didn't mean that I want to avoid penalty for something that I've done. Mistake or not, I did it. I only wanted to know what to expect, because it is a real problem.

 

I feel very ashamed, and I know - no "ifs" no "buts". But if I could turn back time I would be more careful. I appreciate the help you provide to people in my situation and I'm far for asking for tricks how to escape deserved punishment.

 

I can ask one of my colleagues to answer on my behalf once the letter comes, but how should I do it? Is it a problem if he writes with its own writing as if it is me? The problem is, for what I read here, that I'll have two weeks period to write them back and if he re-sends the letter to my country it will take ages for my answer to come to Tfl. Besides, how will I send them the money from home?

 

By the way, what is the sum they normally charge you for such an offence?

 

Thank you for your help, and excuse my English once more.

 

OK, thank you for the other information.

 

I'm afraid what you're asking is beyond my knowledge, but I expect the forum guys will be along with answers to your questions. Please bear with us until they're able to get here, I'm sure they will be able to help you with this.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Normal advice is "wait for the letter from the Train Operating Company" (TOC), which usually arrives in 4-6 weeks, but this may not be a good option for you.

 

Usually, people are advised not to try to contact the TOC before :

a) because they might decide not to proceed

b) if they are following it up, a 'reply' before they have written to you won't have the reference number on their letter, so might not be able to be linked easily to your case, and

c) you don't yet know what they are accusing you of.

 

The issue you face is that if they write later, and you aren't able to reply, they might summons you and you not receive it.

With firm evidence against you : you could then be found guilty in your absence. HOWEVER :

a) this might not follow,

b) even if it did you could (on your return) make a 'statutory declaration' that you never received a summons, and it will be vacated and the process can be restarted.

 

An option you might consider is to write to them, explaining the situation and that you are leaving the country : asking if they would consider a payment of any outstanding fare and their costs, to resolve it before you leave the country. The possible downside to this is that you might not have been reported, and you might be then be creating a case against yourself.

 

(IF [and it is a big 'if] they were going to proceed against you anyway, you won't be worse off for doing this, in fact if you later needed to make a statutory declaration you could show the TOC +/- a court that you had sought to resolve this before leaving the country, rather than trying to evade the process).

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Thank you very much for your complete answer.

The more I read the more I realize that I'll get one of those "explain" letters. Understandably, if somebody tells me that someone is using his son's oyster to save a couple of pounds I would, too, want him punished. I am so embarrassed to be in such position not to mention the consequences for my job, being in the Armed Forces. In fact, when the personnel in the cabin checked my son's card it appeared only £2... something, which, I believe is insufficient for crossing 6 zones and back.

I'll try not to hurry and figure the best option to deal with it having in mind your useful comments.

 

One more question, if I decide to leave my friend here to deal with the matter, should I write in my own hand writing or I can send him a word file that he could print and send for me? Please, excuse my ignorance, I'm not trying to insult anyone.

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Thank you very much for your complete answer.

The more I read the more I realize that I'll get one of those "explain" letters. Understandably, if somebody tells me that someone is using his son's oyster to save a couple of pounds I would, too, want him punished. I am so embarrassed to be in such position not to mention the consequences for my job, being in the Armed Forces. In fact, when the personnel in the cabin checked my son's card it appeared only £2... something, which, I believe is insufficient for crossing 6 zones and back.

I'll try not to hurry and figure the best option to deal with it having in mind your useful comments.

 

One more question, if I decide to leave my friend here to deal with the matter, should I write in my own hand writing or I can send him a word file that he could print and send for me? Please, excuse my ignorance, I'm not trying to insult anyone.

 

Were you stopped at your destination?.

At the ticket gate?

After the gate?.

 

Please clarify what the sequence of events was : when, where you were stopped, and what happened in the minutes before.

 

The detail may be relevant.

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I was stopped after the gate. Maybe 30 seconds later, I just went down the stairs to the platform. The officer came after me and asked me to show him the card I used. I took all of them out of my pocket and I then realized that I cannot actually tell which one I used. Apart from my son's I had three more, two of which had enough money, all pay as you go. My own, my wife's and my daughter's that I had wrongly bought a couple of months ago, because I thought that 10 years old who is not going to school in UK has to pay to use the tube. Not being able to tell him which one I used he asked me upstairs into the cabin/I'm not sure if this is the correct word/.

Before that, I specifically checked my oyster on one of those machines, making sure I've got enough money and then put it back in my pocket. When I approached the gate I just pulled it out, but in the end it turned out that it was the wrong one. I tried to explain but... when I now read the other threads I must have looked pitiful. It is a shame to me, my organization and my country.

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I was stopped after the gate. Maybe 30 seconds later, I just went down the stairs to the platform. The officer came after me and asked me to show him the card I used. I took all of them out of my pocket and I then realized that I cannot actually tell which one I used. Apart from my son's I had three more, two of which had enough money, all pay as you go. My own, my wife's and my daughter's that I had wrongly bought a couple of months ago, because I thought that 10 years old who is not going to school in UK has to pay to use the tube. Not being able to tell him which one I used he asked me upstairs into the cabin/I'm not sure if this is the correct word/.

Before that, I specifically checked my oyster on one of those machines, making sure I've got enough money and then put it back in my pocket. When I approached the gate I just pulled it out, but in the end it turned out that it was the wrong one. I tried to explain but... when I now read the other threads I must have looked pitiful. It is a shame to me, my organization and my country.

 

This was at the start or end of your journey?

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Let's just see if I've read the scenario correctly and have this straight in my mind, please correct me if I've got this wrong;

 

1. You had with you a number of assorted Oyster Cards that were your family members, plus your own Pay-as-you-go card

2. All your other family members had returned to your home country and you are intending to do so within 2 weeks or so

3. You intended to surrender all the Oysters that had stored credit and collect the refund

4. You needed to make one journey on the tube first

5. You had your own PAYG Oyster with you, which had sufficient credit for the journey that you were making

6. You tapped-in at the start of the journey using the wrong Oyster (your sons' student card) by mistake

7. You are in the military, heading back to your own country, but may return to the UK in the future

 

 

Please correct any of the points that I have got wrong and then I'll post again

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BazzaS, Old-CodJA, thank you for your help.

Yes, this is correct, apart from the fact that the other three cards were all Pay-as-you-go. I returned them immediately after the incident and kept only mine.

I was stopped at the start of my journey.

I'm flying back to my country next Sunday.

One more thing, when the officer asked me why I have all the cards in my pockets, I explained my intention, but used "get rid of them" instead of "return" or "surrender" which, I now realize, may have different meaning.

Edited by Sorried

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Thanks for the clarification.

The situation you describe is clearer.

 

Sorry to have to ask for clarification but sometimes posters "bend the truth", "leave bits out so the TOC won't recognise them from the post", or just downright lie - and they usually get spotted by "something not making sense", and it gets hard to offer reliable advice on an ever evolving story.

 

I don't get that feeling from your posts. What you have described seems feasible and consistent.

 

You being stopped just after you swiped in (using your son's student Oyster, with insufficient credit for Z6 travel on it) fits with everything else you've described. I presume they saw that a concessionairy (student) card was swiped, and went to check on your status.

 

From what you've described, I think my previous advice still stands, and I hope my queries have allowed the situation to be made clear.

 

Hopefully some of the forum regulars will now add advice or confirm my advice .... I can see OC already has their eye on the thread.

Edited by BazzaS

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I rarely suggest that anyone contacts TfL before getting their letter, but in your case I think this is the exception.

 

Please contact them as early as you possibly can. It may be best to telephone and see if you can get the right fax number to send an urgent letter, or send your letter by special delivery first thing tomorrow morning.

If you are persistent (but not aggressive or rude) you may be able to press the person anwsering the phone to put you on to someone in the prosecutor's office who will be able to make a decision there and then.

 

I stress that this is unlikely and isn't the usual procedure to follow, they usually say you'll have to write in, but it might just work in this case.

 

Outline exactly what happened as I listed in my earlier post. Explain that this really was an innocent mistake and that you are leaving the UK at the weekend. It is best that you put this in writing in any case and make sure that you have evidence that you told TfL before you left.

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Thanks, really. The thing is that I can't prove that I was about to cross the 6 zones, although I did. I went from 6th to the 1st than to 2nd and from there came back to my starting point. And I don't really know if the £2 pounds/maybe a bit more - 2.10 or 2.20 - I don't remember/ in my son's card was sufficient to complete the journey. I know it has lower rates but I don't know how low. However, I am afraid that if I explain about this insufficiency they will probably tell me that I could have used it for only one stop. I don't want to look like someone who lies to dodge justice.

 

I am thinking how to write the explanation letter because, as you see, my English is poor. I have to do it in advance just to be prepared when the letter comes in my absence iot avoid missing the 14 days period. Hence my questions about how it should be written - hand writing, printed copy with or without signature. Do I have to tell them that I am already out of the country? Do I have to mention that I'm in the military? Honestly, if I am a prosecutor and somebody from an organization that supposed to respect honor and protect laws in any way committed such a crime I would have him severely punished. Which, in my case, will mean end of my career and end of my family, since I am the only working parent. Life in my country is hard enough to make my children suffer for my mistakes.

I know it is basic but I really don't know what is better. I took an example from previous treads that fits the best the way I feel. I hope by doing this I do not commit another crime. I will use most of the letter, but the paragraph that actually explains my point of view is the one that worries me. I don't want to misuse wording that may offend somebody/as already happened in this treads - sorry about that/ or incriminate myself.

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Hello again.

 

Will you have email when you go home? I'm wondering if this could be a way to deal with the problem.

 

I hope the guys will be able to answer this and your other queries.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thanks, really. The thing is that I can't prove that I was about to cross the 6 zones, although I did. I went from 6th to the 1st than to 2nd and from there came back to my starting point. And I don't really know if the £2 pounds/maybe a bit more - 2.10 or 2.20 - I don't remember/ in my son's card was sufficient to complete the journey. I know it has lower rates but I don't know how low. However, I am afraid that if I explain about this insufficiency they will probably tell me that I could have used it for only one stop. I don't want to look like someone who lies to dodge justice.

 

I am thinking how to write the explanation letter because, as you see, my English is poor. I have to do it in advance just to be prepared when the letter comes in my absence iot avoid missing the 14 days period. Hence my questions about how it should be written - hand writing, printed copy with or without signature. Do I have to tell them that I am already out of the country? Do I have to mention that I'm in the military? Honestly, if I am a prosecutor and somebody from an organization that supposed to respect honor and protect laws in any way committed such a crime I would have him severely punished. Which, in my case, will mean end of my career and end of my family, since I am the only working parent. Life in my country is hard enough to make my children suffer for my mistakes.

I know it is basic but I really don't know what is better. I took an example from previous treads that fits the best the way I feel. I hope by doing this I do not commit another crime. I will use most of the letter, but the paragraph that actually explains my point of view is the one that worries me. I don't want to misuse wording that may offend somebody/as already happened in this treads - sorry about that/ or incriminate myself.

 

I get the impression you are more contrite about this than most of the posters whose threads I read!

 

I can see how English not being your first language is a concern, but one of the factors that seems to make a letter more likely to succeed is that it is heartfelt, and not a "template letter" that some posters ask for as if it were "a magic wand to wave"

 

May I suggest : write YOUR letter, in case you are asked to fax it when you contact them (following OC's advice).

 

Handwritten is good (if legible!) [With my poor handwriting I'd word process mine, as there is no point in a handwritten letter if they'd struggle to read it all]

 

Be factual, honest and contrite.

(What you have written here already is a good starting point)

 

By all means post a draft : here (with any identifying details removed), and you will likely get help with amendments to "say things the right way", and "avoid saying things that aren't helpful or could 'cloud the issue'"

 

It can still be "YOUR" letter, still heartfelt, contrite, and truthful.

 

I suspect some key threads will be :

 

It was a mistake, not deliberate. How the mistake occurred, so they can see it was a mistake.

 

The fact that you are leaving the country imminently, but don't want to run away from getting this resolved.

 

The difficulty this might cause to you and your career, and whilst you accept you were in the wrong, the disproportionate effect a prosecution might have, together with the difficulty caused as you are leaving the country and may be unable to respond until ( / IF) you return to the UK.

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Thanks, really. The thing is that I can't prove that I was about to cross the 6 zones, although I did. I went from 6th to the 1st than to 2nd and from there came back to my starting point. And I don't really know if the £2 pounds/maybe a bit more - 2.10 or 2.20 - I don't remember/ in my son's card was sufficient to complete the journey. I know it has lower rates but I don't know how low. However, I am afraid that if I explain about this insufficiency they will probably tell me that I could have used it for only one stop. I don't want to look like someone who lies to dodge justice.

 

I am thinking how to write the explanation letter because, as you see, my English is poor. I have to do it in advance just to be prepared when the letter comes in my absence iot avoid missing the 14 days period. Hence my questions about how it should be written - hand writing, printed copy with or without signature. Do I have to tell them that I am already out of the country? Do I have to mention that I'm in the military? Honestly, if I am a prosecutor and somebody from an organization that supposed to respect honor and protect laws in any way committed such a crime I would have him severely punished. Which, in my case, will mean end of my career and end of my family, since I am the only working parent. Life in my country is hard enough to make my children suffer for my mistakes.

I know it is basic but I really don't know what is better. I took an example from previous treads that fits the best the way I feel. I hope by doing this I do not commit another crime. I will use most of the letter, but the paragraph that actually explains my point of view is the one that worries me. I don't want to misuse wording that may offend somebody/as already happened in this treads - sorry about that/ or incriminate myself.

 

 

I have no connection with this case, but have an idea in mind what your situation is and where you come from. In my experience, your use of English is commensurate of what I would expect if I am right in my assumption. I may well be wrong, but that really doesn't matter.

 

We cannot write your letter for you because we do not know the specifics, but only have your explanation of what happened and from your post here, I do not doubt you have been wholly truthful.

 

Please do not worry too much, I really think you need to put faith in justice in this case and as a matter of extreme urgency, contact TfL as soon as you can to try to deal with this without waiting for the letter.

 

I know that this goes against my usual 'advice', but I really think this is an exceptional case

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HoneyBee13, yes, I will keep my e-mail.

 

Old-CodJA, I was writing my previous post when you answered, that's why I didn't see your advice. I may try and call them, but I guess it should happen on Monday, do they work Sundays? And next question, how should I refer to the incident if it is not yet filed?

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HoneyBee13, yes, I will keep my e-mail.

 

Old-CodJA, I was writing my previous post when you answered, that's why I didn't see your advice. I may try and call them, but I guess it should happen on Monday, do they work Sundays? And next question, how should I refer to the incident if it is not yet filed?

 

Try on Monday.

If you get through to the Prosecutions Office ; Give them the details (don't post them here!) :

 

Your name and date of birth, the approximate time and the date, and which station you were stopped at.

 

Good luck : and please let us know how things turn out!

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I will certainly let you know what happened, you are being really helpful. I just drafted my letter, based on the one I found in previous treads. Please take a look at it. Provided I have a chance to send it to Tfl office I'll change the heading with the ref. part.

 

 

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to express my sincerest apologies for the situation described in your letter, ref ….

 

I would like to apologise for this incident to both the train company, the members off staff who I have dealt with and those that work throughout the company. This incident was completely out of character for me and I would like to reassure you that I am deeply embarrassed and ashamed

regarding this situation. Being in the military I have been taught to be honest and respect and obey the laws. I will certainly learn from this experience and will never let it happen again.

 

In the morning in question I was stopped by a police officer just after I entered the tube station XXXX who asked me to show him the oyster card I just used. I wasn’t able to do that immediately, because I had four oyster cards in my pocket – all belonging to my family. Three of them were Pay-as-you go, and one was my son’s student card. The officer asked me to come upstairs to the cabin where they sell the tickets and checked all my oyster cards. It showed that I used my son’s student card. I then realized that being in the same pocket I must have picked the wrong card by mistake and swiped in. The check also showed that two of the three remaining cards had enough money to complete my journey which included travel from zone 6 to zone 1, then to zone 2 and then to the starting point. I don’t think the amount in my son’s card was sufficient to cover the journey I was heading, although I don’t remember the amount that showed, perhaps around £2. The officer then asked me why I have all my family cards and I honestly answered that I intended to return the cards at the end of my journey that day, because my family had left UK ten days before and I was about to leave UK a week from that moment, too. He then took my details and asked if I had any previous troubles with the police to which I answered negatively. I intended no criminal offence and as such gave open and honest account of the situation to the gentleman who questioned me.

 

Only on reflection did I realise the seriousness of the error I had made and for that I make an unreserved apology. I feel extremely ashamed and embarrassed not only for myself but also for the organization I represent and my country. I have never previously breached railway laws and a record of no previous penalty fares will provide evidence of this.

 

I work for the XXXX/my country name/ Armed Forces as XXX/my rank/. If

convicted there is every chance that I could lose my livelihood and any future career prospects in this area. A conviction would have a profound and disproportionate effect on my employment both now and in the future. In addition I am the only working parent in my family and again any conviction would severely jeopardise my family wellbeing.

 

Since my post in XXX/my military post in UK/ ends I have to go back to my country on 27 Jan and may not be able to respond to further correspondence. However, I understand that I made a mistake, not deliberate but still a mistake and I want to deal it the matter even if I am out of UK.

I hope you can consider these factors when deciding if an out of court settlement would be acceptable. I hope you will be able to accept the offer of suitable recompense to yourselves in order to resolve his matter which has occurred as a result of my actions. I will pay any fare, penalty and costs incurred by yourselves in order to resolve this matter without legal proceedings.

 

I realise that I have made a grave mistake and now I must leave the issue in your hands. I can only promise that I will never make such a stupid mistake again.

I apologise again for my stupidity and hope that you will be able to consider my plea favourably. If there is any other information that you require please do not hesitate to contact me on my e-mail XXX/my e-mail/ or my national phone XXXX/phone number/ or my home address XXXX because I have to leave the apartment I used at the address I provided to the police officer and I am afraid your letters may not be re-send to me.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

 

My rank, name and organization.

Edited by honeybee13
Enlarging the font size for those of us not in the first flush of youth.

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I apologize for bringing this up again, but I struggle to find a phone number to call TfL to explain my situation. Can someone help please?

I tried the helpline 0843 222 1234 bur after more than 20 min I gave up. I stated my problem to a machine, not a real person and I was put on hold.

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Hello again.

 

It could be because that office doesn't work at weekends. I hope someone will be able to answer you.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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