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Caught using someone else freedom pass, facing prosecution- please help


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Hi guys, I recently got caught using someone else’s freedom pass and have been told I’ll receive a letter regarding fare evasion/prosecution (I haven’t received the letter yet, it’s only been a couple of days). I'm so so scared and idk what to do.


 

At a train station in London I was using another person’s freedom pass to travel. I initially used a contactless bank card for the first journey (North London to East London) but used the freedom pass for the second journey (East London back to North London).

 

As soon as I tapped in for the start of the journey using the freedom pass a ticket inspector asks to see what I used. I panicked and became really scared and decided to not let him get the freedom pass under any circumstances (because I didn’t want the actual owner of the freedom pass to suffer for my stupidity), I denied having a freedom pass and stuffed it in my back pocket.

 

We go back and forth about whether I have it but I don’t admit it. I made sure to quickly tap my bank card as well as soon as he started speaking to me in the hopes of being able to say “Look I’ve used this bank card to tap in”. Obviously he caught on and was like “You’ve just tapped that after I stopped you, you tapped the freedom pass first”. 

 

I’d just like to make clear that I know what I did was wrong and I regret it so much, but honestly when I lied and refused to give him the freedom pass it was because the person who it belongs to needs it and I didn’t want their card to be blocked or taken because of me. I’m not justifying my actions at all and I know in these cases with TFL honesty is the best policy but I just didn’t at the time want to risk the actual freedom card holder suffering for my actions. 

 

At this point he calls over 2 of his colleagues and they both just repeat that I should hand over the freedom pass but again i just keep saying I don’t have it. One of the officers searched me and didn’t find it (i tucked it into the waistband of my jeans), she reports back to the main inspector that “I’m happy that the suspect doesn’t have the card on her person” (something like that). He then takes my name, details etc., reads me a caution and tells me I will be prosecuted and to expect a letter within the next couple of weeks.

 

The freedom pass belongs to a family member and I have used it alot in the past. The day this happened I used my own bank card on the first journey and attempted to use the freedom pass only on the second journey (where I was stopped). I’m really worried because my job requires a clean record and a prosecution would literally ruin my life. I've also recently applied to become a British citizen and a conviction would definitely affect that.

 

I’ve read literally every thread on cag and I’m seeing 2 approaches recommended most of the time;

 

1. Complete honesty plus grovelling and

 

2. Cautious honesty plus grovelling, that is don’t tell TFL anything they don’t know that might harm you. For the complete honesty approach, I’ve already lied and said I didn’t have the freedom pass so I don’t know how I would approach that in terms of accepting the offense and saying “yeah actually I did have it”.

 

On top of that they only know about this one time, if I admit I had the freedom pass they'll look at CCTV footage and see that I've used it a lot and for a really long time. Also I never ended up giving the freedom pass or any of the details of the person it belongs to so I don’t know how they would even prove that I did have it, especially as a search by a police officer concluded with the officer not finding it on me.

 

Here are the main things I think I have working in my favour:

 

I maintained I didn’t have the freedom pass, didn’t admit to it, the inspector never got it, and a search of my person didn’t turn it up.

 

The journey this happened on was my 2nd journey (returning home) and I have the proof that I used my own contactless bank card for the first journey (Which I hope will credit my story in the sense of why would I use a freedom pass for only one journey? I used a bank card for the first journey, surely I’d use it for the second one?)

 

I used the contactless bank card again for the second journey (but tbf the inspector clued on to the fact that I tapped it immediately after he pulled me over in an attempt to cover my tracks).

 

Here are the main things I have working against me:

 

I received a fine a few years ago when I was like 19 for not having a ticket (just an on the spot fine, £40 that’s all).

 

The inspector may have seen the actual freedom pass before I stuffed it in my back pocket and the visual of the card may have been picked up by his body cam (I don’t know whether they’d use the body cam footage in a prosecution?)

 

I can’t remember exactly but I’m pretty sure at the beginning I said “It’s my grans freedom pass” once or twice before deciding to just deny having it, again I’m sure the audio of this would be picked up on a body cam.

 

If they check the CCTV footage and cross reference it with the info on the yellow card reader, they’ll see that what I tapped in with was a freedom pass (although idk if they’d do this).

 

When they made it clear they were going to search me, I moved the pass from my back pocket to the waistband of my trousers so it wouldn’t be found and the inspector commented on that and again I’m sure his body cam would’ve picked up me moving it, although maybe it just looked like me adjusting my belt Idk.

 

I have no idea how to approach this as I don’t think I can be apologetic and admit fault because I’ve lied up to this point, also this isn’t my first offence (penalty fare a few years ago). On top of that me admitting it now would inevitably lead to me admitting all the other times I've used it/them finding out.

 

For these reasons I don’t think they’d accept my grovelling and accept settling this out of court. I also know the chances of winning a not guilty plea are slim but I think the fact that I have 2 valid tickets for both journeys that day and was searched and found not to have a pass would make it harder for them to prosecute me.

 

Any advice/ thoughts/ comments would be much appreciated. (Also sorry for the length I just wanted to give you the full details).

Edited by dx100uk
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ill pop in later

 

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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Hello, welcome to CAG.

 

The main thing is that you need to wait for TfL's letter to arrive so that you know what you're dealing with. They may know quite a lot about journeys that have been made using the Freedom Pass, they can go back up to two months.

 

As you say, you don't need to tell them anything they don't already know but you will need to be honest.

 

In the meantime, you should buy a season ticket or keep receipts for your journeys so you can show that you've been travelling honestly.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi dx100uk and honeybee13. Thank you for responding.

 

honeybee13, since I didn't give the pass/pass holders details is there any way they can know which freedom pass it was? Also I've been using it for years now, but you say they can only back to 2 months right?

 

Thank you for you advice, I will just have to wait for the letter. Besides buying a season ticket do you think there's anything else I can do at this stage to strengthen the letter that I'll be writing begging not to prosecute me?

 

 

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I can't think of anything other than sticking to the rules at the moment while you wait for the letter to arrive. Once it does, come back here, tell us what it says and we'll help you.

 

You've got away with this for years and it sounds as if you knew what you were doing. I assume you realise that the person whose card it is could lose it. Just keep to the rules.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Ok thank you so much HB. I will do just that.

 

Honestly you're right and I feel like such idiot about it. The person who it belongs to doesn't even know, I always assumed worst case scenario I would say I don't have a ticket and just take the penalty fine (i.e. never even have their freedom pass in the mix).

 

I've always felt so bad about doing it but I was broke and just pushed the guilt down... now I feel even worse, but hey the consequences of my actions I guess. This has definitely been a wake up call.

 

 

Edited by dx100uk
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not sure where you are getting 2mts from.

 

IF they want to they can interrogate the machine and get the pass number, then they can look for a pattern of historical use. they most certainly  wont bother looking at 100's of hrs of cctv to prove anything.

 

my thought lie here with you will be very lucky, and simply get recommended for prosecution for the one proven use.

 

IF they do try multiple use, it will be in the form of multiple TIC charges and wont harm things much more as they are all but written off. regardless to the 'lying/deception' issue i seriously doubt an out of court settlement will not be successful if constructed carefully.

 

it will all be down to how the word the black are in their std letter that you MIGHT get, they have 6mts.

 

your past misdemeanour will play no part its spent.

 

i can see you getting away with this ok.

 

 

 

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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Hi dx100uk, thanks for your explanation, I was confused by HB's mention of 2 months. When you say you see me "getting away with it", do you mean not being prosecuted/having a criminal record?

 

Any fine they ask me to pay would be more than ok (considering my actions), it's just a criminal record would ruin my career/travel prospects.

 

I know it all depends on the letter they might send (hopefully they don't), but in regards to constructing an OOC do you think I should admit that I did have a pass, or maintain that I didn't? 

 

Once again, thank you so much guys (sorry for the swear word in the previous post as well dx)

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if they specifically state a freedom pass then you have no choice, but if they bother to look for a pattern of use and go down the road of several 10's of other uses guessing that pattern is your use is another matter.

 

if you get a letter that indicates a single use of xyz date and fails to hint upon others, then it is most likely an OOC will prevail if you play this cutely. you most certainly do not hint or admit to mass previous use until/unless they do.

 

i know someone that had over 700 uses but there was no pattern and they OOC'd for <£200 whereby the true figure ran into several £k's 

 

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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Ok thank you again dx,

 

the letter most definitely will say freedom pass because that's what the inspector saw and stopped me for. I think what makes my case different to all the other freedom pass cases I've read up on on CAG is I didn't end up handing it over to him and completely denied even having it.

 

I don't understand how I can play it cutely for an OOC without admitting to having the freedom pass? And if I admit to it won't they want me to send it to them?

 

 if I get a letter that says a single use of xyz date and fails to hint upon others what explanation should I give?

 

I'm sorry if you're being clear and I'm not understanding, I'm just so nervous about it/ don't know anything about this kind of stuff.

Edited by dx100uk
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Just wait and see what they send you (indeed if they send you something).

 

As they didn't get their hands on the Freedom Pass they might not even be bothered to write, on the other hand they might have traced the lot, we just can't say at this stage.

 

 

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i don't think it boils down to the freedom pass existence or not, thats given, its multiple use, 

your reply as others here can be worded craftily to neither admit nor deny if it appears to ref single use or they are phishing...

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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Yeah I'll definitely have to be crafty with my reply and not admit to multiple use if they haven't brought it up but at the same time not get caught in a lie. 

 

But I just don't understand how they can know the freedom pass exists, despite the multiple uses. Or specifically this specific pass. Because on top of not giving them the pass, the station I was stopped at was one I had never been to before. There's not really a clear pattern with my usage of the pass as in I use it at the same 2 stations frequently but never a routine set of dates/times.

 

I have to hope that FTMDave might be right in that them sending me the letter is an "if", not a guarantee. 

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They can easily look at what pass what tapped, at what time, tying that to the CCTV   showing you tapping “something”.

 

you tapped “something” at x time on y date.

The inspector will no doubt say they were alerted to use of a freedom pass. 

the gateline sensor will show freedom pass no. Z was tapped at x time on y date

 

So, little doubt that you tapped freedom pass no. Z at x time on y date …..

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Thanks BazzaS, that’s exactly what I was thinking, that they could just cross reference the yellow reader with cctv.

 

In that case how should i play my apology? Because imagine they DONT cross reference it to identify the freedom pass, in that case my best bet would be sticking to my story and maintaining I didn’t have the pass right?(keep in mind I was searched and didn’t have it) 

 

But on the other side if I maintain that lie and they DO cross reference it and identify the freedom pass, it’ll look so bad that I’m still lying right? 

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 you are missing the point totally......

 

its not that you used a freedom pass, thats given you did everyone knows that

what is important is the multiple use aspect

 

which if you say was somewhat random could be your saving grace.

lying is immaterial too.

 

await the letter

 

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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“But on the other side if I maintain that lie and they DO cross reference it and identify the freedom pass, it’ll look so bad that I’m still lying right? ”

 

Yes, that is a problem.

CAG isn’t here to chide you for your initial offence, (and what is done is done), but I doubt you’ll get much sympathy if your attitude is that your focus is not one of regretting having cheated the public purse, but more that you merely regret having been caught (and the employment and immigration difficulties that might follow from your repeat offences)

 

So, I’m not going to help you lie.

Up to others to do what they feel is right.

 

I’ll still help (within the truth) though.

 

In general: only answer what they ask when you receive ‘the letter’. Don’t get caught in a lie, but don’t give more info than that which they ask about. Being GENUINELY contrite can’t hurt either.

 

You might mention the employment and/ or the immigration aspect, although if they feel you aren’t contrite it could work against you: you don’t want to create them feeling “well, they aren’t contrite, only bothered by the consequences, and they are using those as almost an excuse - if they are so worried about the consequences they shouldn’t have abused a freedom pass they weren’t entitled to and then lied to the revenue protection staff!”

 

 

 

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Hi guys, I received a letter today from TFL (I've attached a picture of it) stating:

 

"On (date) you were reported to TFL for an offence(s) on the TFL Public Transport Network. The facts of this incident are being considered and I must advise you that legal proceedings may be taken against you in accordance with TFL's prosecution policy". 

 

They've given my 10 days to reply to the back of form giving me 2 options: 

"1. If you deny committing an offence, please explain why and provide any available evidence."

"2. If you accept committing an offence, please provide any exceptional reasons including pre-existing medical conditions that you may feel are relevant and evidence to support this, as to why TFL should not proceed with a prosecution". 

 

Ok, so keeping in mind everything you guys have said, I don't want to get caught in a lie. I actually feel really bad about this and I'd like to stop lying just because it's not right, not only because it wouldn't be wise to get caught in a lie. On the flip side, I don't want to incriminate myself unnecessarily. 

 

The wording in the letter is vague, they don't even say what they're accusing me of just "an offence (s) on the TFL network". As dx said, it's the multiple uses that are really the problem. My question is how do I admit it and say I'm sorry without admitting to multiple uses or lying about the multiple uses?

 

In regards to the exceptional reasons TfL shouldn't prosecute, I've seen a lot of people say on different CAG threads that TfL aren't malicious, meaning they're not looking to ruin your life, employment, immigration etc. The exceptional reasons I have are:

 

1. My job is client-facing/working with children and I'd be obligated to inform my employer that I'm facing prosecution and be placed on suspension during the prosecution, if I'm convicted I'd be fired.

2. My immigration status; I applied for British citizenship recently and you need to have "good character" an ongoing prosecution/conviction whilst the Home Office considers my request for citizenship is a sign of bad character and could really hurt my application. Also the current visa I'm on doesn't allow for a criminal record.

3. I have mental health issues; anxiety, social anxiety disorder, stress management issues etc.

4. I'm pregnant and this has been so stressful already, I can't imagine how much more stressful it'll get if it goes to prosecution. The negative impact of stress during pregnancy and also coupled with my mental health issues I think would be significant to TfL.

 

I've also heard TFL don't do OOC settlements anymore so maybe I should just deny it and provide the valid tickets I had for both journeys that day as well as the police report from the search that didn't turn up the freedom pass and hope that's enough to make TFL think they don't have enough evidence to prosecute? 

 

Image.pdf

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lots of reasons why they should not give you a criminal record, little regarding contriteness and sincere remorse for doing it.

 

as for OOC no more , thats not true there have been a good few here in but not recent times that have succeeded

there is at least 1 or 2 threads here whereby multiple use resulted in OOC, or no criminal record even though they went to court.

 

if you cant find the threads then i'll look in the next day or so.

 

please also bear-in-mind you will find several like threads with no conclusion (that was nice of them after all the free help we give!!) i again know atleast 2 more that 'got off' but never told us.

 

you need to follow the remit of those letters in reply.

 

and i don't care what others think (as its what a forum is all about - differing views) but i would not specifically state yes i used it multiple times there are ways of saying that without admittance.

 

laters

 

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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Hi again guys, I've been thinking about the letter and have drafted it. I'd really appreciate it if you guys could let me know what you think. I've tried to express how remorseful I am (without saying sorry too many times that it becomes annoying), show mitigating circumstances and avoid admitting to multiple use/ use of a freedom pass because they didn't mention it in the letter. 

 

To whom it may concern,

 

My TFL case number: XXXXXX

 

I firstly want to thank TFL for giving me the chance to explain my behaviour. I appreciate the seriousness and stupidity of what I have done and I deeply apologise for my actions. I hope to explain how a prosecution would leave myself and my baby in a very difficult situation. 

 

My actions are inexcusable; I know that TFL are only able to operate if everyone pays their fare and I feel so guilty about attempting to breach public trust, I haven’t been able to sleep as a result. As a teacher, my job requires a high level of integrity and I have to get (enhanced) DBS checked annually. According to my terms of employment I’d be obligated to report if I’m being prosecuted and a conviction would result in me losing my job (please see document). I am currently pregnant and as the sole income earner in my house and a soon to be single mother, the loss of my job would financially devastate me and my child. 

 

I have several long-term mental health conditions including anxiety, clinical depression and BPD (please see my attached medical record). I’ve suffered from panic attacks my whole life and whilst there is no excuse for my behaviour I’d like to explain that whilst being questioned by the Revenue Protection Officer, I suffered an acute panic attack and in a moment of panic and stupidity was dishonest with him during our conversation. My anxiety set in and out of fear I made a stupid decision to be dishonest. I’d like to sincerely apologise to the specific officer and TFL for that. 

 

I have never been in trouble with the law in the past (please see my most recent DBS) and I ensure that I won’t be in the future. I have already bought a season pass for the London Underground (please see document ) which I have been using/will continue to use and I swear that I will never do this again. Ever since the incident (and especially since receiving the letter) my anxiety and panic disorders have been unbearable and my heart rate and blood pressure have been higher than normal as a result. I fear the heightened stress of being prosecuted, coupled with my existing mental health issues will negatively impact my health during my pregnancy. 

 

Additionally, I am currently in the UK as an EU citizen, under the EU settlement scheme (please see document) and have recently applied for British citizenship (please see document). A criminal conviction would certainly be noted against me by the Home Office in the “good character” requirement for becoming a British citizen. Additionally, my current right to remain in the UK is dependent on me having a clean criminal record. I’m 21 years old and I’m just beginning my life; I’ve found a career that I love in primary school teaching, I'm hoping to become a British citizen and most importantly I’m going to become a mother. A criminal conviction would negatively impact every aspect of that and whilst I know that I have no one to blame but myself, I’m hoping you can show me some leniency in this matter.

 

I am happy to make immediate payment of all unpaid fares and any incurred costs that my actions have caused. Whilst I know what I did was wrong and I’d really like the opportunity to make amends, I think a prosecution/conviction would have an unfair and disproportionate impact on my health, my employment, my immigration status and on my child’s health/financial wellbeing. I hope that I’ve explained myself well and provided enough evidence, if you need anything further from me to help you reach your decision please let me know. Thank you again. 

 

Yours Faithfully,

My name

 

*The documents I'm going to send are; my employer's policy regarding criminality, the relevant parts of my medical record showing my mental illnesses, the train season ticket I've bought since then, my most recent work mandated eDBS, my immigration status and proof that I just recently applied to become a British citizen.

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we dont usually see people inc documents.

 

you haven't directly mentioned use of the pass and what type, it might be better to include as that directly acknowledges that you know you did wrong. and their 'charge' against you which you should directly address.

 

without it your letter is a generic reply. and might not cut the mustard.

also remove ref to inc docs at the end.

 

i'd also remove the 'i think...' A precsecution will etc etc.. 

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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Ok, thank you dx. I was struggling with that because I didn't want to state things they don't know. So if I change the line at the top of the second paragraph to say something like "My actions are inexcusable; I know that TFL are only able to operate if everyone pays their fare and I feel so guilty about attempting to breach public trust by using a freedom pass that's meant to help the most vulnerable in our society and that I had no right to use."

 

Do you think that's good enough? I'm really trying not to admit to multiple uses as they haven't brought it up, but I'm also not trying to suggest I've only used it once because that isn't true.

 

For the documents, do you think I shouldn't include them? Because on the letter I think it says something about giving evidence for my mitigating circumstances. I've also seen other threads where people don't include evidence and then TFL write them back saying they don't believe the person will lose their job/health/immigration etc. because of a conviction. 

 

Thank you, I've taken out the ref to the inc docs at the end and the "I think". 

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sounds perfect to me . well done, i think that wording is spot on.

 

the evidence bit you mentioned probably refers to one case here i think whereby the op mentions it would hurt their future employment , but gave no details of what that was....tfl's use of the word evidence is in connection with their right to produce your letter in court, as evidence not that you need to include evidence, that might come later.

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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