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South Western Railway prosecution advice - £117 fine **TfL Dropped Case**


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Dear all

 

I was hoping to receive some advice on a prosecution case.

 

Details of the event:

On 9 December 2021, I paid for a ticket through the Trainline app at 15:24 for £11.25 (travelling from Wanborough to London Waterloo via Guildford).

 

The train journey I selected was at 17:20 from Wanborough (no barriers), which I made without any issues (other than the train arriving a few mins late). At Guildford, I changed to the London Waterloo train. Throughout my journey I wasn't asked for a ticket. 

 

*On arrival at London Waterloo, when I got to the barriers I showed the ticket officer my purchase on the app after realising I didn't have a barcode to scan me through. I was informed that proof of purchase does not represent a valid ticket, even though on my app the journey that I had paid for came up under the 'My Tickets' section and still does when looking back at the time of writing this.* 

 

The ticket officer refused to let me through, despite me showing him email verification and purchase verification, both which were received before undertaking the journey. The reason being that just because I purchased the ticket doesn't mean it's valid - I needed to have printed it off at Wanborough. 

 

Today I have received a strongly worded letter from SWR with two options:

1) Settle for £117

2) Request a court hearing

 

My thoughts:

I paid for the train journey that I took and had proof of this. The fact that the officer at the barrier didn't let me through was frustrating enough as it is. Before then, I undertook 3 journeys in December which were all paid for on the app and for each one I received a barcode as a form of ticket, hence not realising that this journey was different. The fine of £117 is completely disproportionate to the severity of my actions. If I had knowingly not paid for a ticket, travelled from Wanborough to Waterloo and tried to blag a free journey then I would understand.

 

On the flip side, I stupidly didn't read the detail after purchasing the ticket and assumed I had received a barcode. Looking at my email confirmation it states, 'This is not your ticket, you will need to collect your tickets to travel'. So if I requested a court hearing, (I think) the bottom line is that I travelled without a valid ticket. 

 

The letter is written very strongly and states if I do take it to court I may have SWR's legal fees and court costs to pay for too. Do I concede, pay £117 and learn my lesson? Or do I stand against this utter nonsense?

 

It would be hugely helpful to receive some advice. 

 

Thank you in advanced.

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bank statement containing the transaction?

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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can we see this letter please

read upload carefully

use one PDf only

 

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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Thanks for the interest.


Happy to disclose what’s in the letter but would prefer not to upload the doc.

 

In summary, the letter states that I was informed that I’d received a letter (which is correct). Then “on investigation, we believe there is sufficient evidence to successfully prosecute you for an offence or offences committed under the Railway Byelaws or Regulation of Railways Act 1889”.

 

It then going onto to my options - pay or going to court.

 

To be honest,  I don’t think it’s worth my time or money to appeal. If the whole case is based on the fact that I didn’t print off my ticket then I’d lose the case and be subject to extra fees and a criminal record, which in turn would affect my career.

 

Really doesn’t feel right.

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doubt you'd ever get a criminal record when you have proof of everything bar printing the ticket.

we don't often deal with SWT so we dont know what their paperwork looks like.

you cant harm yourself by scanning to PDF as long as you remove your name etc and any ref numbers.

everyone else has here.

 

but it looks like they are offering an out of court settlement, but imho £110 is very steep for a £11 mistake , we normally offer to meet any reasonable admin costs and lost fare revenue, but they not lost the revenue and it doesnt cost £100 to send two letters.

 

you should have replied to the 1st one with one of our begging letters. then you wouldnt have gotten the 2nd i expect, ignoring is not the way to go.

 

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 thanks, noted.

 

Today is the first letter I have received from SWR to which I am replying back to with bank statements and email confirmation of the purchase. I am asking them if this has been taken into account, as I showed the ticket officer but he may not have documented this, before I go ahead with either option. 

 

Agreed - the admin costs at £100 is outrageous really. Extremely harsh considering I actually paid before getting on the train and can prove it. 

 

Thanks for your advice.

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letter please 

dont jump in yet.

 

 

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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hidden

i said pdf

you do realise all your pers details are in file info/properties of any ms document!

and all the pages in one mass PDF too!

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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^^^^^

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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Depends under what they are aiming to proceed :

byelaw offence of failing to show a valid ticket - well, you didn’t, on the facts stated.

 

Regulation of Railways Act 1889, S5(3) (intent to avoid fare): they wouldn’t succeed on the facts stated.


You say that their letter is the first you have received, so you can “make representations” - indeed it gives an email address to do so.

 

So, you explain. Don’t “have a go” at the gateline staff member’s actions, but explain:

You’d had previous barcode tickets

You made a mistake and thought your ticket was a barcode ticket

You never intended to avoid paying your fare - indeed the ticket is visible in your app still (give the ticket ID)

 

Prosecution would have a disproportionate effect on your employment and although you already always pay your fare you are sure never again to not check if the ticket needs printing.

 

Bearing all this in mind Would they consider you paying any reasonable admin costs to resolve the matter?

 

See if they come back with a reduced figure (unlikely they’d go straight to court without at least saying “No, still £117”) and if you are lucky they may waive it completely and let you off with a warning!

 

Draft the response, then put the draft up here for comments before sending 

 

 

Edited by BazzaS
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Excellent thank you.

 

Agree with your points. Don’t really want to go down option 2.

 

I have e-tickets for exactly the same journey (and cost) I took a week before. Do you think it’s worth attaching these in my response?

 

Thanks

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good grief, thats nothing more than a poorly worded letter you'd expect from the likes of a no powers debt collection agency on a consumer credit debt!!

doesn't say will anything and they feel like they have enough...not WE HAVE enough evidence.

 

go nail the little fleecers!

 

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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Dx: the TOC has a “slam-dunk” Byelaw prosecution (if the OP hacks them off!)

 

a DCA can’t prosecute, let alone prosecute and definitely win : The TOC can!

 

IF the TOC took this to the Magistrates, the bench might see the OP had bought a ticket, and could ask the TOC “are you sure you wish to proceed?”

if the TOC say yes, and under Byelaw 17, the Mag’s don’t have discretion as to if the offence has been committed if the terms of the strict liability are met.

https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/railway-byelaws.pdf
 

The OP didn’t have a valid ticket with them.

They didn’t hand it over when asked for it : (both as the OP hadn’t printed it!).

It isn’t that the OP was intending to avoid their fare, but that they breached Byelaw 17 (and don’t have one of the statutory defences).

 

The Mag’s might find it harsh, and find decent grounds of mitigation, but not of defence : a conviction MUST result if it goes to court, and a seasoned prosecutor uses Byelaw 17 and phrases their argument well.

 

Please don’t try to persuade the OP to treat them like a fleecing no-power DCA:

Hack the TOC off and they CAN get the OP

a) prosecuted, and

b) convicted.

 

That is by no means inevitable, but going “great guns” at the TOC might harden their attitude, and make it inevitable !

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written like a dca, not meant as they could only act like one.

IMHO very unprofessional letter...is what i mean ...

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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hey thats a result.

 

what did they actually say and what tipped the scales that you sent?

 

use PDf please read upload

 

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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Excellent! It is what I was hoping a well phrased (and not too pushy) letter might result in.

In the end, they want to encourage ticketed-travel.

 

By showing you never intended to evade your fare, and by accepting that you had made a mistake : opened the door to them thinking “we don’t need to punish this person, likely they won’t let it happen again”

 

Result. Well done, bet you are relieved!

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  • dx100uk changed the title to South Western Railway prosecution advice - £117 fine **TfL Dropped Case**

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