Court Summon in June

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iphecle3

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I am a 20 year old full time student.

About 5 months ago , I traveled from the Victoria to Brighton.
Where i got off and tried to tap out using my oyster which did not work as i wasn't in London , I didn't know this at the time so I asked one of the train advisers near the barrier who told me i had to pay even if I didn't go outside. I had no money at the time and was awaiting student finance. I got 2 letters sent to my house saying to pay 80 and 90 pounds respectively, which I couldn't until several months later after I had got my student finance, at that point I went on the penalty fare website and my payment wasn't accepted, I then phoned and sent several emails to GTR who suggested I send an email to the penalty fare website (IRCAS), IRCAS then sent me an automated number, which has no information about payment. i then emailed them about this, IRCAS then sent the same number again in another email.

I received a Court summon and I do not want a criminal record as it would ruin my future Job prospect.

What is the best course of action for me. Any help is welcome. I am willing to pay any amount, i can work on the weekends to save money.
 
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CheesyChips

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To avoid a prosecution you're going to have to stop this getting to court as I don't believe you'll have a leg to stand on if it gets that far.

There should be details of the offence(s) you're being prosecuted under which it would be helpful for us to know. The summons will mention a byelaw offence or an offence under Regulation of Railways Act. Which one is it?

The letters asking for £80 and £90, were they sent from GTR?

When you received those two letters, did you make contact with whoever sent them or did you just ignore them until you could pay?
 

DaveNewcastle

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I received a Court summon and I do not want a criminal record as it would ruin my future Job prospect.

What is the best course of action for me. Any help is welcome. I am willing to pay any amount, i can work on the weekends to save money.
It is very regrettable that you had not taken adequate steps to settle this long before now - it would have been easy for you to earn some money sooner, and pay the liability before it got to Court.

Now that you are in this situation, then you should consider offering a resolution to the company, which will be sure to cost you something perhaps around £200 but that amount is hard to guess without more background information.
You could refer to the Courts preferring 'Alternative Dispute Resolution' rather than a proper Court hearing. Although that procedure is really intended for civil disputes, and not the for Criminal offence which is alleged against you, the Railway Company would be unwise not to consider it.

Yes, start working weekends and whenever you can as soon as possible.
 

bb21

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Even if you had no money and did not exit the barriers, you still made the journey so the fare was rightly due. You couldn't, hence you were reported for further investigation.

I am also interested in your actions when you received the first couple of letters. Did you get in touch with relevant people then or did you bury your head in the sand, under the excuse that you were waiting for your student loan cheque to arrive? If so, then that would be a big lesson in life - unless you tell them of your situation, they cannot make arrangements to accommodate your needs, if possible. That is why lots of organisations emphasise the importance of getting in touch asap if experiencing money problems regarding things like bill payments.

How long was it between the date of the offence and the date the first demand arrived, and between then and when you finally got your student loan cheque through? It sounds like quite a long time for the events to unfold to me the way you put it, and you would have been aware of that time-frame when you received the first demands, I expect?
 

gray1404

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The best thing to do now is to contact them directly and try to work out an out of court settlement as per the advise given above.
 

iphecle3

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It is an offence under the RoRa.
The letters were sent by IRCA.
I did not make contact with them until i could pay.
I got one letter in october and one in late november, i could pay by st december.
The issue happened in early november.
How do i go about contacting them, should i call them, email them any links would be helpful. This is my first run in with the law.
 

cuccir

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At this stage, the offence will have been passed on to the prosecutions department of the rail company, which is presumably Southern Railways.

You could try either calling or writing to Southern. With the date a few months off, writing is probably the best option at this stage - you should apologize, state that you now realize you made a mistake, and offer to pay the fare due and any costs that Southern have incurred in following up this case. If you've not heard back within 2-3 weeks of writing, a follow up phone call would be useful.
 

ilkestonian

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Excuse my ignorance of Oyster cards, but is it possible, if you have a credit on your card, to have it refunded?

Just thinking about this case and for future reference if others are in this situation.

The OP obviously had sufficient Oyster credit for the journey as that was how he intended to pay for it, so essentially he had the necessary funds before December, contrary to what he claimed, they were just in the wrong place. Had a refund from the Oyster credit been possible, he could have used this to pay the fare, though I realise the fare due before the journey was probably less than the amount sought later...
 

bb21

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Excuse my ignorance of Oyster cards, but is it possible, if you have a credit on your card, to have it refunded?

Just thinking about this case and for future reference if others are in this situation.

The OP obviously had sufficient Oyster credit for the journey as that was how he intended to pay for it, so essentially he had the necessary funds before December, contrary to what he claimed, they were just in the wrong place. Had a refund from the Oyster credit been possible, he could have used this to pay the fare, though I realise the fare due before the journey was probably less than the amount sought later...

Yes, it is possible to refund the Oyster card, but as you noted, the discussion on it would be more suited to a separate thread.
 

najaB

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The OP obviously had sufficient Oyster credit for the journey as that was how he intended to pay for it...
I don't know how you can say that was 'obvious' as we don't know what the OP's Oyster balance was.
...so essentially he had the necessary funds before December, contrary to what he claimed...
If I have £100 worth of cheese, can I use that to pay a £100 rail fare?
Had a refund from the Oyster credit been possible, he could have used this to pay the fare...
And if the OP had a red herring, that would make two in this thread.
 

ilkestonian

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I don't know how you can say that was 'obvious' as we don't know what the OP's Oyster balance was.
If I have £100 worth of cheese, can I use that to pay a £100 rail fare?
And if the OP had a red herring, that would make two in this thread.

A very mature and helpful response. What do they say about sasrcasm?

To answer your first point, the OP implied he had sufficient credit because he said: "Where i got off and tried to tap out using my oyster".

Now I may not be as clever as you but this quote suggests the OP thought he could pay for his journey.

To answer your second point, no I don't think you could use £100 of cheese to pay a £100 rail fare, in fact I suspect you would not be able to pay any rail fare with it. I'm suprised you don't realise this.

My post queried the possibility of getting a refund in money rather than cheese to pay what was outstanding.

I'll not rise to the bait of your final hilarious sentence.

My original post was a constructive one suggesting possible options for anyone facing the OP's dilemma in future, and if someone searched this forum in such a situation, it may help them.

I struggle to see how your attempt at ridiculing me helps anyone, beside, of course, demonstrating your own incredible superiority.
 
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najaB

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To answer your first point, the OP implied he had sufficient credit because he said: "Where i got off and tried to tap out using my oyster".
For all we know it wasn't a PAYG Oyster at all, but rather the OP thought that the journey would be covered by his travelcard. When dealing with disputes and prosecutions you should never assume anything.
Now I may not be as clever as you but this quote suggests the OP thought he could pay for his journey.
Even if it was a PAYG Oyster, the fact that the OP thought that Brighton was covered by the London zones could very well mean that he didn't know the correct fare.

We simply don't know, so can't say that anything was 'obvious' about the situation.
To answer your second point, no I don't think you could use £100 of cheese to pay a £100 rail fare, in fact I suspect you would not be able to pay any rail fare with it. I'm suprised you don't realise this.
The point is that credit on an Oyster card means nothing when outside of the Oyster zone.
My original post was a constructive one suggesting possible options for anyone facing the OP's dilemma in future, and if someone searched this forum in such a situation, it may help them.
But it doesn't help the OP.
I struggle to see how your attempt at ridiculing me helps anyone, beside, of course, demonstrating your own incredible superiority.
There's a difference between attacking the argument and attacking the person. I only intended the former, if you took it as the latter then I apologise profusely.
 

ilkestonian

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Thank you, apology happily accepted. My aim was simply to throw out a possible lifeline to others caught in a similar situation, and whilst I fully accept its no help to the op, forums like this will be searched by others in the future and the suggestion might help someone else who thinks they have insufficient funds.
 

DaveNewcastle

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How do i go about contacting them, should i call them, email them . . .
I'm confused by this question. If I'm reading your initial report correctly, you have already received three (?) letters with reply addresses, at least one email, and a phone number. So what do you think you are missing?

When trying to achieve a formal settlement where legal proceedings are a poosibility, then letters are always better than emails, and emails are better than phone calls.

This (and none of the follow on conversation) are going to help you:
Excuse my ignorance of Oyster cards, but is it possible, if you have a credit on your card, to have it refunded?

It is an offence under the RoRa.
. . .
This is my first run in with the law.
Then please treat it seriously and with some vigour. You've let it slip for 6 months and it should have been dealt with immediately. I'm not surprised you're being threatened with prosecution for 'intending to avoid payment' and which carries a Criminal Record.

Please, be proactive in writing back with a positive committment to resolve the matter.

Now.
 

iphecle3

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Hello guys i realized i didn't tell you guys what happened, it turns out you can just call their payment line and pay up, something their customer service failed to tell me . I ended up paying 160 pounds and having the court case cleared! Happy days for me , I've learnt my lesson always check where you are going before you make the journey.
I really thought i would have a criminal record there.
 

cjmillsnun

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I'm happy for you that the matter has been settled. I hope it's a lesson learned for the future.
 
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