FCC Penalty Charge - False Name

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by tired.traveler, 28 Nov 2010.

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  1. tired.traveler

    tired.traveler Member

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    Hi All,

    I was travelling with FCC to Kings X over the wkend and I got stopped by a ticket inspector who asked to see my Railcard. I didn't have it with me, my mistake I know, but I genuinely thought it was in my wallet - always is!!!
    Anyway, the inspector was very verbally aggressive, really spoke to me as though I were a criminal from the get-go and demanded I pay a 20 pounds Penalty Charge which I refused.
    He then gave me what I think was a criminal caution and asked me to complete questions. I gave a false name and address, I really just panicked, but I've actually just moved house and couldn't remember my new address. Now I dunno what to do.
    I ACTUALLY do have a valid railcard so was thinking of just posting that to them with my full contact details and address, but I think I've dug a hole for myself.... :s
    Worst of all, after reading all of these messages on the Internet re FCC and Penalty Charges makes me even more nervous!
    But the inspector was really intimidating, he wouldn't record accurately what I was saying, I even asked to speak with police officers and that wouldn't work either.
    Any advice would be so appreciated guys?

    Should I just write letter fully explaining the whole backdrop to what has happened? I'm afraid they'll otherwise track down details at some point and accuse me of trying to fare dodge when I'm not trying to fare dodge at all! :s

    And now that I gave false information I'm concerned that will be even more of a problem!
     
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  3. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    Giving false details to an Authorised Collector is almost always tantamount to intenting to fare evade, which is a criminal offence. A railcard must be carried in order to validate the corresponding discounted ticket. Good luck trying to convince a judge that you don't know your own address.
     
    Last edited: 28 Nov 2010
  4. scotsman

    scotsman Established Member

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    Well........err welcome to the forums.

    I certainly condone or agree with your later actions, but I do feel sorry about you forgetting your card.

    Nonetheless, the RPI (Revenue Protection Inspector) had no right to be so aggressive to you. My suggestion to you is to contact FCC and offer to pay up ASAP, an apology might be in order too. Yes, I am aware they can't track you down.

    However, what on earth possessed you to give a false name and address?

    What will you do if the RPI sees you again?

    You seem to have got away with it, but you have been very stupid. You could be done for fare evasion, providing a false name and address, and fraud. £20 doesn't seem too unreasonable now, does it?
     
  5. mumrar

    mumrar Established Member

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    I don't think that writing the letter with a full explanation would be a bad thing. At the end of the day they will realise that the details are false.

    Some may think/suggest this a reason to not write, as you may very well get away with it as your name and address are both incorrect.

    I wasn't there, so can't really comment on the inspectors actions and manner, but suffice to say it is rare to find someone who is ever happy with the way any RPI goes about their work, as it is sometimes cover for annoyance at the fine being levied.

    Keep the thread updated with what you decide to do and good luck, as I fear you may need it.

    One final note against not writing in, by any future chance the inspector sees, and remembers you on another journey, things may then fall down like a house of cards.
     
  6. handsomelife

    handsomelife Member

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    Just out of curiosity why did you refuse to pay the penalty fare?
     
  7. ph1985

    ph1985 Member

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    if your name and address were false and he took no other method of identifying you i dont think you have much to worry about, save for bumping into him again one day in the future. you cant have criminal charges against a non existent person.
     
  8. tired.traveler

    tired.traveler Member

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    Thanks guys, I refused to pay because it just seemed then (before familiarising myself worth the whole system) so excessive.
    I dunno what to do now though. I've literally just moved house and I don't know my full address details with postcode etc. It's just a absolutely awful.
    I asked the train guy for identifying information and he wouldn't give me any. He was really so intimidating though.
    Now I'm just loss for options. I wasn't trying to fare evade and I would feel inclined to write off to them explaining the whole backdrop but I get the impression they are completely unsympathetic.
    Do they usually prosecute or do they settle?
    I'm not sure what I'll do because a criminal conviction would just end my career.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I'm worries because I paid for the initial ticket using my card, so that would have details of my payment details, address etc. Was thinking of just cancelling that too, but just utterly depressed about this whole mess.
     
  9. scotsman

    scotsman Established Member

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    Not really.
    Yes you were. FCC, the RPI, the Police and a Jury will agree with me.
    In a case like this, they'll try to prosecute.
    If they have your original ticket, then you are in for it.
     
  10. tired.traveler

    tired.traveler Member

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    Thanks Scotsman.

    Is there anything I can do!? :s

    I asked several times while I was discussing this with the inspector, I had no confidence he was really even recording what happened right.

    I suspect from what you're saying that calling them is a totally pointless gesture then. :(
     
  11. MidnightFlyer

    MidnightFlyer Veteran Member

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    They probably will try to prosecute because of you giving incorrect details, but don't get depressed over it, really, just say you panicked in the situation, but don't let it get you really down.
     
  12. scotsman

    scotsman Established Member

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    Well, if they have your ticket - they'll track you down! So if you did give it to them, get on the phone on the morning and try out an apology and offer to pay the lot. Don't wait for an intention to prosecute notice, as they're much more likely to accept before one is sent.

    Do let us know how you get on.
     
  13. tired.traveler

    tired.traveler Member

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    I really don't know what to do and I haven't been able to get a direct contact number to whoever makes the decisions either. It's just devastating.
    Is conviction a criminal record? That would literally end my career. :(
     
  14. b0b

    b0b Established Member

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    If it's that serious to your career, the last thing I'd do is admit guilt to FCC or anyone.

    Call a lawyer immediately!
     
  15. MidnightFlyer

    MidnightFlyer Veteran Member

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    OK, keep calm, don't let it get to you. What is it you do (as a career)?
     
  16. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    I find it funny that you are using the excuse of moving house for giving an incorrect address, but how does that get you out of supplying an incorrect name, too?

    I think you've probably got away with it this time. Even if the RPI had your original rail ticket, I don't believe your card number was on it, and if it was, it would only be a partial number. Yes, they could check the ticket number with the TVM or ticket office that issued the ticket and trace you that way, but in all honesty, it's alot of hard work and hassle. I don't condone what you have done, but I think you'll be stupid to write to FCC and try and explain your actions, as the chances of them finding you are appearing ever more bleak.

    On the flip side, if they did find you, I'd imagine they'll look to sumonsing you to a Magistrate's Court for at best a byelaw offence (18.1 for the ticket and probably 23.1 for the details). Worst case scenario is FCC will charge you with a 5.3(a) and 5.3(c) Regulation of Railway Act 1889 offences (The former is the intent to avoid the fare, and the latter is providing false details in relation to the former), which carry a greater sentence than Byelaw offences and are potentially recordable on the Police National Computer.
     
  17. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bradford/4697212.stm
    and http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/Charged--over-10p-fare.1348000.jp


    Get that solicitor, or one like him!

    This might be the same guy...
    http://www.tates-solicitors.co.uk/profiles/
    http://www.tates-solicitors.co.uk/tates0530.htm

     
  18. tired.traveler

    tired.traveler Member

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    Thanks Stigy.

    I know what I did was absolutely senseless. I have no excuse. I'm currently on probation, new job, so this would kill it.

    But they have my ticket with receipt so I don't know what details they can track from that. I'll certainly never use the train again, but I would have thought they could cross reference against credit rating agencies or something or check their ticketing machine.
    Bottom line is that my address for my card isn't London-based, Scotland, but not that that matters much I suppose. It depends on how much personal data they can retrieve/ access from a credit card's usage in one of those auto ticket machines. :s
     
  19. tired.traveler

    tired.traveler Member

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    Thanks Yorkie, you're clearly an expert in this, thanks a bunch!

    I'm just in such a rut regarding my ticket info tho and precisely what details they can retrieve from it?
    I'll certainly never use the train again so possibility of inspector seeing me on it again is nil.
    But they have my ticket and receipt from the machine. I mean it's full of CCTVs as well.... I honestly have no idea of what happens next now that this is in the system. :s
     
  20. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    Sorry, I misread, I didn't think you were reported for the offence, I just thought you gave incorrect details for a PFN. Inhindsight, either way the ticket(s) would or should have been seized as you weren't legally entitled to travel on it at that time. I guess you could be traced with the details on your ticket receipt, together with a good prosecutions department at FCC. This makes my initial post less valid I'm afraid, as records of sales will more than likely be kept on an internal database, and I'd imagine details of the card used will be kept, too, for security reasons. Also, the byelaw would probably be 18.2 as opposed to 18.1 as previously stated, but the very fact that you then went on to supply dodgy details makes the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 offences (fare evasion and faulse details in relation to it) all the easier to prove. It would be good if you could tell me what you were asked under caution.

    I have a question for you, when questioned, were you asked if it was your intention to avoid paying the correct fare? If so, I hope you said it wasn't.
     
  21. tired.traveler

    tired.traveler Member

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    I said I thought I had paid the correct fare, I protested my innocence because I genuinely thought that I had my Railcard with me. I really emphasised my belief I had paid the right fare.
    So all of this personal data can be extracted from my ticket and receipt alone. I wouldn't have thought they could access it so easily. :s I wonder does fact card is registered to Scots address have any bearing. I'm guessing not. :s
     
  22. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    What address did you give? Ifr it was your previous address, will any mail sent there not automatically be forwarded to your current address? If the card is registered at your old address, I would imagine it'll soon not be, and even if you kept it that way, are arrangements not in place to have all your bank statements etc forwarded to you?

    I don't know how easily FCC can access your personal data, but I'd imagine it's posible in order to support a prosecution.
     
  23. tired.traveler

    tired.traveler Member

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    I didn't give a recent address. And I haven't changed my card address to my current address, as it's credit card and was planning on not renewing it....
    Hmm, I'm veering towards phoning them in the morning and trying to explain the whole backdrop to it etc.
    Just no idea what I'll do. Very stressful.
     
  24. Stigy

    Stigy Established Member

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    The problem is, it'll more than likely be a couple of weeks before FCC receives the RPI's statement, which means if you call them now they wont know who you are or what you are refering to. If the credit card is registered at an old address and there's no direct link between said address and your current address, I wouldn't worry too much about it. At least wait and see if you hear from FCC first!

    So you didn't use a recent address either? That would blow the defence that you didn't know your current address and thus gave your previous one, out of the water, if for argument's sake they did track you down.
     
  25. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I take it you've never moved house and been forced to give your new address in an extremely stressful situation before. Sometimes comments from rail staff on this forum make my blood boil.<D

    Nevertheless, giving a false address is one thing, especially if you've just moved, but a false name as well? I think the first thing you should do before anything else is get some legal advice. If the RPI really was aggressive and refused your request to refer it to the police then there must be avenues that a good lawyer can work with. I would not contact FCC until you've been advised to by your legal advisor. I also would not do nothing because if you paid for the ticket with a credit card then you can be traced and may well be.

    Good luck sorting it out. You may well be advised not to comment on here any further, at least until the case is resolved.
     
  26. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    Obviously none of us are lawyers- if you are really worried then speak to a lawyer before you speak to FCC. Little details such as the RPI refusing to give you their details certainly work in your favour.
     
  27. scotsman

    scotsman Established Member

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    No it does not. Regardless of wether the card is Scottish (RBS, BoS etc.) or where your previous address was Scottish, since it is within the UK.
     
  28. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

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    Two things:

    1) As the name on the credit card will be different from the name given, they'll quickly spot that and then take a closer look at the whole thing.

    2) They'll have CCTV of the whole thing, I'm afraid - the cameras pretty much cover the whole system now. So it won't be just the one inspector who may recognise you.

    First thing I would do, given that you say you are on probation, is explain the whole story to your probation officer. He / she just might be able to sort it out for you, at least in terms of reducing the severity of how they might treat you. Just one thing - your probation isn't for previous fare related matters is it? ( You don't have to say what it is for, just say it isn't for fare related matters if it isn't ).
     
  29. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    MikeWH, I think the member of rail staff to whom you refer was actually typing the truth. That is how Courts tend to see it! Giving a false address because you're in a stressful situation is stretching the boundaries of plausibility - I'm amazed anyone fell for that one (yes - I am referring to Yorkie's link!!!). You only give a false address if you have been caught red-handed and you're trying to get away with it! I'll be frank - I despair when people cannot take responsibility for their own actions, instead seeking an excuse. Yes, the OP thought a PF excessive - so, contest it later having taken responsibility for not having a valid ticket rather than try and get away with it and drop yourself in the merde. Looking at a choice between a 20 quid penalty fine (ahem!) or having my wallet raped for 300odd quid at Court and presumably bagging a criminal record, I'd say it's an easy choice to make!

    OP - please bear in mind that this forum is viewable by anyone (including FCC's prosecutions department) so please be careful! It's up to FCC what they do - they could realise it's a false address and consign it to the bin as not worth chasing up. Hard to predict really - it may depend on their current workload as to whether they have time to go hunting for the real you! As a general point though, giving false details really is a stupid thing to do - Yorkie has dug out one case where somebody got away with it (kudos for that one Yorkie!); Court records will show hundreds upon hundreds of people who have been convicted and fined for the same thing.
     
  30. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    Ferret's argument is generally pretty sensible and clear, though I do disagree on the definite falseness of an incorrect address - I think it's plausible that someone might give out a made up address in panic, though there is no explicit way of proving this motivation. An old address, as in Yorkie's link, is much more likely to be explainable by panic/stress than a completely made up one. Either way, Ferret, until you can read minds there's no way of knowing how everyone's thought processes work!

    All that said, the action is probably more important than the motivation - the false address greatly increases the potential seriousness of the crime committed. Given this, I'd seek immediate legal advice.
     
  31. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    Cuccir - panic induced by what? Getting caught being in the wrong?;) Still, yes, it's impossible to read minds - we instead have to come to a judgment based on what we think is reasonable, whether we be a forumite or a High Court Judge!

    OP - I must agree with Cuccir that before you fall on your sword, seeking legal advice would be an excellent idea.
     
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