Help! Will I be taken to court?!

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walshg1

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Hi,

back in February I was on the train from Luton airport parkway to St Albans to get picked up, unfortunately my lift cancelled so I stayed on the train to get to london instead, thinking I would just be able to pay the extra of the ticket at the gate.
A ticket inspector came along at crackle wood and issued me with a letter, saying I would get a letter to pay a fine.
A few weeks later and a letter had arrived today saying that I will be taken to court and have a criminal record, it says I need to send a reply back telling them what happened.

can anybody help?! I really don’t want to be taken to court over the sake of a few pound!! Is there anything I can say that will help me settle this outside of court?
Thanks in advance!
 
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Tazi Hupefi

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Hi,

back in February I was on the train from Luton airport parkway to St Albans to get picked up, unfortunately my lift cancelled so I stayed on the train to get to london instead, thinking I would just be able to pay the extra of the ticket at the gate.
A ticket inspector came along at crackle wood and issued me with a letter, saying I would get a letter to pay a fine.
A few weeks later and a letter had arrived today saying that I will be taken to court and have a criminal record, it says I need to send a reply back telling them what happened.

can anybody help?! I really don’t want to be taken to court over the sake of a few pound!! Is there anything I can say that will help me settle this outside of court?
Thanks in advance!
The price of the ticket is largely irrelevant.

Reply back with an apology, offer to pay any of their costs as a result of your behaviour. If it's your first time, you'll probably pay a couple of hundred pounds and it will be settled before getting to court.

You don't really need to say anything specifically, just be polite, apologetic and don't fill a letter with excuses or try to deflect blame. You'll almost certainly get an offer to settle.

This assumes it's your first time, and you didn't try anything on at the time, i.e. giving them the runaround, fake details, being mouthy etc...
 

walshg1

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On the Thames link website it has a link to “out of court settlement” if I pay on this will it be finished or should I reply to the letter?

The price of the ticket is largely irrelevant.

Reply back with an apology, offer to pay any of their costs as a result of your behaviour. If it's your first time, you'll probably pay a couple of hundred pounds and it will be settled before getting to court.

You don't really need to say anything specifically, just be polite, apologetic and don't fill a letter with excuses or try to deflect blame. You'll almost certainly get an offer to settle.

This assumes it's your first time, and you didn't try anything on at the time, i.e. giving them the runaround, fake details, being mouthy etc...
Ok thankyou! Yes it is my first time and no I didn’t give and false info or was rude in anyway, it was a genuine mistake on my behalf.
 

AlterEgo

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Others will reply with advice on how to try and avoid court, but for future reference:

You can't travel without a ticket where you had opportunity to pay before boarding the train, and this includes where your circumstances change (like a cancelled lift). If this happens on your journey, you either need to seek a guard (if there is one) before your current ticket "ends", or alight and purchase one, or, preferably, purchase an instantly activatable e-ticket online on your mobile which will avoid all hassle.
 

Tazi Hupefi

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If you've been sent a link to pay an out of court settlement, (i.e. told you can have one), you would just pay it, and that's the end of the matter. No court etc.

If they haven't told you that you can have an out of court settlement yet, you need to wait before trying to make any online payments.

If you're replying by post, I would sent it using "Royal Mail Signed For" so you get delivery confirmation.
 

walshg1

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Thankyou, no I haven’t been sent a link I just looked online.
Does anyone have any suggestions one thing to mention in the reply to ensure this is settled out of court? Do most cases get settled beforehand or am I fighting a loosing battle with this? Thanks!
 

AlterEgo

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Thankyou, no I haven’t been sent a link I just looked online.
Does anyone have any suggestions one thing to mention in the reply to ensure this is settled out of court? Do most cases get settled beforehand or am I fighting a loosing battle with this? Thanks!
Really, the train company vastly prefers settling out of court. It’s cheaper and easier for them, for a start. I wouldn’t worry excessively about how to word the letter to be fulsome enough, etc.

@Tazi Hupefi gave good advice on what to say, but you can browse any of the similar threads in this part of the forum to find very similar cases.

Yours appears to be a relatively simple case with no aggravating factors and as such the chances of reaching a settlement are very good anyway.
 

WesternLancer

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Thankyou, no I haven’t been sent a link I just looked online.
Does anyone have any suggestions one thing to mention in the reply to ensure this is settled out of court? Do most cases get settled beforehand or am I fighting a loosing battle with this? Thanks!
copying from a useful reply @Hadders gave in a recent thread - this might help:


- That you are sorry for what has happened
- What you have learned from the incident
- That you are keen to settle the matter without the need for court action
- Offer to pay the outstanding fare and the train company's administrative costs in dealing with the matter

Make sure your reply is short and concise . Most train companies are usually prepared to offer an administrative (commonly known as an out of court settlement) for people who engage with the process and who haven't come to their attention before.
 
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walshg1

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copying from a useful reply @Hadders gave in a recent thread - this might help:


- That you are sorry for what has happened
- What you have learned from the incident
- That you are keen to settle the matter without the need for court action
- Offer to pay the outstanding fare and the train company's administrative costs in dealing with the matter

Make sure your reply is short and concise . Most train companies are usually prepared to offer an administrative (commonly known as an out of court settlement) for people who engage with the process and who haven't come to their attention before.
Hello,

okay thankyou so much for your help!
I’ll write a reply today and hopefully I can settle it!
 

WesternLancer

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Hello,

okay thankyou so much for your help!
I’ll write a reply today and hopefully I can settle it!
eg you can say
"I had no intention to evade payment of the fare, it is just that I commenced my journey with a valid ticket and my plans changed when I was on the train because the person who had expected to meet me at St Albans and take me to London by car was suddenly unable to do that.

I believed that I would be able to pay the excess fare I would owe on arrival at London St Pancras. I have now learned that this is not possible to do, and I apologise that I was unaware of this.

I would like to resolve the matter by offering to pay...."
 

bb21

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Can we keep rants off the Disputes forum please? The OP is here to seek advice. Please help keep the thread clutter free for him. Thank you.

The off-topic discussion can be found in a new thread
here.
 

MikeWh

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If you find yourself in this situation again then paying by contactless is your friend. Touch in at Luton Airport Parkway and touch out wherever you end up as long as it's still within the London PAYG area. The correct fare will be charged based on your touch out.
 
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