I lied now & now I’m absolutely done for help

Nathan226

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I lost my ticket coming into paddington station on Monday and got stopped by a inspector at the gates. I was nervous so lied about my name and address. They eventually found out. They didn’t want to hear my excuses. I think they’re going to prosecute but over a genuine mistake mad worse by a lie. Do you think I should ring up and tell the truth and beg to settle out of court before any the send the court letters. Does anyone know if they always offer pre court settlement. Im not sure I I should mention my profession as a conviction would result in my not being able to work anymore
 
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mikeg

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First of all, calm down. I know this may be hard.
Wait for any correspondence from them. I assume you were stopped by GWR. If so it is their policy to use prosecution as a last resort, and their policy says they'll do everything they can to reach a settlement.

When the dreaded letter arrives, be factual, brief and apologetic. Say that you realise you were in the wrong and would like to compensate them for their loss of time and money.

But wait for the letter, it's not productive to draw attention to yourself
 

Brissle Girl

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Did you subsequently find your ticket, or have you any evidence of purchase? This may help in terms of mitigating circumstances when it comes to setting out your case to GWR.
 

Hadders

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Welcome to the forum.

Below is the advice I normally give to people who have been caught in similar circumstances and who post here seeking advice.

You are likely to receive a letter from the train company (or an investigation company acting on their behalf) which will probably take a few weeks to arrive saying that they have received a report, are considering prosecuting you and asking for your version of events. It is important that you engage with and reply to this letter. You might want to include the following in your reply:

- 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, don't give a sob story - they've heard it all before. Most train companies are usually prepared to offer an administrative settlement (commonly known as an out of court settlement) to people who engage with the process and who haven't come to their attention before. There is no guarantee of this, and the train company is within their rights to prosecute you in the magistrates court, however harsh this may seem.

An aggravating factor in your case is that you gave them incorrect details, this in itself is an offence (and is actually worse than than not having a ticket). As long as the train company have your correct details now then I don't think this will adversely impact whether or not you will be offered a settlement.

If you are offered a settlement the amount varies depending on the train company and circumstances but tend to be around a hundred pounds plus the outstanding fare. An out of court settlement might appear to be a fine, but it isn't and you won't have a criminal record as a result of accepting one.
 

Nathan226

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1 Aug 2021
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Location
London
Welcome to the forum.

Below is the advice I normally give to people who have been caught in similar circumstances and who post here seeking advice.

You are likely to receive a letter from the train company (or an investigation company acting on their behalf) which will probably take a few weeks to arrive saying that they have received a report, are considering prosecuting you and asking for your version of events. It is important that you engage with and reply to this letter. You might want to include the following in your reply:

- 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, don't give a sob story - they've heard it all before. Most train companies are usually prepared to offer an administrative settlement (commonly known as an out of court settlement) to people who engage with the process and who haven't come to their attention before. There is no guarantee of this, and the train company is within their rights to prosecute you in the magistrates court, however harsh this may seem.

An aggravating factor in your case is that you gave them incorrect details, this in itself is an offence (and is actually worse than than not having a ticket). As long as the train company have your correct details now then I don't think this will adversely impact whether or not you will be offered a settlement.

If you are offered a settlement the amount varies depending on the train company and circumstances but tend to be around a hundred pounds plus the outstanding fare. An out of court settlement might appear to be a fine, but it isn't and you won't have a criminal record as a result of accepting one.
Did you subsequently find your ticket, or have you any evidence of purchase? This may help in terms of mitigating circumstances when it comes to setting out your case to GWR.
I’m still waiting for the letter I’ve prepared a statement of what happened whilst fresh in my mind. I’ll keep you guys updated. Yes it was gwr. They caught me at a very bad time. If I was in my normal frame of mind I would have just been honest from the start. I’ve honestly learnt so much from this experience and I wish they just fined me on the spot the tension is killing me. Boy have I learnt a lesson today
 

Brissle Girl

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I’m still waiting for the letter I’ve prepared a statement of what happened whilst fresh in my mind. I’ll keep you guys updated. Yes it was gwr. They caught me at a very bad time. If I was in my normal frame of mind I would have just been honest from the start. I’ve honestly learnt so much from this experience and I wish they just fined me on the spot the tension is killing me. Boy have I learnt a lesson today
I'm a bit puzzled. You said you lost your ticket (which is easily done - I've left a laptop on the train before now). But you say you've "learnt a lesson", which might suggest a different scenario.

If you purchased the ticket by any other means than cash then if you are quick you should be able to get a reasonable amount of proof, even if you don't have the ticket or a receipt (and who bothers with receipts when using contactless) that you did actually purchase a ticket before setting off, and the time and place.

Why is that important? When the person assesses the case, if you can present some evidence that, on the balance of probabilities, makes them feel that you probably did buy a ticket, then they are more likely to take a more lenient view, and thus be more inclined to offer a settlement. If however, you can't present any such evidence, all they have is someone turning up without a ticket, and then lying about their name and address until found out.
 

Nathan226

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I’ve managed to find enough proof to show I made some dumb choices but never had any intention to do so. I’ve found proof so hopefully it’ll be a case of bygones be bygones for the false information but the payment proof should show I did pay. Just waiting on proof now
 

Nathan226

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That's encouraging to hear. Hope it works out ok for you.
Yh I’ll still probably get fined but I should have stuck to the truth they just caught me whilst I was disorientated and scared me with btp threats and taking me to court. If they had just introduced themselves I wouldn’t have been so off balance during the encounter. I still don’t know who they worked so I’m just waiting on the letter to I can explain myself and apologies. This encounter has really helped me to see how much of a serious thing this is. Hopefully they give a stupid guy and chance without leaving me financially destitute.
 

WesternLancer

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Yh I’ll still probably get fined but I should have stuck to the truth they just caught me whilst I was disorientated and scared me with btp threats and taking me to court. If they had just introduced themselves I wouldn’t have been so off balance during the encounter. I still don’t know who they worked so I’m just waiting on the letter to I can explain myself and apologies. This encounter has really helped me to see how much of a serious thing this is. Hopefully they give a stupid guy and chance without leaving me financially destitute.
Yes, wait for their letter given you did ultimately give correct details

You need to apologise to them for what might be termed 'your attitude to staff when stopped and questioned' but then include proof of the ticket purchase that you did in fact have and ask them if they can take that into consideration when considering any action they may feel they need to take (those are not quite the right words as obv you want to imply or ask that they might not take any action now they can see you did have a valid ticket).
 

Nathan226

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It’s been a week I’m more annoyed than anything that the letter still hasn’t arrived. I’m going to wait another week or so and then chase them up to make sure it was sent to the correct address. I’d rather pay £200 than get a bill & bailiffs in 1 years time for 10x the amount
 

Hadders

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It generally takes longer than a couple of weeks for the letter to arrive. I know it’s easy for me to say this but you need to wait, you won’t gain anything by chasing it up, if anything you’ll just antagonise them.
 

Nathan226

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Ideally if they take around 3 months to send me the paperwork work and a fine in October/ November that would be a lot better for me. It’s the anxiety and waiting with this is killing me. Psychologically the wait seems to be the worst part. Thank you for the advice. I’ll keep my head down and wait for them to contact me.
 

WesternLancer

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It’s been a week I’m more annoyed than anything that the letter still hasn’t arrived. I’m going to wait another week or so and then chase them up to make sure it was sent to the correct address. I’d rather pay £200 than get a bill & bailiffs in 1 years time for 10x the amount
I'd say you are looking at 4 to 7 weeks for them to write to you going on other threads on here.
 

Nathan226

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Yh I’ve accepted it is what it is. I’m not going to chase them. I’ll just focus on not loosing my proof and explanation in the meantime
 

Nathan226

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I’ve written down everything and my proof of tickets and stuff. Left it in my desk draw and taken photos just incase
 

Vespa

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Probably too late now, as I mentioned in other part of the forum, I have regularly taken photos of any tickets brought for travel then put them in a specific ticket album as a back up in case I ever lose a ticket as it does provide a strong proof you have brought a ticket, never had to use it yet but it's reassuring to have them on my phone, you're not the first person to lose their tickets.

As mentioned wait for the letter then present your case.
 

Nathan226

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It’s annoying that they could just fine me and let me appeal rather than have me wait for paperwork. I feel like they’re just trying to get more money out in the long term via “admin costs”
 

Hadders

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But you aggravated the issue by lying about who you were. In these circumstances a Penalty Fare is not really an appropriate course of action.
 

Titfield

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It’s annoying that they could just fine me and let me appeal rather than have me wait for paperwork. I feel like they’re just trying to get more money out in the long term via “admin costs”

Firstly they can not just fine you. Fines can only be issued by a Court. They could have issued a Penalty Fare but decided that this was not an appropriate course of action given the circumstances (not providing the correct name and address initially).Due process (and fairness) requires that they investigate which includes asking for your version of events and then their deciding what course of action to take thereafter.

They are not "trying to get more money out of you in the long term "via admin costs". What they are doing is carrying out a thorough investigation which is a fair process. That process costs money and if the outcome is that they decide there is a case to answer then those costs have to be born by you.

It is human nature that when we have done something wrong and been caught that we want the "sanction" to be applied quickly so the matter can be done and dusted. However as many will atest processes such as this do grind slow. In some ways that is part of the sanction too even though this may feel unjust.
 

Nathan226

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But you aggravated the issue by lying about who you were. In these circumstances a Penalty Fare is not really an appropriate course of action.
What’s the appropriate course of action for them then?

Firstly they can not just fine you. Fines can only be issued by a Court. They could have issued a Penalty Fare but decided that this was not an appropriate course of action given the circumstances (not providing the correct name and address initially).Due process (and fairness) requires that they investigate which includes asking for your version of events and then their deciding what course of action to take thereafter.

They are not "trying to get more money out of you in the long term "via admin costs". What they are doing is carrying out a thorough investigation which is a fair process. That process costs money and if the outcome is that they decide there is a case to answer then those costs have to be born by you.

It is human nature that when we have done something wrong and been caught that we want the "sanction" to be applied quickly so the matter can be done and dusted. However as many will atest processes such as this do grind slow. In some ways that is part of the sanction too even though this may feel unjust.
That makes a lot more sense. To be honest I accept responsibility for my actions of lying and in the future I’ll ensure to keep my tickets on hand. I move around often so having to wait around for further correspondence doesn’t make me feel great. I hardly use trains hence the simple mistake in my part
 
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Hadders

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What’s the appropriate course of action for them then?
My view is the matter should be investigated and a prosecution considered. This is what they will do, the train company will write to you asking you for your version of events and they will decide whether or not to prosecute you. My view is that if you co-operate with this investigation and apologise you shouldn't be prosecuted unless you have come to their attention before for something similar.
 

Nathan226

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Thank you. I think if I knew the stress that would cause me I would have just been honest from the start. I’ve never been in any legal or civil trouble in my life.
 

robbeech

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It’s annoying that they could just fine me and let me appeal rather than have me wait for paperwork. I feel like they’re just trying to get more money out in the long term via “admin costs”
Please remember that for every case like yours where you’ve made a bit of a mess of things by losing a ticket and then lying to them there will be a dozen or more (perhaps many more) cases where the passenger is genuinely trying it on with them where they had no intention of purchasing a ticket, so they have to choose a suitable course of action to minimise the chances of people getting away with it. The most efficient, cost effective and (with a modicum of respect to the operators) profitable way to do this is to refer everything (where a penalty fare is unsuitable) for prosecution so as not to miss a revenue opportunity where a passenger has used a service for free/less than they should have paid.

As others have said, an out of court settlement is fairly likely as this is easier and more profitable for the operator so your chances of keeping it out of court are relatively favourable but you do just have to wait and see.
 

LRV3004

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Just for future reference, do you have a smartphone? You can get e-tickets on there; that’s what I use these days when travelling. If you lose your ticket then you lose your phone with it, so there’s more chance of you being careful! However, make sure your phone is sufficiently charged; a dead battery will mean you will be viewed as travelling without a valid ticket.
 

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