inspectors on GTR Great Northern

Reeika

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I have my oyster from zone 1-3 and I had a ticket from potters bar to Hatfield , I needed to go to Hatfield but I had this gap from Alexandra palace which was the last stop for zone 3 , they stopped me and I ask If I can pay instead they took my details but because of the pressure I gave them a wrong address, what should I do? And on the small paper they wrote from Finsbury Park to Hatfield which is not true. What do I need to do? They told me that I’m going to receive a letter a then they will decide. How much am I going to pay? Will I go to court?
I’m scared
 
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Mcr Warrior

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Welcome to the forum. We'll do our best to assist.

There'll be other forum regulars able to further advise you on this, such as @Hadders , but just to clarify, you were travelling from Central London out to Hatfield, but you say that you didn't have a valid ticket for the intermediate section between Alexandra Palace (last station Northbound in Zone 3) and Potters Bar?

You then gave the revenue protection team an incorrect address?

A number of clarificatory further questions...

Where on your journey did you encounter the travelling inspectors?

Were you on a train that actually stopped at Alexandra Palace? (Not all do, this may or may not be relevant).

Is the first occasion that you've failed to hold the correct ticket for the middle section of your journey? (It may be possible for them to access your ticket purchase history if this was done online).
 

Fawkes Cat

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Welcome to the forum.

The first thing to say is that you don’t need to be scared. The worst possible outcome would be a fine (plus additional costs) from the courts, which might also mean that you needed to mention this for a year (longer for some things) if a DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service) was needed. But I can say certainly that you will not be sent to prison. So don’t be scared.

And it’s quite likely that this won’t end up in court, as long as you keep in touch with the railway. They may well offer you the chance to settle out of court, which will almost certainly be cheaper than a court fine, and could not show up for DBS. So the first question you need to ask yourself is whether the wrong address that you gave is one that you have access to - which would be something like your parents’ or a friend’s address. In this case, then you need to talk to whoever’s at that address to get them to pass anything from the railway to you - and if the railway write to you, then when you reply you need to let them know your real address,

If the wrong address you gave is one that you don’t have access to or made up, then things are a bit more difficult. You say that the inspector gave you a small piece of paper: have a close look at that, and hopefully it will have a reference of some sort on it, and contact details. What you now need to do is to use those contact details and the reference to get in touch, and let the railway know what your real address is. If there isn’t a reference, explain what train you were on, and also give the information that you gave by mistake.

It might be tempting to not get in touch with the railway - because how can they trace you if they haven’t got your address? But in that case, what happens is that the matter goes to court: you won’t hear about this (because the railway doesn’t have your proper address) and so you won’t be able to defend yourself in court - so in turn you will be found guilty and fined. And when (because you didn’t know about it) the fine isn’t paid, it will be passed to debt collectors. Debt collectors are paid by results, so they WILL find you - and when they do, as well as the fine and court fees, you will also have to pay the debt collector’s costs. In short, running away from the problem won’t work.
 

Hadders

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Welcome to the forum!

I've put below the advice I normally give to people who request help from the forum in similar circumstances to yours.

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) for 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 would be well within their rights to prosecute you in the magistrates court.

If you are offered a settlement the amount varies depending on the train company and circumstances but tend to be a few 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.

Feel free to post a copy of the letter when it arrives (with personal details removed) and I'm sure members on here will be happy to assist in proof reading your reply.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Just to point out that the OP may not promptly receive a letter due to the issue of an incorrect address having inadvisedly been given to the member of the revenue protection team at the time of the incident.
 
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Hadders

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Just to point out that the OP may not promptly receive a letter due to the issue of an incorrect address having inadvisedly been given to the member of the revenue protection team at the time of the incident.
Giving an incorrect address is a problem, and in many respects a bigger issue than the fare evasion. It might be worth contacting GTR Prosecutions department to give them the correct address, unless the OP is in a position to access mail sent to the incorrect address.

It could be tempting to ignore the issue hoping ot will go away but I do not recommend this as these sort of things have a habit of resurfacing years later.
 

Reeika

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Thanks , I gave them my neighbour address and yes I had my oyster to zone 1 to 3 . Can you please tell me the penalty fare from Finsbury Park to Hatfield? How long does it takes to letter to come?
 

MikeWh

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Can you please tell me the penalty fare from Finsbury Park to Hatfield?
If you weren't issued with a penalty fare at the time then this is irrelevant now.
How long does it takes to letter to come?
It varies. Anything between a week and several months. It depends on how much work the department is currently processing.

Did they take your Oyster card number? Is the Oyster card registered?
 

Reeika

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I gave them my neighbour’s address but if there is any contact I will tell them for sure but I couldn’t find anything . Please help
Giving an incorrect address is a problem, and in many respects a bigger issue than the fare evasion. It might be worth contacting GTR Prosecutions department to give them the correct address, unless the OP is in a position to access mail sent to the incorrect address.

It could be tempting to ignore the issue hoping ot will go away but I do not recommend this as these sort of things have a habit of resurfacing years later

If you weren't issued with a penalty fare at the time then this is irrelevant now.

It varies. Anything between a week and several months. It depends on how much work the department is currently processing.

Did they take your Oyster card number? Is the Oyster card registered?
Yes they took my oyster number
 

Fawkes Cat

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Thanks , I gave them my neighbour address and yes I had my oyster to zone 1 to 3 . Can you please tell me the penalty fare from Finsbury Park to Hatfield? How long does it takes to letter to come?
OK. You’re going to have to be nice to your neighbour and ask them to pass on any post.

This may sound a bit pedantic, but it won’t be a ‘penalty fare’ used to resolve this - penalty fares (of around £20) are issued at the time when you talk to the inspector. Istead, as @Hadders has explained in post #4 above, your best hope is for the railway to agree to settle for a few hundred pounds. If the matter goes to court, it’s likely to be even more expensive.

And @MikeWh ’s advice above (while I was typing this) is good too.
 

Reeika

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OK. You’re going to have to be nice to your neighbour and ask them to pass on any post.

This may sound a bit pedantic, but it won’t be a ‘penalty fare’ used to resolve this - penalty fares (of around £20) are issued at the time when you talk to the inspector. Istead, as @Hadders has explained in post #4 above, your best hope is for the railway to agree to settle for a few hundred pounds. If the matter goes to court, it’s likely to be even more expensive.

And @MikeWh ’s advice above (while I was typing this) is good too.
What do you mean by few hundred?
 

Haywain

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I suspect that the relevance of Finsbury Oark is that the train didn’t stop between there and Potters Bar, and that you were therefore not covered by any sort of ticket for that part of the journey. If you wish to avail yourself of extension tickets you really need to be buying them before you join a train.
 

MikeWh

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I gave them my neighbour’s address but if there is any contact I will tell them for sure but I couldn’t find anything . Please help



Yes they took my oyster number
If the Oyster card is registered then it is likely that they can get your correct address from that.
 

Reeika

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I suspect that the relevance of Finsbury Oark is that the train didn’t stop between there and Potters Bar, and that you were therefore not covered by any sort of ticket for that part of the journey. If you wish to avail yourself of extension tickets you really need to be buying them before you join a train.
I have my oyster that covers till Alexandra palace and I had a ticket which was from potters bar to Hatfield

How much am I going to pay?
 

skyhigh

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I have my oyster that covers till Alexandra palace and I had a ticket which was from potters bar to Hatfield

How much am I going to pay?
But if the train didn't stop at Alexandra Palace, then you didn't have a valid ticket from the previous stop the train made - which was presumably Finsbury Park
 
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Haywain

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How much am I going to pay?
The difference in fare between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace will have no real impact on this. Plan for having to pay around £125 to GTR.
 

AlterEgo

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What do you mean by few hundred?
As in it may cost you a few hundred pounds to keep this out of court. @Haywain gives a more realistic fee of about £125 (essentially it's the fare you avoided, plus the company's costs in dealing with you) although this assumes this is the only time you've done it.

If they find evidence you have done it more times, you can expect to pay more, because you evaded more fares. How many times will they have found you purchased a ticket from Potters Bar to Hatfield?

Ultimately, you engaged in an entry-level scam, which is not difficult to detect, and then gave the incorrect address. The railway does not view either of these things lightly. However, our experience on the forum is that it is usually possible to settle to avoid the threat and hassle of going to court and the resultant conviction. If you read around this area of the forum you will find dozens of others who were caught and should get some good ideas for what to put in a letter from there.
 

Reeika

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As in it may cost you a few hundred pounds to keep this out of court. @Haywain gives a more realistic fee of about £125 (essentially it's the fare you avoided, plus the company's costs in dealing with you) although this assumes this is the only time you've done it.

If they find evidence you have done it more times, you can expect to pay more, because you evaded more fares. How many times will they have found you purchased a ticket from Potters Bar to Hatfield?

Ultimately, you engaged in an entry-level scam, which is not difficult to detect, and then gave the incorrect address. The railway does not view either of these things lightly. However, our experience on the forum is that it is usually possible to settle to avoid the threat and hassle of going to court and the resultant conviction. If you read around this area of the forum you will find dozens of others who were caught and should get some good ideas for what to put in a letter from there.

what will be in the letter? Do I have to apologise? It cannot be £125!! It is £20 or at least £40
 
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Fawkes Cat

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what will be in the letter? Do I have to apologise?
Your best bet is to read @Hadders ' post at #4 above.


It cannot be £125!! It is £20 or at least £40
Yes it can.

The thing is, you're not in a strong position: on the basis of what you have told us, you have broken the law, which broadly says that you must buy a train ticket for your whole journey before you get on the train. While that's a bit of a simplification of the law, I'm pretty certain that if you were taken to court you would lose and be fined. The fine is normally around half a week's income, and then there is compensation (the unpaid train fare), court fees, the victim surcharge and prosecution on top. Think maybe £300 or more if you go to court.

So that's the position: if you go to court you will have to pay several hundreds of pounds: the railway can ask you to pay a smaller amount to stop the matter going to court. The considered view is that the railway will ask for £125 or so (which is our best guess - don't forget we could be wrong). Is that cheap? No, but it's cheaper than what you will pay in court.
 

skyhigh

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It is £20 or at least £40
A penalty fare is £20 or double the fare, whichever is higher. However, the option for a penalty fare is gone - they cannot be issued after the event.
 

30907

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A penalty fare is £20 or double the fare, whichever is higher. However, the option for a penalty fare is gone - they cannot be issued after the event.
...and they will not be issued when it looks as though someone is deliberately trying to evade the proper fare. In the OP's case, paying for each end of the journey but not the bit in the middle.
 

Reeika

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Your best bet is to read @Hadders ' post at #4 above.



Yes it can.

The thing is, you're not in a strong position: on the basis of what you have told us, you have broken the law, which broadly says that you must buy a train ticket for your whole journey before you get on the train. While that's a bit of a simplification of the law, I'm pretty certain that if you were taken to court you would lose and be fined. The fine is normally around half a week's income, and then there is compensation (the unpaid train fare), court fees, the victim surcharge and prosecution on top. Think maybe £300 or more if you go to court.

So that's the position: if you go to court you will have to pay several hundreds of pounds: the railway can ask you to pay a smaller amount to stop the matter going to court. The considered view is that the railway will ask for £125 or so (which is our best guess - don't forget we could be wrong). Is that cheap? No, but it's cheaper than what you will pay in court.
Alright then I will just wait for the letter to come to my neighbour, I hope it will come fast
 

Islineclear3_1

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what will be in the letter? Do I have to apologise? It cannot be £125!! It is £20 or at least £40
The letter will probably ask for your version of events. Are you sorry for what you have done? I suspect not from what you have written/asked. It's up to you if you want to apologize or not. Whether it will make any difference to what you have to pay, I have no idea

But yes, you need to start saving as the "railway" will be doing their investigation and decide on a suitable settlement - if you're lucky enough not to go to court.
 

AlterEgo

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what will be in the letter? Do I have to apologise? It cannot be £125!! It is £20 or at least £40
The railway will ask for your side of events. You should bear in mind they already know you tried to intentionally evade the fare on one occasion, and it is worth reflecting on whether you have done this on other occasions too. They will be able to find evidence if you have, from your ticket purchase history and/or your Oyster.

A Penalty Fare is given to people who have made an innocent mistake; perhaps, forgetting or losing their ticket, for example. However, the railway can and does prosecute people who are intentionally evading the fare, and I'm sorry to say that what you were doing is "doughnutting", an obvious and easily detectable scam which intended to deprive the railway of the proper fare. Doughnutting refers to the "hole" left by the fact you had a ticket for a short distance at both ends of the journey (which you had merely to enter and exit barriers) while not paying for the portion you left out in the middle.

@Hadders always replies early with these threads with the most practical advice which is given to everyone; you should read his post to know what to write in your letter.

Most people, but not everyone, is able to settle before the matter reaches court. You should follow the advice given here to stand the best chance of minimising your losses and reduce the chance of a criminal conviction. You will, of course, need to apologise for what you did, in your letter, and you will need to give the company your correct address and explain that you gave the wrong one (again in contravention of the law) when you were questioned.

It will cost you about £125 if the railway is satisfied this is the only event you evaded the fare. But, if they find you are a habitual fare evader, and find evidence of other occasions, you can expect that figure to rise as the amount of evaded fares becomes clear to them.

So, if you don't have £125, I would start saving, and also wait for their letter to come to your neighbour (there is not much you can do in the interim).
 

Hadders

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It can take a number of weeks for the letter to arrive, it depends on how busy the Prosecutions Department are but there is no way to speed it up I'm afraid.

This is a serious matter and supplying a false address is an aggravating factor and my advice would be to follow the suggestions I gave in my post upthread if you want to avoid this escalating to the Magistrates Court.
 

skyhigh

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This is a serious matter and supplying a false address is an aggravating factor and my advice would be to follow the suggestions I gave in my post upthread if you want to avoid this escalating to the Magistrates Court.
Agreed - leaving them with an incorrect address and collecting any post for you from your neighbours will not go in your favour.
 

island

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Where were you spoken to by the inspectors?

Was your Oyster card touched-in at the start of your journey?
 

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