Letter from TIL threatening prosecution

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by Sam6o, 10 Feb 2020.

  1. Sam6o

    Sam6o Member

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    Hello all,

    First things first, thank you all for taking the time to respond to me and provide guidance in regards to this situation in which I have found myself in.

    This situation is now resolved, and I will confirm costs etc. further down.

    There have been several back and forth with my case over the past few weeks – even though I have at each time apologised for my error and offered to pay in order to mitigate the case without prejudice. It went through to a litigation lawyer who was I am sure very good at his job.

    During the radio silence from my time, I reached out to a friend of mine who works for XC, who advised the crews actions were extreme and would not happen normally, and he confirmed that whilst the crew are NOT on a commission based role for how many people they can pull up, they do have targets to identify persons traveling unwillingly.


    My friend also spoke to his colleague within the prosecution team within XC who was aware of the case, and similarly thought it was a complete joke, given the nature of the journey and the locations, but as it had already been passed through to TIL, there was nothing that could be done.....shame really.

    Furthermore I spoke to a friend who is high up in another train company based within the West Midlands who advised that as a rule of thumb train crew are incredibly lenient within his organisation and would only look to take details and prosecute etc when there is no offer of payment.

    I had to pay £261.90 to have this case dismissed so I did not face any further action.
    That’s £261.90 for a simple mistake and instead of grovelling and admitting fault in the first instance this was sent to a litigation lawyer for TIL who basically did nothing but copy and paste some verbiage from what I can imagine is an already scripted data base of responses.

    So it works out at £3.40 for the train ticket, and £258.50 for some dude to sit there and play god.

    Its done and out the way now, however I will be making contact with XC in order to retrieve the CCTV footage and the handwritten note completed by the train crew, and I will compare that with what has been bought forward by TIL (especially in regards to there being no record of me offering to pay). I suspect that the handwritten note has been typed up and my comments RE paying removed.

    Oh well…. Moral of the story,
    Buy your ticket
    If you are unsure, ask staff


    Thanks again all… if I do get anywhere with the request for data and what not, I will happily share the details

    Hope you all have a great weekend and so forth
    Now if you will excuse me, I am off to live on water and ASDA 12p noodles for the rest of the month.
     
  2. Sam6o

    Sam6o Member

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    Shows how much I go there and know about it! :)
     
  3. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Established Member

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    I think you have been dealt with harshly and out of all proportion really. Very poor in my personal opinion, but others may differ. Not customer focused in their approach to weighing up deliberate fare evasion and foolish mistakes.

    But one part of your post (no doubt a minor slip as I know what you mean) did make me smile:

    "they do have targets to identify persons traveling unwillingly".

    which I would say that when it comes to Cross Country - and how uncomfortable their trains are, and how badly structured many of their fares are - some of which down to deliberate choices they have made - shouldn't be too difficult to find 'unwilling passengers' quite easily!!

    All I can say is make sure you diligently pruseu delayed train compensation claims whenever possible in future, however small, as a way of recouping the sum you have been charged by them.

    But yes the moral is when you use tickets - esp electronic ones and smart card type tickets (see another recent thread about a young person who did not realsie her Oyster card was not valid beyond Gatwick) be sure to do a thorough check on their validity - and don't buy them unless there is a clear financial benefit to you (as opposed to a benefit for the railway) of buying it.

    Thanks for posting the outcome.
     
  4. Sam6o

    Sam6o Member

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    Hahaha - brilliant... just realised. You get the drift :D
     
  5. some bloke

    some bloke Member

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    And double-check, as you did ask staff who told you it was valid?
     
  6. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Subject Access Requests for XC, including for CCTV should be made to xcdataprotection@crosscountrytrains.co.uk

    Some organisations only keep footage for 28 days but you can still ask. It would also be worth doing a SAR to Transport Investigations Limited.

    You can now make formal complaints to XC and involve the Rail Ombudsmen. Due to the harsh nature of how you've been treated I'd be tempted to involve my MP and Transport Focus and the West Midlands PTE.
     
  7. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Nevermind. Realise now that the matter is resolved.
     
  8. island

    island Established Member

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    It’s been over 28 days and in any case I am quite unsure what CCTV would accomplish.
     
  9. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

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    I'm glad the matter is resolved, but £261? That's just taking the ****.

    I'd love to ask Richard Malins how he sleeps at night. I suspect the answer is "very comfortably in an extremely expensive bed".

    I think, OP, you have every right to be angry. It's just so brazen.
     
  10. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    There's no reason XC, if they really did think this case should never have got this far, couldn't have told TIL to drop the case entirely.

    Perhaps this is the final straw and the case we have finally been waiting for to expose TIL.
     
  11. 35B

    35B Member

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    I can imagine clear reasons why XC might not be willing and/or able to intervene like that. But whether my imagination is correct would depend on the terms of the contract between XC (or is it actually Arriva) and TIL.
     
  12. some bloke

    some bloke Member

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  13. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    Though personally I'm not at all convinced that that's actually true. I, of course, have no evidence but it is a suspicion that once the matter is handed to TIL the TOC has no further involvement.

    I wonder if a SAR for details of correspondence between the TOC and TIL regarding to the individual in question would be a fruitful exercise?
     
  14. some bloke

    some bloke Member

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    Sounds useful. If it exists, we could see XC's attitude. If it doesn't exist, TIL could have to admit to misleading many correspondents.
     
  15. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    I'm a bit baffled as to why CrossCountry would be expected to see any reason not to proceed with this. The OP boarded one of their trains with a ticket that wasn't valid for the journey and it seems to me that they had a pretty strong case. This is in spite of some posters here desperately looking for a flaw in the process, such as a questionable interpretation of the wording of the relevant laws.
     
  16. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Established Member

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    seems unlikely (but poss) that you would have a contract that did not permit the TOC to over rule and withdraw prosecution if it wished to do so - imagine a case that might make massive reputational damage to the TOC were TIL to pursue it - they would wan tth eability for a relevant authrised person to be able to ring up and say to TIL - 'look, don't pursue this case'.

    Not saying that applies in this case but you would think it would be there if req'd.
     
  17. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

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    It comes down to whether £261 is a fair and appropriate penalty for accidentally and inadvertently failing to pay a relatively small fare. I'm sure there are people on here who consider it just and reasonable (clearly Richard Malins, has no ethical problems with it). I don't, and consider it as dishonest and unscrupulous as clamping in car parks and "civil recovery charges" for shoplifting, both of which were (belatedly) legislated away.

    I wouldn't argue the OP is right, but when you're talking about extortion as brazen as this, it's utterly disgraceful.

    I would also be interested in a SAR for correspondence between TIL and XC. As TIL are not solicitors they can't hide behind lwgal privilege.
     
  18. Fare-Cop

    Fare-Cop Member

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    I agree, that from the OPs own explanations, there appears to be no reason that XC might ask for the matter to be discontinued on the basis of evidence of offence alone.

    However, this would not have been the only case listed for Court on any given date and it is a fact that case list management sometimes might also have a bearing.

    I have absolutely no first hand knowledge of this matter but do take issue with the allegation that settling these kind of matters out of Court in this way is 'brazen extortion'. Many people who would otherwise face conviction for an offence leading to a criminal record have been able to avoid that through such a settlement

    Long time users of this forum will recall that ATOC (now RDG) asked the opinion of a learned Barrister on the subject of administrative disposals and that concluded that whatever others might say or think, the alleged offender is never under any obligation to accept the settlement and may always have the matter tested by the independent arbiter of a court. Furthermore, the Barrister's opinion was that the average sum involved in such settlements generally represented the average costs of the work involved in dealing with such a case. Unless my memory is flawed, I believe that it was DaveNewcastle who posted an extract from that Barrister's report on the forum in the not too distant past

    I know that we're not all going to agree and of course all opinions are valid, but my experience over many years is that the Courts often support such disposals, which free up time and substantially reduce the criminal lists.

    .
     
  19. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

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    Barrister paid by RDG says RDG are right in everything they do. Well that's me convinced!

    I also didn't realise TIL worked for no profit

    I fail to see what else it is. We are not dealing with passengers with a long track record of deliberately avoiding paying their fares. We are dealing with small one-off mistakes that would, elsewhere in the same county (never mind the same country!), be dealt with by way of a £20 Penalty Fare.

    I think it is abundantly clear that Arriva- jusy as they previously did at Northern (EDIT still are doing, reaching for TIRs not PFs for minor offences)- flagrantly exploit the law to obtain these "administrative settlements" for matters which would not otherwise merit any criminal law intervention.

    They do this because it is more profitable to do it this way than it is to set up a statutory PF scheme, with all its pesky appeals processes and rules to follow.

    Of course Court lists would also be much smaller if TOCs reserved prosecution for those who have repeatedly evaded their fare.
     
    Last edited: 25 Feb 2020
  20. Starmill

    Starmill Veteran Member Associate Staff Events Co-ordinator

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    I can see why you're unhappy. The company are entitled to use the threat of criminal and other sanctions in order to charge you these fees as part of their proposed settlement.

    If you're unhappy, and you think that the law as it stands is unfair, you're not entirely powerless - I would recommend beginning by writing to your MP with a clear and well-researched piece, using the best English you can, as short as you can while preserving all of the details, and why specifically you think these laws are different, and with examples of the unfairness they create. It may well make an impression with them. You can ask for them to write to the Rail Minister too.

    There is little doubt about the matter. The disproportionate administration fees charged by the company reveal their attitude: this is not about fairness; it is about making money.
     
  21. Starmill

    Starmill Veteran Member Associate Staff Events Co-ordinator

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    I don't think that anyone genuinely thought that either:
    - The OP did not commit the offence
    - CrossCountry were not entitled to have them charged with the offence

    We merely think that it's disproportionate for the law to allow it, and bad faith of XC to pursue it. These conditions are true in a lot of cases, mind.

    Of course, when they refuse to pay you money they owe you (such as when they reject valid delay compensation claims) you cannot recover anything more than the original debt (plus interest and court fees, if it gets that far). No £291 penalty for them to pay if they make an "honest mistake".
     

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