Southeastern prosecution

Joopeng

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17 Sep 2021
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Location
Kent
Hello,

I got stopped on my way to work this morning, I purchased a ticket for Trainline to the stop before I got off from another station because I didn’t have enough funds, I’ve been doing this for a while as I was stupid and thought it was an easy way out. I know it’s wrong and I shouldn’t have done it. On the Trainline app it’s recorded that Ive done this 22 times since June. I explained this in the interview. I am unsure what happens next and would really appreciate some advice.
 
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Fawkes Cat

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8 May 2017
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Welcome to the forum.

Most likely, Southeastern (or maybe a company called Transport Investigations Limited - some train companies use them to deal with things like this) will write to you in the next few days or weeks (it could take as long as six months) to ask for your side of the story.

@Hadders, who often contributes here, gives some excellent advice on what to do then and this is an example:
  • 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.
    (source: https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...when-no-railcard-was-held.221645/post-5286024)
As you seem to have dodged your fare a number of times, the railway may want to take you to court rather than offer a settlement. If the matter does go to court and you lose, you will have to pay a fine, plus compensation, plus various costs. But you will not be sent to prison.

One last point: it might be tempting to ignore this and hope it will go away. Don't. Our experience here is that if you don't keep in touch with the railway, the matter will go to court, you will lose and be fined (plus all the other costs). Then debt collectors will be sent after you - and when they find you, you will have to pay their costs as well as the fine and so on.
 

greyman42

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Joined
14 Aug 2017
Messages
2,890
Hello,

I got stopped on my way to work this morning, I purchased a ticket for Trainline to the stop before I got off from another station because I didn’t have enough funds, I’ve been doing this for a while as I was stupid and thought it was an easy way out. I know it’s wrong and I shouldn’t have done it. On the Trainline app it’s recorded that Ive done this 22 times since June. I explained this in the interview. I am unsure what happens next and would really appreciate some advice.
So you have done this numerous times because each time you did not have enough funds?
 

Joopeng

Member
Joined
17 Sep 2021
Messages
10
Location
Kent
Welcome to the forum.

Most likely, Southeastern (or maybe a company called Transport Investigations Limited - some train companies use them to deal with things like this) will write to you in the next few days or weeks (it could take as long as six months) to ask for your side of the story.

@Hadders, who often contributes here, gives some excellent advice on what to do then and this is an example:
As you seem to have dodged your fare a number of times, the railway may want to take you to court rather than offer a settlement. If the matter does go to court and you lose, you will have to pay a fine, plus compensation, plus various costs. But you will not be sent to prison.

One last point: it might be tempting to ignore this and hope it will go away. Don't. Our experience here is that if you don't keep in touch with the railway, the matter will go to court, you will lose and be fined (plus all the other costs). Then debt collectors will be sent after you - and when they find you, you will have to pay their costs as well as the fine and so on.
Thank you that’s helpful. Any idea how they will carry out the investigation as I use the Trainline app when I travel to that location.
 

Joopeng

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17 Sep 2021
Messages
10
Location
Kent
So you have done this numerous times because each time you did not have enough funds?
Yes I initially started doing this but I just got comfortable which I know is wrong there’s no excuses. I just want to know how to rectify the situation and move forward doing the right thing in the future. If you have any advice to do with how they charge you and calculate the amount I ow I would be most greatful
 

skyhigh

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14 Sep 2014
Messages
1,466
Thank you that’s helpful. Any idea how they will carry out the investigation as I use the Trainline app when I travel to that location.
They can request details of ticket purchases from Trainline. But if you admitted you'd done it 22 times when you were stopped, then it's going to be pretty straightforward for them. 'Short fairing' is one of the oldest tricks in the book to avoid paying the fare due.

They may offer you a settlement (which would be the cost of the fares owed plus a fee to cover their investigation costs - normally up to several hundred pounds). However given the scale of the offence, and the fact you probably would have continued if you weren't stopped, might mean that a settlement is less likely to be offered than for a one-off incident.

Best advice would be to wait until they write to you, and if they give an opportunity to respond reply making it clear that you're sorry for your actions, it won't happen again and that you're willing to pay and fees to conclude the matter. Come back here if/when they contact you for further advice.
 

Joopeng

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17 Sep 2021
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Location
Kent
Thank you, this is really helpful. I will wait and save in the coming weeks till I’m contacted.

If you are offered to pay a settlement to stop your case going to court, it may cost you two or three hundred pounds, so I would start saving.

One of the forum experts might be able to give you a more accurate figure
Thank you, I’ll start saving
 

RPI

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6 Dec 2010
Messages
1,421
As others have said, Southeastern will obtain a spreadsheet from the trainline of your entire booking history and investigate any other irregularities, they may also look at previous multiple refunds too.

They will more than likely then work out how much they believe you have avoided and seek to reclaim this from you, plus an administration fee.

Even with multi offence cases such as this they will probably still offer you the opportunity to settle before going to court.

What I would say is whatever figure they come up with ask for a broken down version of this so you can at least pick out any journeys in there that were genuine and reply with that information.

The key as ever is to not ignore any correspondence, that is when it gets expensive, there is potential after all for these kind of offences to be brought under the fraud act which some on this forum have downplayed, I can assure you that there is a genuine movement from some TOC's to do this in the near future.
 

Nipa

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Whats the total amount you’ve ‘saved’ from doing this? Cos if you only save like £3 per journey then £3*22= £66 which ain’t too bad tbh and the TOC will probs settle out of court
 

Joopeng

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17 Sep 2021
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I saved 12 with a return ticket every-time I travelled

As others have said, Southeastern will obtain a spreadsheet from the trainline of your entire booking history and investigate any other irregularities, they may also look at previous multiple refunds too.

They will more than likely then work out how much they believe you have avoided and seek to reclaim this from you, plus an administration fee.

Even with multi offence cases such as this they will probably still offer you the opportunity to settle before going to court.

What I would say is whatever figure they come up with ask for a broken down version of this so you can at least pick out any journeys in there that were genuine and reply with that information.

The key as ever is to not ignore any correspondence, that is when it gets expensive, there is potential after all for these kind of offences to be brought under the fraud act which some on this forum have downplayed, I can assure you that there is a genuine movement from some TOC's to do this in the near future.
Thank you so much this is really useful, I’m just waiting to see receive a letter Im the meantime trying to draft a letter to apologise and ask for a out of court Settlement
 

AlterEgo

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So, £12 x 22 is £264, plus an admin fee. You’re probably looking at around £400 to settle, as a rule. Perhaps a little less.
 

Joopeng

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But I’m not sure if they would charge a return fare or they will charge 15.80 there and 15.80 back
 

RPI

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But I’m not sure if they would charge a return fare or they will charge 15.80 there and 15.80 back
As a general rule they will charge each individual single leg of the journey at the Anytime Single fare, minus any money that you have paid, so, if you only paid a quid per day totalling 12 quid they generally will deduct that from the total, again, thats not a definite but generally most Magistrates if ever it gets that far, will take into consideration any monies already paid.
 

30907

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But I’m not sure if they would charge a return fare or they will charge 15.80 there and 15.80 back
If you travelled at peak times, the Anytime Return is likely to be nearly twice the Anytime Single anyway.
If you "short-fared" each way on the same day, I would expect them to claim the return fare.
 

Hadders

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Welcome to the forum.

@Fawkes Cat has provided a link to the advice I normally give to people in similar situations to yourself.

Just to add that the complication in this case is the number of times you have done this. That doesn't necessarily mean a settlement can't be obtained but the train company will be within their rights to prosecute you. Do let us know when your letter arrives and members here will be happy to offer further advice.
 

Joopeng

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Can anyone help me find out how long it will take to receive a letter from them, it’s been 3 weeks and I haven’t got anything. I’ve drafted a letter ready to send them should I just send it first.
 

Nipa

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I got mine after about 4 months, I’m in a similar position to you and my case is still ongoing and it’s coming up to 6 months, they take absolutely ages it’s painful. With regards to sending a letter first, you haven’t been given a TIL case number yet or anything so I’m not sure how well that would be received, perhaps you could send a letter directly to the TOC tho?
 

Joopeng

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Thank you for your response, I only got a Prosecution Number from my witness statement. After you got your letter has their been anymore communication please. Should I try give Revenue Protection Support Services a call?
I got mine after about 4 months, I’m in a similar position to you and my case is still ongoing and it’s coming up to 6 months, they take absolutely ages it’s painful. With regards to sending a letter first, you haven’t been given a TIL case number yet or anything so I’m not sure how well that would be received, perhaps you could send a letter directly to the TOC tho?
 

skyhigh

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With regards to sending a letter first, you haven’t been given a TIL case number yet or anything so I’m not sure how well that would be received,
Southeastern don't use TIL (an investigations company).
 

Nipa

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Oh sorry forgot ur dealing with Southeastern. Oh there’s been plenty of communication, just check out my thread. I think I’ve sent like 4 or 5 letters and all they reply with is ‘we see no reason why we should not proceed’. But count yourself lucky u don’t have to deal with TIL. I do think u could try give Revenue Services a call, at the most they’ll just tell you they can’t do anything. It’s always worth a shot in my opinion.
 

Joopeng

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Hi, I've been waiting for a letter to come through over a month now and I've seen nothing yet, I sent a letter of last week reaching out to them. Do you think they will reply.
 

Hadders

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Hi, I've been waiting for a letter to come through over a month now and I've seen nothing yet, I sent a letter of last week reaching out to them. Do you think they will reply.
It can take a few months for a letter to come through so unless there are any complications like moving house or giving them an incorrect address I suggest you just sit tight and wait. The process does seem to move rather slowly.

I recommend you start your own thread with details of what happened so that forum members can offer appropriate advice.
 

swt_passenger

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It can take a few months for a letter to come through so unless there are any complications like moving house or giving them an incorrect address I suggest you just sit tight and wait. The process does seem to move rather slowly.

I recommend you start your own thread with details of what happened so that forum members can offer appropriate advice.
This thread was started by @Joopeng though…
 

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