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vp_99

Unpaid Fare Notice, Virgin Trains, Lost 16-25 railcard on way to train

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Hello Everyone

 

On july 5th I travelled to manchester with a young persons ticket (virgin trains). I had purchased a 16-25 railcard on the 4th of july.

 

Sometime between collecting my ticket and boarding the train I lost my 16-25 railcard. When asked to produce it I was unable to do so and was issued with the unpaid fares notice. For £146 for one way, my original return ticket was for £43.

 

On the return journey, the same thing happened, and i received another unpaired fares notice for £146.

 

I am currently able to show the stamped receipt (showing railcard number my name and date of purchase) and the purchase receipt for the 16-25 railcard. I showed the train manager my driving licence and he took down the number on the unpaid fare notice so I am able to prove that the receipts for the 16-25 railcard are mine. (i.e. the person travelling that day when the unpaid fare was issued)

 

I appealed the notices straight away, posted first class on the 6th of july. with copies of the 16-25 railcard stamped leaflet stub/receipt and purchase receipt. As well as copies of the unpaid fare notices and tickets and my driving license. To the revenue protection support services.

 

I have received no response to this. On the 29th of July I received instead 2 demands for £146 each. With 14 days to pay it from the 27th of July (the date quoted on the letter) before a further £20 is added to each fine.

 

I understand there is a need to prevent fare evasion. But I believe it is clear that this was not what I was doing, and that I am able to prove this.

 

I bought the railcard to save money as I am a student who after 5 years of study and with one still left to go has a debt of about £35,000.

 

I feel the fine is unfair as I was the victim of honest misfortune rather than someone trying to defraud the system, and am able to prove this.

 

I also think that it is unfair that they have ignored my appeal letter for 24 days and counting and have instead issued me with a threat to pay within 14 days of their letter (dated the 27th, but received on the 29th).

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

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p.s. the unpaid fare notice told me to appeal to the Revenue Protection Support Services, which is what I did. And it is this the same 'company' that sent me the demand for £146 x 2. To be paid within 14 days

Edited by vp_99
spelling error

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unfortunately the Terms and Conditions of your railcard make it clear that the railcard must be produced when requested in order to validate a discounted ticket, if you don't then you are treated as having no ticket, its all there in the agreement that you signed when you bought the railcard, surely after getting a UFN on the out journey would it not have been sensible to go and excess your return ticket before making the return journey? then you'd only have had to pay the difference between the fare paid and the correct fare?


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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I am aware of what the T&Cs say. But i didn't lose my Railcard on purpose.

And I am able to prove that I had one that covered the ticket. I didn't pay extra because I believed I had grounds for appeal, and I am aware that once these companies have your money its difficult/impossible to get it back.

 

Am also aware of the fact that despite the RPSS trying to proclaim that they are an independent body, they are in fact funded by the train companies, and are infact a collection agency.

 

Also RPSS stands for revenue protection support service. How is the extortion of money from a passenger who had paid for their ticket in full, but then lost their railcard (which they are still able to prove they have purchased) protecting revenues?

 

p.s. please don't refer me to the T&Cs again, I am aware of what they say. I believe that the fare is unfair and would like advice on how to pursue this, other than the RPSS appeals service which seems to be ignoring my letter and evidence and setting deadlines to try and cajole me into paying them.

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you don't have grounds for appeal though, you breached the T&C's that YOU agreed to, UFN appeals are not dealt with by the Independent Penalty Fare Appeals service as they are not Penalty Fares, a UFN is issued when a fare is due not as a "Penalty", good luck but your best bet is just to pay up or write to Virgin Trains customer services dept and see if you get any joy with them, good luck but legally you are pretty bang to rights as harsh as it may seem.


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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Unfortunately I cannot really offer you much different advice to that given by RPI.

 

The TOC was not in breach of the T&Cs, however, through misfortune on the first journey, you were and I could see a case for the TOC to accept that this was an unitentional situation and waive the charge for the first journey.

 

However, there is no case to do so on the second journey. Even if you had not recalled the terms & conditions from the time of purchase, you knew that you could not use the ticket without being able to show a valid railcard on your return journey because you had been issued an unpaid fare notice on the outward trip.

 

The simplest (and probably cheapest) thing to have done would have been to buy a new railcard before making the return journey, thus validating your ticket. You could at least then have shown that you made every effort to avoid the problem and applied for a refund of one railcard charge.

 

I suggest that you might write to Virgin and note that you were also inconvenienced by circumstances beyond your control. Ask if they will waive the fare due on the first notice, giving that explanation, but accepting and paying the second notice might be a good idea.

 

It is a harsh lesson perhaps, but there is a strict liability requirement that the Railcard is shown to validate any discounted ticket and if not, the traveller will be treated as if no ticket is held.

 

Whatever our personal opinion, that needs to be set aside and we have to recognise that if Virgin don't agree to waive or reduce the charge, failing to pay could become much more expensive in the long-run.

 

I don't say it's morally right, but that is the position in accordance with the rules in force.

 

Good luck

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thanks for the replies.

 

 

Is there a rules and regulations booklet for unpaid fares notices?

 

the national rail conditions of carriage give no information on appeals or any code of conduct for the issue of an unpaid fare notice?

 

thanks again

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The simple answer to that one is 'No'.

 

Although the TOCs may issue an Unpaid Fare Notice, they are not obliged to do so for the following reasons:

 

1. Where pre-purchase facilities are available, every traveller has a strict liability requirement to show a valid ticket on demand in compliance with National Railway Byelaws and the National Conditions of Carriage

 

2. Where pre-purchase facilities were not available, the correct fare is due at the time of travel and not later

 

Some TOCs allow the issue of an Unpaid Fare Notices (UFN) to resolve disputed issues, but that is a matter for their management and they could always proceed to issue a Summons alleging a Byelaw offence instead.

 

UFNs are not covered by the Penalty Fares appeals procedure and the Independent Penalty Fares Appeals Service has no formal authority to comment on UFNs.

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The difference between UFN's and Penalty Fares is that a Penalty fare can be disputed on various grounds such as a ticket machine being broken etc, etc, but a UFN is issued in circumstances when a person is travelling with no ticket/invalid ticket but does not have the means to pay or refuses to pay therefore if a UFN is issued then an offence has been committed, a UFN is not a penalty it is simply a bill to pay the outstanding Anytime single fare that was payable at the time.


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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