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South West Trains Penalty Fare - Mislead to purchase an incorrect train ticket.


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I went to Thorpe Park yesterday but on my journey to the train station I was late and as soon as I arrived at the station I literally had to jump on the train as it was about to leave. (I even lost my scarf which one of the staff on the platform kindly ran to the train and handed it over to the conductor for me.)

On the train I approached the conductor and asked for a return ticket to Staines. After notifying me it was £15.90 for the fare I started to collect the correct amount from my purse. Halfway doing so he then tells me that a Travelcard is cheaper and would also take me to Staines as well. (We had a little chat about travelcards, offer wise, so he should actually remember me...) Surprised about this new knowledge I went ahead and bought a Day travelcard for the cost of £15.70 (Not much difference I'd say but to a student a little goes a long way.)

 

Upon arriving at Staines, I wasn't able to get out of the barrier and the staff at the ticket barrier tells me that my ticket isn't valid here and just sends me to her colleague without explaining why. It was there and then I was issued a penalty fine for travelling beyond validity. Even when I explained the situation to the member of staff he just kept asking for details ignoring a word I was saying and wanted me to cough up £20 on the spot. I asked about appealing and got the answer, "what appeal?" I was so annoyed.

 

Anyway, I ended up giving details and not paying. This was when I was told after being repeatedly asked the same questions that I was to pay the money at xxx location or appeal at the Ircas website. (So what was all the, "oh you can't appeal" from before?) I was also notified to buy a Single ticket from Staines to Feltham on the way home else I will be fined again.

 

I'm writing here to ask the community on how I should write the appeal letter and actually be able to claim back my Single train ticket fare of £2.80 and also to not pay the penalty fare due to their staff misleading me that a travelcard covered the area to Staines. If I had knew it wasn't in the catchment area I would have paid the extra 20-30 pence for a return ticket (It was £16 when I checked online), instead of paying an absurd amount of £22.80 extra for a day out to Thorpe Park.

 

I have taken photos of my train tickets and also the ends of the tickets where it shows the difference between one bought from a conductor (ripped edges) and another from a machine (straight clean cut).

 

Thank You.

 

Amy

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Unfortunately it is an absolute fact that you are under an obligation to present on demand a valid ticket for your entire journey, which you were unable to do.

 

It is also a fact that it is the passengers' responsibility to ensue he/she has a valid ticket for the entire journey.

 

This may sound as if it is down to you to ensure the Guard/ TE etc does their job properly; but it is easy, as the railway company knows, for everyone stopped by an Inspector to claim 'I was told to buy this ticket', which there is no means of verifying at that point further down the line.

 

But:

 

The fact that it was sold to you rather than you having purchased it yourself from a machine will go someway in your favour; they will know exactly who sold you he ticket by the issuing codes on the front (which includes information such as issuing location of the machine and even the users' log in number- like your Username on CAG!).

 

I take it you paid nothing towards the Penalty at the time? It is imperative that you lodge this appeal ASAP and do not forget about it as some do, because having at this point paid nothing between boundary Zone 6 and Staines, it will appear to the railway company that you deliberately bought a short ticket on the day and they will almost certainly commence prosecution.

 

Always better to pay the single fare up front in any Penalty in my experience.

 

I would perhaps argue in your shoes that although the Penalty Fare Regulations do not specifically state that being mis-sold a ticket exempts you from a PF, those regulations do state that you will not be subject to a PF if an Authorised Person or someone who appears to be acting on behalf of the railway allows you to board the train; thus the actions of the Guard/ TE could be construed as having done that, albeit not in an explicit way.

 

Good luck.

Edited by Grotesque
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On the train I approached the conductor and asked for a return ticket to Staines. After notifying me it was £15.90 for the fare I started to collect the correct amount from my purse. Halfway doing so he then tells me that a Travelcard is cheaper and would also take me to Staines as well. (We had a little chat about travelcards, offer wise, so he should actually remember me...) Surprised about this new knowledge I went ahead and bought a Day travelcard for the cost of £15.70 (Not much difference I'd say but to a student a little goes a long way.)

It's a common misconception that Staines is in Zone 6, but most staff know the score nowadays. I think solely because of Thorpe Park, the zones should be extended to Staines. Where did you start you journey? I'm assuming it was outside London as otherwise it would have cost you £7.50. I'd appeal and state that you were sold the ticket from a Guard on a train, and show them the ticket which should indicate on it how it was issued.

 

Although the onus is on the passenger to ensure they have the right ticket, given that you travelled from outside London, this would suggest you're not too savvy with the Zonal system in London, and you didn't just chance your arm, you asked the train Guard for his or her help! Given that the price difference is only pennies too, this all looks better for you. I would point out that by having a Travelcard you only saved a few pence, and not several poubds, which makes it all the more believeable to IRCAS.

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Yes it would definitely be useful to know exactly where the OP began their journey. I can't really see how a T/C would have actually helped get to Staines from somewhere else outside the zones as it is only point-to-point until boundary zone 6. I assumed the OP began their journey inside London as the PF was issued for travelling beyond validity, i.e no ticket from boundary zone 6 > Staines? Unless outside the zones but the opposite side of London (different TOC than SWT I mean) which might account for the staff issuing the wrong ticket.

 

But dead right that the sheer miniscule amount of money supposedly 'avoided' (less than the cost of issuing and processing the PF) is well in their favour!

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Hey guys,

 

Thanks for all your replies. Was very helpful. I'll be writing up my letter of appeal soon as I get home from work.

 

I travelled from East Grinstead which is a fair way from Staines. Hence the cost of my ticket.

 

I'll let you know how the appeal goes.

 

Cheers!

 

Amy

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So what zones did the T/C cover? East Grinstead- Zone 1-6, or 2-6?

 

Because, assuming that you could have travelled East Grinstead- Staines via East Croydon and Clapham Jcn (in Zone 2), if he sold you a 1-6 T/C you can argue that not only did he not sell you a ticket to your destination but he sold you an unnecessary portion too...

 

If of course he sold you EG-Zone 2-6 T/C then this does not really help ;)

 

Good luck.

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The guy sold me a travel card from East Grinstead and Zones 1-6 so yes he did infact sell me a ticket which wasn't going to be fully used. I can't post images or links due to a low post count :(

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No problem (me neither!)

 

Try that then, that:

 

1) He sold you a ticket that didn't take you far enough in one direction; and

 

2) Took you too far in another!

 

And as I said above, the fact that he recommended as well as sold you that particular ticket could legitimately be interpreted by you as authority to travel by an agent of the railway.

 

Remember this all really in the realms of mitigation: the bottom line is still that you were caught without a valid ticket for your whole journey; however as far it mitigation goes I think you have a lot in your favour.

 

Good luck again and let us all know the result!

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I've sent off the appeal last week on Friday but I still haven't heard anything back from them...(as in that they've received the appeal) Should I send in another appeal or try to contact them somehow?

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SWT have one of the busiest (most prolific) Prosecution Depts in the country, so they may not have even opened your letter yet! Did you register it?

Would not contact them again- there is always, as in any big company, a slim (1000-1 maybe!) chance that your 'case' will get lost in the beurocracy, so no point in reminding them unnecessarily and encouraging the Mr. Keen Prosecutor :wink: to go off and actively search for your file!

Don't assume it will get lost though- probably won't, but the ball is in SWT's court at the moment, not yours.

 

Good luck.

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SWT have one of the busiest (most prolific) Prosecution Depts in the country, so they may not have even opened your letter yet! Did you register it?

Would not contact them again- there is always, as in any big company, a slim (1000-1 maybe!) chance that your 'case' will get lost in the beurocracy, so no point in reminding them unnecessarily and encouraging the Mr. Keen Prosecutor :wink: to go off and actively search for your file!

Don't assume it will get lost though- probably won't, but the ball is in SWT's court at the moment, not yours.

 

Good luck.

Would any PF appeal even reach SWT though? I was under the impression that appeals of this nature went straight to the 'Independent' Penalty Fares Appeals Service or similar?....Of course, I could be completely wrong, and should know better really. Edited by Stigy
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No kamarade Stigy :wink:

 

The only thing you have done that I have not is read (or not re-read, I think) the OP thread! Apologies for misunderstanding/ contradictory advice- thought it was an MG rather than a PF.

 

Which is why I stated SWT Prosecutions rather than IRCAS.

 

Sorry bout that Stigy and lilneko :???::sad:

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From my reading of the OP, it seems that a Penalty Fare Notice was issued. (I'm sure that the OP will correct me if wrong. )

 

If a Penalty Fare Notice was issued you have 21 days in which to appeal or pay the penalty

 

The payment or appeal letter will go to IRCAS (or RPSS in the case of TOCs that use them.)

 

The Independent Penalty Fares Appeal Service (IPFAS) is only relevant if you are not satisfied with the response given by IRCAS or RPSS as appropriate.

 

If you have received a letter about an MG11 / S9 / TIR, then the letter will have come directly from the TOC prosecutor or their agents and the basis of appeal may be the same, but should only be sent to the office from whence you received the letter.

 

You should not write to IPFAS / IRCAS / RPSS if you have received a letter from the TOC or their agents stating that a prosecution is envisaged. Always respond to the office from which you have received the latest letter.

 

If you have appealed a Penalty Fare Notice within the 21 days allowed, action on that notice / report is suspended until you have been sent a reply. Once a reply to your appeal is sent out, payment may be due as advised or, the case will be closed if your appeal was succesful.

 

.

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Unless the Penalty Notice that you have received specifies an email address for appeals I would make absolutely sure that you send your appeal as a signed hard copy within the 21 day period allowed.

 

If any email gets spammed out you may find that your appeal is not recorded as in time. It is always best to write, date & sign your appeal and send by Royal Mail. It might be belt & braces, but always advocate recorded or signed for as a fail-safe too.

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I got my reply back and the appeal wasn't successful under the condition that "purchase and/or renewal of a valid ticket or authority to travel from the facilities available had not been made before travelling or when changing trains."

"As detailed in the National Rail Conditions of Carriage it is the responsibility of the rail user to purchase a valid ticket or other authority to travel before boarding the train."

 

But why would I renew it if I had been told specifically by a member of staff than this was a valid ticket that would take me to my destination? :-x It's not like I asked for a travel card. I asked for a return ticket but he said a travel card does the same job. Guess you can't trust people who you think you could.

 

****ed off that I still have to pay £20r.

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From your original post and the reply that you have received and posted here, I suggest that you pay the PF and then refer the matter to the Independent Penalty Fares Appeals Service asking for a full refund.

 

Paying the notice will prevent likelihood of any further charges or action being taken, but does not prevent the decision being overturned and a refund given.

 

You should state that the specific facts applicable to your case do not appear to have been considered by SWT Penalty Fares Appeal service. State that your explanation as to why you had boarded without a ticket was accepted by the staff on train as evidenced by the ticket issued by him.

 

You should say that; because no breach of Byelaw is being alleged and the staff had accepted your explanation and issued a ticket, no reasonable person would consider that there is justification to apply any further penalty at a later time. The ticket held was sold as the appropriate ticket for the journey being made.

 

Your letter to IPFAS should also state that you purchased said ticket only on his explicit advice having been told by him that it covered the journey you wished to make and only after you had asked him to issue a full fare, point to point return ticket for your intended journey.

Edited by Old-CodJA
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Well I called up IRCAS and when a member of staff phoned me back he told me that I could reappeal the same way I appealed the first time. So I think I'll try that first as I have till the 29th to pay off the PF. I'm unsure why he couldn't handle the appeal though since he heard my story and thought it would be odd that I was sold a TravelCard which would have been invalid.

 

I'll mention the argument again and see what the outcome is.

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