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£20 Admin Charge for Late Payment of a Penalty Train Fare

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Having lost an appeal against a penalty fare incurred on London and South Eastern Railways (this posting is not about the penalty fare) I forgot to send the requested payment. My fault.


1 day after the original deadline I received this letter:




Amount : £15.90 + £20.00 Administration Charge.

Date of Issue: 23 Jul 2006


Since you have ignored our request for payment we are obliged to refer your account back to our clients with a recommendation that a summons be issued so that CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS can be taken against you under section 5.3a of the Regulation of the Railways Act 1889, or other current legislation as appropriate.


Your failure to pay the outstanding debt or to appeal against it can be considered as fare evasion. The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of £1000.00 and/or three months imprisonment.


Whilst we hope you will satisfactorily conclude this matter, if payment is not received within ten days from the date shown on this lettter, legal proceedings will commence without further notice.


"Cheques and Postal orders payable to" ... "The amount to include Admin to be forward to" ... [etc]


Yours sincerely


A Collins [computer printed signature]

Debt Manager




Aside from the heavy-handedness and sudden escalation from original notice to Final Notice 1 day after due date - although it does gall - I would love peoples opinion as to whether I should pay the administration charge of £20, or whether this is also illegal.


I have crafted a letter, cobbled from examples in the Templates Section on this site. Would I be in my rights to send this? Could I potential be opening myself up to further charges for refusing to pay the requested amount? I'd be grateful for anybody's input.



Revenue Protection Support Services




16 September 2006



Dear A Collins,



Ref: ###############/########



The speed which you have escalated this matter shocks me. The Final Notice, with threat of criminal proceedings, has been sent to me a mere 1 day after the original deadline. I can see no reason for such a heavy handed approach. You may consider the outstanding payment as “fare evasion” but actually it was a simple oversight on my part, which I am glad to rectify.


Furthermore how you managed to incur costs of £20 to produce a standardised, & impersonal, notice of outstanding payment I am at a loss to imagine. I believe that the Administration Charge which you are applying in this matter is unlawful at Common Law, Statute and recent consumer regulations. If you say it is not, then will you please demonstrate this by letting me have a full breakdown of the costs to which you have been put by as a result of my oversight, in order to reassure me that your penalties really do reflect your administration costs and are not an attempt to generate profits.


Please find enclosed a cheque for £20.90 to cover the Penalty Fare plus £5 which I believe to be a more than reasonable charge covering printing, postage & packaging costs for handling this matter. If you can assure me satisfactorily that the administration charge of £20 is fully warranted I will consider paying the other £15. If I do not hear from I will consider the matter closed.



Yours faithfully,





Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

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My own personal opinion is, that you are trying to use contracts law in a situation where no contract existed so you won't win. Had you bought a ticket in the first place, then a contract would have existed.


From what you have said, it would appear that you have failed to purchase a ticket for a rail journey and got caught, then failed to pay the demand for payment on time. They have every right, under railway by-laws to prosecute you, but have given you an extra ten days to pay up, plus an additional charge for having to chase you again for payment. That seems fair, since all they had to do was have the court summons for fare evasion issued at that point instead.


Ask yourself this. Is it preferable to pay £20 and avoid court, or face the likelyhood of being found guilty in court (as you most likely would be) of fare evasion.

MBNA - Agreed to refund £970 in full without conditions. Cheque received Sat 5th Aug.:D

Lloyds - Settled for an undisclosed sum.:D

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Thanks Guys... I think paying the full amount IS the sensible thing (whether I decide to claim it back later or not)... Like you say: why risk £n on £20. The letter was also a result of being peed off: your comments and 24hours have cautioned me.


I will pay the full amount, but reword the letter to make my point about their hard-line policies.

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  • 2 years later...

Hey Redstar,

and Everyone else on this forum for that matter..

It is my belief that YES, you should absolutely pay them their infantile demand of the 20 pounds but merely to pacify the said Mr A Collins and end the small war waged on you via the big bad Debt Manager.

Collins seems to be a mere 'Ego trip in minimum wage world', only unfortunate enough for him and those who have to deal with him.


It is also my belief that since it is they choose to handle such menial situations so severely...Then London's citizens need to have a voice as well. I was walking through the city today and on the front page of a newspaper, I saw a Headline and I do not quote it correctly as I did not pick up the paper(Instead I came online and read about your issue), that said something about the unfair ride fares. Is this your story? Im not sure, are there more?


I am only a visitor of this town and already in a week and a halves time I have noticed the Unfair ride fares being taken from my balance on my Oyster card due to the tubes own systematically misplaced "Tap in" and "Tap out" locations in some stations.

It was initially brought to my attention from a local who is a friend of mine when she was teaching me the train system. She said, "Watch out cause sometimes they'll get you and charge you the maximum if you miss one of the tap out stations....which are sometime located in the most Un-Obvious places such as outside, near a lift".

I hope not to ramble on too much, and I know your fare issue is a bit off the issue I speak of, but I know I am not alone when I say..They get away with murder already! And now this?!

Millions of people ride the tube each day and this is how they treat their bread and butter consumers? With letters and court trial threats...all while completely overlooking the fact that they WELL than make up for the costs in overcharges in their less than efficient system already.

Tell me, am I alone? Or do we have more of a voice to be heard?


And may I just say for the record..In no way shape or form is this a petition to cause and hassle. I simply want to know, If I had wanted to Voice It...Would I be alone? London...Where are you?

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I would try to find the legislation which provides for the penalty fare, and check to see if the extra administration fee lawfully exists or if they just made it up. If the law doesn't provide for it, they can't make you pay.


edit: just realised this is a very old thread.

Post by me are intended as a discussion of the issues involved, as these are of general interest to me and others on the forum. Although it is hoped such discussion will be of use to readers, before exposing yourself to risk of loss you should not rely on any principles discussed without confirming the situation with a qualified person.

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  • 4 months later...

Just like you guys i am appalled at the ridiculous actions taken against innocent people. I was on an overground train travelling from part of london and put my new clean shoes on the edge of a train seat - shock horror!


for this two men in luminous jackets came and talked to me, took my details, asked for ID, wrote down what i looked like! checked my ticket and were videoing me on their head cams, after telling me they'd been watching me for some time on cctv!


i found this embarrasing, pathetic and laughable. I have now recievd a letter saying im being conatced in relation to a bye law and they may continue the investigation! its not CSI! so i rang up and i could get a fine, some kind of magistate court situation ( which could be dealt with by letters apparently) if i do get either of these it may show up on crb check, or i could get nothing depends how they feel i guess!!!


basically yes putting my feet up was not the best idea, but the train was dirty anyway and its not like im the only person to ever do it. I in fact saw a man do exactly the same thing on another journey and he didnt get stopped.


so basically these 'inforcement officials' have nothing better to do than fill their quotas by stopping people they know wont make a fuss, so if you havent seen the one incy wincy sign on each carriage

DONT PUT YOUR FEET UP, it just not worth it!!!!!

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