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Hi all...Earlier in March I travelled Super off peak single with a railcard that was a couple of weeks out of date. I didn't realise until I hopped on the train. I recieved a letter this morning from FGW telling me they are preparing the case for court! If i am convicted of an offence I could be ordered to pay a fine of £1000 and/or be sentenced to 3 months imprisoment.

 

Basically I think it's completley unjust that they are charging me £160.95 as I already payed the original fare just my railcard was out of date!

I think this is completley taking the P@**S!

Please help if you know of anything I can do as I can't afford this money!!!

Thanks I really look forward to hearing a response, I am prepared to go to court as I feel it's so unjust for them to force me to pay this when I don't have the money - does anybody know what will happen? Thanks

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Hi all...Earlier in March I travelled Super off peak single with a railcard that was a couple of weeks out of date. I didn't realise until I hopped on the train. I recieved a letter this morning from FGW telling me they are preparing the case for court! If i am convicted of an offence I could be ordered to pay a fine of £1000 and/or be sentenced to 3 months imprisoment.

 

Basically I think it's completley unjust that they are charging me £160.95 as I already payed the original fare just my railcard was out of date!

I think this is completley taking the P@**S!

Please help if you know of anything I can do as I can't afford this money!!!

Thanks I really look forward to hearing a response, I am prepared to go to court as I feel it's so unjust for them to force me to pay this when I don't have the money - does anybody know what will happen? Thanks

 

Have FGW indicated what offence they are intending you will be summonsed for?.

If they intend to bring an action claiming that you failed to produce a valid ticket when asked to produce one, what would your defence be? Did you have a valid ticket (The railcard needing to be in date for a ticket attracting a railcard discount to remain valid), or other reason for not producing a valid ticket on demand?.

 

If they intend to claim that you intentionally evaded a fare, you might challenge on grounds of intent. The (less serious offence, but easier to prove, "strict liability") "failed to show valid ticket" is harder to defend against, if, you didn't show a valid ticket, and didn't have a good reason (ticket office being shut with no working ticket machine).

 

You feel you have paid the original fare. FGW feel you haven't ... The fare you paid was that for a valid railcard holder, and FGW will point out that you didn't hold a valid railcard, and that it was your responsibility to make sure you had a valid railcard prior to buying the ticket ( presumably online or at a ticket machine). If you bought the ticket at a manned ticket office, and the ticket clerk didn't check your railcard was valid, you might try a grovelling letter to FGW, accepting responsibility but highlighting it wasn't just your mistake.

 

If you didn't have a valid ticket (including railcard), and you get taken to court for the lesser, "strict liability" offence, the bench might have some sympathy with you, and might consider the factors you've mentioned as mitigation ..... but they'll still likely apply the law, and if you didn't show a valid ticket, and don't have one of the factors providing a defence (as laid out by statute, or by case law since), you'll likely be found guilty.

 

You might still be able to persuade FGW not to proceed to court. Telling them "you are taking the P*** " is unlikely to help you achieve that.

if you choose to say "OK, take me to court, so I can make my "moral high ground" comments in court" - there is a risk you'll end up with total costs exceeding the £160.95, and a criminal record.

It is unlikely (for a first offence) that you'd go to prison, but do you want to take the chance of the criminal record? When it comes down to it, on a strict interpretation of the statute and case law ; do you have a valid legal (rather than moral) defence?.

 

Apologies if this isn't what you want to hear, but if you read around the similar threads on here, I hope you can see that it may not be what you want to hear, but is none the less correct.

Edited by BazzaS

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Hello there. You're not going to like what I have to say either.

 

I think BazzaS is right. You may not think it's fair, but you did break the rules, so to speak. Unless you have mitigating circumstances which I can't think of offhand, as Bazza says, going to court could cost you more than the penalty you've been asked to pay. At the end of the day, the passenger is responsible.

 

As has been said, you're highly unlikely to go to prison and £1000 fine is very unlikely too, unless you have previous offences to your name.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Where does the £160 figure come from?

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Nothing unjust there, you didn't have a valid railcard simple, therefore no valid ticket, who's fault is it that you didn't have an in date railcard? Not FGW's thats for sure!


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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Hi all...Earlier in March I travelled Super off peak single with a railcard that was a couple of weeks out of date. I didn't realise until I hopped on the train. I recieved a letter this morning from FGW telling me they are preparing the case for court! If i am convicted of an offence I could be ordered to pay a fine of £1000 and/or be sentenced to 3 months imprisoment.

 

Basically I think it's completley unjust that they are charging me £160.95 as I already payed the original fare just my railcard was out of date!

I think this is completley taking the P@**S!

Please help if you know of anything I can do as I can't afford this money!!!

Thanks I really look forward to hearing a response, I am prepared to go to court as I feel it's so unjust for them to force me to pay this when I don't have the money - does anybody know what will happen? Thanks

 

When you applied for your Railcard you will have accepted the Terms & Conditions of Issue & Use. It is always up to the traveller to ensure that they comply with these rules before travelling.

 

Condition 4 states: You must carry your Railcard with you and when asked by rail staff you must show a valid ticket and valid Railcard, otherwise the full fare will be payable as if no Railcard and/or no ticket were held.

 

Even in these circumstances the inspector is not obliged to accept a fare. If s/he believes that a deliberate attempt to avoid a fare or any part of it is evident, then a report may be made.

 

If you failed, or refused to pay the fare due on demand, you can be prosecuted for intent to avoid a fare. You have obtained a discount that you were not entitled to and the Magistrates may be asked to consider the fact that you were intending to use the discounted ticket to travel and to complete your journey without paying the correct fare if not detected and questioned. If you were asked to pay the full fare due under the rules at the time and failed to do so, the prosecutor will be entitled to ask the Court to consider that fact evidential in that it is supporting the allegation of intent not to pay.

 

As pointed out, the slightly less serious charge of breach of National Railway Byelaw 18.2 (2005) is very much easier to prove and if a traveller has bought a discounted fare, but does not have a valid Railcard the case is pretty well absolute.

 

It cannot be said the traveller could not get a valid ticket if they were able to buy an invalid one.

Edited by Old-CodJA

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as an ex RPI inspector manager for the said TOC, it sounds to me like they are offering you either the full standard single fare or the full single fare plus admin costs.

 

The two above posters are spot on and this will be the premise on which FGW will report the matter for prosecution: you did not show a valid ticket when challenged to do so.

 

It matters not how much extra would have been paid had you not had the railcard discount, it matters not either whether you knew your railcard had expired before being asked for it, the fact is you did not have a valid ticket when challenged.

 

Don't think I am biased here either: I quit FGW some time ago and took a (far) better paid job well away from the industry, I think a great deal of their middle and higher management are pretty cr*p to say the least, but I also know the FG RP structure and way of thinking also.

 

In my experience (4 years + ago, a normal court judgement against the defendant would award expenses to fgw (£100+) and the fare avoided in full plus court costs of £100 upwards, this was 4 years + ago so they may well be higher.

 

It's a gamble that is yours to take: do you:

 

a) go to court, take a day off work and defend yourself (don't waffle or pretend you are perry mason magistrates HATE that!- I had a law student do it once: jesus! he got hammered!)

b) pay the offered amount and forget about it.

c) ignore any communication and get summonsed

 

It's a sh*t gamble all the same.

 

It's your choice really, I doubt FGW would consider prosecuting anything they thought they couldn't actually win (they certainly didn't when I was there) but they might just be 'trying it on' but the costs they have quoted sound too low (seriously) for a bluff 'settlement out of court'.

Ignoring it would be more serious though.

 

Bear in mind the magistrates won't give any attention to the fine and costs in regard to whether you can afford it or not: they will still award the same costs but may give you longer to pay it.

Edited by timbo58

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Thanks for all your detailed and knowledgable answers! I really appreciate the information ..

Yes, I did not travel with a railcard, I accept the responsibility.

However my issue is with the fact FGW are charging me for an anytime single when my actual ticket was super off peak single - do they have a right to do this?

Also, my train was over two hours late and I am told I cannot gain compensation - so not only can I not claim any compensation, they are also charging me an unjust fine. With regards to the £65.00 admin costs, do I have the reight to ask for a breakdown and for them to justify the costs - because it seems to me they could ask for any number and say 'costs incurred to date'. The reason I was travelling to my destination was a meeting, I missed the meeting due to the train being late and hence the journey was pointless.

Any info would be great like the standard above..Many thanks :)

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Hello Iona.

 

It isn't a fine, it's a penalty. Only a court can impose a fine.

 

I hope the guys will be able to tell you more about the admin charge, compensation etc. Personally I wouldn't rock the boat too much in case they decide to go straight to court, but others here know more than I do.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Yes, I did not travel with a railcard, I accept the responsibility.

However my issue is with the fact FGW are charging me for an anytime single when my actual ticket was super off peak single - do they have a right to do this?

 

The fare due in these circumstances is the full standard single walk-up fare. The Railcard rules (4) make that clear. The discounted super-saver actually counts for nothing in these circumstance and that is made clear in the conditions too.

 

Yes, you can ask for a breakdown of the administration costs if you wish. It's worth remembering that they don't have to offer the opportunity to settle administratively at all, but I'm sure that they will provide clarification if you request it.

 

Sorry it doesn't help much, but your reasons for making the journey are irrelevant. You could try making a complaint, but given that you didn't hold a valid ticket at the time, that may mot help much either.

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As OC and HB have correctly advised: rocking the boat will probably prompt a binning of your letter and escalation of the case to court.

IME court costs plus the TOCs 'reasonable costs' are always granted on the TOC successfully prosecuting the case (i.e. winning) so costs you significantly more.

 

I'm afraid it's a straight gamble for you: do you think you can win a court case?

If there's any doubt you're probably letting discretion play the better part and paying up.

 

As for the 2 hours late: see it from the TOCs point of view: you didn't have a valid ticket (no ones arguing about that point) so you shouldn't have been there, full stop.

It doesn't matter that you are now being asked to pay the full fare and have a right to claim if you had had a valid fare, that's sods law: you didn't have a valid ticket therefore you have no valid claim.

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