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Fine for railcard / incomplete address


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Hi there,

 

I'm looking for someone to help me if possible.

I was on a journey on a First Great Western Train from Reading to Plymouth,

on a ticket bought online, one month return and discounted for a Young Person's Railcard (YPR)

The Train Manager asked to see the tickets and YPR; I looked from my YPR and couldn't find it, so he gave me a fine of 140£ for the journey. HOWEVER, 30 minutes later I found my YPR and was trying to find the train manager to give it to him, but had to get off the train as I had arrived to my destination. I immediately went to the ticket office, who tried their best to help, but there was no phone number to call RPSS and explain the situation.

At the same time, when the train manager was issuing me with a fine, he ended up writing the wrong address, even though I tried to give him the right one. Let me explain that one: I live in a rather new development, whose postcode is not yet registered.

He looked up the postcode with RPSS but couldn't find it, so he assumed I Was making it up, and ended up writing an address to the road that I live on that is rather non existent, as the RPSS supplied him with it as a close match! so for example, instead of taking my right address which let's say is 10 garden mansions, james road, tt8 7tr, he had something like 10 james road, tt8 7tg. which is either a non existent address or the wrong one. I tried to explain that to him but I am presuming he thought I was dodging my address.

My questions are the following:

1- How can I prove that I had my railcard on me, or at least appeal the fine for that matter? (I haven't paid it on the spotas I don't have the money) and how likely is it that they will pardon it or reduce the amount at least?

2- I have never dodged a payment, and would not want to start doing it now. However considering that I was legally right, and my misfortune was that I temporarily panicked about my railcard, a fine of 140pounds seems unfair and scary, as I am a student with absolutely nothing to my name. They don't have my address and I am not on the electoral register; can I just leave it at that? considering that I tried to explain that my address is not registered under royal mail postcodes and he has to input it manually?

 

Any help would be much appreciated

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I assume that if you actually have a Railcard, you gave your correct address & details on the Railcard application?

 

The address on my railcard is actually not my current one, its my previous one. I got the railcard in Aug 2011 valid till Aug 2012, and moved to uni in September 2011. I have no family so was was renting previously rather than living in a 'home' address.

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1- How can I prove that I had my railcard on me, or at least appeal the fine for that matter? (I haven't paid it on the spotas I don't have the money) and how likely is it that they will pardon it or reduce the amount at least?

2- I have never dodged a payment, and would not want to start doing it now. However considering that I was legally right, and my misfortune was that I temporarily panicked about my railcard, a fine of 140pounds seems unfair and scary, as I am a student with absolutely nothing to my name. They don't have my address and I am not on the electoral register; can I just leave it at that? considering that I tried to explain that my address is not registered under royal mail postcodes and he has to input it manually?

 

Any help would be much appreciated

 

I presume you will have provided a forwarding address when you moved from your old address?

 

1. You cannot prove that you had the Railcard with you because at the time you were checked, you failed to show it

 

2. Sadly, you are not 'legally right'. If you failed or refused to pay the fare due under the rules. When you got your Railcard you agreed to the Terms & Conditions and as I recently posted on another thread, the rules make very clear that if you do not show a valid rail ticket and valid Railcard together, the full fare becomes due as if no ticket were held.

 

You may be lucky, you may not hear anything, but from your post it appears he did hand you a notice, which requires your response within 21 days.

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I presume you will have provided a forwarding address when you moved from your old address?

 

1. You cannot prove that you had the Railcard with you because at the time you were checked, you failed to show it

 

2. Sadly, you are not 'legally right'. If you failed or refused to pay the fare due under the rules. When you got your Railcard you agreed to the Terms & Conditions and as I recently posted on another thread, the rules make very clear that if you do not show a valid rail ticket and valid Railcard together, the full fare becomes due as if no ticket were held.

 

You may be lucky, you may not hear anything, but from your post it appears he did hand you a notice, which requires your response within 21 days.

 

I haven't provided a forwarding address - not much to forward there - but I do have contact details for my old address and can ask to access any mail if it has been kept and not resent.

 

I understand better now the rules of the Railcard tickets, however surely it seems slightly unfair to punish/prosecute rather harshly those that have a railcard and forget it once in a while. I understand that the process is to stop people from taking advantage of the system, and getting unwarranted discounts. But for those that have actually paid for that railcard and can eventually prove it, such extreme fines seem an overly exaggerated response.

My problem is not to do with the actual fine, it's to do with the fact that I don't agree with such a response for a misplaced/forgotten railcard when it actually can be proven that it was bought in good faith. I also understand that it is the T&Cs as it stands today.

Still uncertain as to what I am going to do.

 

Thank you for your help anyway.

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My problem is not to do with the actual fine, it's to do with the fact that I don't agree with such a response for a misplaced/forgotten railcard when it actually can be proven that it was bought in good faith. I also understand that it is the T&Cs as it stands today.

 

It's a matter for you and as I said, you may be lucky, you may not hear anything. However, what the company will say in these circumstances will be that the T&Cs were pointed out when you applied for the Railcard and because you continued with the application and purchased the Railcard, you therefore accepted them.

 

Whether or not you agree with such a rule isn't a consideration. The rule was made clear in print as a part of the T&Cs.

 

Some TOCs may accept your appeal and cancel the liability, but will give a final warning. They cannot do that if you don't appeal though.

Edited by Old-CodJA
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If they cant serve a summons on you, no enforcement can occur.

You have 2 choices, tell them what your actual address is or............

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It wasn't a fine, it was the full standard open single fare: RPSS are like a debt collection agency for the railway TOCS, they are also pretty keen on getting their money (they get the vast majority of the fare for chasing it: so chase it they most certainly do!)

I don't know if it says anything on the RPSS UPFN (unpaid fare notice) but there's usually a delay costs added: used to be £15 per 14 days? so don't delay in dealing with them.

 

As OC et al have said: it's a strict liability offence: no railcard shown= ticket invalid = worth nothing, full fare becomes payable.

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If they cant serve a summons on you, no enforcement can occur.

You have 2 choices, tell them what your actual address is or............

 

You're right in respect of the issue of the notice, however, knowing that the TOC has a pretty good revenue team in general and in many cases a little research will reveal the correct address quite easily, they have six months from the date of issue to deal with it if they wish to proceed.

 

The OP had the notice handed to him/her and has 21 days to reply.

 

Yes, s/he may choose to do nothing and take a chance on whether or not the TOC decide to investigate further.

 

A few years back it wasn't fashionable to do so, but my current experience is that 'the times they are a-changing'

 

If s/he wants to appeal on the basis that a Railcard was held and was present, but misplaced, s/he must do that in writing within 21 days. If not, then it is too late and the TOC (or their agents) will proceed to enforcement & recovery.

Edited by Old-CodJA
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FGW UFN's only allow 10 days to pay, not 21.

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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FGW UFN's only allow 10 days to pay, not 21.

 

Yes, sorry, absolutely right, I forgot that.

 

There has been a drive to get an industry standard for PFNs and UFNs to 21 days, but there are one or two that still give only 10 days for Unpaid Fare Notices.

Edited by Old-CodJA
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