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HobNob2

Wrong Penalty Fare charged - reclaim from Small Claims Court?

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Dear All,

 

I bought a ticket for a journey starting in London, travelling A-B-C (A and B are in London zones 2 & 3 respectively, C is in the country). Unfortunately my railcard had expired and when my ticket was inspected on the train I was given a Penalty Fare Notice.

 

The penalty fare regulations set out the amount payable for a penalty fare; £20 or twice the single fare, and I was charged twice the single fare for the whole journey, A-B-C, even though my ticket was checked between A-B (and there was no possible through-train). This put me in the position that I would have been better off having no ticket at all, rather than having an invalid ticket. If the PFN was issued correctly, it should have been for £20.

 

I appealed (twice) on the grounds the amount of the PFN was incorrect and therefore invalid but was rejected both times. I also wrote to London TravelWatch, but as the process of the appeal went as planned (even though I think the appeal was wrongly decided) they couldn't get involved.

 

The amount I was overcharged was less than £100, and on principle I would like to pursue this to recover the money, but is the next step the small claims court?

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Can you clarify the following . . .

 

You had a ticket that covered you from A-C via B - where you just changing train at B or breaking your journey to do something?

 

Your ticket covering A-B-C as you describe it, was it actually from point A-C on the ticket? Or did you have separate tickets to cover A-B then B-C?

 

Your railcard was out of date, was this rail card used to cover the whole journey?

 

You say your ticket was checked between A-B, did the person checking the ticket check your rail card?

 

Im pretty sure that the fact you have appealed twice and that Revenue officers are highly trained to issue their PF's means you wont succeed if you try to pursue this at court you will not be successful, Im sure a couple of other guys will be on a bit later and give you their opinion.

 

The appeals process is also completed by an independent body who will have had a completely unbiased view and these people base your decision on the regulations and your case . . . they have twice declined your appeal due to you not having the correct ticket/railcard etc but you still want to pursue?

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Can you clarify the following . . .

 

You had a ticket that covered you from A-C via B - where you just changing train at B or breaking your journey to do something?

 

Your ticket covering A-B-C as you describe it, was it actually from point A-C on the ticket? Or did you have separate tickets to cover A-B then B-C?

 

Your railcard was out of date, was this rail card used to cover the whole journey?

 

You say your ticket was checked between A-B, did the person checking the ticket check your rail card?

 

Im pretty sure that the fact you have appealed twice and that Revenue officers are highly trained to issue their PF's means you wont succeed if you try to pursue this at court you will not be successful, Im sure a couple of other guys will be on a bit later and give you their opinion.

 

The appeals process is also completed by an independent body who will have had a completely unbiased view and these people base your decision on the regulations and your case . . . they have twice declined your appeal due to you not having the correct ticket/railcard etc but you still want to pursue?

 

The ticket was issued from A-C. I bought it from the ticket machine and the railcard would have covered the whole journey. The Revenue officers checked the ticket and the railcard and the reason given for the Penalty Fare notice was "no railcard". I am not contesting the Penalty Fare on that basis, but that they issued it for the wrong amount and therefore it was unlawful.

 

One thing I realised I didn't say was that journey B-C was on a different train company.

 

Imagine (these aren't the correct stations) that I was travelling from Clapham Junction to Edinburgh, but I was stopped between Clapham Junction & London Victoria. The law says the PFN should be issued for the journey between Clapham Jcn and London, the onward journey to Edinburgh does not come into the equation at all.

 

I have no issue with penalty fares, but they must be applied lawfully. The money isn't really an issue (less than £100) but they can't make up the rules. I note the point that they are highly-trained and I'm sure in general they would apply the correct fare but in this instance they charged me an amount that is not allowed under the law.

Edited by HobNob2

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The TOC could always cancel the PFN, refund monies paid and prosecute you under railway byelaw 18 if they wish so I personally wouldn't advise rocking the boat! a PF for no railcard is actually a lenient option. Reading my own PF book it says ".......PENALTY £20 or twice the appropriate full single fare whichever is the greater" then "From_____"

"To__________ (next or OTHER station stop)" doesn't mention next stop specifically.


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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The ticket was issued from A-C. I bought it from the ticket machine and the railcard would have covered the whole journey. The Revenue officers checked the ticket and the railcard and the reason given for the Penalty Fare notice was "no railcard". I am not contesting the Penalty Fare on that basis, but that they issued it for the wrong amount and therefore it was unlawful.

 

One thing I realised I didn't say was that journey B-C was on a different train company.

 

Imagine (these aren't the correct stations) that I was travelling from Clapham Junction to Edinburgh, but I was stopped between Clapham Junction & London Victoria. The law says the PFN should be issued for the journey between Clapham Jcn and London, the onward journey to Edinburgh does not come into the equation at all.

 

I have no issue with penalty fares, but they must be applied lawfully. The money isn't really an issue (less than £100) but they can't make up the rules. I note the point that they are highly-trained and I'm sure in general they would apply the correct fare but in this instance they charged me an amount that is not allowed under the law.

 

 

It is possible that your argument ignores, or does not recognise, the terms & conditions of the Railcard, which say that if you cannot produce a valid railcard with your discounted ticket, the traveller will be treated as if no ticket were held and a full fare ticket becomes due and payable.

 

Check that the total charged does not amount to the penalty for A to B and a full fare ticket from B to C.

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The TOC could always cancel the PFN, refund monies paid and prosecute you under railway byelaw 18 if they wish so I personally wouldn't advise rocking the boat! a PF for no railcard is actually a lenient option. Reading my own PF book it says ".......PENALTY £20 or twice the appropriate full single fare whichever is the greater" then "From_____"

"To__________ (next or OTHER station stop)" doesn't mention next stop specifically.

 

If they cancelled the PFN and prosecuted then I think that would be disallowed as vexatious. Also, the phrase in your book is to allow the journey to continue after payment of the penalty fare. E.g. If the penalty fare was £20 to the next station, and still £20 to the intended station you would insert the intended station in that box which would stop the passenger having to pay a second penalty fare when they alight.

 

The Penalty Fare Rules are very clear on the amount that can be charged.

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It is possible that your argument ignores, or does not recognise, the terms & conditions of the Railcard, which say that if you cannot produce a valid railcard with your discounted ticket, the traveller will be treated as if no ticket were held and a full fare ticket becomes due and payable.

 

Check that the total charged does not amount to the penalty for A to B and a full fare ticket from B to C.

 

I understand your point but it was not the case. The inspector telephoned the ticket office and asked for the single fare, then doubled it (and the amount agrees with this). I suggested to him that this was not the correct calculation but he was rather adamant.

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I understand your point but it was not the case. The inspector telephoned the ticket office and asked for the single fare, then doubled it (and the amount agrees with this). I suggested to him that this was not the correct calculation but he was rather adamant.

 

So far as I can see this penalty has been correctly upheld.

 

You did not have a valid Railcard and therefore held no valid ticket under the railcard rules. These conditions are accepted at time of application by the railcard holder. Under these rules 'a full single fare becomes due and payable as if no ticket were held' and because you did not hold a valid ticket, the inspector has treated this as travelling without ticket. (The railcard rules make this perfectly clear)

 

On National Rail routes where penalty fares apply, the Penalty for travelling with no valid ticket is twice the single fare due or £20.00, whichever is the greater.

 

You might have an argument that the inspector should have withdrawn your invalid tickets and railcard, issued you a penalty fare for no ticket to the next stop of the train and then charged a full fare single ticket to your intended destination, but would that have been more expensive?.

 

You could have been charged a penalty fare for no ticket to the next stop and then you should have got off and renewed your Railcard thus making your onward ticket valid

Edited by Old-CodJA

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So far as I can see this penalty has been correctly upheld.

 

You did not have a valid Railcard and therefore held no valid ticket under the railcard rules. These conditions are accepted at time of application by the railcard holder. Under these rules 'a full single fare becomes due and payable as if no ticket were held' and because you did not hold a valid ticket, the inspector has treated this as travelling without ticket. (The railcard rules make this perfectly clear)

 

On National Rail routes where penalty fares apply, the Penalty for travelling with no valid ticket is twice the single fare due or £20.00, whichever is the greater.

 

You might have an argument that the inspector should have withdrawn your invalid tickets and railcard, issued you a penalty fare for no ticket to the next stop of the train and then charged a full fare single ticket to your intended destination, but would that have been more expensive?.

 

You could have been charged a penalty fare for no ticket to the next stop and then you should have got off and renewed your Railcard thus making your onward ticket valid

 

The regulations define the basis for calculating the "single fare", and it specifically states that it is calculated using the next scheduled stop of the service, not the ultimate destination of the train or the passenger. The travel beyond the next scheduled stop is to be charged as a regular ticket (or I could have alighted, gone to the ticket office and purchased a new ticket, it would have been my choice, not the inspector's).

 

Frankly it doesn't matter if the result would have been more expensive, the penalty fare was incorrectly calculated, and issued contrary to the law.

 

I am not suggesting in this thread that the penalty fare should not have been issued, but that it was wrongly issued (issued for the wrong amount) according to the penalty fare regulations.

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Frankly it doesn't matter if the result would have been more expensive, the penalty fare was incorrectly calculated, and issued contrary to the law.

 

I am not suggesting in this thread that the penalty fare should not have been issued, but that it was wrongly issued (issued for the wrong amount) according to the penalty fare regulations.

 

 

 

I have not suggested otherwise, I simply asked you to check the amount charged to see if the inspector (on booking office advice) had arrived at the figure charged by making that incorrect calculation.

 

The Appeals office will probably only have looked at the evidence that you did not hold a valid Railcard, but had claimed a discount to which you were not entitled and therefore made the judgment that the Penalty Fare was justified. The fact that the amount may be wrong should be amended if that is the case.

 

Factually, the inspector could have chosen to submit a report for further action, because it is your responsibility to ensure the Railcard is in date before travelling, but in dealing with it by a less onerous route, it seems that he may have entered a wrong amount. If that is the case, the office could amend the sum to the correct amount and uphold the penalty.

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Obviously the OP is convinced that they are right so let them get on with it.


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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