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Fare underpaid, what will happen now?

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Hi there,

 

My girlfriend is going through the same sort of thing, although she went to the ticket office and asked for a return from Southampton to Leeds. The guy in the ticket office sold her a ticket which she paid for in full, but it wasn't until half way through the journey when a ticket inspector asked to see her ticket that she found out she had been given a Young Person's Rail Card discount - She doesn't have a YPRC so has no idea how she got the discount. The inspector said she had to pay the difference but she said no because she asked for a normal ticket and paid what she was asked to pay (plus she was a bit distressed as her father had been taken into hospital due to a serious accident - hence the travel to Leeds). Anyway, the inspector said he was going to make a report - My girlfriend thought this was a report into how she had been sold the wrong ticket - not something that was going to end up with her being summonsed to court with a possible criminal record! We don't know if she should plead guilty, guilty with mitigating circumstances (i.e it wasn't her fault the wrong ticket was given to her!) or plead innocence (as it wasn't her fault!) - The train company also haven't given the opportunity to pay the difference now this investigation is underway, which seems a bit sucky! Plus, they want to claim that she "intended to travel with the intent of not paying" (or something) which is rubbish because she did pay - what she was asked to pay at the ticket office!

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(i.e it wasn't her fault the wrong ticket was given to her!)

 

It's her responsibility to check that she has the right ticket for travel.

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Hi there,

 

My girlfriend is going through the same sort of thing, although she went to the ticket office and asked for a return from Southampton to Leeds. The guy in the ticket office sold her a ticket which she paid for in full, but it wasn't until half way through the journey when a ticket inspector asked to see her ticket that she found out she had been given a Young Person's Rail Card discount - She doesn't have a YPRC so has no idea how she got the discount. The inspector said she had to pay the difference but she said no because she asked for a normal ticket and paid what she was asked to pay (plus she was a bit distressed as her father had been taken into hospital due to a serious accident - hence the travel to Leeds). Anyway, the inspector said he was going to make a report - My girlfriend thought this was a report into how she had been sold the wrong ticket - not something that was going to end up with her being summonsed to court with a possible criminal record! We don't know if she should plead guilty, guilty with mitigating circumstances (i.e it wasn't her fault the wrong ticket was given to her!) or plead innocence (as it wasn't her fault!) - The train company also haven't given the opportunity to pay the difference now this investigation is underway, which seems a bit sucky! Plus, they want to claim that she "intended to travel with the intent of not paying" (or something) which is rubbish because she did pay - what she was asked to pay at the ticket office!

 

I sympathise, but fear she is facing an uphill struggle.

I suspect she'd be able to plead "not guilty" up until the point she had the error pointed out to her, and had been asked to pay the correct fare.

 

Up until that point she was blameless : she didn't intend to avoid the correct fare. However, once she was asked for the correct fare, once she said "no" she is on less firm ground.

It wasn't her mistake, but a mistake had been made, and she hadn't paid the correct fare. One might ask "what was her intent once she had been made aware of the mistake and asked to pay the difference"?

 

CAG has an "industry expert" who hopefully will

spot this, and may be able to advise if there are 'industry guidelines' that cover events such as these.

 

A letter to the TOC explaining there was never an original intent to avoid a fare, highlighting her emotional state at the time, and offering to pay the fare difference and their administrative costs might find a way forward acceptable to all?

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I'm afraid that the advice that you have been given thus far is spot-on. I'm afraid it is the purchaser's responsibility to check and confirm that the ticket issued is the ticket requested

 

With the commonly heard complaint that rail fares are too high, surely your girlfriend would have checked how much she would have to pay for such a long journey before going to purchase the ticket?

 

Why didn't she query the substantially lower fare than that due for a 'walk-up' journey?

 

Once the incorrect fare and thus invalid ticket was detected, the on train staff were not obliged to offer an opportunity to pay the difference of fares, the rules say that a new ticket must be purchased. It appears that the member of staff that spoke to her gave her a chance to pay a much lower sum than that actually due.

 

Once your girlfriend refused to pay the fare due she runs the risk of being prosecuted for 'fare evasion'. Section 5 of the Regulation of Railways Act [1889] makes clear that if asked to pay, any person who has boarded a train without a valid rail ticket must pay the fare due on demand.

 

Which rail company service was your girlfriend travelling on when questioned?

Edited by Old-CodJA

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she was travelling on cross country trains and only refused to pay the difference as it was their error and she did not understand how she had done anything wrong, she did not know the usual price of this ticket as she had never travelled to Leeds on the train before, the fact she was sold a ticket with a discount without being asked for proof of entitlement or requesting a discount is just weird - does this not equate to her being given permission to travel on an invalid ticket by an employee of the rail company? - thank you for your help with this it is much appreciated.

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Hello there.

 

I've started a new thread for this query, please continue to post here.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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As in post #2. The law states that the onus is on the ticket holder to ensure the ticket is valid for the journey. It is not up to the conductor/inspector to ensure it.

 

It may sound unfair, but if it was the other way around, it would be all too easy to commit fraud and claim lower priced journeys or even free ones. On the train service near me (Wrexham - Bidston), hundreds of people get caught each year. Most times the conductor doesnt come round or doesnt get to the carriage in time, but recently theyve started getting random inspectors to board at different stops to check peoples tickets.


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In hindsight, I now know that a little code (YP) in the corner stands for Young Person's Rail Card Discount ... How is the layman supposed to know about this. I know that when I get a train ticket, I look at the 'to' and 'from' destinations and if I'm returning on a different date, then I check that too - I don't really pay attention to anything stated on the ticket. I've read them before and it all seems pretty standard. If we (i.e people who do not work for rail companies) are supposed to check each detail on the ticket then they shouldn't be using codes to identify what the ticket is! Plus, how did the ticket office sales person sell this ticket without requesting valid identity? You get ID'd for cigarettes and alcohol (if you're lucky or underage!) and if you are underage and "get away with it" then it is the retail outlet that is punished, not the consumer! How is this any different? It should not be possible for an invalid ticket to be sold to somebody without the correct documentation. It should not be my girlfriend going through this but the ticket office person who obviously needs some training! (no pun intended!)

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In hindsight, I now know that a little code (YP) in the corner stands for Young Person's Rail Card Discount ... How is the layman supposed to know about this. I know that when I get a train ticket, I look at the 'to' and 'from' destinations and if I'm returning on a different date, then I check that too - I don't really pay attention to anything stated on the ticket. I've read them before and it all seems pretty standard. If we (i.e people who do not work for rail companies) are supposed to check each detail on the ticket then they shouldn't be using codes to identify what the ticket is! Plus, how did the ticket office sales person sell this ticket without requesting valid identity? You get ID'd for cigarettes and alcohol (if you're lucky or underage!) and if you are underage and "get away with it" then it is the retail outlet that is punished, not the consumer! How is this any different? It should not be possible for an invalid ticket to be sold to somebody without the correct documentation. It should not be my girlfriend going through this but the ticket office person who obviously needs some training! (no pun intended!)

 

The default setting on all ticket machines is 'adult single' and a specific request has to be made, whether verbally in the case of a ticket office or guard's mobile machine, or by press button selection' in the case of an ATM in order to get a discountred fare ticket.

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Like others have said, it is down to the customer to ensure that they have a valid ticket and it appears that the Train Manager has attempted to show some sympathy by simply allowing the passenger to pay the difference in fares whereas they would normally sell a whole new ticket in accordence with the National Rail Conditions of Carriage (NRCoC) as if no ticket were held, the Train Manager was simply asking her to pay the fare she should have paid in the first place, no extra. Unfortunately now this could be a straightforward prosecution under RoRA 1889 as the passenger failed to pay the correct fare upon demand or a straightforward Byelaw 18 prosecution for failing to show a valid ticket.

 

The TOC will be able to tell whether the ticket was sold at a ticket oiffice or whether it was purchased from a self service ticket machine, the only way that any damage can be limited now is if the OP can get the booking clerk who it is claimed sold the ticket to say so in writing.


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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