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Unsuccessfully paid penalty fare. Possible prosecution??


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Hi everyone,

 

I'm an international student who is not familiar at all with UK law system. I really really need your advice. Here is my issue:

 

I was required to pay a penalty fare of 49.40 pounds for not being able to show a valid railcard when I was travelling with Southern Railway on 29th January 2014

 

I gave my debit card to the inspector who was on duty that day to pay for my fare and received a Penalty Fare Receipt

Money was debited from my bank account on 6th February 2014. However, not until the due date for payment (18th February 2014) had passed did I realize that the money had been returned to my account on 7th February 2014. It turned out that there hadn't been sufficient fund on by bank account when I made the payment so the transaction wasn't successful.

I am aware that I only had 21 days to pay for my fare and that legal proceedingts may be brought against me if the amount owing remains outstanding. HOWEVER, as I had been sure on the day that my payment had gone through and as I had been given a receipt (not a notice), I genuinely and honestly did not know that I still have an outstanding amount to pay for. Not until the due date had passed did I check my bank statement.

 

Also, I was not aware of the amount outstanding because there has not been any letter advising of the outstanding sums that was sent to me and I have not been contacted by any one by any means since then . I think the reason is because I got a penalty fare reciept ( NOT a penaltay fare NOTICE) so they didn't record my details into the system.

 

I'm not 100% sure but I remember providing my address in full to the inspector on a separate document ( Is it normal or do I always have to give my address on the receipt?) I was only required to sign but not to write my address on the receipt. I can assure that there was no signed confirmation stating that I refused to provide such info.

 

As I assume that neither Southern Railways nor the Revenue Protection Support Services (RPSS) is aware of this unsuccessful transaction, I did contact both of them, both in writing and through the phone. However, both of them requested me to contact the other. The Southern Railway Customer Services said that they are not able to deal with any issues regarding penalty fares and advised me to contact RPSS. However, when I contacted RPSS, I was referred back to Southern Railway because they do not deal with notices that are paid immediately on the day.

 

My details and notice code could not be found on both systems so even though I tried to, I could not make a payment to RPSS, neither online nor through the phone. At the moment, I honestly do not know what I should do, who I should contact and how I can pay for my fare. I already send letters to both of them last Saturday but I don't know how long would it take for them to process my case.

 

The money still remains unsuccessfully paid after 2 months and I am very worried that a legal proceeding may be brought against me. So please, I need your advice.

 

1. Will I be prosecuted because it has already been 2 months 8 days since the deadline and my fare hasn't been paid?

 

2. The root cause was because of me not having enough money on my bank account. Can this be considered an offence and enough to be used against me although I was unaware?

 

3. I emailed Southern Railway on 23rd February, they replied and told me to contact RPSS on 10th March but not until 25th April did I call RPSS and Southern Railway again. Is this a big problem that I didn't call them right away? I was not sure about my rights as well as the regulations so it took time for me to research about it.

 

4. Who should I contact now to pay for my fare? As I've said before I couldn't do it with RPSS because I've already paid on the day and my penalty fare code needed for payment has not been recorded.

 

Thank you very much for spending time reading this. and please help :-(

Edited by chrispham93
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Hello and welcome to CAG.

 

Your problem sounds complex, so you probably need some of our transport guys to see your thread.

 

It seems a bit of a mess, I have to say. Where were you researching your options for about 6 weeks between February and late April please an what did they suggest? That does sound a bit long.

 

If you don't get replies by tomorrow I'll try to find a couple of the transport regulars.

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi

 

Could you be prosecuted? In theory yes, the rule is that proceedings must be taken within 6 months of the offence in the case of a minor ticket issue such as this. In practice it is highly unlikely to come to that. It sounds as if you are not in Southern / RPSS system as having an outstanding PF - they usually follow up aggressively so you would have heard if they thought you owed them any money. And even if they wake up now and realise your payment didn't go through they would almost certainly allow you to pay rather than seeking to prosecute you.

If it were me I would just sit tight and wait for them to contact me - if you have told them what happened, offered to sort it out and they have not taken you up on your offer what more can you do? I suppose you could email them again ask how you can pay so you are then doubly sure you have done all you can to resolve the issue, but personally I don't think it is necessary.

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Hello and welcome to CAG.

 

Your problem sounds complex, so you probably need some of our transport guys to see your thread.

 

It seems a bit of a mess, I have to say. Where were you researching your options for about 6 weeks between February and late April please an what did they suggest? That does sound a bit long.

 

If you don't get replies by tomorrow I'll try to find a couple of the transport regulars.

 

My best, HB

 

Hi thank you very much for replying

 

I didn't seek any professional advice during that time. Because I was afraid if I contact RPSS and showed them my receipt without my address on it, they would probably accuse me of not providing my address, which is not my intention at all but still, who will believe me right?

 

So I try to figure out how I can protect my rights but as I've said because I'm not familiar with any law-related matters, it took me quite a while to figure out that I would only be accused if I don't provide my address "when I am required to do so". So not after 6 weeks was I confident enough to report my case.

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