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    • ok but that doesn't give us dates.....  
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Hi there, new to these forums, but I googled the issue I faced this morning, and saw a couple of related threads here, so hoping I might be able to get some advice, or at least confirmation of what I believe!

 

My situation is that after 17 years of using annual season tickets between my Hertfordshire home and work in the city, I switched to the carnet + oyster method, because I often do not need to travel to the office and it would save money.

 

1 week later, and I now have had to deal with an inspector this morning that wrote me up for altering the date on my ticket. I don't dispute that I did that, however I also don't believe I have done anything wrong here. Facts as I see them:

 

1) I had originally put in yesterday's date on the peak 'into london' ticket, however at the last minute, I did not travel that day, and the ticket was not used.

2) I subsequently corrected the day written on the ticket to today

3) I also corrected the date on the off peak 'return' carnet ticket that I was intending to use this evening

4) The inspector that looked at my ticket refused to accept it, and confiscated it.

5) When I showed him the return ticket I was intending to use (I did this to try and demonstrate that I had simply made a correction in advance of travel), he confiscated that as well!

 

I believe my position in law here is that I have not broken any rules in correcting the date on an otherwise unused Carnet ticket. I looked at a post on here quoting the rail bylaws, and while there is commentary on ticket alteration, it is qualified:

 

- No person shall alter any ticket in any way with the intent that an Operator shall be defrauded or prejudiced.

 

Now given that they can themselves determine that the ticket was never used on the original date, plus I have plenty of work colleagues, family etc that can attest to the fact that I was at home (should it really come to that!), then it would seem that it was perfectly ok to alter the ticket in this case.

 

Secondly, when you buy a Carnet, it comes with a seperately printed ticket card with its own conditions, and whilst it refers to the need to validate the ticket with the date in permanent ink, there is no reference to corrections or alterations being prohibited.

 

Sorry if this sounds like a bit of a rant, but frankly it was hugely annoying to be in this situation.

I'm glad to say that I at least remained calm and polite throughout

(even when he handed out a veiled threat that there was a plain clothes police officer observing,

and then backtracked when I insisted on speaking with them),

 

 

but not only do I feel I have done nothing wrong here,

but I've also had my 'return' ticket confiscated, which I fully believe I should be able to use

- so in addition to having to wait for whatever letter they will send me, I also am out of pocket on the return.

 

Any thoughts/advice appreciated. Maybe I should just go back to annual passes!

 

RC

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Hello and welcome to CAG.

 

I don't know a lot about the rules for carnet tickets, I'm afraid. The forum guys should be along over the course of the day though. Please bear with us until they're able to get here. :)

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thanks for the welcome HB... as you can tell, this has rather wound me up!

 

I suspect I have little comeback on the inspector's absolute right to confiscate the tickets, given that I am sure that there is language to the effect that the 'ticket remains the property of the TOC' somewhere, but it's this automatic presumption of deception/fraud that seems to be endemic in the public transport system that really gets me.

 

Yes, I realise there is a genuine issue with evasion, and even with us 'white collar' lot, given the recent case with the ex-MD of a big fund manager. But based on the rules as I am reading them, I can't see any prima facie reason for this action being taken. Of course it doesn't help that the whole carnet process is pretty archaic and needs to be more oyster-like, but that in itself doesn't justify the approach taken - if they want to haul people up for correcting a ticket when it's not specifically proscribed, then they need to be able to have reasonable grounds for suspecting fraud, such as you would get with inspectors oyster readers on the tube that can determine if you have 'touched in'.

 

Frankly I want to go on the offensive here with Great Northern over the return ticket they took from me; rather than have it festering for weeks/months wondering what if anything they will do...

 

2nd Rant over!

RC

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I'm afraid you are facing very serious criminal charges for this, and if they decide to prosecute, a conviction is almost inevitable.

 

You did NOT hold a valid ticket for your journey today, as the ticket had been altered.

 

Each and every ticket is issued according to the National Rail Conditions of Carriage. This is confirmed on the rear of the ticket.

 

23. If a ticket is damaged or altered

If a ticket has been damaged or has been tampered with or altered in any way, it is not

valid for travel.

 

Which means that you did NOT hold a valid ticket for your journey.

 

This puts you in breach of (criminal) Byelaw 18(1):

 

(1) In any area not designated as a compulsory ticket area, no person shall enter

any train for the purpose of travelling on the railway unless he has with him a

valid ticket entitling him to travel.

 

The railway has the absolute right to confiscate any tickets, as they belong to the railway, not you. More to the point, they are DEFINITELY going to withdraw tickets that have been altered!

 

You cannot escape the Byelaw 18 offence, as "intent" is largely irrelevant. Its a simple matter of proving that your ticket was invalid, which is easy.

 

What you will find happens, is that the train company will be looking to prosecute under Section 5(3) Regulation of Railways Act 1889, for INTENTIONALLY avoiding your fare. I believe that they have a good chance in court of obtaining a prosecution under this legislation, because you:

 

1) Intentionally altered the ticket;

2) Intentionally altered the ticket to avoid having to purchase a new one (regardless of your reasons why).

3) Had more than 1 altered ticket in your possession

4) You had no VALID ticket for your journey otherwise.

 

Seems like an easy case to me!

 

It doesn't matter that you didn't use the ticket yesterday, that is entirely your problem, and your error. The correct course of action would have been to accept your error and use another carnet ticket or purchase a new one at the station.

 

I'm almost certain you will find yourself with a summons to appear in court in the next few months, unless you can present a better excuse then what you have here, which effectively amounts to serious fare evasion.

 

You may be able to settle out of court, but you're looking at £200-£300 to do so, and there's no guarantee they'll accept.

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Thanks for the welcome HB... as you can tell, this has rather wound me up!

 

I suspect I have little comeback on the inspector's absolute right to confiscate the tickets, given that I am sure that there is language to the effect that the 'ticket remains the property of the TOC' somewhere, but it's this automatic presumption of deception/fraud that seems to be endemic in the public transport system that really gets me.

 

Yes, I realise there is a genuine issue with evasion, and even with us 'white collar' lot, given the recent case with the ex-MD of a big fund manager. But based on the rules as I am reading them, I can't see any prima facie reason for this action being taken. Of course it doesn't help that the whole carnet process is pretty archaic and needs to be more oyster-like, but that in itself doesn't justify the approach taken - if they want to haul people up for correcting a ticket when it's not specifically proscribed, then they need to be able to have reasonable grounds for suspecting fraud, such as you would get with inspectors oyster readers on the tube that can determine if you have 'touched in'.

 

Frankly I want to go on the offensive here with Great Northern over the return ticket they took from me; rather than have it festering for weeks/months wondering what if anything they will do...

 

2nd Rant over!

RC

 

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/prb225ca2e6e40ef93d44bccd007b205.aspx

 

Your obligation is to use permanent ink, and thus altering the date once entered isn't permissable.

 

Let us also look at it from the TOC's view.

Person B is less honest than you.

Person B enters a date, travels, and their ticket isn't endorsed by on train staff nor collected at the gate line.

Person B amends the date to the next day's date and re-uses the ticket.

 

How are the train staff to distinguish your "unused previously, but date altered" ticket from Person B's "used but unendorsed, and date altered" ticket.

 

Only put the date on (& correctly date it) when you know you are about to use the carnet ticket.

If you fill it in wrongly : don't try and alter it.

 

The RPI can seize the ticket.

Did they take your details? (Name & address)

You are potentially looking at a Bylaw 17 or 18 prosecution

(Not being in possession of a valid ticket, with the 2 bylaws covering both "compulsory ticket areas" and "non compulsory ticket areas")

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Well I'm astounded. And I thought the idea of a carnet was to provide flexibility over travel dates. So basically what I am hearing is that regardless that I had no intent to defraud or deceive anyone, despite the fact that I have faithfully paid my way over the past 18 years, and despite the fact that noone suffered financial loss here, I'm somehow a serious criminal?

 

This has really made my day. Thank you.

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Well I'm astounded. And I thought the idea of a carnet was to provide flexibility over travel dates. So basically what I am hearing is that regardless that I had no intent to defraud or deceive anyone, despite the fact that I have faithfully paid my way over the past 18 years, and despite the fact that noone suffered financial loss here, I'm somehow a serious criminal?

 

This has really made my day. Thank you.

 

Unfortunately, yes, you seem to have intentionally attempted to avoid paying again for your rail fare, however misguided in your reasoning you may have been. It's important to note that "dishonest intention" isn't really relevant, I'm certainly not implying you deliberately set out to play the system, but you seem to have admitted that it's happened because of an error you made, off your own back, you've decided to intentionally alter a ticket to avoid having to use/buy another one today.

 

The standard advice is this:

 

1) Do not contact the train company at all at this stage ESPECIALLY not to complain or seek a refund!

2) They will write to you (normally) before sending a summons.

3) Once you get that letter, which will ask for your version of events, come back to the forum and we can advise further.

4) Ensure you have a valid ticket for all future journeys. It's worth asking for extra receipts, as this might help with some mitigation later.

5) No need to see a solicitor yet, you're wasting your money.

 

This process can take up to 6 months. You will probably hear from them within the next 2-3 months.

 

Maybe you could tell us what you have admitted to the Inspector in a bit more detail?

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In terms of the discussion with the inspector:

 

He asked the standard questions that are on the form, my (good faith) answer to the 'do you have a valid ticket for travel' was 'yes', and he wrote that. He also wrote a supplemental question around whether the ticket had been 'altered' and wrote my answer that it had been 'corrected'.

 

The discussion was largely around the fact that I had put an incorrect date on the ticket and was simply correcting it for the date that it was intended to be used on. I also made several points about the fact that it could clearly be demonstrated that I did not travel on the original dates and that the ticket was unused.

 

I also showed him the past few days worth of used carnet tickets, although he did not take them, and pointed out that this was my first week of using them since moving from an annual ticket. I also said that to the best of my knowledge, there was no reason that I could not make such a correction on an unused ticket, and he said nothing that indicated that this was incorrect.

 

Interestingly, when I protested that by confiscating my return ticket he was putting me out of pocket, he wrote me a slip at the bottom of the form he completed that said that it would be good for that journey. Unfortunately now I look at it, it was only good for the inbound journey this morning.

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Well I'm astounded. And I thought the idea of a carnet was to provide flexibility over travel dates. So basically what I am hearing is that regardless that I had no intent to defraud or deceive anyone, despite the fact that I have faithfully paid my way over the past 18 years, and despite the fact that noone suffered financial loss here, I'm somehow a serious criminal?

 

This has really made my day. Thank you.

 

Apologies if you have heard other than the resounding validation you expected.

 

However, would you prefer untruthful plattitudes or accurate replies?

 

Carnets do provide flexibility : 10 tickets for the price of 9, to be used as the traveller desires as long as it is within 3 months. That IS flexibility.

They are flexible as to when the traveller validates them by entering a date. They aren't intended to be "flexible" as to changing a date once entered (see above re: permanent ink, and not altering a ticket).

 

Define "serious criminal", if you believe the replies to date are telling you you are one.

The TOC may well write to you, asking for your explanation of events. They may then choose to prosecute you,

If successful, you could get a criminal record, but can't go to prison.

 

If they do write to you, you may be able to persuade them not to persue the matter.

Telling them how the RPI was wrong, and demanding the cost of the confiscated ticket back aren't likely to endear them to avoiding prosecution.

 

Sorry if you don't like hearing that, but sometimes the choice is "give bad advice they want to hear" or "give valid advice, accepting it may not be what they want to hear"

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BazzaS - please don't think that I am railing against those who have posted - that's not my intention and I thank everyone for their comments so far. What really gets to me is that I do genuinely feel that I have acted reasonably and in good faith here, and yet it seems that nonetheless I'm at risk of getting hung out to dry. Whether that's more a comment about the one sided relationship we have with the TOCs, I don't know, but I hope you can appreciate I am feeling somewhat bruised right now, especially if this could be hanging over me for months before I even know any more.

 

One thing is for certain, I am going back to annual tickets today. Perhaps carnets work well for those well versed in the regulations, but for a newbie like me that has been badly stung after less than a week, it's a big no thank you.

 

RC

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BazzaS - please don't think that I am railing against those who have posted - that's not my intention and I thank everyone for their comments so far. What really gets to me is that I do genuinely feel that I have acted reasonably and in good faith here, and yet it seems that nonetheless I'm at risk of getting hung out to dry. Whether that's more a comment about the one sided relationship we have with the TOCs, I don't know, but I hope you can appreciate I am feeling somewhat bruised right now, especially if this could be hanging over me for months before I even know any more.

 

One thing is for certain, I am going back to annual tickets today. Perhaps carnets work well for those well versed in the regulations, but for a newbie like me that has been badly stung after less than a week, it's a big no thank you.

 

RC

 

It is easy for me to say, and harder for the person potentially facing it : but try not to let it hang over you.

 

Reports sometimes get mislaid.

Prosecutions offices can receive reports and decide not to take any action.

 

Await the letter, if it arrives, as if it does then you can do something to influence events : but in the interim get on with your life.

 

As another respondee has noted : do nothing until you get the letter. If you do receive one : post it up (saying what the letter notes but removing any personal identifiers).

 

Tough as it may be to "eat crow", if you do receive a letter asking for your view of events, try not to blame the TOC or staff. The aim would be to be contrite and truthful as to events, noting that you had only recently started using carnet tickets (evidence of previous seasons might help), that you didn't intend to do wrong but are now aware of the error you made.

 

That given you were unintentionally wrong you offer an apology and would like to ask the TOC if there could be a way forward other than prosecution, perhaps by paying any fare unintentionally unpaid & any costs associated with the incident.

 

That you have gone back to season tickets (even though you are now more aware of the error you made, you want to avoid any chance of erring again). Again, proof to support this can't hurt!

 

Unfair that you have to act humble & suppress your justifiable rage? Probably, but it depends what outcome you are after, as technically, you commuted a Bylaw offence and they could prosecute.

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Thanks, I will keep you posted. I have a horrible feeling that I may have thrown out my old season tickets (to make room for the new carnets and oyster card in my wallet!) but I did have a few of them. But don't the TOCs keep their own records, as I know they have reissued cards to me before when the magnetic strips stopped working?

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