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SWT demanding money

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hi there, was there any resolution or update to this please? I am experiencing a similar situation.


I bought a ticket for my journey online so I have an email confirmation and a bank statement as proof of purchase for the journey I made. I boarded at Birmingham new street late in the evening and through the construction work I struggled to find the place where you print off your ticket using the confirmation email.


I boarded without a ticket, the ticket inspection said he would need to issue a penalty fare but it wouldnt be a problem as I could simply print off my ticket and send it in with my proof of purchase and the matter would be resolved - I really feel misled because this was not the case, they are now demanding over £200, I have already posted them the proof of purchase and the actual printed ticket relating to the journey.


Can they really take me to court for this? surely no right minded judge would fine/imprison me for this offence when I have clearly shown proof of purchase on multiple occassions - the only lacking factor was the actual printed ticket and their inspector advised me that I could take the steps as described when I reached my destination.


I noticed that the authority that governs these rail matters is actually owned by the rail companies themeselves and is not independent, it all seems so dishonest I feel obliged to resist and I am unemployed now so I cant actually pay what they are asking anyway - surely we have to resist these sorts of people or there will be no end to their attempts to fleece us.



Edited by honeybee13
Pejorative term.
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I understand your frustration, and unfortunately you're not the first, nor will you be the last person to have received incorrect information by staff in such situations. The reason for this information being passed to you is solely because the staff concerned have no backbone and want to avoid conflict, but at the same time do their job. This is a pet hate of mine (which you've probably guessed by now). In reality, they were correct to Penalty Fare you, but shouldn't have said you'd receive a refund. Penalty Fares are intended for such offences, whereby the customer has either made a genuine mistake, or unwittingly committed an offence, as in your case. If staff believed it was your intention to avoid your rail fare, they wouldn't....or shouldn't, have issued a Penalty Fare and instead would have reported you for the offence, potentially going straight to court. All that said, it's not to say that sometimes the TOC/IRCAS won't refund these amounts on appeal.


Thinking outside the box here of why a Penalty Fare Notice is applicable in this situation; What's to say you weren't 'trying it on' and your friend was using the actual ticket? Not that you'd even consider doing this, but rail staff don't know you and have to deal with these things consistently. Sorry if it's not what you wanted to hear. So what do you do now? You could appeal to SWT's better nature in writing. I'm not sure how far this has escalated already, but generally speaking, if IRCAS have rejected an appeal, you must pay up or risk the matter being passed back to SWT and them progressing to court. Bearing in mind the magistrates/District Judge are impartial, court might be the best way to go if you genuinely feel hard done by. After all, that's the whole idea of the judicial system, is it not?


I will warn you though, a charge under Railway Byelaw 18 (the most likely charge in this case would under this Byelaw) is what's known as Strict Liability. This, in layman's terms, means that there's basically no defence. You didn't have a ticket when asked, and you could have bought one, or in your case printed it off, but didn't. Assuming this is the charge levied, you'll almost certainly be found guilty by default. At best you have some mitigation, which the court will take in to account, but this isn't a defence.

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