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Court demand for a ticket with an expired railcard.


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Background: My 21 year old was studying Architecture in London in her final year this year.


She bought a £4.90 rail ticket for £3.70, as her app was automatically configured to add the Railcard discount. When she was going through the disabled barrier, as she was carrying a lot of university stuff, the inspector asked her to produce the Railcard, but it had expired by end of Feb 20th 2023 and this incident happened on April 10th 2023.

It was late (around midnight) when she was leaving the library of her uni and totally forgot. Architecture is a course that has 50% dropout rates as it's so intensive and students get really stressed.


Her student accommodation was a shared house about 3 miles from the uni and as the "official" course had finished in mid-May, she decided to live with mum about 50 miles away, as it was easier to focus on the final dissertation and almost never went back to her student accommodation until the end of the tenancy agreement in July 7th 2023.

Transport for London (TFL) were sending her letters to the old address and she never knew or saw any of them. It's only by chance the new tenants alerted her of a "Court" letter in her name around 10th October 2023 that she became aware. Their claim has gone from £50 to £446. She immediately contacted them and they said the matter had already gone to Court and they washed their hands of it and a new Court date and relocation was sent closer to where she lives now was sent 16th Oct. Giving her 21 days to respond. She told me yesterday (28th Oct) and hasn't told mum either or anyone else.

I'm going to write to the Court with the above info, including the Tenancy Agreement, expired Railcard and the new Railcard bought to try and dissuade the Court hearing date of 15th Jan 2024. Also to see if TFL will re-consider an out of court agreement. Love to hear your views.

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There's no point in writing to the court. The court only hears what is put before it. It is up to the prosecuting body (in this case TfL) to either continue or discontinue the court action.

As well as that, it is likely that TfL will not deal with you. Their action is against a 21 year old adult and they have no reason to deal with a third party, other than a legal representative. I recommend that anything you compile to go to TfL comes from and is signed by your daughter.

 

TfL may be persuaded to revert to an out-of-court settlement given the circumstances but it is likely to be more than any original offer that was made. 

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1 hour ago, Man in the middle said:

There's no point in writing to the court. The court only hears what is put before it. It is up to the prosecuting body (in this case TfL) to either continue or discontinue the court action.

As well as that, it is likely that TfL will not deal with you. Their action is against a 21 year old adult and they have no reason to deal with a third party, other than a legal representative. I recommend that anything you compile to go to TfL comes from and is signed by your daughter.

 

TfL may be persuaded to revert to an out-of-court settlement given the circumstances but it is likely to be more than any original offer that was made. 

Agree. @JimmySpices, TfL are responsible for this case. But if you try and act on behalf of your daughter, they may wonder why someone undertaking one of the most intense degrees available is unable to write her own letters.

For the rest, it is perfectly possible that TfL can be persuaded to discontinue proceedings, but as the original agreement would have rested on your payment of TfL's costs to date, so will this.  Hence the leap from £50 to £546!

Her letter should stay basic. One page, and just the facts. Most of your opening post is interesting background, little more, and remember that the people reading it will have heard all the mitigation in the world. Intense courses, stress, tenants etc: stick to the facts.

She had a travel card (you will argue that this indicates that she is innately an honest traveller), although six weeks out of date. How had she been travelling in the meantime?

Yes, send proof of changes of address; that would go quite a way in explaining her original lack of response. The travelcards too.

Best of luck!

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Thanks all. Needless to say I know I wasn't going to represent her. I guess my main questions are:-

1. Is there any legislation to allow to go back to the original claim of £50 if the person moved address and therefore wasn't aware.

2. What's the maximum TFL can claim for to taking the legal route?

3. It was an underpayment of £1.20. How can TFL ramp it up to £446? What's their legal basis of this diabolical amount?

4. What are TFL claiming - breach of contract? Damages?

@Grotesque - with regards your question - how she was travelling with an expired railcard. She had an Oyster card for all the travelling as well.

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1. no legislation but TfL do have heart strings..and of course might have known her home address read below OOC  

2. they already have hence the £446 total

3. byelaws of rail travel

4. non compliance with 3.

the wonderful post above from @Grotesque says it all.

i would (without making it overbearing) explain if this had been picked up it would have been dealt with the sameday.

and although i would not pers put it in such letter?? (thoughts people) 

are any of her other cards issued by TfL registered to her home address and not the student accom.  if so think i it a bit crass TfL did not take more of an effort to contact her. than run a £1.20 fair to £446.

i have heard of another case of such as above where TfL did know the home address and settled OOC before the hearing for a very small sum.

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please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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@JimmySpices cheers. I imagine that, re. the costs, TfL are prosecuting undr Railway Bylaw

@Man in the middle has it right of course. The fine is imposed by the court rather than TfL. The amount of the fine is laid out in the 'standard scale', per section 37 of the Criminal Justice Act 1982.

The relevant bylaw is 18/2: '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'.

This is TfL's own page.

But it is merely stating the bald facts and certainly does not mean that there is no chance to present mitigation. Frankly, they're overworked enough that there are always other cases if they can be persuaded that this prosecution is unnecessary.

 

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