Can Southwest trains cancel and confiscate my oyster card?

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by alanpartridge2, 22 May 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. alanpartridge2

    alanpartridge2 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    22 May 2015
    Hi all,

    I have a zones 1-2 monthly travel card. I travelled into waterloo one morning from Hersham which is out of zones and does not have a ticket barrer and did not have time to buy a ticket. As my oyster card was in minus credit, I could not exit through the barriers at Waterloo and was stopped by a revenue protection officer. I was in the wrong and admitted my offence and shouldn't have tried to exit the barriers without a valid ticket for my journey.

    I was cautioned and a statement was taken and I was told I would receive a letter in the a couple of weeks.

    This is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me so what it likely to be the outcome?

    Secondly, the revenue protection office for southwestrains then took my oyster card and said he was legally allowed to do this. He said it would be returned a couple of days later. However having spoken to tfl this morning I was told that the oyster card was the property of tfl and they are not allowed to confiscate it. Is this correct? Southwesttrains also cancelled the existing zone 1-2 travel card that was paid for and on my oyster. Can they do this? Tfl had not seen this before and were surprised and told me to contact southwesttrains. Southwesttrains customer service team told me they were not legally trained to discuss this and that the revenue and protection department did not have a phone number available to the public so I could not discuss with them either.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    Alan
     
  2. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,940
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Did he give you a receipt for the confiscated card? If a member of railway staff confiscates a ticket of any kind for misuse, they must, AIUI, issue a paper receipt detailing what they have taken and why.
     
  3. alanpartridge2

    alanpartridge2 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    22 May 2015
    Thanks Neil. I got a receipt detailing date, card number etc. No reason written on it. Do you know if they are then allowed to cancel the travel card I had remaining on it?
     
  4. asharpe

    asharpe Member

    Messages:
    598
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2013
    Location:
    West Yorkshire
    I think replacement Oyster cards can be ordered from the tfl website.

    But if you have been using it to fraudulently travel every day then you might want to strongly consider buying the appropriate season ticket instead.
     
  5. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    34,927
    Joined:
    6 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    I can't advise on the matter of the Oyster card as such, but this is perhaps the least of your worries as you've been caught, and admitted to, carrying out an offence under the Regulation of Railways Act, for which you are likely to be prosecuted.

    SWT will likely be trying to establish whether you have been doing this for some time, or if it was a one-off visit to Hersham. If they believe it wasn't a one-off, and was something you've been doing regularly as part of your commute, it would make the severity of the crime much greater.

    The confiscation of your Oyster card is likely to be to assist them with their enquiries, though I make no comment on whether they are authorised to do so. I am not sure they needed to though; merely noting the number would have been sufficient to carry out an investigation of usage patters on the card, if my understanding is correct, but I'm happy to be corrected on that if someone else knows the answer.

    What happens next depends on what they find. For example if a passenger lived in Hersham, had a Zones 1-2 Travelcard, and rarely (if ever) touched in, and had no evidence of having purchased any tickets valid from Hersham to Zone 2, that would be a very unfortunate situation to be in.

    On the other hand, if a passenger lived in Zone 2, and all the evidence suggested this was nothing more than a one-off journey from Hersham, then they may well be quite understandable about the matter and may be prepared to settle out of court.

    You may wish to seek legal advice on this matter.
     
  6. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    21,474
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2010
    With a normal paper season ticket, they are allowed to confiscate it if fraudulent use is suspected, and the ticket can be submitted as evidence together with a Ticket Irregularity Report or a Witness Statement. I see no reason why a season ticket stored on Oyster would be any different. This means I can only reasonably conclude that they are allowed to confiscate the Oyster card.

    But as yorkie says, they don't really need your Oyster card physically. All they really need is your Oyster card numbers and they could scrutinise your journey history from that.

    If your ticket is withdrawn due to misuse then they have no obligation to refund you the remaining validity of your ticket, and I don't think their position changes regardless of what medium your season ticket is held on (Oyster in your case).

    The only thing I don't think they are entitled to cancel is any Oyster PAYG credit on your card.

    I strongly advise against this if the Oyster card was withdrawn due to suspected misuse.
     
  7. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,940
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Why should the OP not obtain a new card with a new Travelcard season ticket to continue travelling (legitimately) while the case is proceeding?
     
  8. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    21,474
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2010
    I can only go by the normal arrangements applicable to a paper season ticket as there is little public information regarding season tickets held on Oyster cards.

    AFAIK once tickets are withdrawn where misuse is suspected, it remains with the railway until the time it is returned (if at all) and the passenger does not have any valid ticket for travel while not in possession of the ticket. I don't see why a season ticket held on Oyster would be any different.

    (I am not sure the exact legal arguments behind it but I would suspect that it may go something along the lines of any misuse automatically nullifying the contract between the passenger and the train company with no financial recourse for the passenger. Perhaps someone better versed in railway law or contract law could shed more light.)
     
  9. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

    Messages:
    4,250
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2009
    So you're saying the passenger cannot get a new Oyster Card and load it with a new Travelcard Season?
     
  10. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    21,474
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2010
    I beg your pardon.

    Do you mean that the passenger purchases a separate brand new Travelcard?

    Of course that would be fine. I was under the impression that the talk of "replacement" referred to getting a replacement Oyster card but loading it with the confiscated Travelcard, and then Neil's emphasis on "legitimately" threw me a bit as I understood it to mean now legitimately on the reclaimed Travelcard as opposed to "illegitimately" previously.

    Sorry about the misunderstanding.
     
  11. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,940
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Yes, I said (bold added):

    No, I meant that if he was caught again using a new ticket, even if accidental, any chance of a reasonable (to him) settlement is out. So he must be careful not to fare dodge using a new ticket, even accidentally.
     
  12. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    21,474
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2010
    Yes, you did, and I took that to mean the "replacement new" as opposed to "brand new" unfortunately, not helped by the fact that I only had a discussion with someone recently regarding a similar course of action not that long ago. Quite a good example I think where a certain chain of words and circumstances coincidentally resulted in one reading too much into something that was not there. If the word "replacement" was not used I probably would not have thought along those lines, but I digress.

    I just realised that I forgot to ask the OP whether he had any PAYG credit on that card.
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,940
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Fair enough :)

    I think he said he was in debit, otherwise surely PAYG would have been used to top up the season ticket to the journey he actually did? (Or is it a journey for which PAYG is not valid?)
     
  14. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    21,474
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2010
    Yes he did. :oops:

    So in that case I cannot think of any good reason why they cannot withdraw it.
     
  15. RJ

    RJ Established Member

    Messages:
    6,748
    Joined:
    25 Jun 2005
    Location:
    London
    Whilst TOC staff can request you hand the Oyster Card over, I'm not certain there is any legal power for them to confiscate it if you don't consent to handing it over. Who actually owns the Oyster Card - TfL or the cardholder?

    Similarly with Privs - it belongs to the TOC which issued it and not the railway in general, like normal paper tickets and railcards are. That being pointed out tends to upset staff who love confiscating them!
     
    Last edited: 22 May 2015
  16. First class

    First class Established Member

    Messages:
    2,733
    Joined:
    9 Aug 2008
    Of course it can be withdrawn!

    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/static/documents/content/Oystercou.pdf
     
  17. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

    Messages:
    21,255
    Joined:
    1 Feb 2009
    Location:
    UK
    If the OP has done this more than once, the legality of taking the card will be the least of his/her concerns.
     
  18. RJ

    RJ Established Member

    Messages:
    6,748
    Joined:
    25 Jun 2005
    Location:
    London
  19. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

    Messages:
    15,377
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2010
    Hersham is 2 stops beyond the Zone 6 boundary, which would logically be Surbiton for that route.
     
  20. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,940
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Ah, so PAYG would never have been valid. So the (negative) balance is of no relevance to the case. I guess the OP thought he'd get out with a minimum fare/unresolved journey charge, but that only works on TfL modes of transport.
     
  21. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    21,474
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2010
    AIUI you can exit at Waterloo with a maximum journey charge (which is what that scumbag lawyer did at Cannon Street) if no corresponding entry is found, just not that on top of a negative balance.

    Then with an otherwise valid Travelcard on the card, no maximum fare would have been deducted anyway had the PAYG balance been in order.
     
  22. Solent&Wessex

    Solent&Wessex Established Member

    Messages:
    2,128
    Joined:
    9 Jul 2009
    Going off topic, but I often confiscate PRIV cards from people in cases of deliberate misuse / fraud or similar. RSTL have confirmed that in this case they can be withdrawn, and indeed as the conditions of issue say that NRCOC applies, then Condition 20 allows for their withdrawal, and the Railway Byelaws confirm that a "ticket" includes things such as Priv cards (and such things as Oyster Cards, multi modal tickets issued by other operators etc).
     
  23. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

    Messages:
    15,377
    Joined:
    7 Apr 2010
    For anyone interested, I've compared the NR and TfL conditions regarding withdrawal, and they are fundamentally the same:

    I included a bit more from the NR conditions, to highlight that they also acknowledge that the cards remain the property of TfL...

    It seems odd to me that the TfL help desk operator wouldn't be aware that a TOC RPI has the same powers of withdrawal as a TfL RPI - I'd have thought this was an area where there would be bound to be a common policy, as part of the TOCs agreeing to use Oyster Travelcards and PAYG in the first place.
     
  24. island

    island Established Member

    Messages:
    9,336
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2010
    Location:
    0036
    I do hope the OP hasn't been getting into naughty habits such as purchasing a ticket for only a short part of his/her journey to get out the barriers, the station at the other end being bereft of them...
     
  25. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

    Messages:
    21,255
    Joined:
    1 Feb 2009
    Location:
    UK
    I do hope so too, as it won't likely be that hard to uncover - and then it could be a rather hefty bill to repay all those unpaid fares to avoid going to court and landing a criminal record.
     
  26. TrenHotel

    TrenHotel Member

    Messages:
    50
    Joined:
    31 Jul 2011
    Location:
    London
    Hmmm - the Waterloo ticket gates should have opened for a zone 1-2 travelcard, surely?
     
  27. cool110

    cool110 Member

    Messages:
    267
    Joined:
    12 Dec 2014
    Location:
    Preston
    When the PAYG balance is negative the Travelcard becomes invalid.
     
  28. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,332
    Joined:
    10 May 2010
    That would be naughty and dishonest, especially if they live at Hersham because that
    (and the incomplete journey record) would be all the information the TOC would need to prove intent to defraud the railways.
    If that is the case then the loss of the remains of the travelcard would be the least of the OPs problem.
     
  29. 34D

    34D Established Member

    Messages:
    6,011
    Joined:
    9 Feb 2011
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Where I live (Yorkshire) there is a long history of people from places like Skipton driving to the first station within west yorks (Steeton or Ilkley) and getting cheap fares from there to Leeds.

    Is there much history of this being done in Surrey?
     
  30. PermitToTravel

    PermitToTravel Established Member

    Messages:
    2,870
    Joined:
    21 Dec 2011
    Of driving to Z6 stations, sure; certainly not Z2 ones!
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page