Confiscation of ticket? Is this legal?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Pipps, 18 Dec 2009.

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  1. Pipps

    Pipps Member

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    Background
    A Ticket Inspector issued an Unpaid Fare Notice, claiming that the ticket which I was using was not valid for travel on that particular service. The matter is still in dispute, and its outcome is largely irrelevant for the purposes of this question.

    Issue
    At the time of issuing the notice, the Inspector took my Rail Card, presumably to write down the details on the Notice form.

    After issuing the Notice, the Inspector then walked off down the train with my Rail Card, behaving as if he could not hear me when I repeatedly asked for it back.

    Due to the nature of the Inspector's intimidating preceding conduct, I did not wish to confront him for fear of physical confrontation.

    I still do not have my rail card.

    Question
    Was the Inspector entitled to confiscate my rail card, which was in date and which had nothing to do with the Notice issue which was at point?

    Any thoughts or comments would be much appreciated. Thank you.
     
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  3. ralphchadkirk

    ralphchadkirk Established Member

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    I think an inspector can confiscate rail cards (as they are the property of the TOC - not you!), BUT in this case as the card was valid, and not to do with the notice then I think ntot, but I shall let someone more knowlegeable answer.
     
  4. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    Tickets and railcards remain the property of the railways. Although, I wouldn't see why if your ticket was invalid and railcard was why the conductor would take your railcard.

    Can you explain why the conductor said your ticket wasn't valid and which operator you were travelling with?
     
  5. Pipps

    Pipps Member

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    I was traveling with First Great Western. The ticket had been purchased in advance for an off-peak evening service. I had been told by a member of staff at the departing station that I could use this ticket without additional charge to travel on an early afternoon off-peak service. The Inspector disputed this and issued an Unpaid Fare Notice.

    I do not understand why an Inspector would then refuse to return a valid Rail Card to a customer.
     
  6. glynn80

    glynn80 Established Member

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    Unfortunately the Railcard remains the property of the Train Operating Companies and if they request you hand it in, you are obliged to.

    The Terms & Conditions of the Railcard (which you signed up to when you purchased it) state the following:

    (Here are the Terms of the 16-25 Railcard: http://www.16-25railcard.co.uk/buy-16-25-railcard/railcard-terms-conditions)

    I do know when removing a "ticket", rail staff are meant to issue a receipt for its withdrawal (as stated within the NRCoC, see below), however I can find no such stipulation with regard to Railcards:

    (http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/system/galleries/download/misc/NRCOC.pdf)
     
  7. First class

    First class Established Member

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    Well effectively if you have 'suspected' invalid travel documents, i.e. railcard discounted tickets, railcard etc then (s)he could withdraw them and charge you for a full open undiscounted single from your start-end point on that train. If you had no money, an Unpaid Fare Notice would be issued, to which a £10/£15 admin fee also applies.

    I think (might be wrong though) that you probably had the wrong attitude with the guard. You've probably got a bit heated over the validity of your tickets and got yourself worked up. You knew he wasn't going to hit you- that's a stupid thing to say. The fact he walked of ignoring you implies to me that he'd had enough of listening to you shouting at him, which presumably you were doing if he was walking away from you.
     
  8. Pipps

    Pipps Member

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    Is a railcard a 'ticket' for the purposes of the terms of travel?
     
  9. First class

    First class Established Member

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    No. It is a 'supporting document' to your ticket.
     
  10. Pipps

    Pipps Member

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    Thank you for your psychic insights. How very helpful.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---

    Glynn, thank you for a very useful post.
    You say that...
    Would this also equally apply to the confiscation of a railcard? Is a railcard a 'ticket', for these purposes?
     
    Last edited: 18 Dec 2009
  11. glynn80

    glynn80 Established Member

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    Whether the passenger had the "wrong attitude" or not is an irrelevance. The guard is paid to remain professional, courteous and fair in his actions.

    It seems in this situation the guard was a little harsh (of course I have only heard one side of the story) and perhaps acted in a way he technically was allowed to, but perhaps morally he shouldn't have.

    I am unsure and therefore I cannot give you a definitive answer. What I can say though is an extensive search of both staff and public railway documentation has not led me to anything that states a receipt must be issued and therefore I would lean towards the view that the receipt is only applicable for "tickets" (especially considering you are given a receipt when you purchase the Railcard, which can be used to retrieve a new card for a nominal £5.00 admin fee.)
     
    Last edited: 18 Dec 2009
  12. Oswyntail

    Oswyntail Established Member

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    Let us know the outcome of the complaint you have put in. I presume you have, because that is the only way to get the incident examined from both sides. Of course, if not...
     
  13. Pipps

    Pipps Member

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    Glynn, thank you for superior support and your original ideas to approaching this problem. Your advice is much appreciated.

    Incidentally, I have the greatest respect for the employees of our national transport networks. They do very important work.

    I agree with your citation of term 11 of the 16-25 Rail Card terms. It is understandable that a representative of a train company should be provided with the authority to take possession of a Rail Card under certain circumstances - the regularly cited examples being an out of date or invalid Rail Card.

    Such terms are surely important for the smooth operation of the train networks. However, as with all rights provided under such contracts, those rights must surely be qualified whenever exercised?

    In the present case, it would seem to me that the Inspector had no reason or justification for his refusal to return my Rail Card to me. His confiscation of it did not serve any purpose, nor was it justifiable as within the course of his duties as a Ticket Inspector.

    My next question would be: Is a 'Train Company Representative' entitled, under term 11, to confiscate any Rail Card under any circumstances whenever he feels like it? Or would a Representative be required to be acting within his authority, and prohibiting a customer from further usage of a Rail Card only for a valid purpose?
     
  14. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Under the terms, probably yes it okay, but there are Acts and Regulations, as well as Case Law that govern contracts would prevent, for example, you buying a ticket and then before you had the chance to use it, a ticket inspector taking it off you and saying "ha ha, you have to buy another ticket now."
     
  15. glynn80

    glynn80 Established Member

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    I think technically under Term 11, the answer is "yes", although I am not a lawyer and cannot really advise you on whether this conforms to legislation such as The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. Also whether what happened in you case is a widespread occurrence and therefore warrants any sort of alteration to the Terms & Conditions is another question.

    Just bear in mind that Rail Staff are advised within the Staff Fares Manual (FRPP) to keep incidents in proportion:

     
  16. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Emeritus Moderator

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    Surely that statement in the FRPP is discrimatory?
     
  17. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Hah! The Civil Service and TfL have had a number of jobs recently that only ethnic minorities can apply for!
     
  18. Old Timer

    Old Timer Established Member

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    I thought you knew, old chap, that only white people can discriminate and be racist, and only non-whites can be descriminated against.

    No non-white person can ever be racist or can discriminate against anyone.


    If you argue aginst that then by definition you are a racist and are discriminating.

    Its all in the Leftie rule book of how to live.
     
  19. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    Surly it should be someone speaking English as a foreign language that would be the biggest potential problem. Although, on Irish railways you get one ticket for a return journey, so if an Irish national boarded a train saying the ticket machine printed out one ticket when they pressed return, it's different to a British national who you'd expect to know that they needed 2 tickets.
     
  20. royaloak

    royaloak Established Member

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    The only person that can allow you to use an advanced ticket on the wrong train is the Train Manager, as the railcard forms part of the travel documents then that will be taken as well.

    As for in dispute, you were travelling on the wrong train so your problem, if you wanted a flexible ticket you should have bought one. Why do people think it is okay to buy a cheap ticket and then do as they see fit, the alleged "member of staff" that said it was okay could have been a cleaner because no member of staff who knew about tickets would have said that! I have never issued a ticket and know that information would be wrong, did you show them your tickets and explain or just say "can I get on".
     
  21. Pipps

    Pipps Member

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    Glynn, I like your idea on the FFRP requirement for proportionality.

    On this basis, could it really be proportional for a Ticket Inspector to confiscate a customer's extant Rail Card, after issuing an Unpaid Fare Notice which the customer had already twice stated that he was happy to pay?

    Could there be any proportional or defensible reason for attempting to force a customer to not be able to use his valid Rail Card for future travel?

    If only I was a member of an ethnic, social or lifestyle minority.
     
  22. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    Hmm, I find the confiscation of the railcard bizarre!!!! Even if I was completely hacked off with a customer being rude/obnoxious I wouldn't withdraw a valid railcard!!! I might evict them from the train under Section 58 of the Conditions of Carriage but that's another story!

    For me, there are two possibilities - either the Guard has gone too far or there's more to the story.
     
  23. royaloak

    royaloak Established Member

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    I know which one my money is on! ;)
     
  24. bakerstreet

    bakerstreet Member

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    I'm not sure it's clear whether the OP had an Advance ticket or bought an off-peak ticket in advance.

    If he had an off peak ticket on a peak train am I right in saying he couldn't be penalty fared, just be asked to pay the difference?

    As an aside I do love the fact there are two types of advance tickets. One bought in advance and an advance ticket, and one bought in advance as another ticket type.
     
  25. Ferret

    Ferret Established Member

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    Sounds right to me!!!
     
  26. ralphchadkirk

    ralphchadkirk Established Member

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    AFAIK, you can be penalty fared as your ticket is not valid.
     
  27. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    no, you can't. if you search you may be able to find more info as this question crops up regularly. (I'm on a mobile device at the moment )


     
  28. Old Timer

    Old Timer Established Member

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    Sorry but yes you can because that is the point of the scheme.

    From the NCoC.
     
    Last edited: 18 Dec 2009
  29. tony_mac

    tony_mac Established Member

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    it's obviously only 12 b) that attracts a penalty fare, which doesn't apply to 'an off peak ticket on a peak train'

    (everything to which penalty fares apply refer back to condition 4, hence only part a) of condition 12)
     
  30. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    No, you can't be penalty fared for using a ticket restricted by time or route (e.g. an Off Peak Route Not London at peak time via London), and that is not the point of the scheme.

    A guard has already confirmed this position on this thread, I'm sure more will be along shortly to confirm. Tom C is an RPI who operates in a PF area and he can confirm it.

    I do wish the rules were not worded in such a way that they can be interpreted to be even more anti-customer than they actually are (which is quite shockingly bad to start with!)
     
  31. ian13

    ian13 Member

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    I'm interested in for which "types of discounted tickets (as indicated in the notices and publications) the relevant parts of Condition 2 or 4 will apply"?

    But like everyone else seems to have said, unless there's some extra facts, its clearly improper (although likely not illegal) for him just to withdraw a valid railcard given the dispute didn't question its legitimacy (with regards to it being improper, its rather unfair against the consumer if a railcard can be retained by any staff member for no reason when it is itself the only item that can be used to claim the discount they paid for - by ceasing to provide required documentation, they are effectively curtailing their contractual agreement).
     
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