Confiscation of ticket? Is this legal?

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Pipps

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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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ralphchadkirk

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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.
 

aformeruser

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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?
 

Pipps

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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.
 

glynn80

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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:

Railcard Terms & Conditions said:
11. The Railcard does not become your property and if requested must be handed in to a representative of any Train Company.
(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:

NRCoC said:
20. Withdrawal of tickets

If you do not comply in a material way with any Condition that applies to the use of a ticket, staff or agents of any Train Company may withdraw the ticket and you will be given a receipt. In the case of an Electronic Ticket, this may require you to either allow the staff or agent of the Train Company to delete the stored data, or demonstrate to them that you have done so in accordance with the conditions of use of that ticket.
(http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/system/galleries/download/misc/NRCOC.pdf)
 

First class

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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.
 

Pipps

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...you probably had the wrong attitude with the guard.
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...
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:
Would this also equally apply to the confiscation of a railcard? Is a railcard a 'ticket', for these purposes?
 
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glynn80

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First class said:
...you probably had the wrong attitude with the guard.
Thank you for your psychic insights. How very helpful.

Thank you for your psychic insights. How very helpful.
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.

You say that...

Would this also equally apply to the confiscation of a railcard? Is a railcard a 'ticket', for these purposes?
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.)
 
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Oswyntail

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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...
 

Pipps

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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?
 

Mojo

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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?
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."
 

glynn80

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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?
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:

FRPP said:
One of the key responsibilities in revenue protection is to ensure that every person has a valid ticket thus preventing fraudulent travel. However, a sense of proportion is needed to place this very important area of work in context.

Surveys indicate that relatively few customers travel without valid tickets and that, when asked, a majority of these will have what they consider to be a good reason for doing so. Rail fares and conditions are often complex and may be misunderstood by passengers. This means that an apparent travel irregularity is not automatically an attempt to defraud. Special attention must be given and discretion used when dealing with the elderly, disabled persons, foreign nationals and children.
 

theblackwatch

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FRPP said:
Special attention must be given and discretion used when dealing with the elderly, disabled persons, foreign nationals and children.
Surely that statement in the FRPP is discrimatory?
 

Old Timer

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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.
 

aformeruser

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Surely that statement in the FRPP is discrimatory?
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.
 

royaloak

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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.
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".
 

Pipps

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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.
 

Ferret

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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.
 

bakerstreet

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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.
 

Old Timer

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

From the NCoC.
4. Penalty Fares
Penalty Fares are charged by Train Companies at some stations and in some trains. You may be liable to pay a Penalty Fare if:
(a) you travel in a train without a ticket or Permit to Travel; or
(b) you travel in a class of accommodation for which the ticket is not valid; or
(c) you travel in a train and the circumstances set out in any of Conditions 10, 11, 12, 18, 19, 22, 30, 35 and 39 apply; or
(d) you are present in a Compulsory Ticket Area without a ticket or Permit to Travel
12. Restrictions on when you can travel
Restrictions apply to the use of some tickets (including those bought with a Railcard) such as the dates, days, and times when you can use them, and the trains in which they can be used. These restrictions are set out in the notices and other publications of the Train Companies whose trains you are entitled to use.
If a restriction applies and the ticket you are using is not valid for the train you are travelling in, then:
(a) you will be liable to pay an excess fare (the difference between the price paid for the ticket you hold and the price of the lowest priced ticket available for immediate travel that would have entitled you to travel in that train for the journey shown on the ticket); or
(b) in the case of some types of discounted tickets (as indicated in the notices and publications) the relevant parts of Condition 2 or 4 will apply.
 
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tony_mac

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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)
 

yorkie

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

ian13

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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)
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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