Denied travel on ticket to Ebbsfleet via route that was permitted when booked

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by Merseysider, 11 Apr 2015.

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  1. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    They can now ban tickets? :lol:
     
  2. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I wonder what the incident was?
     
  3. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Three of us on valid tickets that SE's incompetent minions gateline attendants plus one supervisor/manager didn't want to accept as valid, even after two printed itineraries, the National Rail website, SE's Twitter team, the Southeastern website and SE's customer service via phone all confirming we should be allowed to travel, for anyone that wasn't there. Two of us bought new tickets and are in the process of deciding how to proceed.
     
    Last edited: 11 Apr 2015
  4. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    Judging by some internal correspondence that goes around, it seems they don't have anyone on the payroll who understands anything about the routeing guide - so they let things like Ebbsfleet to Gravesend/Strood via London remain valid for years. Then get into a real flap when people actually take advantage of the anomalies this allows. People shouldn't entertain their demands to pay for an unnecessary extra ticket during said flaps - Southeastern have had experience of the same thing multiple times in the past and don't learn anything.

    The net result is management generating extra work and arguments for themselves and their frontline colleagues.

    If you want your money back, I suggest you write to the Customer Services Manager and cc in Customer Relations, so it's all on record.
     
    Last edited: 11 Apr 2015
  5. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    What did the third person do? I had to laugh when I read it.

    I mean if I was at work and someone told me something I'd more than likely believe them. Perhaps I'm to trusting of others and need to say no more and assume everyone else is always wrong.
     
  6. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    The third person might have been RJ, who might have just walked through the gateline as the staff might have realised not to mess with him ;)
     
  7. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    So the ticket is only valid if RJ uses it! That makes it even more funny if you ask me. Does RJ have special tickets that are only valid when he uses them?
     
  8. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    Restriction code RJ is unlimited validity ;)
     
  9. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Were you denied travel? If so that's a breach of contact. The ticket was valid at the time you purchased it.

    Even now, anyone booking online would have a valid ticket, providing an itinerary is produced. I would recommend anyone doing this books on the Southeastern website and prints the itinerary and brings it with them, as evidence of a contract.
     
  10. thebigcheese

    thebigcheese Member

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    Well I was denied travel on the 23.12 and had to buy another ticket for £4.55 to get on the 23.25 despite showing the staff an e-mail from SET confirming my ticket was valid after I was incorrectly charged back in September. Refund request has already been sent so watch this space!
     
  11. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    For saying they like to protect their 'special' bit of railway you'd have thought they might have managed to train their staff about what tickets are actually valid on it...
     
  12. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    While this advice will be true and appropriate in the majority of journeys, for completeness we should also note the exception - an exception which I suspect might just apply to this specific incident.

    If the printed itinery and/or ticket booking system contained an error, which led to the itinery and/or ticket being sold when in fact it was never intended to be sold, then the proper remedy for the seller would be to authorise the exceptional ticket (or to refund it if the journey was impossible or if the passenger chooses to abandon it), and all of these actions presume that the passenger had been unaware of the error and had bought the ticket in all good faith and travelled in all good faith.

    The exception arises when the passenger bought the ticket in the full knowledge of the error, but without pointing out the error or refusing the offer, willfully completed the transaction with the intention of taking advantage for themselves of the error, to the disadvantage of the Company and then, having obtained the ticket, took that advantage. This is a Fraud.

    Now the average ticket inspector might not be aware of this, but when a ticket looks surprising such as these Ebbsfleet via London tickets, it is likely to be escalated, and if the passenger also produces an itinery "as evidence" it suggests that the passenger was aware of the anomaly. Admittedly it doesn't confirm the frauldulent intention, but the way in which the ticket and itinery are explained are very likely to confirm that intention (especially if comment is made about the companies abilities to manage their own systems or similar insights into the passenger's awareness of the error and intention to take advantage of it).

    In short, presenting a printed itinery does not provide evidence to confirm and validate a contract where the contract was entered into fraudulently.

    Now, having made that cautionary point clear, I will agree that if the itinery and ticket was NOT the consequence of an error (but only that the Company was unaware of the remarkable flexibility that it offered), then again, you would be correct in stating that the printed itinery illustrates the detailled terms of the contract.
     
    Last edited: 12 Apr 2015
  13. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    But what constitutes an error?

    The routeing guide says journeys are allowed via London.
    The ticket is routed 'plus high speed'
    The company's own website and National Rail will give an itinerary via London and the High Speed Line.

    How many errors are allowed before it becomes fraud?
     
  14. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    It is not the errors that constitute the fraud, it is the dishonest intention to obtain an advantage, knowing that the service is made available on the basis that payment is due, but avoids making part of the payment, and then, the act of taking that advantage, to the disadvantage of the Company.
    The errors you mention (and which are the subject of this thread) merely create an opportunity for exploitation which the person concerned willfully exploits.

    [for the avoidance of doubt, I am not asserting that any fraud has been committed, I am simply warning that the advice given above by yorkie should include a caveat in respect of the exceptional circumstances when it will be inapplicable].
     
    Last edited: 12 Apr 2015
  15. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Whilst I would absolutely not argue this as justification for any act of fraud, I have sensed a feeling of discontent around some of the changes made to the NRG in recent times, and a feeling that 'if they're going to screw us over, we might as well screw them over back'.
     
  16. crehld

    crehld Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Genuine question. At the point of a ticket sales both sides enter into a contract and both sides agree to the terms of said contract, no?

    So the fact there is an error in the contract is irrelevant, as both sides have agreed to it. One of the parties may not have intended the error, but in selling the ticket with associated routing and itinerary but parties confirmed their acceptance of said terms, errors and all. Like my mum said "always read the small print".

    So there may be an error, but how can it be considered fraud when both parties agree to the terms?
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    To clarify, if the situation was reversed and I was sold a particular ticket in error, say an anytime rather than the off peak, but in paying I have accepted the terms to my disadvantage, does that constitute fraud on the TOCs part?
     
  17. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Whilst subject to Russian law so not applicable as case law or otherwise, this case springs to mind.

    I would err on the side of caution (there are occasionally loopholes I just wouldn't do) and take Dave's advice, combined with one's propensity for conflict/difficult situations when travelling.

    I wouldn't expect a TOC to downright refuse an itinerary though, regardless of the legal position.
    If a guard did that deliberately to multiple passengers to reach revenue targets etc, then I would say yes. If it was unintentional, or as a result of a misunderstanding, then no.
     
    Last edited: 12 Apr 2015
  18. crehld

    crehld Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Quite, and neither would I, partly because I'm not very aware of such loopholes not particularly confident in using them. But if I find a ticket with an associated itinerary which works to my advantage and the train company is willing to sell it to me it's hardly fraud, isn't it?
     
  19. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    If a supermarket or other online retailer accidentally make a price error, are customers commuting fraud by trying to buy the products? Admitted most if not all state the contract is only agreed once the goods are sent, so they would spot the error and cancel the order. But say orders got sent, could they then demand the goods back or take the customer to court for committing fraud?
     
  20. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    So by that logic, if a Brighton to Southampton routed Not via London, which undercuts the Clapham Jn to Southampton fare, is purchased for travel from Clapham Jn to Southampton, the passenger is gaining an advantage, avoiding part of the payment of the fare and potentially committing fraud? (these stations are examples but many other possibilities exist)
     
  21. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    Has anyone ever been prosecuted on this basis, specifically pertaining to rail fares? There are so many anomalies in the system, where is the line between a valid fare and an error drawn and who decides where that line is drawn?
     
  22. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    I don't want to take this thread further off topic, but I will just reply to this straightforward question:
    There are different categories of 'errors in a contract' and one of these is a 'unilateral error' in which one party is unaware of it (e.g. a typo, a wrong numeral, imprecise phrasing, wrong digital coding, wrong picture attached, wrong sample sent, missing clause, etc. etc.) and which can void the contract.
    Some of these errors will not lead to a void, where the relate to the quality of the goods or service, but where they relate to the Terms & Conditions, they will.
    Where the other party (an intending passenger) spots the error and, crucially, intends to take advantage of the error and acts on that intention, to the disadvantage of the party who made the error, then the contract does not involve proper 'consent' and is therefore void.
    But this is an explanation of general Contract Law, which is probably quite well explained on other sites, and is straying from the caution I have been attempting to provide to passengers on here.
     
  23. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    If the a Train Company (e.g. Southeastern) chooses not to read the Routeing Guide, then that does not void the routes contained within it from being permitted routes, surely?

    Furthermore, the National Rail website was updated to include this...
    ... shortly after, and apparently as a direct response to, an incident where many passengers were given itineraries that were not permitted routes, as a result of 'errors'.

    In the case of Strood - Ebbsfleet, it was routed via LONDON in the Routeing Guide, which made it valid via London, so no need to rely on the wording quoted above, but if anyone claimed it was not routed via London, then the wording above appears to suggest that the itinerary validates the ticket without any apparent requirement to consult the Routeing Guide.
     
  24. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    I'm sorry if I've failed to make myself clear.

    There are several elements required for a fraud to arise, and you have listed only one (actual railway station names are immaterial).
    In my caution to the advice you gave about carring a printed itinery, I refereed to 1) an error in the conditions, 2) one party (passenger) being aware of the error and the other not, 3) the passenger willfully attempting to create a contract which exploits that error for their own advantage, 4) the passenger, having obtained the ticket, travelling to the disadvantage of the other party.

    I hope that is clearer.
    It is nothing to do with comparing and contrasting different railway fares which are not incorrect.
     
  25. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    It's still very unclear to me what you are saying.
     
  26. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    In recent years, the only instances of alleged ticket fraud that I can think of, based on exploiting errors, have been resolved through negotiation and mediation.

    Outside the passenger rail industry, in the broader field of commerce, then it is not uncommon for errors to be exploited by dishonest persons and a fraud then successfully prosecuted.
     
  27. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Until a couple of months ago, Merseyrail had 'underpriced' several flows. All were from Burscough Junction to Merseyrail stations such as Little Sutton, Eastham Rake, Overpool etc. As an example, BCJ-LTT return was available at £1.20 with my railcard. I purchased this ticket over 50 times to make intermediate journeys where the fare was higher, for example Wigan-Hooton, and I only twice ever visited Burscough Junction. Would this be classed as fraudulent, or taking fair advantage of their incompetence at pricing?

    Edit: Perhaps it's time this was split off into a new thread, so the current one can focus solely on the Routeing Guide?
     
    Last edited: 12 Apr 2015
  28. thebigcheese

    thebigcheese Member

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    Mods' note: split from the Routeing Guide updates thread

    I was travelling back through St Pancakes on the 9th at 23.00 with a ticket for Ebbsfleet and was told that after an incident earlier in the day an e-mail had gone round banning the ticket I was using.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 12 Apr 2015
  29. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Done :)

    Hopefully the title is appropriate but if thebigcheese wishes to amend the title or original post (OP) then he can do so :)
     
  30. thebigcheese

    thebigcheese Member

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    It's a tricky one as my ticket wasn't a Stood - Ebbsfleet one but a ticket that shows a route via St Pancakes without a via point needing to be entered on NRE so I would consider it to be perfectly valid.

    I think it's difficult to claim that using a ticket that is much cheaper than it's component parts added together is fraud as the railway system does not claim to operate on a price-per-mile basis and ticket price does not determine validity. It would be infeasible for me to know the ins and outs of their ticketing system to know if a genuine error had occurred - SET do seem perfectly happy for kids to travel (with an adult) for a quid anywhere on their network off-peak so I think it would be difficult to justify that such a low price for travel would always constitute an error.
     
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