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Expired Railcard - Prosecution Letter?

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az91

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Thatcham
Hi All,

This is my first post here.

Today while travelling on GWR the ticket inspector asked for my ticket. I had a ticket bought with a 16-25 railcard but unfortunately couldn't open the railcard then. The officer took my details then told me that I will receive a prosecution letter in the next few weeks.

I then checked my railcard and discovered that it expired 31 days ago and immediately renewed it. Does the fact that I renewed it on the same day solve this problem?

I really didn't know that it expired and would've paid the full ticket price if I knew it or would have renewed it... Now I'm really afraid that I could end up with a criminal offence and a criminal record. I'm starting a new job and on a spouse VISA that I have to renew in the next 6 months so I'm really scared that this could end up ruining my life!

I also stress a lot and suffer from anxiety so this is making things really hard. Can anyone please let me know what will happen to me and what should I do?

Thanks!
 
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madjack

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From GWR's Revenue Protection Policy (page 25)

Prosecution can have serious consequences on your personal and professional life. So if you don’t pay your fare, we’ll do everything we can to avoid taking you to court. We’ll probably send you an offer to settle out of court – usually asking you to pay an amount to cover your fare and our costs.
 
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30907

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Joined
30 Sep 2012
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18,234
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Airedale
Hi All,

This is my first post here.

Today while travelling on GWR the ticket inspector asked for my ticket. I had a ticket bought with a 16-25 railcard but unfortunately couldn't open the railcard then. The officer took my details then told me that I will receive a prosecution letter in the next few weeks.

I then checked my railcard and discovered that it expired 31 days ago and immediately renewed it. Does the fact that I renewed it on the same day solve this problem?

I really didn't know that it expired and would've paid the full ticket price if I knew it or would have renewed it... Now I'm really afraid that I could end up with a criminal offence and a criminal record. I'm starting a new job and on a spouse VISA that I have to renew in the next 6 months so I'm really scared that this could end up ruining my life!

I also stress a lot and suffer from anxiety so this is making things really hard. Can anyone please let me know what will happen to me and what should I do?

Thanks!
Most if not all machines/websites ask you to confirm that you have a current railcard, so GWR would be within their rights to claim that you knew what you were doing.

GWR will - eventually - contact you (I trust you have given them correct details) and ask for your explanation. This gives you the opportunity to
- apologise for claiming a discount you were not entitled to
- accept that fare evasion costs them/the taxpayer a considerable amount
- undertake not to repeat the offence (this is where buying a new railcard is something you can mention, but it can't be backdated)
- ask them to consider an out of court settlement which would cover their reasonable costs.

Fortunately, as madjack has posted, they may well be amenable to settling out of court, assuming this is a first offence.

As to your immigration status:
First, a conviction under the railway Byelaws is non-recordable
Second, even a conviction under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 would be spent after a year.
In the second case only you might want to take legal advice - but IMO this is an unlikely scenario.
In short, please rest assured that you should be OK.
 

WesternLancer

Established Member
Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
7,290
Hi All,

This is my first post here.

Today while travelling on GWR the ticket inspector asked for my ticket. I had a ticket bought with a 16-25 railcard but unfortunately couldn't open the railcard then. The officer took my details then told me that I will receive a prosecution letter in the next few weeks.

I then checked my railcard and discovered that it expired 31 days ago and immediately renewed it. Does the fact that I renewed it on the same day solve this problem?

I really didn't know that it expired and would've paid the full ticket price if I knew it or would have renewed it... Now I'm really afraid that I could end up with a criminal offence and a criminal record. I'm starting a new job and on a spouse VISA that I have to renew in the next 6 months so I'm really scared that this could end up ruining my life!

I also stress a lot and suffer from anxiety so this is making things really hard. Can anyone please let me know what will happen to me and what should I do?

Thanks!
Hi - engage with the letter they will send you and come here for more advice when you get it.

If you had bought the new railcard before you got on the train it would have been OK, but doing it afterwards was a good idea but won't overcome the problem as they will know the time of the train you were on, and can see when you bought it - so not advisable to claim you did in fact have one, as they will see that as a lie. Better to just respond as suggested above - the fact that you have got a new railcard to prevent this in future helps show you have honest intentions IMHO and that is no bad thing.
Good luck and don't worry too much.
 

az91

New Member
Joined
9 Oct 2020
Messages
2
Location
Thatcham
Most if not all machines/websites ask you to confirm that you have a current railcard, so GWR would be within their rights to claim that you knew what you were doing.

GWR will - eventually - contact you (I trust you have given them correct details) and ask for your explanation. This gives you the opportunity to
- apologise for claiming a discount you were not entitled to
- accept that fare evasion costs them/the taxpayer a considerable amount
- undertake not to repeat the offence (this is where buying a new railcard is something you can mention, but it can't be backdated)
- ask them to consider an out of court settlement which would cover their reasonable costs.

Fortunately, as madjack has posted, they may well be amenable to settling out of court, assuming this is a first offence.

As to your immigration status:
First, a conviction under the railway Byelaws is non-recordable
Second, even a conviction under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 would be spent after a year.
In the second case only you might want to take legal advice - but IMO this is an unlikely scenario.
In short, please rest assured that you should be OK.


I agree but this is through the Trainline app. I also switched phones a few months ago and moved over my trainline account, I thought it would move the railcard but it didn't. However, it didn't ask me to insert the railcard details when buying the tickets, it might have been in the T&C's which I don't usually read, or one of the checkboxes that I ticked by habit.

Most if not all machines/websites ask you to confirm that you have a current railcard, so GWR would be within their rights to claim that you knew what you were doing.

GWR will - eventually - contact you (I trust you have given them correct details) and ask for your explanation. This gives you the opportunity to
- apologise for claiming a discount you were not entitled to
- accept that fare evasion costs them/the taxpayer a considerable amount
- undertake not to repeat the offence (this is where buying a new railcard is something you can mention, but it can't be backdated)
- ask them to consider an out of court settlement which would cover their reasonable costs.

Fortunately, as madjack has posted, they may well be amenable to settling out of court, assuming this is a first offence.

As to your immigration status:
First, a conviction under the railway Byelaws is non-recordable
Second, even a conviction under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 would be spent after a year.
In the second case only you might want to take legal advice - but IMO this is an unlikely scenario.
In short, please rest assured that you should be OK.

Thank you very much for your reply, it honestly is making me feel better!

Hi - engage with the letter they will send you and come here for more advice when you get it.

If you had bought the new railcard before you got on the train it would have been OK, but doing it afterwards was a good idea but won't overcome the problem as they will know the time of the train you were on, and can see when you bought it - so not advisable to claim you did in fact have one, as they will see that as a lie. Better to just respond as suggested above - the fact that you have got a new railcard to prevent this in future helps show you have honest intentions IMHO and that is no bad thing.
Good luck and don't worry too much.

Thanks for your help, I'll definitely get back here and ask for advice when I get the letter by mail.
 

NSB2017

Member
Joined
12 Jun 2018
Messages
49
For future reference, avoid using Trainline - it's a waste of money and is cheaper to book directly from any operator.

Edit: Although seemingly they don't charge a booking fee through their app, which makes their website fee even more ridiculous.
 

Alex365Dash

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2 Jul 2019
Messages
677
Location
Brighton
Although seemingly they don't charge a booking fee through their app, which makes their website fee even more ridiculous.

It’s a bit more specific than that - they don’t charge fees for tickets bought on a mobile device (whether the app or site) that are for journeys on the day. Tickets bought on mobile for a future day of travel will still be charged the booking fee, regardless of platform.
 

WesternLancer

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Joined
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Messages
7,290
For future reference, avoid using Trainline - it's a waste of money and is cheaper to book directly from any operator.

Edit: Although seemingly they don't charge a booking fee through their app, which makes their website fee even more ridiculous.
Yes. But remarkable how much market share they seem to have ticket purchasers. Is this just from good advertising or a particularly easy to use site?
 

MotCO

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Joined
25 Aug 2014
Messages
4,161
Hi All,

I'm starting a new job

Something for the future. If you are not offered an out-of-court settlement and are charged and convicted under a Regulation of Railways Act or bye-law, you may need to advise your employer depending upon the terms of your contract of employment. Normally it would not make any difference to your employment, but it would if you tried to hide it from them.
 

najaB

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Location
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However, it didn't ask me to insert the railcard details when buying the tickets, it might have been in the T&C's which I don't usually read, or one of the checkboxes that I ticked by habit.
That will be because there's no requirement to have a railcard when you buy a railcard-discounted ticket, only when you use it.

As others have noted, it's not in GWR's best interest to prosecute so the odds are that they'll let you resolve the matter without involving the courts.
 

30907

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That will be because there's no requirement to have a railcard when you buy a railcard-discounted ticket, only when you use it.
True, but all the websites I have sampled ask you to choose which railcard you have before quoting the discounted prices.
 

Haywain

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15,550
True, but all the websites I have sampled ask you to choose which railcard you have before quoting the discounted prices.
That’s hardly unreasonable - a website can’t really guess which railcard you intend to have.
 

najaB

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True, but all the websites I have sampled ask you to choose which railcard you have before quoting the discounted prices.
Do they actually ask what railcard you have or what railcard you want to use? The Trainline definitely doesn't require you to say that you actually possess a valid railcard at the time you search for tickets:
1602446239282.png
 

185143

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4,555
Do they actually ask what railcard you have or what railcard you want to use? The Trainline definitely doesn't require you to say that you actually possess a valid railcard at the time you search for tickets:
View attachment 84545
I was told by Virgin before I was 16 that there was no requirement to have the railcard when I was purchasing the tickets, for travel shortly after turning 16, merely that I would be in possession of a railcard when I travelled and knew I had to carry it at all times.
 

30907

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Do they actually ask what railcard you have or what railcard you want to use? The Trainline definitely doesn't require you to say that you actually possess a valid railcard at the time you search for tickets:
View attachment 84545
Correct. My point, though, is that you can't buy a railcard-discounted ticket by accident.
 

najaB

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Correct. My point, though, is that you can't buy a railcard-discounted ticket by accident.
But that's not what the OP is saying happened in this case, they thought that they had a valid railcard. It later transpired that the railcard was past its validity period.
 

30907

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But that's not what the OP is saying happened in this case, they thought that they had a valid railcard. It later transpired that the railcard was past its validity period.
Sorry, yes, forgotten that :(
 

Realfish

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Messages
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If the railcard is held electronically, or purchased online, is it not the case that re minder is sent to the holder, letting them know that it is about to expire?
 

WesternLancer

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If the railcard is held electronically, or purchased online, is it not the case that re minder is sent to the holder, letting them know that it is about to expire?
Interestingly my railcard runs out in 3 days (I thought it still had 8 days on it so shows how you can easily overlook things) and although I've had an e-mail v recently about some changes to the policy on communicating with me, I've not had a reminder saying it's soon to expire / request to renew. Pretty sure I've had them in the past so it may be for some covid related travel issues they are not promoting renewals perhaps.
 
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Llanigraham

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Powys
If the railcard is held electronically, or purchased online, is it not the case that re minder is sent to the holder, letting them know that it is about to expire?

I've never received a reminder that my Disabled Card was due to expire.
 

MotCO

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Have any rail cards been automatically extended to allow for restrictions on travel during the Covid lockdown? (As opposed to being automatically renewed.)
 

TFN

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I bought a new Railcard two weeks ago after I got an email saying that it was due to expire (physical). I then bought a digital one and it included the extra days I had left.
 

Hadders

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Have any rail cards been automatically extended to allow for restrictions on travel during the Covid lockdown? (As opposed to being automatically renewed.)

No, they haven't.
 

typefish

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If the railcard is held electronically, or purchased online, is it not the case that re minder is sent to the holder, letting them know that it is about to expire?

An e-mail for my 26-30 rail card was sent out on the first day after expiry, and nothing before, as it seems.
 

island

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Have any rail cards been automatically extended to allow for restrictions on travel during the Covid lockdown? (As opposed to being automatically renewed.)
No; and indeed there has been positive confirmation that this will not be happening.
 
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"Yes" isn't an answer to "A or B?" ;) And asking what card you intend to use lets them determine validity in any case.

That’ll teach me to read these message boards when not fully awake! I understand what you meant now.
 
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