FCC Carnet Problems

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Husband

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All,
*
Something happened to my wife, which has concerned me and I'd be grateful for any advice.
*
I'll stick to the facts:
*
1. My wife used a carnet ticket on a First Capital Connect train from St Albans to St Pancras;
2. The carnet ticket was validated in the top right hand corner with the date;
3. At St Albans, she did not put it through the barriers at St Albans, rather she presented it to a guard (as we have been told to do);
4. At St Pancras, again she presented the carnet ticket to the guard at the barrier (as we have been told to do);
4. The guard took the ticket and 'scrubbed' the top right corner with his thumb. In doing so, part (but not all) of the numbering fell away. He said that this was evidence that my wife had 'overwritten' a previously used ticket and accused her of defrauding First Capital Connect;
5. My wife denied defrauding First Capital Connect;
6. She then asked the guard to check whether the carnet had been used previously. He checked the metallic strip and confirmed that it had not been used previously;
6. She them completed a new carnet ticket using the same pen and asked the guard to repeat the 'scrubbing' test. He did this and, again, part (but not all) of the numbering fell away. She then repeated the test on another ticket with the same result. As the latter carnet tickets had not been overwritten, she then asked the guard to confirm that the first test was unreliable evidence that she had 'overwritten' a previously used ticket. He declined;
7. He then cautioned her and warned her that she may receive an Intention to Prosecute Notice in the post. However, he was unable to say when. He retained the original. While he originally omitted to do so, at my wife's insistence he recorded that he had conducted the test on another (non-overwritten) ticket with similar results; and
8. CCTV should show that my wife is a regular user of carnet tickets and that: a) she always shows the validated carnet ticket to the guard; and b) the ticket (almost) always is taken from her. This should show a pattern of valid use of carnet tickets.
*
My wife is extremely upset and worried. She is pregnant and I would like to alay such upset and worry. Is there any action I can take in order to address this matter? In particular, if it would be of use, I am prepared to instruct solicitors to address this. If so, I would be grateful if somebody could recommend a solicitor with experience in this area.
*
Yours,
*
Concerned husband

P.S. I'm something of a forum virgin, so if I've committed some unkown taboo, I apologise.
 
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RailUK Forums

221129

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I'm Guessing the best thing to do would be to wait until FCC write to you i would have thought but hopefully someone with more experience will be along soon.
 

GadgetMan

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I'm sorry your mrs had to go through that. Seems unfair from her account, other people on this forum have reported similar problems with writing dates onto tickets.

You'll have to wait for FCC to contact you before you can respond as they will offer your wife an opportunity to give her account of events.

However there is nothing stopping your wife from putting a customer complaint in.

Editted to add:

You could write in on her behalf explaining your wife is pregnant and the suspense is not good for her or your future baby, and ask them to hurry any correspondence up to end any unnecessary anxiety.
 
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yorkie

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causton

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I'd say there is no need for you to worry. There are a few RPIs like this, and as the RPI themselves witnessed, the ticket stock used is totally unsuitable for this purpose as it's either a thick Sharpie-style pen, or you end up digging into the cardboard and look like you've tried to overwrite a date. If only they used the foil scratch-off panels as they did for the complimentary tickets they handed out to season ticket holders and on promotions etc.

But yes, based on the observations from the RPI and my experience of these, if it ever gets within 100 metres of court FCC's claim will instantly fall down...
 

benk1342

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What a shame that this continues to happen. And what a shame that your wife had to "spend" two additional carnets to prove her innocence. I would consider writing preemptively to customer service, if for no other reason than to try to get reimbursed for the two wasted carnets.
 

Wolfie

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What a shame that this continues to happen. And what a shame that your wife had to "spend" two additional carnets to prove her innocence. I would consider writing preemptively to customer service, if for no other reason than to try to get reimbursed for the two wasted carnets.
Like hell you should accept "spending" two additional tickets. DEMAND an immediate refund from FCC - and make it clear the Daily Mail will be the next organisation calling if this does not happen! Perhaps it needs "small claims" action through the County Court (less than £30 to issue procedings and FCC's legal fees will be in the thousands if they are daft enough to defend - they pay the fee if they lose as well!) for a refund of these defective items for FCC to get their fingers out of their rear-end and come up with a non-defective product!
 

rdwarr

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Is there a bylaw against defacing tickets? Did the guy at St. Pancras deface the lady's ticket? This was a shocking incident where a threat to prosecute has been made based on no evidence whatsoever.
 

jon0844

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Off topic, but partially relevant, FCC has now changed the carnet tickets slightly. Still the same paper stock and all the associated problems, but they are now issued as 5 returns in a pack instead of 10 singles.
 

DaveNewcastle

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Is there a bylaw against defacing tickets? Did the guy at St. Pancras deface the lady's ticket?
There is.
Its Byelaw 20, but note that it also requires "intention" to disadvantage the Operator:
20. Altering tickets and use of altered tickets

(1) No person shall alter any ticket in any way with the intent that an Operator shall be defrauded or prejudiced.
(2) No person shall knowingly use any ticket which has been altered in any way in breach of Byelaw 20(1).
Its my guess that the Inspector was gathering evidence as instructed but that when that evidence is considered by Revenue Protection then it may well not be passed for any further investigation. If it is, then you / your wife will be advised in writing and given an opportunity to make a Statement. That Statement will then be considered and only if the Company still feels that there are grounds for a successful Prosecution, will there be reason for concern.
A few of us on here will be willing to assist both in the wording of your Statement and in how to manage an intended Prosecution.

However, you are not at that stage at present and the particular properties of those carnet tickets should be well enough understood by those in Revenue Protection for there to be no further action taken against your wife.
 
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AlterEgo

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Like hell you should accept "spending" two additional tickets. DEMAND an immediate refund from FCC - and make it clear the Daily Mail will be the next organisation calling if this does not happen! Perhaps it needs "small claims" action through the County Court (less than £30 to issue procedings and FCC's legal fees will be in the thousands if they are daft enough to defend - they pay the fee if they lose as well!) for a refund of these defective items for FCC to get their fingers out of their rear-end and come up with a non-defective product!
Not this same old line again. :p

I too am disappointed to hear of this occurrence. I recommend writing to Neal Lawson at FCC:

Freepost RRBR-REEJ-KTKY
First Capital Connect
Customer Relations Department
PO Box 443
PLYMOUTH
PL4 6WP

Send it recorded - and get it proofread! I am happy to check the tone of your letter. I can assure you that a polite, factual and firm letter is the way forward. I would withold any desire to take court action and heading to the press at this stage, in the interest of maintaining a productive dialogue.

Please do get your letter proofread by another forum member who will check that you haven't incriminated your wife in the correspondence (this can be very easy to do). I am sure a volunteer will be along shortly to offer.
 

cjp

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I don't believe you can send recorded delivery to a PO Box as there is nobody to sign for he letter.
One can - it is not a box but routing device used for simplicity. Furthermore one can ask the post office for the ultimate destination of a PO Box and they have to tell you.

Mail to a PO box is either delivered or collected (as the box holder wishes - and of course pays -so there is interaction between real people
 

AlterEgo

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One can - it is not a box but routing device used for simplicity. Furthermore one can ask the post office for the ultimate destination of a PO Box and they have to tell you.

Mail to a PO box is either delivered or collected (as the box holder wishes - and of course pays -so there is interaction between real people
That is correct.

PO Boxes are used by train companies to mask their office address - the mail is delivered as usual, and it will be signed for by a real person at the address.

There are other PO Boxes which entail a physical box retained at the Post Office for inspection and collection.
 

north

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Off topic, but partially relevant, FCC has now changed the carnet tickets slightly. Still the same paper stock and all the associated problems, but they are now issued as 5 returns in a pack instead of 10 singles.
That's annoying for me. I use them to do open jaw journeys from Stevenage to St Albans via London and only in that direction. Where did you hear this? The FCC website still says 10 singles.
 

jon0844

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Yes, as does the leaflet I picked up today. It must have changed very recently, as there's no mention I can see of the change.

I can assure you it is real though: Here's a photo I took earlier today when I bought the new lot. http://www.railforums.co.uk/showpost.php?p=1085926&postcount=27

What's also odd is the ticket seller had the option to select how many tickets to issue - from 1 to 10 (which was now £100 and so I stated was wrong). That would imply you could buy just 1 pair and get the 10% discount.

Now, I'm hearing that the carnet tickets are now restricted in the evening peak even if the full price ticket is not part of the restriction.

Besides trying to prosecute those who damage the tickets trying to write on the date, it now seems they're trying to make them completely useless...

PS. There's another thing to bear in mind - the importance of keeping the pairs together correctly. They're all marked 2-part-return, but you can't just mix and match as an RPI could see if the ticket numbers don't match up and then accuse you of another fraud (not sure what fraud there could be, given each ticket has a date and is valid for three months).

Buyer beware with these things - they could cost you a LOT more than the measly 10% you save by giving FCC money up to three months in advance.
 

Husband

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All,

I just wanted to say thank you for all of your constructive comments. It's really quite touching that there are good people out there who are prepared to dedicate their time to help.

I think, at this stage, for fear of provoking the train provider, I won't be taking any further action. If a Notice is received, I'd be grateful if I could come back to you with our proposed response.

Yours,

Concerned husband
 

Wolfie

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That is correct.

PO Boxes are used by train companies to mask their office address - the mail is delivered as usual, and it will be signed for by a real person at the address.

There are other PO Boxes which entail a physical box retained at the Post Office for inspection and collection.
Now that is an interesting comment. I am not quite sure if it corresponds with the legal obligations under the Companies Act 2006 (particularly with respect to physical delivery)....

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2008/3000/regulation/10/made
 

OwlMan

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Now that is an interesting comment. I am not quite sure if it corresponds with the legal obligations under the Companies Act 2006 (particularly with respect to physical delivery)....

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2008/3000/regulation/10/made

It gives the registered address lower down

First Capital Connect Ltd registered in England No 5281077. Registered address: 50 Eastbourne Terrace, Paddington, London W2 6LG
Message to OP write to the address below (which is where their Head Office actually is) not the freepost address (which is where First Group customer services are)

Hertford House
1 Cranwood Street
London
EC1V 9QS
 
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