First capital connect fine assistance

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Jonuk7

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Good Morning,

Sorry it is a long post but im really after some "Appeal Writing" advice...


on the 28th July myself and 3 friends were going to London to watch the olympic Cycling, i had previously rung up the national rail helpline and enquired regarding trains prices etc, we were quoted a train with FCC that left Peterborough at 08:18am, this fit with our joining service as that got into P'boro at 08:16, we went through the prices and he said as there was 4 adults we could get a groupsave 4 ticket which would be £9 each for a return ticket.. this was brilliant and beat the othertrains by £30-£40, i asked if i could buy the tickets in P'boro or on the FCC train to London and he said he would advise because of the short time we had between our train arriving at P'boro and the London one leaving the best option was to buy the tickets ON the train.

We left on Sat morning, got to Peterborough and made itacross to the First Cap train to London KX, the train left on time (08:18) we got all the way to London without ANY Ticket Officers, The voice that announced each station was a computer and so had gone all the way with No "security"on the train,No "Ticket inspectors" NOTHING, we arrived in KX and went straight to the "Unpaid Tickets" desk to get the tickets etc and so we could leave KX, When we got to the desk we were met by 6 staff all staring and crowded round us, we explained we couldnt get the tickets in P'boro as the time between trains was too little and that i had confirmed all the details and options to buy tickets with the helpline the night before, IMMEDIATLEY one of the staff members replied with "YOUR LYING" to which we were all a little shocked surely if we were lying wed of said we got on nearer to London for cheaper tickets... He went away and came back and said "Ive spoke to my supervisor who thinks your ALL LIARS too so will be charged a penalty fair, You will not be able to buy the ticket you were quoted and in stead its 2 x the price of a single ticket so you have to pay £58" Again i tried to explain none of us were trying to avoid a fare or mislead anyone i even showed them our tickets from our home station to Peterborough to prove thats where wed come from and returning too, Again we were called Liars and the rest of the staff there were closed right in on us making it a VERY intimidating time.

He said the only options were:

1) Pay £58 and thats the end of it.

2) Pay £29 and well take your name and address and you must pay/appeal the remaining £29 within 21 days.

3) Dont pay anything and appeal or "Face the consequences" within 21 days

As were were not been listened too and there was no reasoning etc we elected for option 2 as we were always out to buy a ticket just not given the chance so effectivley option 2 showed this albeit more expensive than the original £9 each.

They took our name and address's but then also rang a number who happily confirmed that was my name and address then they let us out the barriers and away....

My argument is:

1) We confirmed with the helpline that buying a ticket at P'boro OR on the train was absolutely fine, the train then had NO staff at all by the look of it apart from a driver, now this to me is ridiculous especially on day 1of the olympics a train DIRECT into Kings Cross had no staff or security in place!

2) The staff at KX were very rude, arrogant and chose to tell us we were LIARS despite showing other tickets etc of where we had come from and explaining there was NO STAFF on the train and no more than 1 monute to get from train to train so via the other side of the station to the ticket office wasnt within time.

3) After they took our name and address who do they ring that happily just gave out my details to them to "Confirm" i was that person at that address without my permission or telling me who they were ringing..?

4) Lastly when i paid the £29 i first tried topay by card, i put my pin in and then he gave me my card back but said it had declined, didnt think much too it at first definatly had money there but i have had probs before with my card and train ticket machines sometimes not going through straight away, i paid in cash but it wasnt until i had left the station and was across London i thought that he never showed me the "declined" screen, and never gave me any receipt or anything to say it had declined...

Andof topic a little but all of the staff members could barely speak english let alone understand what we were telling them there was numerous times they looked at each other trying to explain to themselves what we had said...

This is probably the busiest train station for people in the UK to arrive into London and yet the most unprofessional staff ive ever come across not to mention the lack of staff etc ON THE TRAIN for 100 miles!

What would you guys do next??

Thanks
 
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transportphoto

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Where did you start your journey in the morning? Why did you only buy your tickets to Peterborough? Was this the 0816 Cross Country arrival? All First Capital Connect trains are operated with only one member of staff on board, this being the driver, however there is the occasional revenue staff board.

TP
 

RPI

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I find it very hard to believe that any "Helpline" would advise to buy tickets on the train, which helpline was it? FCC operate a PF scheme which is indicated by large notices at their stations and also on their trains. If the staff's attitude was as you say then they were out of order and you should complain about that, your only chance of a successful appeal is to get the person who told you it was ok to get on the train without a ticket to write a statement to that effect. But basically it appears that the PF's were issued correctly-assuming that the ticket office was open and or ticket machines were available at Peterborough.
 

Jonuk7

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It was the 08457484950 who advised us, we were told exactly what ticket to get and which trains, we even confirmed this With the ticket inspector on the train to Peterborough, she also told us its fine to buy them on the train as the train into P'boro arrived at 8:16 and the one to London left at 8:18.

We didn't buy the whole journey ticket in one as we were advised to buy a super saver return with groupsave 4 discount and told we could only buy these from FCC, there is NO ticket machine at our originating station and the ticket office barely opens at the best of times, on this particular day it was due to open at 9am.
 

Jonuk7

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Where did you start your journey in the morning? Why did you only buy your tickets to Peterborough? Was this the 0816 Cross Country arrival? All First Capital Connect trains are operated with only one member of staff on board, this being the driver, however there is the occasional revenue staff board.

TP

Sounds like the correct train, we boarded at 07:44 at Oakham, even had a really good chat with the ticket inspector on that train, she double checked times for us and also said we'd be fine gettin tickets on that train, she could sell them to us as she wasn't FCC and couldn't apply the groupsave etc so through her would of been £30-£40...
 

Uzair

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I'm no expert on this subject, but I would also find it hard to believe that a helping advised you to buy tickets on the train, however I doubt you're lying. I've never known a FCC service that has had a member of staff on board selling tickets.

It would probably be incredibly difficult for you to find the same person at the helpine who gave you this advice.

Please complain about the attitude of the staff at KGX.

All the best.
 

Ferret

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Sounds like the correct train, we boarded at 07:44 at Oakham, even had a really good chat with the ticket inspector on that train, she double checked times for us and also said we'd be fine gettin tickets on that train, she could sell them to us as she wasn't FCC and couldn't apply the groupsave etc so through her would of been £30-£40...

Just as a point of order here, nothing to stop an XC guard selling groupsave tickets for another operator on their Avantix machine. Grrrrrr.

 

DaveNewcastle

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There's 2 factors to your report which are interesting:
i had previously rung up the national rail helpline and
. . .
and he said he would advise . . . the best option was to buy the tickets ON the train.
. . .
1) We confirmed with the helpline that buying a ticket at P'boro OR on the train was absolutely fine
Can you still confirm this, in any form that can be used as evidence? e.g. In writing? Or provide the Name of the person who gave this oral advice and at what time?

. . . i had confirmed all the details and options to buy tickets with the helpline the night before, IMMEDIATLEY one of the staff members replied with "YOUR LYING"
Can you provide any evidence that this accusation was made, exacly in the terms you've reported it, and with the name of the person who made that accusation?

If your answer is 'yes' to either of my questions, and your report is entirely true and complete in all relevant details, then we have a Defence.
Otherwise I suggest you pay as directed and don't waste any more time on the matter.
 

Jonuk7

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There's 2 factors to your report which are interesting:Can you still confirm this, in any form that can be used as evidence? e.g. In writing? Or provide the Name of the person who gave this oral advice and at what time?

Can you provide any evidence that this accusation was made, exacly in the terms you've reported it, and with the name of the person who made that accusation?

If your answer is 'yes' to either of my questions, and your report is entirely true and complete in all relevant details, then we have a Defence.
Otherwise I suggest you pay as directed and don't waste any more time on the matter.

Regarding the first point all I have is the time and date I rang as it was from my mobile, and a friend that was going to be travelling with us was stood with me at the time and I was relaying the info to him


As for the staff at KGX I have got the date and time we were at the desk, also the 4 of us were dealt with by a different staff member each and on the PFN they have wrote down an "authorised collector number FCC" and also signed it so I can say I have 4 of the 6 staff members involved at KGX yes, the one that specifically called us liars and generally spoke to us like S*** this was at all 4 of us so everyone of us was witnessed to him accusing us..
 

tannedfrog

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As can be seen from many other threads about FCC, a penalty fare implies "honest mistake" and is much less serious than a prosecution.
 

DaveNewcastle

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I'm sorry to say that your answers do not appear to amount to robust evidence that would be adequate to provide a reasonable prospect of success in any of the counter claims I can imagine.

You'll probably find that the best use of your time is just to pay, to forget and to move on.

But by all means attempt a letter of Appeal if you do have the time, but please omit all the ancilliary criticisms of the Company's staff, the lack of Security, the identiy checks, the Olympics etc. and please don't expect that your sense of indignation will be taken sympathetically. Sadly, for you, that's all you have, a sense of injustice with no evidence.

So if you do write an appeal, your only hope would be in simply stating the facts which are relevant: the anonymous telephone advice, the lack of on-board staff, the mutual difficulty in communicating and an apology.
I wouldn't like to assure you of any confidence that your plea would be accepted. I would't bother in this situation.
 

Ferret

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Where did you start your journey in the morning? Why did you only buy your tickets to Peterborough? Was this the 0816 Cross Country arrival?

Remember XC do not accept GPS-4 tickets, so the cheapest way for them to travel would be 2 sets of tickets, one set to Peterborough, and one set of GPS-4s from Peterborough-London. I've got to say I'm annoyed about this one. The XC Guard could've just sold the Groupsave tickets in the first place, and thus avoided this unnecessary PFing. I don't think this necessarily helps the OP much, but you never know.
 

eastdyke

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Travelling from Oakham on a Saturday morning departing 07.44.

'Buy the tickets on the train' would generally be the correct advice. The ticket office does not open until 07.45 and there are no ticket machines.

Further evidence that we do not have a joined up railway is that the National Rail Enquiries website asserts that:

'Penalty Fares do not apply when travelling from Oakham station'

Yes -I know ..... but .....

Just what are infrequent travellers supposed to do?
 

DaveNewcastle

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. . . . The XC Guard could've just sold the Groupsave tickets in the first place, and thus avoided this unnecessary PFing. I don't think this necessarily helps the OP much, but you never know.
In theory, you are justified in identifying this opportunity to have averted the challenge at London. But to write to FCC blamining another Operator's staff, again without any evidence, is probably going to take up more of the OP's time than is justified by the small prospect of FCC accepting what would now be 2 elements of incorrect but unsubstantiated oral advice by the unidentified employees of 2 other Companies!
 

Ferret

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In theory, you are justified in identifying this opportunity to have averted the challenge at London. But to write to FCC blamining another Operator's staff, again without any evidence, is probably going to take up more of the OP's time than is justified by the small prospect of FCC accepting what would now be 2 elements of incorrect but unsubstantiated oral advice by the unidentified employees of 2 other Companies!

I agree, though producing 4 Oakham-Peterborough return tickets may partially substantiate the OP's claim. It's so annoying that this has resulted in a PF though - I wish we could offer more assistance!
 

DaveNewcastle

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. . - I wish we could offer more assistance!
So do I, but to be completely pragmatic, I feel that it is the greatest assistance to the OP to advise paying-up, even where the report suggests an injustice, advice given on purely practical grounds.

To do otherwise could lead to escalating costs persuing some ultimately unprovable truth.

(But I have no wish to dissuade the OP from appealling if they are willing to invest the time and take a punt and win or loose.)
 

34D

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Travelling from Oakham on a Saturday morning departing 07.44.

'Buy the tickets on the train' would generally be the correct advice. The ticket office does not open until 07.45 and there are no ticket machines.

Further evidence that we do not have a joined up railway is that the National Rail Enquiries website asserts that:

'Penalty Fares do not apply when travelling from Oakham station'

Yes -I know ..... but .....

Just what are infrequent travellers supposed to do?

Had the guys left the minimum interchange time at Peterborough (which I think is 8 minutes, but may be wrong) then I would agree that the guys at KGX were their first opportunity to be offered the full range of tickets.

By the sounds of it, the XC guard (surely identifiable) did not know how to do the required tickets (so the full range wasn't available there).

Its this two minute dash at Peterborough that makes me unsure as to whether this is watertight.

Can you advise which number you called? I'm writing this with a relative who works in the call centre industry, and he would expect every call to be logged with details of its subject (not necessarily recorded).

In any letter to FCC, emphasise you boarded at Oakham and oakham ticket office was closed, the guard on XC didn't know how to do your required tickets, you didn't have time to go to Peterborough ticket office, and that you called up and were told this would be okay.

Note: senior forum member davenewcastle has given some very good advice with which I agree. Whether you pay and move on, or spend hours doing research, writing letters, spend time on this forum, speak to Passenger Focus, only you can decide. Do read our FAQ if you haven't already.
 

34D

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Isn't the NRE helpline recorded? Could you not ask them for a recording of the calls?

I'd be surprised if every call to a non-financial helpline was recorded and stored. Also note we need the op to confirm the number called.
 

transportphoto

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Umm.. this is an interesting one. There wasn't an available ticket office or ticket machine available at Oakham; the starting point of your journey. The CrossCountry senior conductor refused to offer you the full range of tickets, only selling you the ticket to Peterborough and not the Group Save split tickets right through to London.

You are under no obligation to delay your journey to obtain your tickets, this is not considered a reasonable opportunity, to quote the National Rail Conditions of Carriage, condition three:
If you cannot buy an appropriate ticket for the journey you want to make because the range of tickets that is available at the station from which you intend to start your journey is restricted, you must buy a ticket or Permit to Travel before you travel that entitles you to make at least part of the journey. Then you must, as soon as is reasonably practicable, buy an appropriate ticket to complete your journey. In these circumstances, you only need to pay the fare that you would have paid if you had bought a ticket immediately before your journey

As you were quite clearly able to make the 2 minute connection onto the FCC service south bound you had not come a cross a reasonable opportunity to purchase the tickets you require for the journey you had made. I will certainly recommend appealing this though it might require contacting CrossCountry, NRE and East Midlands Trains (to confirm the ticket office was closed) and producing your Oakham to Peterborough tickets, this, as they were issued aboard the train by the conductor, will prove that you were on that train.

I'd be surprised if every call to a non-financial helpline was recorded and stored. Also note we need the op to confirm the number called.
He has...
It was the 08457484950 who advised us[...]


Cheers,

TP
 

Urban Gateline

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As you were quite clearly able to make the 2 minute connection onto the FCC service south bound you had not come a cross a reasonable opportunity to purchase the tickets you require for the journey you had made.

2 Minute connection? That is below the minimum connection time for the station therefore it is NOT a valid connection. I may be one of the minority who believes that the Penalty fare was correctly issued under the aforementioned cirumstances as there were adequate facilities at the intermediate station which the group should have used before boarding the FCC service.


Although it does not excuse the RPI's being rude, one has to consider that RPI's hear all sorts of excuses and it is difficult to sort genuine ones from those trying it on, thus most Revenue protection staff are skeptical of anything a passenger tells them!
 
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Jonuk7

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Sorry not sure how to multi quote so will try answer people questions here,

The tickets we had been advised to buy by the NRE helpline were

A) return tickets from Oakham to P'boro as there was no "offers" or groupsave available on this train

B) a super saver off peak return with groupsave 4 for the P'boro KGX


We were told the train left Oakham at 07:44 and arrived at P'boro at 08:16
And then the service left P'boro at 08:18 and arrived KGX at 09:49

Oakham station has NO ticket machines at all or any sort of "permit to travel" machines, the ticket office even though says should open at 07:45 never opens much before around 9am usually, plus our train left Oakham at 07:44

If I'm honest I wouldn't of minded even paying £29 to London it's the fact that they looked at us barely let us get a word in and we were all automatically liars just trying to evade a ticket, surely if that's the case we wouldn't approach them explaining we were from Peterborough (could of used a closer station) if there attitude and total lack of respect for us hadn't of been SO BAD I'd of probably put it down as a bad mistake and learnt from it as it is I really want something doing about it, and have written to both NRE as we have clearly been mis advised, wrote too FCC about the disgraceful staff, I appreciate 100% they must have hundreds of people a day without tix but is that a good reason to treat people like total s***, if we'd of been gobbling off and refusing to co operate etc ok but not from barely hearing our explanation before calling us liars, fare evading etc etc

I appreciate what people have said about it been unlikely to win an appeal and prob easier to just pay it but I have until 19th August so I may aswel send an appeal first....??

We were each dealt with by a diff person and all given the same thing pay £29 now and a ticket stating this with £29 to pay by 19th August.

Can someone clarify when they "ring" to verify my name and address who they actually ring as I'm interested to know how this person had my details that quickly?

Also the statement of "penalty fares do not apply from Oakham" why was a Penalty issued as the tickets clearly show we travelled from Oakham?
 

MikeWh

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OK, a 2 minute connection is almost unheard of as a recognised connection time, but that is for the purposes of planning a journey and being allowed on later trains with advance tickets if something goes wrong. That is not what is being discussed here. If the connection had been missed then the OP would probably have gone to the ticket office at Peterborough and not had any problems (apart from being later than desired). However, is there anything that says you must not get on an earlier train to continue a walk up journey if it happens to be possible to make the connection? I think not.

My reading is that the OP was perfectly entitled to attempt the journey, and as has been described, Kings Cross was the first opportunity to pay for the second part.
 

Clip

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Why not; the Evening Standard advises just this, and on whose behalf are you speaking for when you use the pronoun "we"?
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/10-ways-to-avoid-penalty-fares-on-trains-6762684.html

Ah hthe old ES article which has been debunked many times on here.

And I'd advise anyone not to take your advice and I speak as someone who works in the industry.

Unless of course you are willing to pay their court costs when it goes wrong?

Cant believe you would believe media rather then people who work in the industry... Even most enthusiasts have more knowledge then the bloody media.



If the OP reads this then please dont not under any circumstances not pay anything, that way leads trouble. Take the advice from DaveNewcastle.
 
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jkdd77

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Ah hthe old ES article which has been debunked many times on here.

And I'd advise anyone not to take your advice and I speak as someone who works in the industry.

Unless of course you are willing to pay their court costs when it goes wrong?

Cant believe you would believe media rather then people who work in the industry... Even most enthusiasts have more knowledge then the bloody media.

If the OP reads this then please dont not under any circumstances not pay anything, that way leads trouble. Take the advice from DaveNewcastle.

The OP and companions have apparently already paid the full Single fare for the journey in "part payment of the PF", and RPIs on this forum and elsewhere have said that there is no possibility of prosecution in these circumstances, and minimal possibility of being pursued civilly, particularly when there may be an arguable case that the PF was not validly issued.

Are you accusing RPI and Stigy of posting false advice in the other thread at:
http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=69065, and, if so, on what grounds do you claim that their advice is incorrect?

The "strategy" promoted by the Evening Standard to avoid paying PFs (which I do not advocate or endorse), can, of course be easily thwarted, since RPIs are never under any obligation to offer a PF (and may instead report for prosecution), and, if a PF is indeed offered, are under no obligation to accept part payment (and, if a nil-paid or underpaid PF, as defined here as less than the Anytime Single, can then cancel and prosecute for non-payment).

Having said that, in this specific circumstance, I too would not advice an "ignore" strategy, certainly not at this stage; indeed, there may well be grounds for the OP to get the PF cancelled claim a partial refund of the money already paid, being the difference between the correct fare* and the higher fare actually paid).

*Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the PF was incorrectly issued and that the OP was entitled under all the circumstances to pay a lower fare, which is not entirely clear.
 
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Solent&Wessex

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I suggest a defence is possible using the Byelaw conditions that you were unable to purchase a ticket for your full journey either at your starting station as it was unstaffed, or on board the first train as the staff were incompetent and didn't know how to sell the required tickets. There is no requirement to waste time at an interchange station buying tickets - the ruling, as I have always seen it, applies to where you started your journey, which in this case was Oakham which was unstaffed. The length of the connection time is, in this case, irrelevant.

As an aside, when they phone up the revenue staff phone a company called Revenue Protection Support Services, who are basically a debt collection agency. They are able to verify name and address details based on the electoral roll, mobile and land line phone numbers, previous incidents, debts, and a host of other records that various bodies might hold about you. The revenue staff who phone up are registered under the data protection act as a registered user. Each caller has to use a unique login to access the service, and each call is logged and the details required, and provided, are recorded.
 

Jonuk7

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As an aside, when they phone up the revenue staff phone a company called Revenue Protection Support Services, who are basically a debt collection agency. They are able to verify name and address details based on the electoral roll, mobile and land line phone numbers, previous incidents, debts, and a host of other records that various bodies might hold about you. The revenue staff who phone up are registered under the data protection act as a registered user. Each caller has to use a unique login to access the service, and each call is logged and the details required, and provided, are recorded.

Thanks for that just wondered as as quick as I'd written my name and address down they rang up to check it was "real" worryingly though asked for no ID which I'd of thought they should as I know a lot of friends name and addresses never would I do that but I could of written any down
 

Clip

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The OP and companions have apparently already paid the full Single fare for the journey in "part payment of the PF", and RPIs on this forum and elsewhere have said that there is no possibility of prosecution in these circumstances, and minimal possibility of being pursued civilly, particularly when there may be an arguable case that the PF was not validly issued.

Are you accusing RPI and Stigy of posting false advice in the other thread at:
http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=69065, and, if so, on what grounds do you claim that their advice is incorrect?

The "strategy" promoted by the Evening Standard to avoid paying PFs (which I do not advocate or endorse), can, of course be easily thwarted, since RPIs are never under any obligation to offer a PF (and may instead report for prosecution), and, if a PF is indeed offered, are under no obligation to accept part payment (and, if a nil-paid or underpaid PF, as defined here as less than the Anytime Single, can then cancel and prosecute for non-payment).

Having said that, in this specific circumstance, I too would not advice an "ignore" strategy, certainly not at this stage; indeed, there may well be grounds for the OP to get the PF cancelled claim a partial refund of the money already paid, being the difference between the correct fare* and the higher fare actually paid).

*Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the PF was incorrectly issued and that the OP was entitled under all the circumstances to pay a lower fare, which is not entirely clear.

Neither of whom work for FCC and neither of whom gave any advice as to not pay the balance given - RPI menioned why they have been told not to do part payment PFs and Stigy clarifying a point made by RJ. The advice that you said they could do.

Which is not very good advice and given how keen FCC are at taking money from people then if the appeal fails then I see no reason why they would not persue the outstanding balance in a civil court - though im yet to hear of them doing so does not mean they wont start to set a precedent.
 
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