Has anyone ever been "done" for not signing their railcard?

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Recently got a new Senior Railcard. Used it earlier this week but have just realised I never got round to signing it on the reverse. So technically it wasn't valid.......

Has anyone ever been "done" for not signing their card? In mitigation, could I have said that when I presented it at the ticket window, the staff member accepted it as valid by selling me a discounted ticket, even though it wasn't signed?

Just wondering.....
 
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tom73

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I have heard it is more of an ID thing as the Senior Railcard does not require any photocard. If a Revenue Inspector doubts your eligibility for the card (youthful appearance possibly) he turns the card over, looks at the signature and holds onto the card as he/she asks you for a signature to compare it with the one on the back of the card.
 

Master29

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The first time I had a 3 year railcard I never signed it and used it regularly but it was never pulled up on once. I've never known of any cases but the law of averages ….Unless it's not a policy TOC's (depending on which one of course) choose to enforce.
 

bramling

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Recently got a new Senior Railcard. Used it earlier this week but have just realised I never got round to signing it on the reverse. So technically it wasn't valid.......

Has anyone ever been "done" for not signing their card? In mitigation, could I have said that when I presented it at the ticket window, the staff member accepted it as valid by selling me a discounted ticket, even though it wasn't signed?

Just wondering.....
Not sure about being done for it, but I bet there’s staff out there who will make a thing of it.

A friend of mine was recently asked to show his PRIV by a Scotrail guard. The PRIv was duly shown, along with an acidic comment about 49 years working on the railway!
 

Busaholic

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You'd be amazed how many credit/debit cards remain unsigned these days, as many people seem to assume the cards are no longer subject to inspection. As a retailer whose card machine required me to take the card and put it into the machine, as long as the correct PIN was entered and the purchase got authorised I didn't quibble, but it's unwise to disregard the requirement to sign.
 

Bletchleyite

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You'd be amazed how many credit/debit cards remain unsigned these days, as many people seem to assume the cards are no longer subject to inspection. As a retailer whose card machine required me to take the card and put it into the machine, as long as the correct PIN was entered and the purchase got authorised I didn't quibble, but it's unwise to disregard the requirement to sign.
I've heard of people writing CHIP AND PIN ONLY across the signature strip, which is an interesting option.
 

Haywain

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A friend of mine was recently asked to show his PRIV by a Scotrail guard. The PRIv was duly shown, along with an acidic comment about 49 years working on the railway!
Why does 49 years working on the railway remove the need to show a priv card?
 

Fawkes Cat

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Why does 49 years working on the railway remove the need to show a priv card?
Because, clearly, after a while you begin to look like someone who works on the railway.

Where this breaks down is that the look of a railwayman doesn't actually fade with time: I worked for BR for five or six years, finishing rather more than twenty years ago. And normals still stop me on platforms to ask about the next train.

Rather less flippantly, it may be because I manage to avoid the look of mild panic that many occasional travellers have.
 

NSVX

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Quite an interesting question you pose here.

In British and international law as many of us now, the power of a signature can indeed not just be considered contractually binding, but also legally so too. As you are purchasing a ticket from the TOC, you are effectively entering into a contract with the company until the completion of the journey. These mainly includes things such as when you are entitled to travel, and with how many people etc, but by using the senior railcard you mention, you are also effectively entering into a contract saying you will use it only when valid, for example you won't continue to use it if you no longer are eligible etc.

By not signing the railcard, you are effectively saying the card is not contractually binding for you nor the company, so therefore the TOC does not have to abide by the discount it entitles you too. In short this means you could be charged again for the journey you made whilst applying the railcard discount, but I view this as extremely unlikely!

The bud of all of this is - If you don't sign it, you would be fine, and if the inspector saw it was unsigned they might even give you a pen to sign it with there and then. But the moral is, just sign your documents when needed, only after reading them thoroughly of course!

Hope this helps
 

MikeWh

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but by using the senior railcard you mention, you are also effectively entering into a contract saying you will use it only when valid, for example you won't continue to use it if you no longer are eligible etc.
Not quite sure how you cease to be eligible for a senior railcard.
 

30907

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I've heard of people writing CHIP AND PIN ONLY across the signature strip, which is an interesting option.
It will probably be fine until you try to use it in a country where Chip and PIN is not universal - I have been asked within the last year or so, probably in Germany.
 

djw

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In British and international law as many of us now, the power of a signature can indeed not just be considered contractually binding, but also legally so too. As you are purchasing a ticket from the TOC, you are effectively entering into a contract with the company until the completion of the journey.
The legal basis of travel on the railway is contractual. As well as the contract, there are also various statutory rights and responsibilities for users of the railway.

There is no 'effectively entering into a contract' - when you ask to purchase a ticket and the ticketing provider sells you that ticket you are entering into a contract subject to the terms and conditions found in the National Rail Conditions of Travel as well as terms implied into that contract by consumer law.


These mainly includes things such as when you are entitled to travel, and with how many people etc, but by using the senior railcard you mention, you are also effectively entering into a contract saying you will use it only when valid, for example you won't continue to use it if you no longer are eligible etc.

By not signing the railcard, you are effectively saying the card is not contractually binding for you nor the company, so therefore the TOC does not have to abide by the discount it entitles you too. In short this means you could be charged again for the journey you made whilst applying the railcard discount, but I view this as extremely unlikely!
As my contract law tutor at university would have said, "when did the contract crystallise?". A contract needs offer, acceptance, consideration and intention to create legal relations; when all four are in place the contract crystallises and comes into effect. When a customer asks to buy a railcard (offer) and offers to pay the fee in return for the railcard (consideration), intending to be bound by the terms of the railcard (intention to create legal relations), then the Railcard provider agrees to sell the railcard for that fee (agreement) then the contract crystallises at that time - not at a later time when the railcard is signed.

Paragraph 2.1 of the Senior Railcard Terms & Conditions says that a physical Senior Railcard is invalid until signed, and paragraph 2.8.1 says that a physical Senior Railcard must be signed when shown to a member of staff along with a railcard discounted ticket. Failure to show a signed railcard can result in you being charged full fare and, when relevant, a Penalty Fare (paragraph 2.9).

It is open to debate whether sufficient prominence is given to these terms for them to be incorporated into the contract and therefore binding on the Railcard holder (as required by Thornton v Shoe Lane Parking Ltd [1970] EWCA Civ 2, [1971] 2 QB 163) and whether these terms are open to attack for unfairness using section 62 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Such attacks based on contract law might be inadequate because they cannot change the obligations on the passenger and remedies available to the rail company under the byelaws and criminal law, the existence of which could leave a Railcard holder needing to mount a challenge to the validity of these terms in the civil courts in order to have a defence in a prosecution in the criminal courts. Rather than getting yourself embroiled in all this complexity, the simplest answer is "just sign your Railcard and don't take a chance".

A member of staff being handed an unsigned Railcard may well hand it back and ask the holder to sign it - but they could treat the matter as ticketless travel and it might take a lengthy legal battle to try to overturn the terms invalidating an unsigned Railcard.
 

plugwash

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I can think of a merchant in the UK (no I won't name them, I don't want to send fraudsters to their door) that last time I went there (which may be a few years ago) was not using chip and pin, they didn't seem to be making much effort to check signatures either.......
 

bramling

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Why does 49 years working on the railway remove the need to show a priv card?
With PRIV tickets only being readily available via a booking office or on-train staff I'd say it's implying something nefarious is going on (e.g. tickets bought by one person and then passed on to someone else). I can well understand someone finding that mildly insulting.
 

MikeWh

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Since they have an expiry date on them, Mike. That's how
Sorry for being pedantic, but the railcard expiring doesn't mean the holder isn't eligible for a new one. Obviously you can cease to be eligible for 16-25 and 26-30 railcards, but senior? Other than the morbid reason quoted upthread.
 

NSVX

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Sorry for being pedantic, but the railcard expiring doesn't mean the holder isn't eligible for a new one. Obviously you can cease to be eligible for 16-25 and 26-30 railcards, but senior? Other than the morbid reason quoted upthread.
For example if you move country you are no longer a resident of the United Kingdom making you ineligible for a Railcard. With due respect it's also a niche situation, sorry for confusion!
 

MikeWh

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For example if you move country you are no longer a resident of the United Kingdom making you ineligible for a Railcard. With due respect it's also a niche situation, sorry for confusion!
Who says you have to be resident in the UK to hold a senior railcard?
 

Haywain

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With PRIV tickets only being readily available via a booking office or on-train staff I'd say it's implying something nefarious is going on (e.g. tickets bought by one person and then passed on to someone else). I can well understand someone finding that mildly insulting.
It is a requirement (albeit not always enforced) to show your priv card with your ticket when travelling as well as showing it when purchasing. Why anyone should feel even slightly miffed at being asked to show it is beyond me. It isn't just rail staff using them, there are many thousands of spouses, partners, dependants and retired staff also using priv cards and it is an absolute certainty that not all of them are 100% honest.
 

rg177

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I've been asked once ever to show my signature on the back of my railcard.

Why, I don't know, as I don't know what it proves unless I pulled out my bank cards for comparison, other than that I've done it.

I suspect the conductor was either bored or new to the job and following the rules very rigidly.
 

gray1404

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There is no requirement for a passenger to show anything else with their signature on, any other ID or provide a sample signature. Just the railcard and any photo card issued with it.

My first ever railcard I purchased from a booking office I was not asked to sign it. I used it for 6 months before I was pulled up on the train for it. The conducter said he'd need to withdraw it. I explained I wasn't asked to sign it when buying it and my Mum, who was with me at the time of purchase and on the train confirmed this. I was then asked to sign it and that was the end of the matter.
 

LowLevel

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With PRIV tickets only being readily available via a booking office or on-train staff I'd say it's implying something nefarious is going on (e.g. tickets bought by one person and then passed on to someone else). I can well understand someone finding that mildly insulting.
Your foolish friend should know better than to put an inspector in the position of having to ask with his 49 years service. Keep the ticket with the pass, wave them together, everyone gets to move on with their day.

I have a whole repertoire of responses to deploy on people who are too lazy to show a pass, railcard or anything else.
 

bramling

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Your foolish friend should know better than to put an inspector in the position of having to ask with his 49 years service. Keep the ticket with the pass, wave them together, everyone gets to move on with their day.

I have a whole repertoire of responses to deploy on people who are too lazy to show a pass, railcard or anything else.
Personally I would as I keep them together. However in all honesty I do think it's a bit over-officious to be making a point of asking, as it does imply there's something nefarious going on.
 

bramling

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Sometimes, there is.
Out of interest, how much of this happens in reality?

I'd imagine the most common is people using a PRIV to buy a daily ticket and then using it to travel to work, which from what I see round here isn't something anyone is too bothered about (not as far as active staff go at any rate, perhaps not the case with dependents). Aside from that, barring genuine mistakes like using an expired PRIV, the only obvious thing I can think of is using a PRIV at the booking office and then handing the tickets to someone else to use - surely no staff would be daft enough to do that?
 
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