Is this a common Scotrail scam?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by bAzTNM, 17 Nov 2011.

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  1. bAzTNM

    bAzTNM Member

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    Right, I've noticed a guy, every morning, trying to pay a small fare with a £20 note. I always hear the examiner say "I can't change that! You'll need to buy one at the station" and walks off. Thing is, is that he gets off at Yoker, which has no ticket selling facilities. He does it everyday. Clockwork and with different examiners.

    Is this a common scam throughout the railways? Thanks!
     
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  3. district

    district Member

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    My gut feeling says that if he's doing it everyday then he's doing it fraudulently. Tell the BTP what is happening - 0800 40 50 40 - they may be able to speak to him or to take some action. If he is legit then the BTP will be able to ascertain that as well.
     
  4. sonic2009

    sonic2009 Established Member

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    maybe not a scam, but a way of travelling free every day. i cannot see why the examiner cannot change a £20 note, but yes id agree with district speak to BTP
     
  5. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    Yes, it is! :roll: One of the more opportunistic methods, but one that will often work. If this guy is always on the same trains travelling the same route, I'd suggest having a discreet word with the Guard/Ticket Examiner next time, and point him out. Mention that he does the same thing every time, and they will be able to make a report to their revenue protection department who can then investigate and take appropriate action.
     
  6. route:oxford

    route:oxford On Moderation

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    Isn't this a difficult one?

    Scotrail withdrew the ability to pay in cash at ticket machines and permits payment of fares in cash on the train.

    £20.00 isn't a large note to give change for are you sure it wasn't a £50 or £100?

    Or course, a company doesn't need to give change...
     
  7. bAzTNM

    bAzTNM Member

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    It could have been a £50. As you said, I'd expect them to be able to handle a twenty note.
     
  8. glenbogle

    glenbogle Member

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    Scotrail guards get a £40 float so should be able to change it, the guy knows what he is doing and should be buying a season ticket.I guess he does it on way back too.
     
  9. district

    district Member

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    I'm glad you all agree.
    I really think you should go to the BTP and explain what is going on, give a description.
     
  10. Solent&Wessex

    Solent&Wessex Established Member

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    You can't always change a £20 note. We get a £50 float, but we have one morning train where people religiously pay their £4.30 fare with a £20 note. 2 or 3 of them, giving £15.70 change each time and before you know it you have a pocket with a few £20 notes in, and not a lot else.

     
  11. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    If he is doing it on a requent basis then he is clearly doing it deliberately, and the OP states that the offending passenger is regularly told by the on board staff that they cannot change the note.

    It is a tough one, as tendering a note of any size is of course perfectly legitimate, it is up to the company and their representatives to accept or not accept the payment. However, I would imagine that SR have a penalty fares zone in force in this area, with a requirement to buy before boarding? If they don't then you may as well just leave it. But if they do then he can be dealt with.

    If the Guard/ATE has only a £40 float then it is not unreasonable to decline a £20 note. It may well leave them with no change and unable to serve the rest of the passengers.
     
  12. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    If you do report it to BTP it would be interesting to hear what they say/do.

    This person is seemingly offering legal tender to pay for a ticket which they are unable to buy before boarding as the joining station (where, by the way ?) is unstaffed and either has no TVM or it won't accept cash. As Yoker is unstaffed and has no TVM he cannot buy a ticket there even if he wanted to.

    Certainly it sounds like a well rehearsed scam but, if he is offering money and Scotrail won't accept it, is it actually an offence ?


    No chance. Most stations are unstaffed with no ticket issuing facilities of any sort.
     
    Last edited: 17 Nov 2011
  13. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I can't see any offence here, but a letter to Scotrail could see a larger float issued on the specific trains that are affected, maybe, so worth a try. It's then up to them.

    Perhaps a passenger could helpfully offer change? ;)
     
  14. headshot119

    headshot119 Established Member

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    I don't really see what reporting it will do. The person is offering to pay for the ticket it's the member of staff who isn't accepting the payment.
     
  15. Mystic Force

    Mystic Force Member

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    Take 20 quids worth of change with you and offer it to the guard. I believr there is some strange rule about notes only being legal tender when the item is at least 10% of the value of the proffered note. Similarly there is an upper limit for legal tender for the use of coins I think it is 5 pounds for pennies.
     
  16. route:oxford

    route:oxford On Moderation

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    You can be absolutely confident, if he is offering a banknote, that he isn't offering legal tender.

    But that's could take this thread onto a completely different tangent. :D
     
  17. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    Good point :D
     
  18. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  19. Barn

    Barn Established Member

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    My dad told me a story of when buses had conductors. My dad's mate was one. A guy was trying the same trick. One day my dad's mate got so tired he brought in a glass jar containing the precise change in pennies. He told the guy he could keep the jar once he'd spent them all.

     
  20. lyesbkz

    lyesbkz Member

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    I'm afraid I agree here, as much as it sounds like a 'scam' the passenger isn't technically doing anything wrong, they have every right to pay with a £20 note and if the TOC cannot offer change for that then an idea would be to start carrying a bit more change, even if it's just enough to cover this guy alone.

    The passenger is clearly abusing this, however that doesn't mean they should be prevented from travelling because they only have a £20.
     
  21. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    I agree that the passenger doe snot seem to be committing any offence. They are offering to buy a ticket, but their chosen emthod of payment is being refused. The onus is on Scotrail here I think, after all, £20 is hardly a large or unusual note these days.
     
  22. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird Established Member

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    I don't see the problem.
    The person has means to pay for the fare.
    The guard does not accept it.
    The person has done nothing wrong.
    £20 really isn't that much to pay for something with. It it was a £50 I could understand.
     
  23. richw

    richw Established Member

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    20 pence is maximum you can legally pay in copper, £5 in 5/10p £10 in 20p/50p and £20 in £1 coins.

    Back to topic could the guards not be able to issue a credit note like they do on buses that you have to go to a manned station to exchange for cash?
     
  24. Urban Gateline

    Urban Gateline Established Member

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    Either that or a UFN, so long as the persons details are checked, then the money from the fare can most likely still be recovered.
     
  25. CarterUSM

    CarterUSM Established Member

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    If the TE's on the line haven't picked up on him by now, they are either daft or they don't care. I couldn't care less what denomination of note I am offered for payment myself, they'll get change if i've got it, or I won't take it otherwise. You do get to know passengers who commonly offer £20 notes and above, so you can plan accordingly if you want to. He might well be taking the p**s a little, but he's not really doing nowt wrong.
     
  26. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    I can't see any offence here either. If Scotrail really want the money they should give their staff a bigger float.

    Just wondering actually - maybe the unions push for a smaller float in the interests of staff safety? There are parts of Scotland I wouldn't want to be working alone with fifty quid on me...
     
  27. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

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    What is the legal situation if there is no opportunity to pay at any point on a journey? Presumably the passenger is still required to pay for the travel, although realistically it wouldn't be enforced or expected.

    I agree that whilst he appears to be abusing the system, £20 should be accepted and if he's offering payment then it would be hard to prove any intent to avoid the fare.
     
  28. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    Of course INAL, but at a guess, I'd say that IF evidence could be collected that someone repeatedly - ie every day or every week for an extended period - turned up with a large note and was thus unable to buy a ticket, and that the same person never had any other form of payment (coins, smaller notes, cards), then a prosecutor might be able to prove intent? That would require quite a lot of evidence gathering though I would have thought.
     
  29. martinsh

    martinsh Established Member

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    more effort than is required for the guard to make sure he has change for a £20 note !

    If he does this every day, and the guard changes it every day, then I wonder how long it will be before he runs out of #£20 notes ?!
     
  30. Daz28

    Daz28 Member

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    Nothing to stop Scotrail providing a lockable cash box in the cab.

    If the passenger is asking for a ticket to an unmanned station, then surely the guard should issue a UPFN?
     
  31. route:oxford

    route:oxford On Moderation

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    Unlimited value in £1 coins, £2 coins and Crowns.

    My local bus companies give a credit note that can be cashed in at their local depot if they are unable to give change.
     
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