Letter for intended prosecution from GWR

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london4u

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Hi All,
I need your help and advice. Please excuse any typos in my post. I have received a letter from GWR that I did not pay the UPFN within 21 days therefore I now have 14 days to pay it along with £50 admin fee. The thing is I was not aware of the UPFN and the 21 days period to appeal etc. I am new to this country and the background is as follows:
I purchased a ticket online through my GWR account on March 2016 for the value of £71.20. My Company’s head office is in Bristol and I travel to Bristol occasionally for meetings and I travel back the same day. I always buy open return ticket as it gives me the flexibility to catch any return train after I finish my meetings. Because this is a business travel and the company reimburses my expense after I collect the ticket from the ticket machine, while waiting for the train I normally tend to put in my expense claim for travel and then I take a picture of the receipt (train ticket and oyster card top up) and upload it on the system. After that since I have put in my claim I normally throw away the receipts (train ticket and oyster card top up) and only keep the train ticket for my travel.

On that particular day while waiting for the 9:00am service from London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads I put in my claim and then instead of throwing away the receipt I accidentally threw away the tickets. I was not aware of this (i.e. that I had thrown away the actual tickets instead of the receipts) until I reached Bristol Temple Station and when I reached the barricades I took out my wallet to take out the ticket to go through it but I could not find it however, I found the receipt. This is when I realised that I had accidentally thrown away the ticket. I went to the GWR staff and explained the situation the person asked me to show him the receipt and the email confirming I bought the ticket online. I showed it to him and he said he was satisfied that I had actually bought the ticket. He then told me that “they will let you out here but when you go back to London you might face an issue”. He then said “I will issue you a ticket and on that I write it that you had lost your ticket. Just show it when you exit at London and they will let you out”.
Now I was not made aware by the person who issued the ticket that it was an unpaid fare notice and that I need to appeal against it. He told “everything was ok just show this ticket and they will let you out at London”. I was in a rush as I was getting late for meeting so I took the ticket and signed as requested as I thought there was nothing else to it.
22 days after the incident I received a letter from GWR of their intention to prosecute if I did not pay within 14 days £121.20 letter. I straight away called the number and explained my case the person asked ot put hti sin writing adn send in any supporting evidence. I did that and I attached the following documents:
1. Print out from GWR online account confirming purchase of ticket
2. Print outs from GWR online account showing summary of other tickets purchased for my business travel to Bristol Temple Meads
3. Print out from the company’s expense claim system that the expense for the train ticket was submitted on the system on the said date
4. Print of the picture of the ticket receipt that was uploaded on the company’s expense claim system

I called them again to confirm if they received my letter explaining the situation along with the proof of documents I sent across. Initially they said they did not but when I mentioned the time of signature and who signed it they confirmed they have received the letter.

Now when I read different forums and the fact that it is strict liability law etc. I believe I have to pay and even though I paid for the ticket there is no point in appealing. My only worry is, what if GWR replies to me after 14 days will they then go ahead with prosecution? I mean I do not want any criminal record and just to avoid the headache would pay the money. But since I have sent a letter as asked by them along with proof I thought it is better to wait for them to reply.

Please advise
 
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timbo58

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OK, quite clearly the advice given to you by the staff at Bristol Temple Meads was very, very incorrect IMHO.

A receipt is not a ticket, it may prove you purchased a ticket but does not allow travel since someone else could have used the tickets purchased.

The UPFN issued is, to all intents & purposes, an invoice, it is permitted to be issued only for a journey being made or one that has been made and most certainly not for your return journey, it should have been for the full undiscounted single fare only.

I thought the open return fare from Paddington -Bristol TM was £198?
I'm guessing it's an off peak day return or some such?

The offer of £71.20 plus £50 in costs is odd as I would have expected a full open return plus costs to be charged £248 as the offer, but it's entirely up to the Revenue protection department what they offer to you as a settlement they will accept.

The offer can be turned down by you -you don't have to accept it.
A prosecution would be likely to be successful however but it isn't in a train operators best interests to unnecessarily prosecute.

Personally I would wait to see what they come back with after seeing your 'evidence' they don't have to accept any of it of course and may simply be checking whether you are already on their records for anything else before deciding what to do.

If you're squeaky clean and they believe this is a genuine error they may drop any report for prosecution, but I'd doubt the 14 days they gave you is still in place since you've started talking to them now.

Wait for their reply and keep your fingers crossed.
 

london4u

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Thanks Timbo58 for your advise First of let me apologise for all the typo errors I am not good with technology.:)

I never encountered such a case before so I have no previous records of travelling without ticket. If you catch the 8:30am or later service the open return ticket fare is £71.20. I normally catch the 9:00am service. That is also the amount I paid to buy the ticket online. The guy who issued the UPFN saw the confirmation email and looking at the amount I paid online he put the same amount on the UPFN.
The 9:00am service normally goes from platform 9 where there are no barricades. This is another reason I did not realise in time that I threw away the ticket by mistake. If there were barricades then I would have realised and would have acted accordingly.

I hope GWR will take into consideration all the evidence and waive off the cost and admin fee. If they don't then hard luck I will pay the money they are asking for. I just don't want any prosecution, the thought of criminal record is so scary that it makes me really stressed and nervousness. It can impact you job prospects, your travel to other countries.
 

najaB

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Please advise
I'm not calling you a liar, but I wonder if it's possible that you misunderstood what you were told in Bristol as I would expect that anyone who can issue an unpaid fare notice would know enough to advise you what needs to be done with it.

With regards to what happens next, you can either pay the £121.20 and put it down to experience (write a letter to customer services if you feel that you were misunderstood), or you can reject the offer and face a possible prosecution.
 

ValleyLines142

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The 9:00am service normally goes from platform 9 where there are no barricades. This is another reason I did not realise in time that I threw away the ticket by mistake. If there were barricades then I would have realised and would have acted accordingly.

I'm not quite sure how this is relevant, because the barriers to access the platforms open out onto platform 3, and then all the other platforms are accessed from the staircase next to the Uppercrust outlet. None of the platforms have individual barriers.

When you got the barriers, did you then realise you didn't have your tickets and then go to the ticket office, which in this case would then be behind you?
 

StarCrossing

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I'm not quite sure how this is relevant, because the barriers to access the platforms open out onto platform 3, and then all the other platforms are accessed from the staircase next to the Uppercrust outlet. None of the platforms have individual barriers.

When you got the barriers, did you then realise you didn't have your tickets and then go to the ticket office, which in this case would then be behind you?

I believe he/she is referring to the start of their journey at Paddington.
 

clagmonster

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I'm not quite sure how this is relevant, because the barriers to access the platforms open out onto platform 3, and then all the other platforms are accessed from the staircase next to the Uppercrust outlet. None of the platforms have individual barriers.

When you got the barriers, did you then realise you didn't have your tickets and then go to the ticket office, which in this case would then be behind you?
I think he means the train departed from platform 9 at Paddington, which is unbarriered.
 

ValleyLines142

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I think he means the train departed from platform 9 at Paddington, which is unbarriered.

Apologies, when I read it I thought it was Bristol to London. The confusing situation being that Bristol to London services both depart in each direction at the same time!
 

DaveNewcastle

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. . . it's possible that you misunderstood what you were told in Bristol . . .
I'm strongly inclined to think that there is a misunderstanding at the root of this, somehwere, but I'm struggling to work out where it occured.

OK, quite clearly the advice given to you by the staff at Bristol Temple Meads was very, very incorrect IMHO.
It's clear to me that something is incorrect, but I don't feel able to be as sure as you that the remarks by the barrier staff at Temple Meads is the explanation for all the confusion - in fact I struggle to accept that anyone who is authorised and physically able to issue UPFNs would fail to mention that there is a debt to be paid.

I'm confused.

But it still remains possible that by having a constructive dialogue with the Company that a resolution can't be reached. even if the source of the confusion remains unclear.
 
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london4u

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Hi All,
My reference to platform 9 was for the start of my Journey at Paddington. I certainly do not like to blame anyone but the guy who issued the UPFN did not tell me clearly it was a debt and I need to pay or appeal. Else I would have read the UPFN more carefully. Now I have eye condition and I can't read the letter as small as on the UPFN without wearing my hard contact lenses. I was not wearing those that day else I would have read it.

Had the person who gave me the UPFN told me that I need to appeal or pay I am sure I would have read it when I reached home or would have asked someone to read it for me. I don't take such things lightly and would never let even 21 days go by without speaking to GWR and writing to them explaining the situation.

I have sent the letter and I am hoping they will consider it and if they still want me to pay then so be it. I will pay and put it down to experience.

My only concern is the 14 days time period. 8th March was the date of the incident so 21 days from 8th March is 29th March. I received a letter on 31st March (which was dated 30th March) asking to pay the £71.20 plus £50 admin fees within 14 days of the date of the letter. So I have till 13th April to pay.
Now the worry is I have sent them a letter with all the evidence etc, what if they take time and don't write back to me till 13th April will that mean my deadline to pay is over and therefore they will take it to prosecution or does the clock stops as soon as they received the letter from me which was on 4th April
 

ian959

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Now the worry is I have sent them a letter with all the evidence etc, what if they take time and don't write back to me till 13th April will that mean my deadline to pay is over and therefore they will take it to prosecution or does the clock stops as soon as they received the letter from me which was on 4th April

The clock does not stop.

You are probably best advised to pay the amount they ask before 13th April to avoid further problems. If they agree with your letter, it should be refunded. If they don't, you should escalate the matter to a complaint to customer services.
 

najaB

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I have sent the letter and I am hoping they will consider it and if they still want me to pay then so be it. I will pay and put it down to experience.
I'm struggling to see what grounds there could possibly be to rescind the UPFN - you threw away your ticket, hence a new one was required.

It would have been different if had forgotten your ticket and were able to present it, unused and unmarked.
 

island

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Payment of a UPFN is required independently of any appeal you may choose to make and will be refunded in the event the appeal is successful.
 
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