Northern Rail debt letter

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by thesjd, 9 May 2015.

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  1. thesjd

    thesjd Member

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    Hi all,

    I travelled from Crewe to Wilmslow on a VT last month without a ticket. I travelled ticketless because of a human error on my part due to nerves of attending a job interview - I simply forgot as I was more focused about getting there on time.

    I attempted to pay at Wilmslow but the ticket machine was not issuing tickets because of insufficient change. I approached a Northern Rail RPI officer (who was their as part of a revenue sting) for assistance in purchasing a ticket and began to write details down in his black book. He said he was issuing me with a FTP notice and I would have to pay the fare I owed and possibly an admin charge.

    Fast forward a month and I've been issued a letter asking for explanations to my actions as they begin to investigate the alleged offence.

    My question to this forum is how much trouble I am likely to get in? Obviously I don't want to appear in court etc. and what is the best manner to respond - I am happy to pay the fare and the admin fee as described on their website. I just want this to go away!

    I have now began travelling to Wilmslow regularly (I got the job!) and have purchased a weekly season ticket. I have also spoke to the RPIs at Wilmslow and they have been really cooperative to my questions and told me now to worry about it so much but also that the RPI should have given me a receipt after stopping me.

    What are everyone's thoughts?

    Thanks
     
  2. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I would send them a cheque with the correct fare and the explanation you've given here.

    They might simply accept that.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Yes, because depending on what you say they may decide to ask you for an admin fee, or they may decide to prosecute you.

    Obviously you mustn't send cash in the post, but I don't see any harm in sending a cheque - if they're overloaded with cases it offers them a quick resolution. Maybe.

    Right now, the debt remains, and I'd be wanting to clear it as soon as possible.
     
  3. thesjd

    thesjd Member

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    The letter says not to send any payment to them.
     
  4. thesjd

    thesjd Member

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    Percentage wise, what is the likelihood I will be prosecuted for a criminal offence?
     
  5. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Given that it's Northern Rail, it is much more likely (say 85%) that they will go down the financial penalty route.
     
  6. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Does it make any different that travel was with VT and NOT Northern?
     
  7. 221129

    221129 Established Member

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    No. Only if it was a Penalty Fare, but this is not.
     
  8. cjmillsnun

    cjmillsnun Established Member

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    Nope. The employer of the RPI is responsible.
     
  9. thesjd

    thesjd Member

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    Hi all,

    Thanks for your thoughts on this. I just need calming down and told that it won't be as bad as I think it will be!

    I have written back saying what I believed had happened, why it happened, said what measures I have taken to make sure it doesn't happen again, apologised and offered to pay the £7.60 fare with any admin fees that have occurred, described on their website.

    What is your viewpoint of this?
     
  10. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    so even though a customer does not actually travel on a Northern service, they can still end up having to pay costs to them. That's really bad!
     
  11. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    This only happens where the two TOCs concerned have made an agreement to cross-provide revenue protection services. So it's not like Northern are making a raid on Virgin customers.
     
  12. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    They'll accept that offer, I'm fairly sure. Their standard 'admin fee' (to keep the matter out of court) is £80, and they may not necessarily have asked you to pay it, but if you're offering....!
    No. I doubt Virgin will see any of this money, it'll all be Northern's for the taking, which may seem odd, but we can confirm the rules really do allow for this (!)
     
  13. CockneySparrow

    CockneySparrow Established Member

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    Someone will perhaps correct me but I think they cant do nothing about it, simple reason is that you didn't travel on their train, I was in the same situation a few years ago and got stung by FCC when I got off a GA train, in my response letter I highlighted it and got away with it although I did pay the fare when challenged

    At the end of the day what are they going to sue you for? When you sue someone you sue them for loss but as Northern haven't lost anything such as revenue it will be difficult
     
    Last edited: 11 May 2015
  14. island

    island Established Member

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    This is bad advice.

    Any court case arising from this incident will be a criminal one for the criminal offence of entering into a railway vehicle without having a valid ticket (or a related offence). Criminal offences can be (and in the general case, usually are) prosecuted by someone who is not the "victim".
     
  15. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    They can simply forgo a civil action and launch a Byelaws prosecution which will be successful. Please don't give this advice again.
     
  16. thesjd

    thesjd Member

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    Are you saying that they will prosecute me?
     
  17. Greenback

    Greenback Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    No, simply that they can prosecute but are very unlikely to, as long as you don't take the advice offered up by CockneySparrow, which could result in Northern deciding to throw the book at you.
     
  18. cjmillsnun

    cjmillsnun Established Member

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    As other have said, very poor advice.

    For one, Northern may well get a cut of the ticket revenue because of the way that the fares are set.

    As well as the thing that others have said. They will go straight for a slam dunk Byelaw prosecution if you pursue this route.
     
  19. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Sorry but they can. I know it seems odd but legislation does allow them to do this.

    As for your case, there are many reasons why they may have dropped the matter, and as you did pay the fare they were quite possibly busy dealing with other cases where people were refusing to pay and happy simply to accept the fare (they could have had a large workload at the time).

    Feel free to post the details in a new thread to discuss further.
    They can prosecute under the Railway Byelaws.
     
  20. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Yes, the specific legislation applying to the railways is intended to create Offences which are prosecuted by the Railway Companies OR the CPS (for the state). That is true of both the statutory legislation and the Railway Byelaws (though if would be unusual for the state to prosecute a Byelaw Offence if they hadn't been invited to do so by the body creating the Byelaw and with good reason).

    But it's worth remembering that a citizen or corporate body can instigate a 'private prosecution' of a criminal offence, a right which is explicitly set out in Section 6 of the 1985 Prosecution of Offences Act.
     
    Last edited: 11 May 2015
  21. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    Actually the advice is correct if you read it-

    "they cant do nothing"

    Which means they can do something!
    Of course if CS had written "they cant do anything" or "they can do nothing" then that would have been bad advice! ;)
     
  22. PermitToTravel

    PermitToTravel Established Member

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    I always think it's incredibly ironic to see you giving advice on grammar, but you are very correct. CockneySparrow's advice is dangerous.
    It's not really that unfair. Northern will have incurred the costs in employing the RPI and investigating the matter, and it's those costs that need reimbursing.
     
  23. scrapy

    scrapy Member

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    Works both ways. I am aware of a case where a Virgin RPI reported a passenger for prosecution for travelling on a Northern service on a Virgin only ticket and refusing to buy a new ticket. Not sure of the final outcome.
     
  24. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Let's not debate the rights and wrongs of it in this thread, as it won't help the original poster (OP).

    I will, however, be more than happy to give you my views (as, no doubt, will several others) at an upcoming fares workshop or forum meal! I've just realised I didn't reply to your PM regarding this, and will do so now...!
     
  25. thesjd

    thesjd Member

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    Arguably both companies could potentially prosecute however I'm certain there's a law preventing this. Please correct me if I'm wrong...
     
  26. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Er, no. There is not. Not that I am aware of. And not that has prevented others from bringing a 'private prosecution'.
     
  27. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    I believe either company could prosecute - but not both for the same offence for the same event.

    There are only very limited reasons for people to be prosecuted twice for the same offence.
     
  28. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Are we reading different meanings into this question?

    Both Companies could potentially prosecute, in the sense that either one or the other could actually realise that potential (but both could not actually prosecute the one offence).

    Therefore it is correct to say that either Company could realise that potential but not both.
     
  29. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    Quite possibly.

    Thanks.
     
  30. thesjd

    thesjd Member

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    My theory was that not BOTH could prosecute at the same time. For example, Northern Rail could get their money and then pass the case over to VT for them to get some money as well.
     
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