Paid penalty fare, still getting payment demands

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jopsuk

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Problem from a colleague. He was caught without a ticket, having boarded at a station where the machine was only taking cards and he only had cash on him (or possibly the other way round- that detail matters little).

The gateline staff at his destination would not believe him. He tried to argue, but settled and paid as he wasn't getting anywhere (very much literally!). He has the receipt from the Penalty Fare notice with big "PAID" stamp on it (I've seen this).

So, he's a bit surprised that he's been sent a payment demand. He was quite puzzled by this, and his attempts to speak to someone about this have been fruitless. He's tried phoning the number on the letter, but kept getting lost in menus, only able to get to a facility to pay by card. He doesn't want to do this, what with already having paid.

Ideally he'd like to appeal the original Penalty Fare, but for now he just want the payment demands to stop. Something's gone very wrong in the system.
 
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DaveNewcastle

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The first 2 things to do are:
1. Obtain additional proof that the payment was made if not by cash (e.g. a Bank's or Financial Company's Statement).
2. Obtain evidence that the demands being received are for the same incident for which the payment was received (and not for some other, if similar charge).

If both of these can be assured, then no action will be necessary. None at all. (S)he can disregard the letters. Those 2 categories of evidence will be adequate (assuming there's no confusion about identity etc.).
However, I fully appreciate that your contact also wishes to stop the correspondence. That can be done by a very precise and firm letter. I will not post a generic form of words on here, but I and others, including a local Solicitor, could do, if required.

Who was the TOC involved?
I assume that these letters are not from a Train Company but from a Collection Agency. But the principles I've outlined will apply in both cases.
 

34D

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That can be done by a very precise and firm letter. I will not post a generic form of words on here, but I and others, including a local Solicitor, could do, if required.
In addition to sending such a letter to the collection agency, may I suggest that a similar letter be sent to the TOC. In my opinion, such a letter ought to contain three additional paragraphs:

-a well-worded expression of disappointment that something has gone wrong with their payment-recording processes

-a detail of the circumstances that resulted in the penalty fare being issued (ie details of the boarding station and the machine situation (I am taking the OP at face value here)

-a request in the light of the above two points for the £20 to be refunded.
 

yorkie

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Problem from a colleague. He was caught without a ticket, having boarded at a station where the machine was only taking cards and he only had cash on him (or possibly the other way round- that detail matters little).
Then he is not liable for a Penalty Fare.

Something's gone very wrong in the system.
The whole system is very flawed indeed, this is a particularly bad case by the sound of it.
 

RJ

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If it's IRCAS that are involved, then in my experience they are quite rubbish at administration. Recently, I was issued with two Unpaid Fare Notices in quick succession. I paid both in full within 24 hours of issue, before writing an appeal, making it clear I had already paid in full and asking for a refund. I even attached the receipts from their online payment system.

In return, they sent me two letters rejecting both of my appeals, stating that I still owed them the full outstanding amounts. A debt collection agency is never going to be a fondly referred to business, but these lot can't even be bothered to check whether or not the debt has been paid before sending out unpleasant demands.

The first time they did this to me, I sent them a letter telling them that they made a mistake. This time, I sent quite a strongly worded letter detesting their handling of my case. I told them in no uncertain terms that I was an Authorised Collector registered with them and that they had not followed the correct, lain down procedures, in addition to the TOC in this case admitting the UFNs should never have been issued and apologising to me anyway. I made a few other points as well, including my disappointment that they were demanding money from me when I already proved that I had paid in full.

I keenly await their response, although I expect nothing other than the standard "appeal upheld" template.

In other words, I advise the OP to be direct and succinct with them in order to get the best result.
 
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Ferret

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Recently, I was issued with two Unpaid Fare Notices in quick succession. I paid both in full within 24 hours of issue, before writing an appeal, making it clear I had already paid in full and asking for a refund.
RJ, I'm genuinely curious - why do you accept UFNs if you know you're fully valid. I sure as hell wouldn't! You're only obliged to provide name and address details after all, you're not obliged to sign a UFN which in effect means you're agreeing that a civil debt exists.
 

RJ

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RJ, I'm genuinely curious - why do you accept UFNs if you know you're fully valid. I sure as hell wouldn't! You're only obliged to provide name and address details after all, you're not obliged to sign a UFN which in effect means you're agreeing that a civil debt exists.
The alternative option provided usually consists of the ticket being withdrawn without a replacement being provided and/or being detrained - this is what makes me almost always use the non stop express services. More than one of their guards has seen fit to completely vandalise/invalidate my ticket on top of issuing a UFN, despite the fact that the ticket had onward validity from the station I was getting off at, so I wouldn't put anything past them.
 

DaveNewcastle

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That's an interesting reply, RJ.
I must say I was minded to agree with Ferret's assumption (based on experience both of my own travel and of others I have worked with as clients or voluntarily) that an IRCAS claim can be disregarded if the Claimant (the TOC) conceeds the Claim.
Indeed I'll go further, and assure any passenger that if the TOC has conceeded that the claim is void, then whatever might be said by any other party, while the Collection Agency may still be in posession of an instruction to peruse a Claim, if the debt to the Claimant has been settled or cancelled, then the debt to the Collection Agency has been settled or cancelled; even if they don't know it.
 

Wolfie

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That's an interesting reply, RJ.
I must say I was minded to agree with Ferret's assumption (based on experience both of my own travel and of others I have worked with as clients or voluntarily) that an IRCAS claim can be disregarded if the Claimant (the TOC) conceeds the Claim.
Indeed I'll go further, and assure any passenger that if the TOC has conceeded that the claim is void, then whatever might be said by any other party, while the Collection Agency may still be in posession of an instruction to peruse a Claim, if the debt to the Claimant has been settled or cancelled, then the debt to the Collection Agency has been settled or cancelled; even if they don't know it.
Indeed.....and IRCAS could find themselves in a whole lot of grief....see Ferguson vs British Gas.

http://www.out-law.com/page-9826

[Mod Note - Follow-on discussion stemming from this case is now split into a separate thread in the General Discussions forum here.]
 
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Ferret

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The alternative option provided usually consists of the ticket being withdrawn without a replacement being provided and/or being detrained - this is what makes me almost always use the non stop express services. More than one of their guards has seen fit to completely vandalise/invalidate my ticket on top of issuing a UFN, despite the fact that the ticket had onward validity from the station I was getting off at, so I wouldn't put anything past them.
In which case said Guards need retraining on how to deal with revenue matters! If you're withdrawing a ticket, you have to issue a zerofare excess to the destination, it's as simple as.
 

jon0844

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If a company is harassing you, it's ridiculous for the victim to have to find an individual member of staff. In many cases when you receive letters, the names on the paper are fake anyway. They are either made up to protect staff, or even there to route merely you to the right department when you call up and quote the name.

So, if you got nasty letters - you might find the person doesn't even exist and they'd know that!
 

swj99

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If a company is harassing you, it's ridiculous for the victim to have to find an individual member of staff.
It's also ridiculous for the victim to have to spend time attempting to resolve the matter by telephone.

I would say that reasonable requests for payments which are properly due are not harassment, however, once an individual has provided confirmation that they have indeed paid, then further requests or demands could be considered to be harassment and reported to the police as such (Protection From Harassment Act 1997).
The recipient of such a request or demand could write to whoever has sent the letter, enclosing a copy of the Penalty Fare notice with the big "PAID" stamp on it (keep the original in case it's needed as evidence in court). As I said in another post on here somewhere, Kosar -v- Bank of Scotland Plc (T/A Halifax) - 2011 established that harassment can be committed by a company as well as an individual. Under the Interpretation Act 1978, a 'person' includes a body corporate unless the contrary is shown.
 

Wolfie

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It's also ridiculous for the victim to have to spend time attempting to resolve the matter by telephone.

I would say that reasonable requests for payments which are properly due are not harassment, however, once an individual has provided confirmation that they have indeed paid, then further requests or demands could be considered to be harassment and reported to the police as such (Protection From Harassment Act 1997).
The recipient of such a request or demand could write to whoever has sent the letter, enclosing a copy of the Penalty Fare notice with the big "PAID" stamp on it (keep the original in case it's needed as evidence in court). As I said in another post on here somewhere, Kosar -v- Bank of Scotland Plc (T/A Halifax) - 2011 established that harassment can be committed by a company as well as an individual. Under the Interpretation Act 1978, a 'person' includes a body corporate unless the contrary is shown.
I agree with everything you have said EXCEPT that the original legal precedent is Ferguson - v - British Gas(2009).

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2009/46.html
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Having looked again I think Ferguson set the precedent for civil liability of a company for harassment and discussed the possibility of criminal liability in such circumstances and Kosar was the first case in which the latter was proven.
 
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