Penalty fare for a child?

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soil

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Anyone know what the rules are here?

Story as follows:

12-year-old on train in London, travelling to school, has an Oyster card but didn't bring it with him. Caught, gives address to inspector, receives demand for £20 by post.

Parent appeals, receives reply to appeal as follows:

"Whilst we acknowledge that it is not your responsibility as the legal parent/guardian to make payment, we advise you that the amount outstanding £20.00 must be forwarded within 14 days of the date of this letter in order to avoid further debt recovery action being taken which will incur an additional admin fee of £20.00."

Parent tries to pay £20 online, cannot, so calls the payment line, which she cannot get through to for a couple of days, but eventually does, but has now missed 14-day deadline, and is told to pay £40 instead.

Sends £20 via recorded delivery in full and final settlement.
 
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34D

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Anyone know what the rules are here?

Story as follows:

12-year-old on train in London, travelling to school, has an Oyster card but didn't bring it with him. Caught, gives address to inspector, receives demand for £20 by post.

Parent appeals, receives reply to appeal as follows:

"Whilst we acknowledge that it is not your responsibility as the legal parent/guardian to make payment, we advise you that the amount outstanding £20.00 must be forwarded within 14 days of the date of this letter in order to avoid further debt recovery action being taken which will incur an additional admin fee of £20.00."

Parent tries to pay £20 online, cannot, so calls the payment line, which she cannot get through to for a couple of days, but eventually does, but has now missed 14-day deadline, and is told to pay £40 instead.

Sends £20 via recorded delivery in full and final settlement.

Hmmm. Interested to see what the experts have to say here. Isn't there a procedure for when children forget their ticket/loose their money?
 

MikeWh

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Children certainly can't be turfed out onto the street without the means for getting home, but I'm not sure there is anything special if they fall foul of the penalty fare regulations.

Looking at this scenario, the parent will be able to see when the letter is received. If the cheque is then banked I would say that they have accepted the settlement. If they write back enclosing the cheque uncashed and requesting the larger amount then it'll probably have to be paid unless the parent is prepared to risk a court taking their side. That may depend on why the payment couldn't be accepted online, how many times the phone line was tried before getting through, whether there is any evidence of this either from the parent or the phone company of the payee confirming problems with the lines.

IANAL, but I would hope that having received £20 it might be seen as counter-productive to spend more than £20 trying to get another.
 

soil

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I don't think the parent is liable for the child's fare. The child is, but I think the only means of enforcement is withdrawing the child's Oyster card.

Outside of London I guess it's not possible at all, although presumably if the child is travelling with the parent they would have responsibility/liability for the consequences of not buying a ticket.

I guess there could be criminal liability, which applies from age 10; you won't find too many unaccompanied 9 year olds on trains I suppose.
 

DaveNewcastle

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We might indeed reach some 'expert' opinions, but before we do, I think we need a little more clarity surrounding the facts. Evidence would help us.

What I'm concerned about at present is the contrast between, on the one hand:-
the apparent clarity (and please correct me if I'm wrong) in a) the written Claim by the Company (which is material but which we haven't seen); which presumably followed from b) an oral statement by the young passenger which was written as Evidence (which is material but which we haven't seen); and which lead to c) an assessment of potential Fare Evasion or other Railway Offence (which is crucial in assessing prospects but of which we haven't been appraised);
and on the other hand, a) a claim that the parent attempted to pay and was frustrated (stated here but without evidence or knowing if both parties have had sight to that evidence); and b) that the parent made attempt on other dates and was frustrated (alse stated here but without evidence or knowing if both parties are aware of those attempts).

Somehow I don't think that any 'expert' opinions will have much weight without a great deal more fact and knowledge of what evidence is likely to be available to both sides.
Once we know what has been disclosed, then we can focus on whatever details remain in dispute.
Sorry that this isn't the answer you wanted, but if you can make it cleared what is known by both sides and what is not, then a much more carefully targetted reply can be offered to you.

If the cheque is then banked I would say that they have accepted the settlement.
It is good practice to send a cheque with a covering letter which states that any attempt to negotiate the cheque will be taken as full and final settlement of the claim for rail travel by <person> on <date>.
 

moonrakerz

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"Whilst we acknowledge that it is not your responsibility as the legal parent/guardian to make payment, we advise you that the amount outstanding £20.00 must be forwarded within 14 days of the date of this letter in order to avoid further debt recovery action being taken which will incur an additional admin fee of £20.00."

They have admitted that you are not responsible for your child's actions - so why do they make a meaningless threat about debt recovery action ???

I would have thrown the letter in the bin !
 

RPI

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They have admitted that you are not responsible for your child's actions - so why do they make a meaningless threat about debt recovery action ???

I would have thrown the letter in the bin !

Because technically the notice may be cancelled and the child taken to youth court for either a Byelaw offence or RRA offence.
 
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