Refund on PF - AS Rejected even though I found the ticket later

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HandofGod

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On Thursday the 14th April 2016 my colleague purchased two tickets for travel between London Liverpool Street and Ipswich. I was returning earlier than my colleague, my ticket was checked and punched by the inspector on the train.

On reaching the barrier at Liverpool Street Station, I was unable to find my return ticket. I informed the inspector who asked me if I wanted to check my bags or return to the carriage to look for my ticket. Having searched my belonging and being unable to find my ticket I agreed to pay a penalty fare. The inspector informed me that I should provide evidence, for example the ticket receipt or bank statement to the address on the rear of the penalty fare notice and I would be able to appeal and get my payment back.

On getting home, I found my ticket within the work book I was working in, on the train. Unfortunately, I had not checked this at the station.

On the 15th April 2016 I used the AS website I made an appeal I had found my ticket on returning home and uploaded an image of the penalty fair notice and the ticket.

On the 27th April the appeals service responded:
‘The transport user is required to show on request a valid ticket. A ticket is evidence of permission to make a rail journey and it is the passenger's responsibility to keep it safe. It is the ticket, not the receipt, which permits travel. Tickets or receipts produced at a later date in support of an appeal will not be considered

There was no information providing guidance about a further appeal.

In response (I had not found this website) I responded:

the Greater Anglia penalty fares notice, appealsservice.co.uk/Documents/GA_Penalty_Fares_Leaflet.pdf, states that ‘if a passenger gets on a train without a ticket or Permit to Travel to a Station, they will be liable to pay a Penalty Fare. ‘ I would propose the facts above prove that I boarded a train with a valid ticket to travel.
Furthermore, at no point within the Penalty Fare document does it state that ‘Tickets or receipts produced at a later date in support of an appeal will not be considered’. If I had been informed that there were no grounds for an appeal at the station I may have undertaken alternate action. As it stands I was told that presenting evidence of my ticket, receipt or bank statement evidencing the payment would allow me to get refunded. That does not appear to the case here.

I would also highlight that this was a business trip for my client. I travel between London and Ipswich for my client and therefore make regular journeys along this line, and all rail charges are expensed to the client. I would therefore highlight I have no reason to ‘avoid’ a fare for any reason.

It therefore appears that the Inspector in question was incorrect to inform me that I could claim back the penalty fare by following the appeal process. Neither of the situations above applies as presenting a receipt or bank statement as evidence would not allow an appeal to be upheld on the grounds detailed above.

Possibly, I have been coerced in to paying the penalty fare by the Inspector on the basis that it would be refunded on appeal. If he had made it clear there was no chance of appeal, I would have waited for my colleague, who was on a later train, and presented the receipt as evidence.

I have responded to AS, providing a image of the ticket and bank statement showing payment to GA and the details above. They have ‘acknowledged’ my points they have not responded to any of them and explicitly could not comment on the guidance provided by the inspector. They have now said I cannot appeal against this.

In summary, I now find myself having paid for the original out of pocket for a further £94, that I paid in full and the station without complaint. As it stands, being helpful, not complaining and paying up has left me out of pocket, any guidance on next steps would be appreciated.
 
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DelayRepay

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From the TOC's point of view, how do they know the ticket you submitted was in fact yours and not your colleague's?
 

najaB

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In summary, I now find myself having paid for the original out of pocket for a further £94, that I paid in full and the station without complaint. As it stands, being helpful, not complaining and paying up has left me out of pocket, any guidance on next steps would be appreciated.
A ticket produced after the fact isn't proof that you had a ticket on the day. A TOC *can* choose to refund a penalty fare if you produce your ticket afterwards, but they are under no obligation to do so.
 

furlong

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Firstly, are you certain the person you spoke to said you would definitely receive a refund or only that you might, at the company's discretion? (Do you have any witnesses? In future, always insist on unusual agreements being put into writing!)

Did you word your "appeal" in the form that a person representing the company had agreed that if you did what you have done your money would be refunded and do you now consider that the company has broken that agreement?

Next, you could write to the company directly (probably customer services in the first instance) to see if they will uphold what you claim was agreed, and failing that escalate to senior management / obtain a statement from a witness or the inspector confirming the agreement / get a solicitor involved - or just write off the money and put it down to experience.
 

CheesyChips

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I very much doubt you'll have much luck with this. Barrier staff everywhere routinely play mental gymnastics with the rules and unless you prick the attention of senior management (which you won't because your case isn't remarkable) you should expect a lot of "copy and paste" responses to your correspondence.
 

LexyBoy

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I can't see this getting anywhere either. RPIs are obliged to tell passengers that they have a right to appeal when issuing a PF, but it is common for passengers to be told that they will get their money back in situations where there is no such right to or likelihood of this. Whether this is due to poor training or to make their lives easier I couldn't say.

A PF will only be cancelled if it was not issued according to the rules. In this case, you committed a criminal offence (failure to present a valid ticket), for which the Railway has a set of procedures to deal with (Penalty Fares in this case) without having to recourse to the courts.

Sorry.

Whilst you can of course continue to appeal, it is likely that you will not be successful - please do report back if you are though as this information might be useful to others in your situation. On the bright side you've found this forum, which can be very useful in suggesting cheaper ticket(s) for your future travel, so there's the chance of clawing back your money in future savings...
 
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Agent_c

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I understand the rejection. Presenting a ticket after the fact doesn't prove you had one then, you could have gotten it from another person - not saying you did, but looking from the company side.
 

furlong

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I can't see this getting anywhere either. RPIs are obliged to tell passengers that they have a right to appeal when issuing a PF, but it is common for passengers to be told that they will get their money back in situations where there is no such right to or likelihood of this. Whether this is due to poor training or to make their lives easier I couldn't say.

Or people preferring to hear what they want to hear, not what was actually said.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The appeal is basically one on the grounds of "honesty" with a "reasonable excuse" and largely relies on discretion being exercised as explained to Parliament during the passage of the bill:

What is more important, the trained, authorised personnel will be given discretion. If a person says, "I have lost my ticket"—not a completely unknown predicament, in which some of us may have found ourselves—it will be possible for the official to say, "That is all right, you can go." There will also be a 21-day discretionary period. If a notice is issued to a passenger, he will be able to put his case in writing. The matter will then be examined by the appropriate authorities at head office. There will be no attempt to bulldoze or bully passengers. If a reasonable excuse is given, discretion can be exercised by those in authority.

So I think the statement that
Tickets or receipts produced at a later date in support of an appeal will not be considered.
is wrong. Parliament was in effect told they would be considered but that does not mean the excuse will necessarily be accepted.
 

swt_passenger

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So I think the statement that [above] is wrong. Parliament was in effect told they would be considered but that does not mean the excuse will necessarily be accepted.

...and of course they are apparently considered successfully when the ticket is tied to an individual by means of a photo card, such as a 7 day season.

I sometimes wonder if RPIs are thinking of the usual dispensation for seasons (allowed by most TOCs but supposedly not TfL) when they explain appealing...
 

island

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I can't see this getting anywhere either. RPIs are obliged to tell passengers that they have a right to appeal when issuing a PF, but it is common for passengers to be told that they will get their money back in situations where there is no such right to or likelihood of this.

Or to claim that that's what they were told, at least.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
So I think the statement that is wrong. Parliament was in effect told they would be considered but that does not mean the excuse will necessarily be accepted.

Statements made in debate in Parliament are not, of course, binding on anyone except to the extent, if any, they resulted in a bill being amended.
 

najaB

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The statement that retrospective production of tickets for appeal will not be considered.
Why should they be considered? How is that abuse? A non-season ticket produced after the fact is not proof that the customer was in possession of a valid ticket at the time of the event.
 

maniacmartin

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I have witnessed staff from a different TOC clearly state that if the ticket is produced at a later date the PF or excess fare will be refunded (not merely that there is a right to appeal), so it does happen. Of course you can't prove what was said, so this appeal will most likely not be successful.
 

duncanp

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A further example of how the private railway is now abusing the original intent of PFs.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk


I don't the fact that the railways are private has go anything to do with it.

Try getting away with the same story on the nationalised SNCF in France and see what happens.

The words "amende" and "poursuites judiciaires" come to mind.
 

Bletchleyite

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Why should they be considered? How is that abuse? A non-season ticket produced after the fact is not proof that the customer was in possession of a valid ticket at the time of the event.

See Furlong's post.

My point is general, that the purpose of PFs is lost, that charging people because they have made a genuine mistake is appalling practice, and that therefore the PF should be abolished - or the Byelaw offence. One or the other.

RoRA retains a purpose for prosecuting serious, deliberate evaders - dumbbelling, short-faring, falsifying tickets etc.
 

LexyBoy

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If a concerted effort were made to ensure that all fines* for "genuine mistakes" were refunded, the cost of the effort involved cross-checking everyone's stories to ensure they are indeed genuine mistakes and not deception would become ridiculous. In the vast majority of cases, a Penalty Fare is an amount which is annoying but not unbearable - it is, after all, supposed to be a reminder to travel with a valid ticket next time.

(I am not a particular fan of Penalty Fares BTW - in particular the claim that they are for "genuine mistakes" rather than what they might actually be effective at: making fare evasion not cost-effective).

* in the non-nitpicking sense.

Or to claim that that's what they were told, at least.

Or people preferring to hear what they want to hear, not what was actually said.[/URL]

Like maniacmartin, I have heard staff tell passengers in no uncertain terms that they will get their money back, when (as far as I could tell from the context) this would be very unlikely.
 

Flamingo

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To pick up on some misconceptions the OP mentioned

1. Waiting for their colleague on the later train to produce the receipt of purchase would not have helped them - a receipt is not a ticket and would not be accepted in lieu of one.
2. Failing the attitude test and refusing to accept the PF would have resulted in a slam-dunk prosecution, with the vastly increased court fine or "out-of-court" settlement to avoid a court case. That pathway would have ended in tears for the OP.
3. The OP seems to think they had some other option than accepting the PF which they would have taken if they had not been told they could appeal the PF. They didn't, except go to court (see above).

Despite all the indignation on behalf of the OP, it sounds like the "Ticket Inspector" was quite reasonable on the day, giving the OP every opportunity to find their ticket, and only issuing a PF when everything else had been exhausted. The only fault of the "Ticket Inspector" according to the OP was not using the word "possibly" when talking about an appeal (and indeed, they might have).

On the wider subject of "Genuine Mistakes", I can think of several incidents over the past week where passengers claimed to have made "Genuine Mistakes" that were nothing of the sort, they were blatent attempts to fare-dodge by claiming they had "missed their stop" (and got very upset at being put off at the next station to travel back to their "destination"), "lost the ticket but have the reservation" (buddy opposite had the ticket relating to that reservation), or returning from overshooting (by three stations, with a day ticket three days old). According to some, I should have just walked away, not investigated further (or in one case, being so "helpful!)

Sometimes, "Genuine Mistakes" have a cost. I've made many that have. I didn't put £50 on Leicester to win the Premiership, for a start. That was a genuine mistake!
 
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Bletchleyite

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2. Failing the attitude test and refusing to accept the PF would have resulted in a slam-dunk prosecution, with the vastly increased court fine or "out-of-court" settlement to avoid a court case. That pathway would have ended in tears for the OP.

Yes, I think the best advice if a PF is offered for a ticketing issue, whether the passenger feels it is right or not, is to accept it, as it can be appealed later.

3. The OP seems to think they had some other option than accepting the PF which they would have taken if they had not been told they could appeal the PF. They didn't, except go to court (see above).

If the passenger feels, with a cool head and having thought about it, they wish to go to Court, they could always pay a partial amount of the PF (minimum the Anytime (Day) Single I believe) on the spot and then decline to pay the rest later.

Sometimes, "Genuine Mistakes" have a cost. I've made many that have. I didn't put £50 on Leicester to win the Premiership, for a start. That was a genuine mistake!

They do indeed. The thing I am uncomfortable with is having a penalty *specifically* for genuine mistakes. We seem to have almost reached the point that if it is felt it is *not* a genuine mistake there will be prosecution, and thus the PF is only used when it is felt it *is*. In that case, an Anytime (Day) Single should be charged, not a PF - or perhaps better just a European-style small supplement for post-purchase of the desired ticket to avoid de-facto penalties like VT's Anytime fares. It doesn't leave the PF with much of a role.

If we use the issue of parking as a comparison, there isn't that differentiator. If you don't pay and display, you get a decriminalised financial penalty. That might be similar to a situation where PFs were retained but ticketing Byelaws (not RoRA) were abolished.
 
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najaB

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The thing I am uncomfortable with is having a penalty *specifically* for genuine mistakes.
There isn't any such penalty though. TOCs can issue penalty fares where the passenger's actions don't indicate a deliberate attempt to evade the fare, or where they believe there is evidence of an attempt at low-value fare evasion (which would often be more expensive to prosecute than the fare evaded).

This means that people who have truly made a mistake don't get dragged into the criminal justice system and it acts as a deterrent against fare evasion.
 

crehld

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To pick up on some misconceptions the OP mentioned

1. Waiting for their colleague on the later train to produce the receipt of purchase would not have helped them - a receipt is not a ticket and would not be accepted in lieu of one.

Agreed.

2. Failing the attitude test and refusing to accept the PF would have resulted in a slam-dunk prosecution, with the vastly increased court fine or "out-of-court" settlement to avoid a court case. That pathway would have ended in tears for the OP.

The mythical attitude test appears to have cropped up again. Of course the simple fact remains that the passenger's attitude has absolutely no bearing on either the imposition of a penalty fare or the prospect of a prosecution. In the case of the former a penalty fare can only be imposed in circumstances set out in the penalty fares rules. In the case of the latter it will be a matter of the law and the facts of the situation. I agree that a passenger's attitude might lead to a more favourable outcome (e.g. the inspector letting the passenger off). However, to suggest that failing the attitude test and refusing to accept the PF would have resulted in a slam-dunk prosecution is quite incorrect.

3. The OP seems to think they had some other option than accepting the PF which they would have taken if they had not been told they could appeal the PF. They didn't, except go to court (see above).

They could have paid the anytime single fare due rather than the full penalty fare there and then and appealed the imposition of the penalty. Another approach might have been to issue an unpaid fare. Or even forget about the whole matter entirely. There were several options available and the inspector went for a penalty fare, as the rules allowed him/her to do.

Despite all the indignation on behalf of the OP, it sounds like the "Ticket Inspector" was quite reasonable on the day, giving the OP every opportunity to find their ticket, and only issuing a PF when everything else had been exhausted.

I agree.

The only fault of the "Ticket Inspector" according to the OP was not using the word "possibly" when talking about an appeal (and indeed, they might have).

This isn't a minor fault, however. One would expect a seasoned and experienced revenue inspector not to make such a error. Perhaps it was a one off mistake? My own direct experience, and it would appear the experience of many other posters on this forum, is that revenue inspectors can indeed give false and misleading advice.

On the wider subject of "Genuine Mistakes", I can think of several incidents over the past week where passengers claimed to have made "Genuine Mistakes" that were nothing of the sort, they were blatent attempts to fare-dodge by claiming they had "missed their stop" (and got very upset at being put off at the next station to travel back to their "destination"), "lost the ticket but have the reservation" (buddy opposite had the ticket relating to that reservation), or returning from overshooting (by three stations, with a day ticket three days old).

Are you telling me you've never met a passenger who genuinely made a mistake? Your examples all appear to be cases of blatant attempts to commit fare evasion. In this case I find myself in complete agreement with Neil Williams. Use the RoRA for such cases to come down hard to fare evasion and set an example. Meanwhile abolish the railway byelaws and a broken penalty fares system, and allow appropriate discretion to be shown where the mistake is genuine. I find VTEC's commitments in its passengers' charter a good approach (whether it's applied in practice I don't know):

Lost and forgotten tickets
We understand things can go wrong when collecting tickets.
Forgotten wallets, misplaced booking references and dropped tickets
are all beyond our control. Luckily, we have staff at all of our ticket
offices and on board our trains who will provide you with help and
advice so you can get to where you want to be.

If you have boarded a train without the required documents, such
as your ticket, railcard or other identification, and we have been
unable to verify the validity of your ticket, you may be issued with an
Unpaid Fare Notice (UFN), which is an invoice for the fare that is due.
We won’t process it for 10 days so you have time to contact us with
the proof required. If you don’t do this within 10 days, you will need
to pay your UFN. You can contact us using the details under the
“Important Notice” section on the face of the UFN, alternatively, we
can process your UFN from any Virgin Trains East Coast ticket office
if you bring the required documentation with you.

Have reservation and receipt but lost your travel ticket
If you have lost your train ticket and we are unable to verify that you
bought one, you will have to buy a new one or be issued with a UFN.
As described above, you will have 10 days to find your lost ticket or
you will need to pay your UFN.

Lost or forgotten reservation
If you have a copy of your booking confirmation and your travel
ticket (and assuming the ticket is valid), don’t worry, you can travel.

Sometimes, "Genuine Mistakes" have a cost. I've made many that have. I didn't put £50 on Leicester to win the Premiership, for a start. That was a genuine mistake!

We all make mistakes. Although not putting £50 on Leicester to win the Premiership has cost you absolutely nothing ;)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
There isn't any such penalty though. TOCs can issue penalty fares where the passenger's actions don't indicate a deliberate attempt to evade the fare, or where they believe there is evidence of an attempt at low-value fare evasion (which would often be more expensive to prosecute than the fare evaded).

This means that people who have truly made a mistake don't get dragged into the criminal justice system and it acts as a deterrent against fare evasion.

Aside from the fact you contradict yourself within two sentences, you also appear to have gone out of your way to completely ignore Neil William's clear expressed position!

Someone making a genuine mistake who isn't engaging in deliberate fare evasion should not be lumped together in the same category as someone engaging in deliberate fare evasion (no matter how low level). In the case of the former the railway industry should be providing assistance where possible (thankfully for those of us that live in the real world many railway staff are professional enough to actually do this). In the case of the latter penalise them to set an example and discourage further fare evasion (be that through some non-criminal penalty charge or through the criminal justice system)
 

Flamingo

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I was posting to demonstrate that Genuine Mistakes can be very difficult to differentiate from fare evasion. Unfortunately, the law has to be framed in a way that discourages the fare evader and does not give them an automatic defence.

I know it is a triumph of hope over experience to try and persuade some members of this forum that not everyone who makes a mistake gets thrown straight into jail. But equally, can the same posters tell me how my colleagues and I can tell a genuine mistake from an experienced fare evader?
 

Marisol

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The exact same thing happened to me at Liverpool Street in December, although on getting off a TFL Rail train rather than Greater Anglia. I went through the appeals process with the found ticket but got nowhere, for similar reasons as have been pointed out in the thread. I did complain to TFL that the inspector (who was very pleasant and helpful) had been quite definite that the penalty fare would be cancelled on production of the ticket if found, but got back very unhelpful comments about it being my responsibility to have a ticket when travelling so gave up. I wouldn't have been so annoyed if a search of the forum had pointed out that various other train franchises did cancel penalty fares in this situation. I wish there was a more joined up approach.
 

najaB

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Aside from the fact you contradict yourself within two sentences, you also appear to have gone out of your way to completely ignore Neil William's clear expressed position!
I've not set out to contradict myself - Neil Williams said he was against a sanction that exists for the express purpose of punishing genuine mistakes. And I said that there isn't one, it's not the purpose of PF's nor why the PF rules were created. PF's exist solely to provide another, non-criminal way to deal with ticketing irregularities.
Someone making a genuine mistake who isn't engaging in deliberate fare evasion should not be lumped together in the same category as someone engaging in deliberate fare evasion (no matter how low level).
I agree wholeheartedly that it *shouldn't* happen, and I doubt that any RPI issues PFs where they believe the customer has made an honest mistake.

But there will be some people who have made mistakes but, for what ever reason, the RPI doesn't believe that they have. So they end up getting swept up with people who have engaged in low-level fare evasion - there's no way to avoid it, it will always happen. Unless, of course, you want to give a green light to fare dodging followed by "honest guv, it was a mistake".
...thankfully for those of us that live in the real world...
It's interesting that you choose to use this phrase when you apparently believe that RPI's will always be able to tell the difference between mistakes and giving it a go.
 

HandofGod

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Thanks for the comments and just to put this in context:

I was fair and reasonable, just wanted to get on with it etc and so was the inspector. Being a season ticket holder on another line I could see no reason not to pay in full. I know lots of people who having forgot their wallet, pick up a PF and can appeal with their Season Ticket later. I could not produce the ticket, had no evidence of it so was happy to pay the PF on the understanding and expectation that I could sort it out later. I had another train to catch ;)

The inspector did say to appeal so that I can get this refunded, with all of the information, his reference number, what we have said etc. He stressed that I should provid a bank statement showing the purchase of the ticket. I left under the very strong impression that I would easily be refunded my PF.

In my opinion the bank statement, provided, with the same date and time to GA as the ticket (and the ticket) on the day of travel would appear to be reasonable grounds for accepting the ticket was paid for in advance of travel.

Being £100 out of pocket and having paid £50 for a ticket that I can demonstrate I purchased and can present seems totally unreasonable to me.
 

HandofGod

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Flamingo, your correct - I had no evidence to prove it was a genuine mistake with me. The inspector was reasonable however having now evidenced the ticket and the bank statement with the ticket purchase on it (as instructed to AS) - I'm told I have no grounds for appeal. Just seems unreasonable to have paid £150 for a £50 ticket - and I may have been more unreasonable with the inspector at the time had he told me at the time there were no grounds for the PF to be refunded. (or just not wasted more time dealing with the AS afterwards).
 

najaB

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...I may have been more unreasonable with the inspector at the time had he told me at the time there were no grounds for the PF to be refunded...
Which is precisely why the RPI gave you the impression that you might be able to successfully appeal. He didn't want the grief, and you would have been here posting about how to avoid going to court.

End of the day you didn't have a ticket. Not the railway's problem.
 

Flamingo

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Which is precisely why the RPI gave you the impression that you might be able to successfully appeal. He didn't want the grief, and you would have been here posting about how to avoid going to court.

End of the day you didn't have a ticket. Not the railway's problem.

Wot he said, I'm afraid ^^^^^^^

Season tickets are a different beast altogether, and leaving it behnd on a limited number of occasions is specifically allowed for in the T&C.
 

185

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The inspector did say to appeal so that I can get this refunded, with all of the information, his reference number, what we have said etc. He stressed that I should provide a bank statement showing the purchase of the ticket. I left under the very strong impression that I would easily be refunded my PF.

And there is the problem with many RPI staff.

When dealing with someone, when mentioning about the appeals process, I've always mentioned "They may overturn it...", "I don't want to get your hopes up..." and "Only one in five succeed, but see what they say....".

To suggest that an appeal will be successful is simply unprofessional and disingenuous, and many of us agree is a sign of someone who wants an 'easy' book-up. I've always considered that if an inspector is sure something will be overturned on appeal, then what's the point of commencing the TIR/PF in the first place?
 
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