RPI refused to issue a PF

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commuter21

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Hi all - I've visited this site a few times before but this is my first time posting, because I couldn't find an example of this anywhere else...

I was travelling with colleagues from WGC to London (FCC) this afternoon (off peak) with an off peak carnet -correctly, though hastily, filled in at the station- when a uniformed RPI came through the carriage asking for tickets. I showed my carnet and the RPI stated that he thought the ticket had been used before and that the date had "clearly been changed". I said that was not true, and asked if he would like to scan it through the machine to check. He told me he didn't need to scan it because it looked like it had been changed, and because FCC do not always operate the barriers at their stations, so a check that shows it hasn't been through a barrier doesn't mean it hasn't been used previously.

This is the interesting bit:
He said he was going to issue a PF because he didn't think the carnet ticket was valid. I said that was OK, but that I didn't want to pay the PF now, because I would contest it, expecting him to issue a "nil-paid" PF. Instead he pulled out his Witness Statement pad and proceeded to fill it in. I asked why I wasn't being issued a PF as he had said he intended to, and he said that this was what happened if you refuse to pay the PF. I asked again to be issued the PF he had said he would, but he continued to refuse, and even refused to let me see the PF form (I'm sure there is a "nil-paid" section on there which I wanted to see). He read me my rights and asked for ID. He then asked the standard questions (do you have a valid ticket: yes; where are you travelling to/from...; was your intention to avoid the fare: no).

I made sure to take a photo of my ticket before letting him confiscate it, and also asked to see his ID and make a note of his name and badge number. He was very reluctant to give his surname, stating he was under no obligation to do so (is this true?), and went so far as to cover it with his hand on the Witness Statement while he made me sign it.

I have 3 witnesses (the colleagues) who saw me fill in the blank carnet before boarding. I fully admit that the day number was a bit shaky - it was filled in hastily, and in my experience pens often doesn't work first time on the glossy card which can cause scratching and the odd erroneous ink mark, so I deliberately went over the first number a couple of times to make sure it was clear and legible.


Any advice? Should I do anything pre-emptive before receiving an "Intention to Prosecute" letter? (If they send one at all.)
Is my understanding of nil-paid PFs incorrect?
Is taking a Witness Statement the correct process in the above scenario?


Thanks for your time reading this, and for any advice!
 
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Flamingo

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Just to comment on a couple of points you raised.
1. He was right, he didn't have to give his surname, just enough details that he would be identifiable to his employers (whom any issues should be addressed to)
2. Normal ticket stock is notoriously difficult to write on, and we are issued special markers to write on them with, as ordinary ball-points don't work on them.

I'm no expert on PF's, I don't issue them so I won't comment on them.
 

GadgetMan

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It is correct that railway staff do not have to give you their surname.

It is also up to revenue staff how they choose to deal with you, be it a Penalty Fare or a Travel Irregularity Report or MG11.

At this stage I wouldn't worry too much. The RPI will send his report in with the ticket he confiscated off you. The TOC's revenue protection department will contact you and ask for your view on the events.

Depending on what the letter says when they get in touch, you might want to come on here and ask for advice at that time.
 

nedchester

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I notice on here there seem to be more problems with FCC when it comes to ticketing than any other TOC. Any reason for this?

In this case I think that if this went to court there would be little way of proving whether the ticket had been altered or not.
 

commuter21

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Thanks for such quick responses.

I'm not worried at this point (I've done nothing wrong) - just frustrated and a bit embarrassed in front of my colleagues!


2. Normal ticket stock is notoriously difficult to write on, and we are issued special markers to write on them with, as ordinary ball-points don't work on them.
The RPI scribbled on the ticket with a biro and said "Look, my pen works fine. I bought 27 of these for £1." That's great, can you refer me to your pen supplier please?!
Also, creating a ticket which the train company admits cannot be used without a special tool (e.g. the special marker they issue) is not very customer friendly (in my mind, something some rail companies need to work on!).


It is also up to revenue staff how they choose to deal with you, be it a Penalty Fare or a Travel Irregularity Report or MG11.
Understood - it just seems illogical, and frankly vindictive, to issue the Travel Irregularity Report after saying he would issue a PF, just because I said I didn't think I had to pay the PF at the time of issue!


Another thing, there is a section on the Witness Statement form for "Witness comments" - the RPI crossed through the whole section without asking if I had any comment. That seems potentially illegal? I didn't kick off about it at the time, but in hindsight should have ensured my comments were logged.


Thanks again. I'll update if they go ahead with it and reject my explanation.
 

34D

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In this case I think that if this went to court there would be little way of proving whether the ticket had been altered or not.
Don't you watch CSI or NCIS?

Regarding the OP, I didn't think there was a nil paid PF - I thought the mninimum that could be paid was the value of the fare.

As this passenger did hold a ticket, then (in my view) a TIR ought to have been the process, not PF or MG11 - anyone else agree/disagree?
 

nedchester

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Don't you watch CSI or NCIS?
Well it would be interesting to see if Forensics got involved in which case if the OP is correct then an apology should should be forthcoming from FCC.

Interestingly I've always wondered about handwriting on rovers for example. There are some people out there with genuinely awful handwriting which must be hard to read sometimes.
 

headshot119

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Well it would be interesting to see if Forensics got involved in which case if the OP is correct then an apology should should be forthcoming from FCC.

Interestingly I've always wondered about handwriting on rovers for example. There are some people out there with genuinely awful handwriting which must be hard to read sometimes.
Don't worry no one ever asks for the date boxes on rovers. If they did I'd be PFed over and over for "tampering" my handwriting is terrible.
 

benk1342

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I also frequently use carnets from Welwyn Garden City, and although I use them honestly I am always very nervous because of stories like this. I always carefully fill out my out and return tickets before I leave the house in the morning, but my heart rate still goes up when I see a RPI approaching. I think I'm going to go buy one of those fine-point sharpies to use in the future.

Good luck---I'm impressed by how well you have (appearently) kept your cool about this.
 

DaveNewcastle

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Well it would be interesting to see if Forensics got involved . . . . .
Having been involved in a couple of alledged 'fraudulent alteration of boxes' cases in the past year, I can assure you the if a TOC's investigators have any doubts then they do indeed have forensic analysts to turn to for help.

In this specific matter, the OP clearly chose to contest the Penalty Fare at the time of issue - and that is their perogative to contest it. But, perhaps unwittingly, they have now caused the claim for a valid ticket to be presented on demand to be escalated. I'm sure that with some diplomacy and a will to reach a conclusion that is satisfactory to the TOC, then the matter can be dealt with simply (albeit slowly).

There may be a follow up letter from the TOC requesting a Statement of your version of the events on that day. Your reply would be taken as Evidence and would inform the decision to prosecute or not, and if the former, would become part of the Evidence available to be used against you. At that point you should take further advice. From here or from a suitably knowledgable Solicitor in Railway Law.
 

commuter21

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Completely agree! The technology is so crude (it almost makes me laugh when I see it on the continent) - but so effective.
 

jon0844

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Let me direct you to this thread (and my photo) which confirms how hard it is to write on with some pens. I've now found a pen that seems to work and will guard it with my life!

http://www.railforums.co.uk/showpost.php?p=929562&postcount=1

Luckily, I got the gateline staff to use their date stamps to put on it.

Ignore the peak excess below - you don't even want to think about the hassle involved in getting these. In fact, the last time I tried to get one I was told by the woman selling tickets that she was refusing to issue one!

The shiny orange bit of the card is hard to write on, and that's a fact. If the first few attempts merely mark the card, before ink flows I can almost guarantee that your next attempt (or two) will scrape off the orange coating and then you're buggered - it looks like it's been modified.

Checking the magstrip would surely have worked? If it had gone through a gate, it would not be usable again surely?

I also write on the date before leaving for both the outbound and return to be safe, which nearly cost me a ticket the other day as I almost came home a different way and didn't need it. It's mad that I have to plan in advance something as simple as writing on the date, for fear of damaging the ticket when I'm out and having a FCC RPI take me to court.

I wonder which RPI this was. They don't have to give their surname, but I'd love to know in case it's my favourite RPI. Send me a private mail if you fancy telling me (don't post it here). I also think you need to pay a minimum on a PF, which is twice the contested amount. You would get this back if you won an appeal, but don't get anything extra to cover time/postage.
 

swadbus

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Thanks for such quick responses.

I'm not worried at this point (I've done nothing wrong) - just frustrated and a bit embarrassed in front of my colleagues!




The RPI scribbled on the ticket with a biro and said "Look, my pen works fine. I bought 27 of these for £1." That's great, can you refer me to your pen supplier please?!
Also, creating a ticket which the train company admits cannot be used without a special tool (e.g. the special marker they issue) is not very customer friendly (in my mind, something some rail companies need to work on!).




Understood - it just seems illogical, and frankly vindictive, to issue the Travel Irregularity Report after saying he would issue a PF, just because I said I didn't think I had to pay the PF at the time of issue!


Another thing, there is a section on the Witness Statement form for "Witness comments" - the RPI crossed through the whole section without asking if I had any comment. That seems potentially illegal? I didn't kick off about it at the time, but in hindsight should have ensured my comments were logged.


Thanks again. I'll update if they go ahead with it and reject my explanation.
It is an interesting and valid point that if the Revenue Protection Inspector has written on the ticket using his own pen then his is actually tampering wih the evidence. One thing any investigator such as an RPI is taught is you must never under any circumstances alter or tamper wih evidence in any way.

Obviously if the ticket gets sent away for forensic examination they will find that 2 separate Pens have been used to write in the ticket.
 

clagmonster

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Would it be an idea to attempt to get a copy of the CCTV from the train, if there is any, in order to show the TTI tampering with the ticket, and from the booking office to show you dating the ticket, just in case it gets to court. I would also keep the pen you used, just in case it could come in handy in the event that the ticket is forensically examined.
 

lyesbkz

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He was very reluctant to give his surname, stating he was under no obligation to do so (is this true?), and went so far as to cover it with his hand on the Witness Statement while he made me sign it.
I'm not sure whether I'm being unreasonable, but I would refuse to sign any document which I was not allowed to examine in full prior to signing.
 

jon0844

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because FCC do not always operate the barriers at their stations, so a check that shows it hasn't been through a barrier doesn't mean it hasn't been used previously.
I just thought - what difference does it make about the whole FCC network and who operates each station?

Your carnet is for one station to another, presumably X to London Terminals - so you presumably used it from that station (or back from London) so all that matters is what stations you use, not whether some are operated by another TOC (like Cambridge, operated by Greater Anglia, formerly National Express East Anglia).

Besides sorting out any subsequent appeal if anything comes of it, I'd also write in to FCC and ask them to explain why their tickets don't make it easy to write the date on. As they're trying to promote carnets, which are a good idea, they could perhaps consider holding different ticket stock that is marked Carnet and has a easier box to fill in - namely a part that isn't coated.

Here's a very quick Photoshop idea;

FCCCarnet.jpg

(As I did that, I subsequently noticed the current ones are marked DD MON YY - and the middle box is ever so slightly wider. I've always written the month as two digits!)
 

jon0844

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I'm not sure whether I'm being unreasonable, but I would refuse to sign any document which I was not allowed to examine in full prior to signing.
When I was MG11'd, I didn't get to see what was written or get a copy of the paper to take away with me. It's very odd, as the RPIs do try hard to shield what they're writing from you.

When I was giving my statement, however, I was allowed to view that in full before signing it.
 

reb0118

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As I did that, I subsequently noticed the current ones are marked DD MON YY - and the middle box is ever so slightly wider. I've always written the month as two digits!
I've noticed that with flexis up here in Scotland too. It is my belief that the date should be entered in Arabic numerals only eg 06/04/12 however the larger "month" box seems to indicate a three figure month code eg APR would also be acceptable? Who knows for sure?

One thing that is sure is that they are a damn nuisance to fill in with a Biro!!
 

bb21

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I've noticed that with flexis up here in Scotland too. It is my belief that the date should be entered in Arabic numerals only eg 06/04/12 however the larger "month" box seems to indicate a three figure month code eg APR would also be acceptable? Who knows for sure?

One thing that is sure is that they are a damn nuisance to fill in with a Biro!!
That would explain the widened box, however that brings its own problems.

Do they expect an average passenger to fill in the box with a normal abbreviation, eg. MAR, or a railway-approved abbreviation, eg. MCH?
 

michael769

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That is very naughty!
It is unwise in the extreme to sign any legal document which you have not read in full.

If you cannot read it all you have to wonder what motive the other party has to conceal it from you - for all you know it could contain an entirely false statement that you would be attesting to by signing it.
 

DavyCrocket

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If you make a significant statement to a Police officer once cautioned then it will be recorded in their Pocket Note Book. The person will be offered the opportunity to read and sign it.
I may well have to read up on what the RPI did to see if it's a breach of PaCE and if what was recorded was false could amount to Perverting the Course of Justice
 

benk1342

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I just thought - what difference does it make about the whole FCC network and who operates each station?
I'm pretty sure what he meant was the barriers are not always in operation at FCC stations.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
(As I did that, I subsequently noticed the current ones are marked DD MON YY - and the middle box is ever so slightly wider. I've always written the month as two digits!)
This is just a factor of which machine printed the tickets. At WGC, for example, if you buy from the window it has the wide middle box (which is indeed easier to use), but if you buy from the machine it has the small boxes.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
It is unwise in the extreme to sign any legal document which you have not read in full.
In fairness, and from a purely practical standpoint, isn't it also unwise in the extreme to get into a ****ing [sorry, "urinating"] contest with an RPI by refusing to sign?

That said, I agree in principle that one should not sign something one has not read.
 
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jon0844

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Can you get carnets from TVMs? There goes my plan for different ticket stock!

When I was 'done' I couldn't see what he wrote on his pad, but was shown everything in the notebook.
 

michael769

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In fairness, and from a purely practical standpoint, isn't it also unwise in the extreme to get into a ****ing [sorry, "urinating"] contest with an RPI by refusing to sign?
I don't agree that is what it is. Your signature is intended to confirm that you agree that what they have recorded is an accurate reflection of what was said. if you have not read everything you have written you have no way of knowing exactly what you are agreeing to, and if it came to court could cause you problems if something you had not seen was not accurate.

I agree it is not helpful to accuse them of anything untoward. But it is entirely appropriate to explain that you have been taught never to sign a legal or quasi-legal document that you have not been given the opportunity to read in its entirety. If he takes offence at that he really should not be in the job as believe you me someone in that role will get a helluva lot worse from some people they deal with.

If you really wish to be co-operative suggest to him that her makes a note on the document detailing which parts you were allowed to read and stating that your signature relates only to those parts. If he has nothing to hide then he will have no reason not to co-operate other than out of sheer bloody mindedness.
 

commuter21

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In response to the "covering up" incident, it was only his surname he tried to cover, which amounted to only part of the line his name was printed on, and he didn't attempt to cover his first name or any other part of the document. Subsequently though I was able to see it (I think he had given up by then), though while the rest of the form was in block caps, his handwriting for his surname was lowercase and fairly illegible.
I was able to read the rest of the form in full, otherwise I would not have agreed to sign it. But I do think that it is unreasonable (though I suspect not unlawful) to not be given a copy of a statement you have made.

To add to the above, he took a lot of prompting to complete the form in full before signing, e.g. his name, to/from stations (he completed one set, but there are multiple places to enter these on the form). I had to ask him twice to complete other sections.

And he only scribbled on the green bit in the middle of the ticket, not the orange where the date is, to test his pen. So while it probably does constitute evidence tampering, it doesn't materially impact the contested part. But equally it is not a fair comparison.

Is forensic and handwriting analysis really cost effective in cases like this?


Re magstripe and barriers - his point was that barriers are not always in operation at any station, so travelling at certain times you can often walk through at both ends so the ticket never had to go through them.

Thanks all for your comments!
 
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