Should my daughter appeal this PFN,...

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dar2008

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My daughter had the unpleasant experience of receiving a Penalty Fare Notice last week. I believe this was very harshly given and think she should appeal, but am I right?

Please see her letter below. I'd be interested to hear whether you agree she should appeal or not and also any pointers for her to improve her letter.

Many thanks in advance,...


Dear Sir / Madam,

Re: Appeal against Penalty Fare Notice: FCC xxxxxx

I am writing to appeal most strongly against the above Penalty Fare Notice that was unfairly issued to me on 7 June 2012. The basis for my appeal is the following:-

1. Lack of appropriate discretion shown by the ticket inspector
2. No readily available information regarding which stations are considered “London Terminals”
3. I did not attempt to and neither did I deprive the train company of any money

Ticket I purchased (enclosed):
Anytime Day Return from Shortlands to London Terminals at £7.50

Ticket I apparently should have purchased:
Anytime Day Return from Shortlands to Farringdon at £7.50

Background

I have just returned home from my first year at University and Wednesday 7th June was my first day working as a summer intern at the Children’s Society, based in Farringdon. I purchased my Anytime Day Return ticket from Shortlands to London Terminals – as I have done on many occasions before whenever travelling into central London.

I was stopped at the barriers at Farringdon station and told that my ticket wasn’t valid as Farringdon is not a London Terminal station. Now I did not know this and had purchased my ticket believing it to be valid.

Lack of appropriate discretion

I believe the appropriate discretion in this instance would have been to advise me that in future I need to ensure my ticket is specifically to Farringdon.

Which stations are London Terminals?

Information for which stations are considered London Terminals is not readily available. There are no displays at Shortlands station advising which stations are or are not considered a London Terminal. After extensive use of Google, I discovered a list of London Terminal stations on the Internet. I also discovered that a station does not have to be a terminus to be considered a London Terminal.

Below I show which stations on my route are London Terminal stations. I also show the cost of an Anytime Day Return ticket from Shortlands to each specifically named station – it is £7.50 in all cases, the same price as the ticket I purchased from Shortlands to London Terminals, hence my accusation of a complete lack of appropriate discretion being shown on the part of the ticket inspector.

Journey Start from Shortlands to:
Blackfriars, IS London Terminal, Anytime Day Return is £7.50
City Thameslink, IS London Terminal, Anytime Day Return is £7.50
Farringdon, IS NOT London Terminal, Anytime Day Return is £7.50
St Pancras International, IS London Terminal, Anytime Day Return is £7.50

Given the above, it is clear that I did not intend or attempt to defraud the railway company of income. Further as the price of the ticket I apparently should have purchased is the same as the ticket I did purchase, I did not defraud the railway company of any income. I therefore ask that you rescind this Penalty Fare Notice, refunding the £20 to me as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully,
 
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Wolfie

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Three questions:
a Did your daughter buy the ticket from a TVM or a ticket office?
b If the former did she put Farringdon as her destination?
c If the latter did she state Farringdon as her distination?

If the answer to either b or c is yes then she has definitely been unfairly dealt with.

If the answer to either b or c is no then your other comments about the opaqueness of validity on Thameslink come into play, particularly given the zero difference in cost.
 

dar2008

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Three questions:
a Did your daughter buy the ticket from a TVM or a ticket office?
b If the former did she put Farringdon as her destination?
c If the latter did she state Farringdon as her distination?

Thanks for the reply. She bought the ticket at the TVM at Shortlands station to London Terminals (not specifically Farringdon).

I agree about the opaqueness of London Terminals.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I should add that she worked as an intern at the Children's Society for three months last summer and purchased the same ticket (albeit weekly) from Shortlands to London Terminals, always alighting at Farringdon. Not once was she questioned about the validity of this. I suggested she shouldn't "own up" to this in her letter as it might go against her.
 

AntoniC

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My thoughts are

1) FCC arent interested in what your daughter had been doing

2) Remove the line "I purchased my Anytime Day Return ticket from Shortlands to London Terminals – as I have done on many occasions before whenever travelling into central London. " - as this may lead FCC to believe she is a serial offender who could carry on till she got caught

3) Discretion may depend on what your daughter said to the RPI, do you know what she said and how the conversation went ?

4) Personally I would pay the £20 PF and move on, if you dont I can understand why.

Regards
 

LexyBoy

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I understand that the PF has already been paid? If so then there's no reason not to appeal it. If not then pay and appeal later - don't give FCC the chance to take this any further (this is the company who have sent letters notifying passengers that they are to be prosecuted for using the wrong kind of pen, or for changing somewhere suggested by FCC's own journey planner).

The PFN was correctly issued in this case as they are supposed to be a punishment for making an "honest mistake"; there is no implication that any attempt was being made to evade the fare. That said, it is clearly unfair and so you have a chance of getting a goodwill refund.

The Thameslink ticketing situation is complicated and whilst there is information out there explaining the situation, it's easy to miss unless you deliberately look for it. As an example of the lack of clarity:

Journey Start from Shortlands to:
Blackfriars, IS London Terminal, Anytime Day Return is £7.50
City Thameslink, IS London Terminal, Anytime Day Return is £7.50
Farringdon, IS NOT London Terminal, Anytime Day Return is £7.50
St Pancras International, IS London Terminal, Anytime Day Return is £7.50

St Pancras IS NOT a London Terminal when approached from the south, but IS a London Terminal from the north. From Shortlands you would need an Anytime Day Return to London St Pancras specifically, costing (you guessed it!) £7.50.
 

dar2008

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My thoughts are

1) FCC arent interested in what your daughter had been doing

2) Remove the line "I purchased my Anytime Day Return ticket from Shortlands to London Terminals – as I have done on many occasions before whenever travelling into central London. " - as this may lead FCC to believe she is a serial offender who could carry on till she got caught

3) Discretion may depend on what your daughter said to the RPI, do you know what she said and how the conversation went ?

4) Personally I would pay the £20 PF and move on, if you dont I can understand why.

Regards

1) I know it's not X Factor, but I thought mentioning her work with a children's charity might help:)

2) Probably correct, see my amendment regarding last summer!

3) My daughter is very shy and didn't enter into an argument with the inspector (she ain't no loud mouthed chav!:D) She phoned me in tears immediately after the incident.

4) She paid the fine. She felt very pressured to pay it there and then in order to be allowed through the barrier.
 

DaveNewcastle

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There seems to be a recurring habit when people are detected having failed to comply with some Condition or other that they find unreasonable, to immediately incriminate themselves further!

To state "as I have done on many occasions before" is an admission of having committed the same error on many other occassions. That doesn't help.

If you wanted to make some point about the Condition not being apparent, even while having been observant during journeys on other occassions, then that might be more supportive of your argument.

But as AntoniC has suggested, I wouldn't bother for £20.
 

Wath Yard

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In any fair and just world your daughter would get her money back, however this is the railway's T&Cs we are talking about...

It may only be £20 but there is a principle involved here. The vast majority of people would assume Farrigdon was a 'London station' and the fare is exactly the same. It is in central London. I would appeal, she has absolutely nothing to lose, and if the appeal was unsuccessful complain to Passenger Focus. Train ticketing, and the often harsh and illogical conditions attached, are a hot topic at the moment and the more complaints that are made the more chance of change.
 

Oswyntail

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....
But as AntoniC has suggested, I wouldn't bother for £20.
It is a relatively small sum (but could be more than a week's income to a student!). But surely one point of complaining is to add a small amount to the weight of evidence against this lack of transparency. Ignore it, and so can FCC and other TOCs
 

WelshBluebird

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Am I the only person who thinks it is a total joke that cases like this are pursued, while much more obvious and serious fare evasion is often ignored?? The ticket was the same price for crying out load!
 

LexyBoy

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Am I the only person who thinks it is a total joke that cases like this are pursued, while much more obvious and serious fare evasion is often ignored?? The ticket was the same price for crying out load!

But it's much easier to get honest people to pay up - the railway is run to make a profit remember!
 

Wolfie

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In any fair and just world your daughter would get her money back, however this is the railway's T&Cs we are talking about...

It may only be £20 but there is a principle involved here. The vast majority of people would assume Farrigdon was a 'London station' and the fare is exactly the same. It is in central London. I would appeal, she has absolutely nothing to lose, and if the appeal was unsuccessful complain to Passenger Focus. Train ticketing, and the often harsh and illogical conditions attached, are a hot topic at the moment and the more complaints that are made the more chance of change.

I must say I am inclined to agree, particularly given that the obvious financial loss to FCC is zero (I say obvious because fare allocation and hence finance to FCC may be different for dest "Farringdon" as opposed to dest "London terminals").
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
But it's much easier to get honest people to pay up - the railway is run to make a profit remember!

True, but the cost of staff time to a TOC involved in handling a formal complaint, or indeed referral to an MP or the media, can soon make that profit go negative!!!!
 

lyndhurst25

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FCC at it again! An honest fare-paying passenger makes a genuine mistake that anybody who isn't a railway ticketing geek could do and KERCHING! That'll be £20 please!

If I were you I'd appeal - £20 is a lot of money to a student and moreover it is a matter of principle. The ticket prices are exactly the same! Why the ticket inspector didn't just advise her to ask for a Farringdon ticket in future so as to be within the rules is beyond me. What about issuing a £0 excess fare? (I know that strictly speaking you are supposed to ask for these before departure)

I despair at what FCC have become and I honestly wouldn't plan a trip for any friends or relatives that involved train travel and FCC without first giving them a prep-talk on the complexities of the rules and regulations involved.
 
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dar2008

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Thanks for all the responses so far and glad that in general people feel it is worth her appealing.

I don't know if it's relevant, but I've just been checking the PFN now and find the following anomolies,...

  • Time of incident is clearly filled in as "08:90",... I believe he intended to record it as "08:50" - the "9" is a clear "9" and not in anyway a mis-interpreted "5".
  • The inspector has filled in his number in the "Authorised Collected Number FCC" field, but has not added his signature in the Signature field - he has not signed the PFN anywhere.

Is it worth my daughter raising these points in her letter?
 
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Yes definitely. I think those technical appeals with the PFN are more likely to win than the matters of principle with what I've heard about FCC.

Take this as far as you can, cost FCC as much staff time as possible over this.
 

Asian Demon

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I'd suggest that you do appeal, however the appeal should be based on the missing signature and the incorrect time entered (Are you sure the nine may not be a four, especially knowing how some people's handwriting is).

In all other respects the PFN has been issued correctly. It's not to say it's not a harsh penalty fare (it is) but it is technically correct. As for the use of discretion...... this is just getting ridiculous. Discretion is not discretion when someone asks someone to use it. Discretion is discretion when an individual uses it of his or her own accord. In this case it was not shown and however unfair or hard done by you/your daughter feels is irrelevant.

As for the London Terminals vs London Thameslink vs actual station name debate, it is all to do with money allocation between tocs. The price principle is irrelevant (not to you obviously but to the companies involved, it is).
 

dar2008

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I'd suggest that you do appeal, however the appeal should be based on the missing signature and the incorrect time entered (Are you sure the nine may not be a four, especially knowing how some people's handwriting is).

No, most definitely, clearly a "9", in any case her train could not have arrived to Farringdon by "08:40".

Re: The lack of discretion shown. I appreciate it is down to the revenue inspector to choose to show discretion or not. However, I believe each train company has guidelines regarding when and how discretion should be used. In my view (yes in my coloured view), this is a clear case of where any guidelines should instruct discretion to be shown.
 

Asian Demon

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No, most definitely, clearly a "9", in any case her train could not have arrived to Farringdon by "08:40".

Re: The lack of discretion shown. I appreciate it is down to the revenue inspector to choose to show discretion or not. However, I believe each train company has guidelines regarding when and how discretion should be used. In my view (yes in my coloured view), this is a clear case of where any guidelines should instruct discretion to be shown.

It's an area where discretion is unlikely to be shown because it happens a lot at Farringdon from my understanding. I also believe that discretion is meant to be shown only when the passenger is either:

  • Disabled
  • Tourists
  • Senior Citizens
  • Children
  • Pregnant

I'm sure there are others though.
 

dar2008

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It's an area where discretion is unlikely to be shown because it happens a lot at Farringdon from my understanding. I also believe that discretion is meant to be shown only when the passenger is either:

  • Disabled
  • Tourists
  • Senior Citizens
  • Children
  • Pregnant

I'm sure there are others though.

My daughter is 18, but looks about 12,...not sure that counts though!

Your comment that "it happens a lot at Farringdon" is one of my main gripes over this. Very few London commuters would be able to name which central London stations are considered "London Terminals". The information is not readily available and certainly not displayed at stations. FCC know this and obviously target honest fare paying customers at Farringdon to get some 'easy money'. It's just not right!<(
 

BrownE

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I cannot offer any guarantees nor do I endorse these people, but www.penaltyfareappeal.co.uk seem to specialise in "technicalities". The service is free as far as I can tell.

Perhaps it is worth you contacting them.
 

yorkie

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This is not the first time someone has informed us that a Penalty Fare has been charged for travelling over-distance using a ticket that is an identical price to the correct ticket. In the previous case, the appeal was not successful.

It is bonkers, but it is within the rules.

A Penalty Fare is not a fine, and anyone who is issued one is not being accused of attempting to avoid payment of a fare. It is a charged made to innocent passengers who have made an honest mistake.

The charge is correct, but that doesn't mean it can't be appealed. I would mention the other technicalities, and you may be successful. Do let us know how you get on.

If anyone feels it is unfair, then I would suggest writing to your MP stating that you disagree with the legislation that supports Penalty Fares.

. FCC know this and obviously target honest fare paying customers at Farringdon to get some 'easy money'. It's just not right!<(
Call it unfair, bonkers, whatever you want (and I'll agree with you!), but it is correct and they are allowed to do it.

Only if the law is changed will they stop doing it. However the Government supports the principle of Penalty Fares, so they look set to continue for many years to come. :(
 

MikeWh

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I can't add anything more to the current situation other than to say that I would appeal in this situation, both for the unfairness and the technicalities. However, if your daughter is making regular single journeys to Farringdon without making enough for a season ticket to be viable, please get an Oyster card. The first thing to note is that on Oyster Farringdon is treated just like any other National Rail zone 1 station as long as the passenger has arrived on FCC services. Secondly it saves money. The peak single fare (0630-0930 and 1600-1900) is just £3.50 and off-peak is £2.40. Indeed, if enough journeys can be made off-peak (remember that the initial touch in is the important time) you may find single tickets are cheaper than a NR point-to-point season ticket. If you are regularly using an Oyster card then get auto top-up set and you can pretty much forget ever worrying about not having enough money.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
PS. If your appeal fails then you might wish to get the Evening Standard or BBC London involved on the absurdities of the ticket price being the same, to say nothing of Oyster not making the same distinction.
 

exile

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It does seem that people who make mistakes are treated worse than fare evaders, who, if they are argumentative enough, can evade any penalty whatsoever.
 

PhilipW

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I agree with Clive above. Air your views to your MP as well. He/she cannot do anything about it but it's good to let off steam to your MP about the daft system that Parliament has inflicted on us.

Do tell your daughter that she has a lot of support on this site. I hope she feels better about the incident.

Some years back my daughter was given some very bad advice by a ticket clerk at Paddington and spent about £90 on a ticket to Bath when she could have only spend about £40 is she had waited 20 mins or so for the next train. Having been conned once, she is now very clued up about the intracies of FGW prices, how to get the best deal and how to get money back if anything runs late. She's on to them in a shot if anything goes wrong and can get a refund. Over the years she has got more than £50 back by being on the ball.

I hope your daughter comes out from this more clued up about FCC and never ever again gives them 1p more than she has to.

Best wishes
 

Greenback

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The Penalty Fare concept has been hijacked by TOC's like EMT and FCC. Originally, it was intended by BR to be used as a deterrent against people simply not buying tickets when barriers were removed.

The legislation that allows PF's to be handed out in this manner needs to be looked at. I don't have any answersas to how the law should be changed, but it's not fit for purpose in my opinion.

A good start might be to prevent PF's being issued where there has been no loss to the TOC.
 

phil8715

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Is Farringdon a terminus? I thought it was a through station. A terminus would be stations such as Euston, King's Cross, St Pancras, Paddington, Victoria and Waterloo also Liverpool Street because the trains start and terminate there.


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MikeWh

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Is Farringdon a terminus? I thought it was a through station. A terminus would be stations such as Euston, King's Cross, St Pancras, Paddington, Victoria and Waterloo also Liverpool Street because the trains start and terminate there.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

No, Farringdon is not a terminus in the literal sense, but then neither are City Thameslink, Waterloo East or Vauxhall, all of which are counted as London terminals as far as ticketing is concerned.
 

talltim

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I'm affraid I still see a PF as a fine. 'A sum of money extracted as a penalty' That fit a FP to my mind.
 
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