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Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by Janet266, 12 Nov 2017.
If this was another TOC such as GWR then I might agree with you, but XC?
A Manchester to Andover ticket routed +via London is valid on all permitted routes:
between Manchester and London; this includes Manchester - Birmingham - Oxford - Reading - London Paddington [note: AM time restrictions apply]
between London and Andover; this includes London Paddington - Reading - Basingstoke - Andover [no time restrictions apply due to Network Area Rule]
It is permissible to avoid the double-back between Reading & London Paddington afforded by the validity described above, for example by remaining on a CrossCountry train at Reading.
Additionally, a Manchester to Andover ticket routed +via London is valid on all permitted routes between Manchester & Andover that avoid London, as the fare paid is higher than the appropriate Manchester to Andover ticket routed Not via London. The Guard can either accept the ticket as it is a higher fare, or if they wish, they can issue a change of route excess fare for a value of £0.
Unfortunately XC do employ some staff who are very unknowledgeable; their prosecutions department behaves in a disgraceful way at times. I've seen this sort of behaviour before (including prosecuting someone for not doubling-back to London). They are bullies, they are cowards, and they are very very wrong.
There are three possible ways to resolve this:
I have a robust discussion with XC on your behalf
I ask a contact I have at XC to resolve it
We appoint a solicitor to represent you in court; if what you say is true, you will win the case.
If I can find a suitable solicitor, I will suggest we go for option 3.
If not, I am prepared to go down the routes of options 1 or 2, but I am unhappy that this gets XC off the hook. I'd like to see them defeated in court.
I do hate calling TOCs when I know I am right and they are wrong; they try to argue with me and tell me I am wrong, and it is a most frustrating experience. I've recently done battle with several and I find it very draining. Some of them behave in a despicable manner. I don't want any money for it but it irks me that I spend so much time dealing with rogue TOCs for no reward and it is not good for my health. Sadly Transport Focus do not appear to be capable or willing to do anything about the poor way in which passengers are sometimes treated.
Feel free to send me a message (via 'conversation') with your mobile number and I will call you tomorrow morning if you like.
Morning Yorkie - taking the OP's account at face value and providing the evidence she supplies back this up I'm in agreement with you. PF has been a toothless farce since the Rail Passengers Council was destroyed - deliberately designed to be by New Labour to quell dissent.
This case is the sort of thing an Independent Passenger Ombudsman should deal with but despite promises do we have one?
No, it's not as simple as that.
We have re-published this thread as the case is now closed. However I am not happy at the outcome; the accused has been treated disgracefully and is substantially out of pocket.
The accused spent a considerable sum preparing a defence, however Transport Investigations have withdrawn the case after a preliminary hearing and XC are apparently not even being pursued for breaching contract law and consumer law, which I find very disappointing.
I had arranged a zero cost option which would have resulted in XC being required to pay compensation, but this offer was not taken up.
A ticket routed "+via London" is valid by all permitted routes from origin to London, plus all permitted routes from London to destination. If a permitted route involves a double-back (e.g. Manchester to Watford Jn route: +via London could involve a double-back into & out of Euston if the passenger wishes) the passenger is not required to actually double-back.
A ticket routed "+via London" can be excessed into a "Not via London" fare (but this should only happen if the ticket is not already valid as described in the previous paragraph) and this costs HALF the difference, with the excess being to the APPROPRIATE fare with any applicable Railcard discount. If the excess is zero, then a zero fare coupon should be issued, or the passenger can simply be told not to worry about it.
It is not appropriate for XC Guards to do any action other than charge an excess fare (in accordance with the rules, so you're generally talking pennies!) or simply accept the ticket. They should not be asking people to buy a new ticket nor should they be reporting people for prosecution.
Is that really it? XC talk complete rubbish and attempt to wrongly prosecute someone, but they end up out of pocket and XC get away with it? Is there really no come back for our OP?
Re the following points:
Obviously I do not expect yorkie to provide more details as I am guessing the OP does not want them published but, in my view, this should be highlighted in case others in similar positions read this thread.
In cases where a ticket is, without doubt, 100% valid there really should be no need for anyone to spend any sum (never mind a "considerable" one) to prepare a defence when forum members such as yorkie are able and willing to assist.
Only if they request a solicitor to pursue the matter with XC. My understanding is that isn't happening.
I'd arranged for a suitable solicitor (a member of this forum) to take the case on, and I'd arranged for people in relevant roles providing fares data to the rail industry to agree to be called as witnesses in court if required.
XC don't always get away with this behaviour; they had a spectacular defeat a few years ago regarding a ticket dispute in the Midlands area, however the victims are not ready to go public yet. Maybe in a couple of years or so.
Yorkie you are a good man.
If this happened to me, I would be looking at all options, regardless of whether or not they actually too me (significantly) out of pocket.
Private prosecution of XC and/or all responsible parties for any breaches of any laws (DPA, consumer etc.), County Court claim, judicial review etc.
It is totally unacceptable that something like this be permitted to happen with no comeback and it strikes me as the kind of thing that ought to see XC stripped of the franchise and/or have a penalty imposed by DfT (haha, as if), as well as custodial sentences for those responsible.
Nothing like blowing things out of proportion.
Looking at what has happened would any newspapers be interested in the story?, if any are maybe a quick heads up to XC might produce suitable remuneration. Or maybe you may get suitable remuneration from selling the story.
Train operating companies should be made to pay similar to when they prosecute for failure pay.
Plus if it did get in the papers, if this has happened to anyone else they know they are in the right and know to challenge it.
There was a case on the forum where someone was travelling from somewhere in the North to High Wycombe on a via London ticket, where XC had refused to accept that the ticket was valid via Banbury.
You would require extremely deep pockets then! Do you realise just how expensive those things would be?
It would be possible to get compensation from XC; as mentioned above, I am aware of people who have achieved this.
It's not a level playing field and there will be an initial cost in pursuing train companies who have breached the terms of the contract, which many people will not want to bear.
But ForTheLoveOf is right to point out that there should be appropriately harsh penalties for rouge train companies. If there was, it would be a much fairer system and you would be less likely to see passengers mistreated.
Oh, that goes without saying. But calling for custodial sentences is just a little bit OTT.
Yes. If the OP were prepared to tell their story too their local paper I'm sure it would get some coverage.
A bit OTT for the first offence, I agree, but perhaps justified for repeat offences ? After all, passengers who travel without a valid ticket are not normally imprisoned for a single offence, but can be for repeated fraud.
The behaviour of Virgin certainly sounds appalling, and I feel that they should pay substantial costs.
EDIT TO ADD that it is cross country who are at fault, no longer virgin cross country.
Virgin!? When did they get involved?
Yep, for me this is such an important cause that I would be willing to make significant sacrifices to get the 'justice' deserved. Justice is one of the key principles I live by - it's one thing having to abide by unfair rules, it's another when the people who set and enforce these unfair rules then change the rules mid-way through, or completely ignore them.
Yeah sure, bankrupt yourself for a large multinational company to pay pocket change as a fine... Sure you would...
You do realise that we're talking second-mortgage amounts of money, right?
The Daily Mail would probably be.... (sorry, couldn't resist
It is well-known that many of the general public think CrossCountry is run by Virgin (as it once was) instead of Arriva (as it is now).
There's a certain irony in someone saying that a company's behaviour is inexcusable due to sloppy prosecutions and managing to name the wrong company in the process!
(Given that it's only a mere 10 years since Virgin ran the CrossCountry franchise.)
Isn't it possible to file a small claim against XC? Damages limited to £10,000 do not carry the risk of costs awards unless brought unreasonably (and my limited experience suggests that there's a high threshold for a DJ to consider a party unreasonable).
I have very limited experience the UK rail industry and its processes and I'm aware there may be special laws to protect the TOCs, but would be interested to know why a small claim wouldn't be an option here.
It would be an option, but the problem is that the losses aren't a direct consequence of XC's action since the OP had a choice about how much money they were willing to spend preparing a defence. Even if a judge agrees that XC/TIL's initial threat of prosecution wasn't justified they may still not award costs.
Indeed, I have now edited my post to reflect the fact that cross country is now NOT run by virgin. Sorry about that error.
No you wouldn't, because you would end up bankrupt within weeks, if not days.
You obviously have no idea how much this would cost.
Call them out on Twitter.
"You took me to court while I had a perfectly valid ticket, withdrew the prosecution when your incompetence was exposed, and now refuse to cover my losses. Is that how you treat a hardworking, honest fare-paying passenger?"