TIL communication

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by lm1619c, 9 Oct 2019.

  1. lm1619c

    lm1619c Member

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    I do not travel regularly on trains and this was my first time travelling solo on a long distance journey. I purchased a m ticket through Virgin Trains from Glasgow to Grantham on Saturday 13th July 2019 and returned Monday on 15th July 2019. I downloaded the app could see both tickets. On boarding the outward bound train I activated the ticket through the app but had problems getting on the internet but eventually it downloaded and it scanned successfully. Mindful of this I decided to activate the m ticket on Sunday evening at approx 11pm as I had WiFi available. Thinking it would alleviate any stress for my return journey . On the Monday I boarded the first train from Grantham to Leeds and was asked for my ticket. I presented my ticket and the operative went to scan it. He indicated it was not a valid ticket and after a quick conversation it became apparent that i had activated the ticket the night before and this is why it appeared invalid. He said this happens sometimes but manually processed my ticket. I raised my concern about getting on the Leeds to Glasgow train but assured me I should be fine. Got to Leeds and boarded train. I explained to the operative what had happened and she said she would need to send a report as my ticket was not valid. ironically I had a seat reserved for me by Virgin on this extremely busy train.Approx 6 weeks later I received the 1st letter from TIL, standard letter, possibility of being taken to court, asked to send in my mitigating circumstances which I duly did, via email. I send them screen prints of my m tickets, booking confirmation and credit card statement. Received 2nd letter, again a standard letter, intimating that if I paid a £65 admin fee there would be no further action. Phoned the company requesting to speak to an agent to get clarity as this was at standard letter giving no explanation. They are contactless by phone and advised to send another email and received a letter indicating that my ticket was invalid as I had activated it the day before and therefore the admin charge applies. I have looked at the t & c on the confrontation email I received from virgin and it stated please ensure you activate your m ticket before you board the train but nothing about there being a specific time guideline. On further investigation, numerous googling, I have since managed to find, in small print, the clause about activating it on the exact day. Is there any other avenue to pursue to try and right off the charge or do I just pay it and put it down to a lesson learned. Thanks in advance for advice and guidance.
     
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  3. robert7111a

    robert7111a Established Member

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    Personally I would pay the £65 admin fee now (to avoid the fees escalating and possible court action) and then sort things out afterwards if there is a valid claim.

    The experts will be along soon to offer specific advice
     
  4. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I would pay what they are asking to make the matter go away and stop it from escalating further. The last thing you need is for it to end up in court.

    Once the matter is concluded I would file a separate complaint with Cross Country Trains about how the situation has been dealt with. They might agree to reimburse the fee paid as a gesture of goodwill.

    Tickets involving apps are best avoided. If you're unsure best stick to paper tickets.
     
  5. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Just for clarity, what type of ticket did you hold? Anytime, Offpeak, or Advance?
     
  6. Brissle Girl

    Brissle Girl Member

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    It seems pointless asking for any mitigating circumstances if when some are given they are completely ignored. It’s quite clear that there has been no intention to avoid payment and a seat was even reserved on the train in question. And the instruction not to activate before the day in question was buried in small print. If they are not mitigating enough, what is?

    I’d agree with the previous advice to pay now to avoid any increases costs and the stress of it escalating, unless you particularly want to adopt the “see you in court” approach, where I suspect you would have a good case (particularly given my point about asking for mitigating circumstances but then choosing to ignore them). I’d also agree that it’s better to stick to paper tickets - I can’t see the point of them myself. Unless there is a financial incentive and convenience to e-tickets (as is the case with our local bus company) then it just introduces an additional risk, particularly for inexperienced travellers.
     
  7. furlong

    furlong Established Member

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    There is a known problem with some tickets that are valid for more than one day but can be displayed incorrectly as invalid due to a problem with the software. If you supply more details people might be able to work out whether or not that is a possible explanation for what happened.
     
  8. lm1619c

    lm1619c Member

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    Hi, they were off peak returns. Thanks for all the support already!
     
  9. lm1619c

    lm1619c Member

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    Happy to provide more detail if needs be but just didn’t want to make the post too long. Please let me know details required thanks
     
  10. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    An Off Peak return from Glasgow to Grantham (cost £128.80) dated 13 July is valid to return on any day up to 12 August inclusive. Travel is permitted at any time on weekends or from 0930 Mon-Fri. So as long as you left Grantham at 0930 or later on 15th July with such a ticket it was 100% valid.

    In such circumstances I would not be paying any admin fee and would reply to these TIL shysters stating that I would be happy to see them in court. I appreciate not everyone wants to do that and others have suggested you pay the requested fee - the way you want to go is down to you.

    Regardlees of what you decide to do, the case certainly warrants a strongly worded complaint to whoever operated the train you were on from Leeds (Cross Country ?). Telling people that a valid ticket is "not valid" is never acceptable - if there are known software problems, as mentioned upthread, staff should be briefed and act accordingly.
     
    Last edited: 9 Oct 2019
  11. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    Good point. The return portion of an Off Peak Return is valid for a month.....
     
  12. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    https://www.virgintrains.co.uk/tickets/get-your-ticket/mobile-tickets
    VT make it pretty clear that they can only be activated on the day of travel (return part in this case).

    This means that anyone using the overnight BoJ facility could hit problems en route similar to the OP's. Frankly m-tickets ought not to be issued for walk-up returns at all, as they restrict their validity.
     
  13. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Unfortunately your ticket wasn't valid so they are (technically) correct. So pay up.

    Then kick up holy hell on the customer service front for the poor experience.
    I agree. They make perfect sense for carnets or for singles, but returns should either be paper or eTickets.
     
  14. lm1619c

    lm1619c Member

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    Good Morning All
    Really appreciate all the support on here, I can now get a decent sleep tonight!! I have just made a payment of the admin fee to avoid the threat of Court Action although it does go against the grain. Ironically the person who processed the payment was in fact the prosecution caseworker who. last week, was not contactable. I will however be pursuing Cross Country Trains in light of your users knowledge, never knew about the "off peak tickets" been valid for a month, and yes I left Grantham after 9.30 am on the Monday and yes my mitigation circumstances were completely ignored by this 3rd party agency. I will never use an mobile app again for travelling and print off tickets (never mind saving the planet). Again many thanks for your help and I will keep you updated on the outcome.
     
  15. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    I disagree. The validity of the ticket is unaffected by it showing as expired on the day after it has been activated.
     
  16. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    I agree that it *should* have been valid, but this just highlights is the problem with the current implementation of period returns as m-Tickets.

    The medium shouldn't make a difference, but unfortunately it does as the ticket has to be activated on the day of travel, despite the authority to travel being valid for one month.
     
  17. Puffing Devil

    Puffing Devil Established Member

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    How can you accommodate a break of journey with the system? You can't implement a system that takes away the validity of a ticket without specifically warning the customer. Small print won't cover it!
     
  18. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    I agree. Which is why period returns really shouldn't be issued as m-Tickets.
     
  19. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Break of journey is permitted and validity is not taken away. The validity of the ticket is unaffected by how it is displayed. However, I do accept that this is why properly implemented e-tickets are far superior.
     
  20. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    I know this is angels dancing on the head of a pin territory, but the validity of the permission to travel is unaffected, but the ticket as a tangible object is.

    By analogy, if I was to run an iron over my CCST so that it became illegible - while I would still be authorised to travel, I wouldn't be able to prove it.
    For exactly this kind of situation!
     
  21. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    That isn't the same because in the m-ticket the barcode remains readable and can confirm the validity of the ticket. The problem is the staff who are either poorly trained or refuse to do their job properly (using their eyes instead of their brains).
     
  22. lm1619c

    lm1619c Member

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    Hi, just to clarify that on the email I received for the ticket confirmation there was no timeline on activation when using the app. I did find the page you have identified this week. The information does not match up !!
     
  23. daveshah

    daveshah Member

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    I'm curious how "must be activated on day of use" works with overnight journeys, even putting BoJ aside for a moment. I wonder if it's possible to be offered an mTicket with this restriction against an overnight itinerary...
     
  24. Realfish

    Realfish Member

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    Could this be the reason?

    Virgin: ''What is an m-ticket? m-tickets (or ‘mobile’ tickets) are sent to your phone or tablet via our mobile app within 5 minutes. They’re offered as a collection option when you book any Virgin Trains West Coast journey on our website or app...'' This wasn't a VTWC journey.

    Apologies if this is a red herring.
     
  25. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    It's a red herring.
     

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