TOC County Court Claim

Status
Not open for further replies.

kingston

Member
Joined
15 Feb 2016
Messages
49
Hi,

I received a penalty fare last year on an occasion where I did in fact have a valid ticket. I wrote to the TOC in question at their registered business address reaffirming this and asking for a refund of the monies paid, but did not receive a response.

Subsequently I received communication for the remaining part of the penalty fare, plus £40 of costs threatening prosecution. In light of the threat, I paid this in full. I then wrote to the TOC again, enclosing my previous letter, asking for the £20 penalty fare and £40 costs to be refunded, plus £20 compensation and £40 to cover my own costs. Again I did not receive a response.

I wrote to them finally at the end of the year, enclosing my previous letters, notifying them of my intention to issue proceedings in the county court without further notice if I did not receive a response, and again I did not receive a response.

As the TOC has claimed a £20 penalty (compensation) and £40 costs, I believe that is a clear admission that they consider these reasonable for a ticket validity dispute, which is why I claimed my own compensation and costs of the same amounts.

Whilst the validity of the fare and the TOC in question is out of the scope of my post, on the basis that I did have a valid ticket I am seeking advice on the costs or compensation I should claim for pursuant to having to take the TOC to court? i.e. when a TOC takes a passenger to court over a fare irregularity, what level of costs and compensation do they seek?

Thanks in advance!
 
Last edited:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

crehld

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
1 Nov 2014
Messages
1,994
Location
Norfolk
Hi there. Two questions:

1. You said the validity of the fare and TOC is out of scope of this post, but it would nevertheless greatly assist us to provide advice regarding whether you had a valid appeal in the first case.

2. You said you sent correspondence to the TOC's registered address. Does this mean you did not appeal through the formal process at The Independent Penalty Fares Appeals Service (i.e. the contact details which should have been provided on the penalty fare notice itself)?
 

kingston

Member
Joined
15 Feb 2016
Messages
49
1. You said the validity of the fare and TOC is out of scope of this post, but it would nevertheless greatly assist us to provide advice regarding whether you had a valid appeal in the first case.

Completely appreciate where you're coming from, I would just rather not reveal the details. Suffice to say that I'm very confident with the validity and I've posted this on the supposition that it is valid and the PF was erroneous :D

2. You said you sent correspondence to the TOC's registered address. Does this mean you did not appeal through the formal process at The Independent Penalty Fares Appeals Service (i.e. the contact details which should have been provided on the penalty fare notice itself)?

I copied the first letter to the 'independent' IPFAS yes, but subsequent correspondence was to the TOC directly, as I was also complaining about the aggressive behavior of the staff.

Who would my claim be against, the TOC or IPFAS?
 

CheesyChips

Member
Joined
18 Jun 2015
Messages
217
Before you even get to the point of making a county court claim, you really should be completely satisfied that you have no other recourse as county courts tend to look unfavourably on those who haven't exhausted other avenues, within reason of course.

Have you had any response whatsoever?
 

bb21

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
4 Feb 2010
Messages
24,036
What are you actually claiming against? You mentioned the incorrectly charged Penalty Fare, but then you mentioned something about aggressive behaviour.

The first should be refunded, together with fees. The second is just an irrelevance.

Compensation would be based on reasonable costs. What costs have you incurred?
 

crehld

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
1 Nov 2014
Messages
1,994
Location
Norfolk
Completely appreciate where you're coming from, I would just rather not reveal the details. Suffice to say that I'm very confident with the validity and I've posted this on the supposition that it is valid and the PF was erroneous :D

While you're confident with your supposition that the ticket is valid, the TOC obviously isn't. I'm not trying to question your judgement, just trying to understand what mistake (or if a mistake at all) has been made by the TOC so we can advise you properly.

I copied the first letter to the 'independent' IPFAS yes, but subsequent correspondence was to the TOC directly, as I was also complaining about the aggressive behavior of the staff.

Who would my claim be against, the TOC or IPFAS?

I'm still confused here. When you received your penalty fare did you formally appeal it through the appropriate channels. Or just write to the TOC? If you formally appealed did they reject your appeal? And if so, what on what grounds? (This is where knowing your ticket / journey details would be really helpful)
 

319321

Member
Joined
9 Jun 2015
Messages
318
You can also claim for your 'distress' if you are covered by the Unfair Trading Regulations 2014. These damages can get quite substantial :)

If the RPI's were aggressive, depending in what way, if it was less than six month ago you can seek their prosecution under the railway byelaws.
 
Last edited:

kingston

Member
Joined
15 Feb 2016
Messages
49
Before you even get to the point of making a county court claim, you really should be completely satisfied that you have no other recourse as county courts tend to look unfavourably on those who haven't exhausted other avenues, within reason of course.

Have you had any response whatsoever?

Yeah I agree - I wrote to them twice over the course of 6 months, and wrote to them again last month giving them 14 days to make a payment and notifying them of my intent to issue proceedings without further notice if I did not hear from them (including the boilerplate text referring them to the practice directions on pre-action conduct etc).

As I haven't heard from them on all 3 occasions I think that's exhausting all avenues, especially given the notice of intention to issue proceedings.

My current position is that I am intending to issue proceedings in my local county court today on that basis...

What are you actually claiming against? You mentioned the incorrectly charged Penalty Fare, but then you mentioned something about aggressive behaviour.

The first should be refunded, together with fees. The second is just an irrelevance.

Compensation would be based on reasonable costs. What costs have you incurred?

The complaint of aggressive behavior was just that, a complaint. I would have expected them to respond and investigate as a matter of courtesy, but I have not considered any claim against that of course.

What I am claiming for is for my penalty fare and their costs already paid to be refunded, and for my costs and compensation for continue pursuit of that.

Writing letters to chase payment and researching my position involves a lot of time and direct costs of printing/postage etc - I'm working on the basis that if they consider it reasonable to charge me £20 compensation and £40 costs, then it is reasonable for me to charge them the same.

While you're confident with your supposition that the ticket is valid, the TOC obviously isn't. I'm not trying to question your judgement, just trying to understand what mistake (or if a mistake at all) has been made by the TOC so we can advise you properly.

I would be inclined to agree with you here if they actually responded with any grounds for why they believe it wasn't valid. If they did and I had any doubt then I'd ask for advice, but I'm working on the basis that is is :)

I'm still confused here. When you received your penalty fare did you formally appeal it through the appropriate channels. Or just write to the TOC? If you formally appealed did they reject your appeal? And if so, what on what grounds? (This is where knowing your ticket / journey details would be really helpful)

I wrote to the TOC straight away after the incident, and copied it to IPFAS stating the same. I received no response from either.

I don't want to prejudice my claim hence I'd rather not disclose the TOC, and therefore the ticket/route.

I can't edit the title but this is a 'TOC County Court Claim' and not a prosecution of course! I got thrown by the forum name :)
 

DaveNewcastle

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
21 Dec 2007
Messages
7,387
Location
Newcastle (unless I'm out)
. . . .

As the TOC has claimed a £20 penalty (compensation) and £40 costs, I believe that is a clear admission that they consider these reasonable for a ticket validity dispute, which is why I claimed my own compensation and costs of the same amounts.
The rates which you may charge are independant of the amounts assessed by the defendant. As an unrepresented litigant-in-person (LiP) you may charge, either, £18 per hour, or losses incurred. The rules and analysis of these rates has become complex, including the application of a proportion to those charges / costs where only a proportion of the matters claimed are upheld, and that an LiP can only claim 2/3 of the amount which could be allowed if a solicitor had represented you. There is a tariff of allowable costs.
The small claims track has a separate set of very low limits, and the fast claims track has a separate tariff.
There is a 'handbook' for LiPs on the Judiciary website which might assist you.
 

bignosemac

On Moderation
Joined
12 Oct 2009
Messages
4,981
Working on the basis that the OP's position on validity is sound.

Aha. Someone who paid an incorrectly issued penalty fare and further admin fees and is trying to get their money back. On another thread we have had numerous posters saying this is the option with least hassle when a PF is incorrectly issued.

It appears the OP has done everything they can to get their money back, yet has had zero response. Not even a defence from the TOC/IPFAS saying why they think the PF was correctly issued.
 

najaB

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Aug 2011
Messages
24,280
Location
Scotland
Aha. Someone who paid an incorrectly issued penalty fare and further admin fees and is trying to get their money back. On another thread we have had numerous posters saying this is the option with least hassle when a PF is incorrectly issued.
It is the option with the least hassle - if you are willing to let the £20 go. Any attempt to keep/retain the £20 will involve more hassle.
 

kingston

Member
Joined
15 Feb 2016
Messages
49
The rates which you may charge are independant of the amounts assessed by the defendant. As an unrepresented litigant-in-person (LiP) you may charge, either, £18 per hour, or losses incurred. The rules and analysis of these rates has become complex, including the application of a proportion to those charges / costs where only a proportion of the matters claimed are upheld, and that an LiP can only claim 2/3 of the amount which could be allowed if a solicitor had represented you. There is a tariff of allowable costs.
The small claims track has a separate set of very low limits, and the fast claims track has a separate tariff.
There is a 'handbook' for LiPs on the Judiciary website which might assist you.

Thanks for this, that's really interesting.
 

bignosemac

On Moderation
Joined
12 Oct 2009
Messages
4,981
It is the option with the least hassle - if you are willing to let the £20 go. Any attempt to keep/retain the £20 will involve more hassle.

But then we have a situation like this where a TOC is free to PF when no PF is due and then just ignore correspondence once they've extracted the punter's money. Leaving the punter with no option but to issue a Money Claim.

Or, of course for less hassle, just put up and shut up. Kiss your money goodbye. It's only £20 after all - or twice the single fare to the next station which could be considerably more.

Would your advice (pay now, chase later) be the same for an incorrectly issued PF that was, say £185?* That's a lot of money to hand over when you've done nothing wrong.


*How much I could have been charged when I was incorrectly accused of not having a valid ticket between Reading and Exeter.
 

najaB

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Aug 2011
Messages
24,280
Location
Scotland
Would your advice (pay now, chase later) be the same for an incorrectly issued PF that was, say £185?* That's a lot of money to hand over when you've done nothing wrong.
Yes. If you can afford it then it's the least-hassle course of action.

It goes without saying that if you can't afford it then it's a different matter.
 

MikeWh

Established Member
Associate Staff
Senior Fares Advisor
Joined
15 Jun 2010
Messages
6,505
Location
Crayford
Yes. If you can afford it then it's the least-hassle course of action.

It goes without saying that if you can't afford it then it's a different matter.

And if you can't afford £20?
 

30907

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
11,153
Location
Airedale
I am slightly confused by the reference to the TOC claiming costs.

I was under the impression (from 10.4 of our Ticketing Guide) that when a PF is paid in part, the remainder can be settled within 21 days, which closes the matter.

I read the OP as saying they made a part payment , and have since paid the remainder, but have also paid £40 costs. How has this arisen?
 

Haywain

Established Member
Joined
3 Feb 2013
Messages
5,896
I was under the impression (from 10.4 of our Ticketing Guide) that when a PF is paid in part, the remainder can be settled within 21 days, which closes the matter.

I read the OP as saying they made a part payment , and have since paid the remainder, but have also paid £40 costs. How has this arisen?
Probably by failing to pay the balance within the 21 days allowed. Once that time expires, additional costs are incurred.
 

Agent_c

Member
Joined
22 Jan 2015
Messages
934
I think that claims on this level are supposed to go through the small claims website.

Forgive me if I am wrong on this but for a manual file aren't you supposed to file in the defendant's local court?
 

Llanigraham

On Moderation
Joined
23 Mar 2013
Messages
5,151
Location
Powys
Working on the basis that the OP's position on validity is sound.

Aha. Someone who paid an incorrectly issued penalty fare and further admin fees and is trying to get their money back. On another thread we have had numerous posters saying this is the option with least hassle when a PF is incorrectly issued.

It appears the OP has done everything they can to get their money back, yet has had zero response. Not even a defence from the TOC/IPFAS saying why they think the PF was correctly issued.

But we don't know that for certain, since the OP has refused to give us any details of the original "case". All we have is his opinion.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
But then we have a situation like this where a TOC is free to PF when no PF is due and then just ignore correspondence once they've extracted the punter's money. Leaving the punter with no option but to issue a Money Claim.

Or, of course for less hassle, just put up and shut up. Kiss your money goodbye. It's only £20 after all - or twice the single fare to the next station which could be considerably more.

Would your advice (pay now, chase later) be the same for an incorrectly issued PF that was, say £185?* That's a lot of money to hand over when you've done nothing wrong.


*How much I could have been charged when I was incorrectly accused of not having a valid ticket between Reading and Exeter.

And again, supposition!
We need FACTS!!
 

DaleCooper

Established Member
Joined
2 Mar 2015
Messages
3,403
Location
No.664 - Next door to the Beast
I'm still concerned that the court might not award costs because the OP didn't use the free appeals process which would either have resulted in a refund or an explanation for not allowing the appeal. As this option was not pursued the court might consider costs unjustified. Also as we don't know the details of the OP's journey it is possible it falls into one of the grey areas (http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=126849) which the OP may not realise exist unless the OP is an expert in the arcane intricacies of rail fares.

One other point I noticed is that the OP says they had a valid ticket, it is not explicitly stated that a valid ticket was presented to the RPI or whatever member of staff was involved.
 

hounddog

Member
Joined
4 Mar 2014
Messages
276
I'm still concerned that the court might not award costs because the OP didn't use the free appeals process

Surely his original correspondence should either have been treated as an appeal or replied to with details of the formal process; not just ignored.
 

DaleCooper

Established Member
Joined
2 Mar 2015
Messages
3,403
Location
No.664 - Next door to the Beast
Surely his original correspondence should either have been treated as an appeal or replied to with details of the formal process; not just ignored.

Of course they shouldn't have been ignored it and unless there were compelling reasons for not replying the court would probably take a dim view however that does not change the fact that the first course of action should have been the appeals process.

As CheesyChips said:

Before you even get to the point of making a county court claim, you really should be completely satisfied that you have no other recourse as county courts tend to look unfavourably on those who haven't exhausted other avenues, within reason of course.
 

kingston

Member
Joined
15 Feb 2016
Messages
49
Also as we don't know the details of the OP's journey it is possible it falls into one of the grey areas (http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=126849) which the OP may not realise exist unless the OP is an expert in the arcane intricacies of rail fares.

One other point I noticed is that the OP says they had a valid ticket, it is not explicitly stated that a valid ticket was presented to the RPI or whatever member of staff was involved.

I had a valid ticket which I presented at the time. I know you're all itching to discuss the validity of the ticket, but the question I'm asking is, given that the ticket is valid, how to deal with an invalid PF :)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Of course they shouldn't have been ignored it and unless there were compelling reasons for not replying the court would probably take a dim view however that does not change the fact that the first course of action should have been the appeals process.

As CheesyChips said:

With respect, if a penalty fare was incorrectly issued, I shouldn't have to deal with a 3rd party - dealing directly with the defendant and a letter before action should suffice if they're just ignoring me?
 

dquebec

Member
Joined
20 Dec 2015
Messages
96
Location
Sheffield
If neither the Appeal Body or the TOC has replied - and you haven't had so much as an auto email response - I'd be checking you are directing your correspondence to the correct recipients.

The next step would be to send a letter (via Recorded Delivery), addressed to the TOC Managing Director, setting out a "Letter Before Action". You should check that the letter complies with the relevant Civil Procedure Rules Pre-Action Protocols.

However, it appears as though the OP failed to appeal using the correct procedure, and I believe it will be difficult to overcome this issue.
 

35B

Established Member
Joined
19 Dec 2011
Messages
1,625
But the 3rd party were the defendant's appointed representative for the conduct of appeals. My feelings about that 3rd party, or whether the TOC should be putting that work out are irrelevant if using them is part ofnthe defined process.
 

kingston

Member
Joined
15 Feb 2016
Messages
49
If it were true that the appeals service is the only point of contact for a PF, I doubt a court will accept the TOC ignoring correspondence threatening court action.

I'd also argue that the TOC is directly liable for breach of contract if they breached the contract of the ticket, the PF is a diversion..
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
If neither the Appeal Body or the TOC has replied - and you haven't had so much as an auto email response - I'd be checking you are directing your correspondence to the correct recipients.

The next step would be to send a letter (via Recorded Delivery), addressed to the TOC Managing Director, setting out a "Letter Before Action". You should check that the letter complies with the relevant Civil Procedure Rules Pre-Action Protocols.

However, it appears as though the OP failed to appeal using the correct procedure, and I believe it will be difficult to overcome this issue.

Are you saying that the correct procedure is to deal with Appeal Body, and then saying the next step should be to not deal with the Appeal Body and send a letter before action to the TOC?

My last action was to send a letter before action to the TOC, and I am now carrying out action specified...

That sounds like a direct contradiction and agreement in the same paragraph!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top