Unpaid Fare Notice with East Midlands train-Should I appeal, please help!

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conrua

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Hello,

I'm very new to travelling by train and I hope someone can help me with below incident.

Last week, I bought online a return ticket for £28 London St Pancras - Corby on East Midlands trains

When I came to the station to collect the pre-paid tickets, I was in such a hurry to catch the train that I only collected the tickets, I didn't collect the reservation (I thought it was the invoice and I don't need it, I also couldn't understand why you need a reservation to go with the ticket???).

On the onward journey London-Corby, I explained to the ticket controller that I didn't have a reservation. She said she would come back to me, which she didn't. So everything was okay.

On the return journey, the ticket controller insisted that my ticket is not valid and I had to buy the new single ticket for £44 or get off at the next station. I told him that he would get off at the next station, which I didn't. I just thought why I had to get off if I actually got a ticket.

The ticket controller caught me and he was very angry. He issued an Unpaid Fare Notice for £60, specifying reason "no ticket". I was so shocked that I had to pay £60, so when he asked me to sign the UFN, I was a bit hesitated. He then grabbed the paper and he signed it himself under his name at the box "Customer's Signature".

- When I came home, I checked the online booking and I realised that it was an ADVANCE SINGLE TICKET, "valids on EastMidlands Train only". To be honest, I had no idea what an advance single ticket means. I don't travel by train much and this was my first time travelling with East Midlands. I thought with an Advance ticket, I can take any train as long as it is an East Midlands train, not other providers. So in fact, the train I was on was 18.00 train, not a 17.00 train as I was booked.

- On the Unpaid Fare Notice, my first name is not correct, the surname and the address is correct, the date and month of birth is correct, but the year is not correct.

My questions are

1. Should I appeal not to pay this UFN. Especially when I didn't sign it myself so I didn't agree with it. It was the ticket controller who signed. Could he actually do that? Why do I have to pay £60 while the full amount for a single ticket is £40?

If I should appeal, how should I form an argument when sending out the letter to the IRCAS.

2. Should I pay the UFN first and appeal to re-claim it later?

3. In case I have not paid the UFN and my appeal is not successful, do I still have the chance to pay the amount the requested - £60 or it is going to be higher or are they going to prosecute me?

I'm so scared as I work in a sector where they request a clear criminal record

Thank you very much for all your advice. I really appreciate it!
 
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yorkie

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Welcome to the forum :) We can provide advice here (it may not be what you want to hear, but it will be better than giving you false hope).

At present you are not being treated as a potential criminal, and there is no risk in that regard providing you pay the UFN.

I would pay the UFN promptly, to ensure that fees do not mount up. If you do not pay promptly, they will add fees.

If you do not pay the UFN then it can become a criminal matter. Obviously you must not let that happen!

Pay it first, but you can still appeal by writing a letter apologising, and appealing the UFN for the reasons stated, and they may refund you if they agree with you. However, by your own admission, you did not check the T&Cs for Advance Single tickets, you boarded the wrong train, you failed to comply with the instructions of railway staff, and you are liable for the fare due, which is £60 for the Anytime Single fare, so I would just pay it and not bother appealing it if I were you.

Sorry, but you've learnt the hard way!

For future reference, you can get a Super Off Peak Return (valid any train at weekends, valid at less busy times during weekdays, return within one month) for £44.50 if you want flexibility next time and not have to worry about getting specific trains.
 

WillPS

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Sounds to me like a technically invalid UPFN - but I'll let somebody else confirm that. If so, you have grounds to appeal (possibly!).

I will say you've been quite lucky to get away with such a careless error - every ticket website will state clearly that advance tickets are only valid on the booked train and the ticket itself will state "BOOKD TRAIN ONLY" or words to that effect. Ignorance is not a defence.
 

ainsworth74

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The advice above is all solid but just to further help you in the future you might find this page from National Rail Enquiries useful as it outlines the key differences between the various different ticket types (including Advance tickets).
 

causton

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Indeed, because of the irregularities within the form I would have initially suggested that you write to them appealing as you were unfamiliar.

However, you had an advance ticket which presumably states two obvious things at the top: "Issued as 2 coupons" and "VALID ONLY WITH RESERVATIONS". The ticket will also Validity: BOOKEDTRAINONLY or similar...

As you did not travel on the booked train I doubt EMT would look kindly in your favour. I suggest you pay the £60 unless you really cannot afford it, and keep that thought in your mind to always:
- Check the ticket you are buying online. As Yorkie said, it is usually only Advance tickets that require reservations - if you get a normal single or return you do not need to worry about these. You may wish to go for these in future as they avoid the doubt, but obviously will cost more.
- Always take every ticket with you when you collect or purchase a ticket. Even if you put it in the bottom of your bag tucked away, at least when they ask for it you can find it instead of not having it on you at all!

Sorry to hear you've learnt the hard way, but East Midlands Trains aren't that lenient on ticketing (not many TOCs are, really!) I hope this doesn't scare you off travelling by train too much, and you can always ask someone here if you need advice in case you want to make sure you don't make another mistake -- especially now you've seen what an 'innocent mistake' can end up in :(
 

bb21

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I agree with all those before me. Unfortunately you did not read the T&Cs of the tickets beforehand and are therefore likely to have to learn it the hard way.

I would not put all my faith into appealling on a technicality as these are not always upheld.

£60 is the Anytime Single fare between Corby and London Terminals. £44.50 is the Super Off-Peak Return fare between London Terminals and Corby.

According to your account, the guard on the train from London attempted to sell you the cheapest walk-on flexible fare however that did not materialise for whatever reason. The guard on the train to London was following the rules in charging the full fare. Not following your own promise to get off at the next station made it much less likely for him to use his discretion and charge you a lower fare.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that you got off lightly in your situation as you could have been liable for the full Anytime Return fare at £99 had the first guard not used her discretion, so I would say that you have in effect "saved" £39, by only paying the bill of £60.

I'm sorry that this is not what you wanted to hear.
 

island

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I agree with all the above that you should pay the UPFN and be done with it. You could conceivably have been prosecuted for staying on the train having been told to get off. You did not present a valid ticket as your ticket bears the notation "VALID ONLY WITH RESERVATION" or similar wording, so I can't see any appeal being successful (or, they might abandon the UPFN and prosecute you instead).

Edit: And you also travelled on the wrong train too I just noticed.
 
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oversteer

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I sympathise, I made the same mistake with NXEC a while back, I didn't collect my seat reservation and in doing so made my "ticket" invalid. I had to pay for a new full price ticket for the outbound, and luckily NXEC reprinted my ticket for my return journey.

However, I did travel on the booked train and had a copy of my booking email. I wrote to NXEC and they refunded the extra I'd had to pay.

I now realise in hindsight I was very lucky for them to refund it, but by your own admission you did not travel on the correct return train OR have all your tickets to hand. If it's important for your job then £60 will make it all go away and be a price worth paying..
 

WillPS

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I sympathise, I made the same mistake with NXEC a while back, I didn't collect my seat reservation and in doing so made my "ticket" invalid. I had to pay for a new full price ticket for the outbound, and luckily NXEC reprinted my ticket for my return journey.

However, I did travel on the booked train and had a copy of my booking email. I wrote to NXEC and they refunded the extra I'd had to pay.

I now realise in hindsight I was very lucky for them to refund it, but by your own admission you did not travel on the correct return train OR have all your tickets to hand. If it's important for your job then £60 will make it all go away and be a price worth paying..
This whole post is something of a moral quandry for me. Clearly, the OP had scant regard for the terms of the ticket he was sold and (unless he's not told us something) cannot blame the railway for his error. Further, he went as far as to decline a fair offer from what appears to be a fairly lenient guard (by EMT standards at least!).

HOWEVER that does not excuse what is clearly a faulty UPFN - a UPFN is a contract of sorts and a contract surely cannot have any value if the endebted party has not demonstrated their agreement to service the debt.

Sounds no different to me than a bank honouring an unsigned cheque.

Should the OP pay up? Morally I'd say yes he should. Is the UPFN challengable? I'd say yes.

[Note: not a legal expert - this is opinion, not fact (and definitely not legal advice!)]
 
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- On the Unpaid Fare Notice, my first name is not correct, the surname and the address is correct, the date and month of birth is correct, but the year is not correct.
Did you provide false details?

I will agree with the others and say pay up. When you buy Advance single tickets online it is always quite clearly stated during the booking process that they are only valid on a specific service. The ticket would also have 'Valid only with reservation' written on it and the reservations would have had 'Mandatory reservation coupon no X of Y' written on them, making it clear you are supposed to present both together.
 

WillPS

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Did you provide false details?
This is a crucial detail. Also, did you co-operate with the guard when he was filling in the UPFN?

If the answer to either is no, you've been very very silly and you should consider yourself very lucky that you are not being investigated and/or charged. If that is the case, pay the fare and pay more attention! If that's not the case, enclose a cheque along with an appeal.
 

Chris999999

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Strange. He collected 2 singles and didn't wait for the reservations.

My experience of collecting multiple tickets is that you get Ticket, then reservation for that ticket, followed by the next Ticket and its reservation.
My experience has been with SWT. Perhaps it is different elsewhere.
 

Squaddie

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Strange. He collected 2 singles and didn't wait for the reservations.

My experience of collecting multiple tickets is that you get Ticket, then reservation for that ticket, followed by the next Ticket and its reservation.
Unless you book them in separate transactions, in which case you need to go through the entire retrieval process twice.
 

ian13

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Even with that, you'd probably notice that there are more tickets in the collection hopper.
Sometimes two tickets can print concurrently, with them coming out opposite ends of the hopper - so it's possible they could be missed?
 

calc7

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Half a chance that with two printers, each takes on "one" ticket, so the first coupon from each printer will be the travel ticket, and the second lot will be the reservations. Easy mistake to make, but one that the OP and others reading this might learn from.
 

ainsworth74

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Half a chance that with two printers, each takes on "one" ticket, so the first coupon from each printer will be the travel ticket, and the second lot will be the reservations.
On the machines that I use most frequently (Hull, TPE station) the tickets print two at a time and they print travel ticket first then reservation.
 

Chris999999

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Hello,

I'm very new to travelling by train and I hope someone can help me with below incident.

Last week, I bought online a return ticket for £28 London St Pancras - Corby on East Midlands trains

When I came to the station to collect the pre-paid tickets, I was in such a hurry to catch the train that I only collected the tickets, I didn't collect the reservation (I thought it was the invoice and I don't need it, I also couldn't understand why you need a reservation to go with the ticket???).

...
Perhaps the OP can clear this up. As he is "very new to travelling by train", how did he know which tickets to take from the hopper and which to leave behind?

It is very difficult to read the tickets whilst in the hopper and a reservation was likely to be in the hopper before the second ticket arrived, so why did he leave this behind?

Based on the information provided, if I was the TOC, I would be asking these type of questions when considering prosecution.
 

GadgetMan

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Perhaps the OP can clear this up. As he is "very new to travelling by train", how did he know which tickets to take from the hopper and which to leave behind?

It is very difficult to read the tickets whilst in the hopper and a reservation was likely to be in the hopper before the second ticket arrived, so why did he leave this behind?

Based on the information provided, if I was the TOC, I would be asking these type of questions when considering prosecution.
Without wanting to doubt the OP, in my ticket checking experience, 95% of the occasions when someone has misplaced their mandatory reservation they also just happen to be on the wrong service.

However you don't have to stand near a TVM for very long before you'll see someone leave a coupon or 2 behind in a rush.
 

conrua

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Hello all,

Thank you very much for all your comments. I'm so surprised that so many people have taken your time reading the case and giving me advice. I really appreciate that.

Reading your comments, I think I will have very low chance to appeal for my case. I decide that I will pay the UFN first and then I will think whether I should appeal or not.

To answer some of your questions.

- I did cooperate with the ticket controller when giving him details. In fact, I stood up the whole journey without taking the seat though the train was empty. I know it was my fault and I kept saying sorry to him.

I gave the correct personal details on the form, but my name is a unfamiliar foreign name and English is not my first language, so there might be some misunderstanding.

I have just looked at IRCAS website to make my payment and I realised that even my surname was spelled wrong. Should I correct all the wrong personal details when I paid the UFN on the website? Can someone please confirm for me?

- To make it clear, I got the 1st ticket then I got 1 reservation coupon then the 2nd ticket, then I ran off to the gate in a rush without getting the rest of the coupons. At that time, all I thought was to make sure that I got two tickets in my hands. At the gate, I mistakenly put the reservation through the slot to get through the barrier and of course, it didn't let me get in. Then I realised that it was the reservation, so I dropped it, thought I don't need to use it and I used my ticket to get through the barrier and board the train, feeling very assured that I got two tickets. I know the whole incidence sounds very silly but I was running and panicking at that time. Before that, I didn't know where the EastMidlands train runs from so I even ran to Eurostar area and back and forth....

This will be a lesson for me, though I have had learned it the very hard way. I will definitely need to be more careful when travelling by train next time. But to be honest, I got quite scared taking the train now, thinking of that ticket controller who talked to me like I was a potential criminal. I'm not only new to the train system here, I'm also very new to the country as I have just moved here for work. But again, thank you very much for all your advice! I appreciate that
 

causton

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Without wanting to doubt the OP, in my ticket checking experience, 95% of the occasions when someone has misplaced their mandatory reservation they also just happen to be on the wrong service.

However you don't have to stand near a TVM for very long before you'll see someone leave a coupon or 2 behind in a rush.
Indeed - I don't doubt it does happen, even somehow I left a PlusBus ticket that was the second out of three sets of tickets in the hopper! :oops: only realised when I got off the train in Birmingham, a long while later...!
 

island

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Thanks for coming back and sharing your thoughts. We get a lot of posters who ask for advice and then either vanish or start ranting on at the people trying to help them.

I'm glad you have decided to pay the UPFN. But I earnestly urge you not to appeal. It is very unlikely the UPFN will be overturned on the grounds of a spelling mistake or because it was unsigned, and a more likely outcome is that you will convince EMT to prosecute you instead and give them evidence which they can use to do so. Certainly the fact that you did not occupy a seat will not change their view. You appear to have committed at least four offences* so I again strongly recommend you let the matter rest and be thankful.

*2 counts failure to hand over a valid ticket, 1 count failure to comply with instruction of an authorised person, 1 count travelling on a train without having paid the fare and with intent to avoid payment thereof.
 

jkdd77

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Thanks for coming back and sharing your thoughts. We get a lot of posters who ask for advice and then either vanish or start ranting on at the people trying to help them.

I'm glad you have decided to pay the UPFN. But I earnestly urge you not to appeal. It is very unlikely the UPFN will be overturned on the grounds of a spelling mistake or because it was unsigned, and a more likely outcome is that you will convince EMT to prosecute you instead and give them evidence which they can use to do so. Certainly the fact that you did not occupy a seat will not change their view. You appear to have committed at least four offences* so I again strongly recommend you let the matter rest and be thankful.

*2 counts failure to hand over a valid ticket, 1 count failure to comply with instruction of an authorised person, 1 count travelling on a train without having paid the fare and with intent to avoid payment thereof.
As I understand it, if the UPFN is issued and paid within the specified timescale, then they cannot prosecute, so there is nothing to lose by appealing.
 

island

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I'm not at all sure that is correct. The offences having been committed cannot be un-committed, and EMT could refund the UPFN and proceed with a prosecution if further information came to mind. In any case, the UPFN relates to just the return journey, and the offences of failing to hand over a valid ticket on the outbound and failure to follow the instructions of an authorised person exist independently of that.
 

bignosemac

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Can a TOC really refund a Penalty Fare so as to prosecute someone under the the Byelaws or Regulation of Railways Act?

Surely by paying a Penalty Fare you have effectively purchased a valid ticket for your journey. As such you can't be accused of fare evasion or travelling without a valid ticket can you?

If a PF has been successfully appealed and refunded then it seems to me unfair in the extreme to then say, "because your appeal was successful we are now going to prosecute you."

Surely, following a successfully PF appeal the most a TOC can ask for is the original fare, or the difference between the original erroneous ticket held and the correct fare.

The Penalty Fare is a civil debt and, I believe, until you pay it you are considered either a fare evader or as having travelled without showing a valid ticket. Once a PF has been paid can you still be considered either of those, even if the PF is successfully appealed?
 
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Deerfold

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Can a TOC really refund a Penalty Fare so as to prosecute someone under the the Byelaws or Regulation of Railways Act?

Surely by paying a Penalty Fare you have effectively purchased a valid ticket for your journey. As such you can't be accused of fare evasion or travelling without a valid ticket can you?

If a PF has been successfully appealed and refunded then it seems to me unfair in the extreme to then say, "because your appeal was successful we are now going to prosecute you."
I'm not a lawyer, but I think they could say "Following new information coming to light, we're going to prosecute". I've no idea if a PF or
(as in this case) UPFN paid would need to be repaid if they did that.


The Penalty Fare is a civil debt and, I believe, until you pay it you are considered either a fare evader or as having travelled without showing a valid ticket.
That shouldn't be the case - PFs are not supposed to be for Fare Evaders but for travellers who have made innocent mistakes.
 
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GadgetMan

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I'm not a lawyer, but I think they could say "Following new information coming to light, we're going to prosecute". I've no idea if a PF or
(as in this case) UPFN paid would need to be repaid if they did that.




That shouldn't be the case - PFs are not supposed to be for Fare Evaders but for travellers who have made innocent mistakes.
I suppose the question to ask is can a passenger be issued with a UFN/PF and be reported through a TIR/MG11?

I don't have any dealings with PF, but with UFNs as long as the notice is paid for I can't see a TOC putting a prosecution case together unless it is a matter separate/unrelated to the revenue issue for example smoking on board etc.
 
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