Unpaid Fares Notice any grounds to appeal?

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Lomawa

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I'd appreciate advice, please, about a UPN.
My son was travelling between Birmingham and Watford Junction and had a London Midland return ticket. He got on a Virgin train and was issued with an Unpaid Fare Notice.
I understand his ticket was not valid and he has made a mistake.

The UPN states from Coventry to Watford and a total due of £79.50.
I think this is the Anytime Single fare from Birmingham to Watford Junction.
Is the fact that they put Coventry ( similar fare £69) grounds for appeal?

Thank you for any advice.
 
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crehld

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It's probably an error on the part of the inspector issuing the notice.

If the Unpaid Fares Notice is asking for a Coventry to Watford Junction fare to be paid, then it should be demanding £69.00. £79.50 is indeed the fare from Birmingham to Watford Junction. What probably happened is the ticket inspector intended to issue the UFN from Birmingham, but the train had just passed Coventry or something, so that station was in his/her mind when they wrote it out.

I'm not sure there's grounds for an appeal, given the reality is that your son actually travelled between Birmingham and Watford Junction without a valid ticket. I'd just pay the amount due immediately rather than trying to appeal on a technicality which I can't see succeeding given it will only draw attention to the fact that your son travelled further without a valid ticket than the stations listed on the UFN suggest, and that the amount being asked is correct for the journey undertaken by your son.
 

AlterEgo

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I'd appreciate advice, please, about a UPN.
My son was travelling between Birmingham and Watford Junction and had a London Midland return ticket. He got on a Virgin train and was issued with an Unpaid Fare Notice.
I understand his ticket was not valid and he has made a mistake.

The UPN states from Coventry to Watford and a total due of £79.50.
I think this is the Anytime Single fare from Birmingham to Watford Junction.
Is the fact that they put Coventry ( similar fare £69) grounds for appeal?

Thank you for any advice.

In my experience, no, this isn't grounds for appeal.

Speaking again from experience, I would pay this in full immediately and write very politely and contritely to Virgin, who, while not cancelling the UFN, may (or may not) provide a gesture of goodwill.
 

DaveNewcastle

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There is nothing to "appeal". It's effectively an invoice for services rendered. Apparently, it contains a small mistake. If you bring it to the company's attention, then they'll either cancel it and reissue a correct one, or just ask you to disregard the error and pay the amount due for the journey.

Not worth the bother in my opinion.
 

AlterEgo

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What exactly are you 'appealing' against? An unpaid fare notice is an invoice, not a penalty.

Just to clarify UFNs can be appealed - there are details on the reverse of the form. Some admin errors render the UFN unenforceable, but the one described in the OP probably doesn't.
 

AlterEgo

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What are grounds for UPN appeals?

Not exhaustive:

Ticket shown was actually valid

UFN not signed by staff member (it remains valid even if the passenger doesn't sign)

Recipient is under 18 (UFNs are a civil debt)

Passenger had other authority to travel

Wrong reason given on UFN (if you had no railcard but the operative ticked "no ticket" for example)




Off to top of my head those are the ones I can remember.

I can't recall a UFN ever being appealed for the wrong station being recorded.
 

crehld

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What are grounds for UPN appeals?

For example being incorrectly issued the notice when you held and presented a valid ticket - perhaps because the inspector issuing it mistakenly claims the ticket isn't valid.

This doesn't apply in the OP's case. The UFN was correctly issued (albeit with an error on it) as their son didn't have a valid ticket and obviously didn't have the means to pay there an then.
 

185

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I'd expect there could potentially be grounds if the UPFN wrongly stated a longer journey than undertaken had taken place. But in the case of a shorter one, I'd say they were probably (perhaps unwittingly) doing the passenger a favour. :)
 

Lomawa

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Thank you all for your advice which is what I suspected; my only reason for enquiring was parking fines are sometimes invalid when not all the info on them is correct.
I entirely understand that the UFN was justified but as a parent, it's frustrating when he doesn't have much money and the saying " you can't put an old head on young shoulders" comes to mind.
Thanks again.
 

MichaelAMW

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The other thing they could do if you don't just pay is cancel the UFN and prosecute your son under the railway byelaws, which will be more hassle and more money.
 

gray1404

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Could the OP pay it and still appeal? If they did that they could see what the outcome is but by paying it they would avoid court in case the appeal is unsuccessful. (just in case there is a chance of the appeal succeeding i.e. journey stated was not journey undertaken).
 

TheEdge

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Could the OP pay it and still appeal? If they did that they could see what the outcome is but by paying it they would avoid court in case the appeal is unsuccessful. (just in case there is a chance of the appeal succeeding i.e. journey stated was not journey undertaken).

I can see no way there would be a positive outcome. The OP hasn't claimed the UFN was issued unreasonably but there is an error but not with the key point, the fare.

The journey made was Birmingham to Watford, the fare outstanding is for that journey. There is nothing to appeal and would only risk Virgin taking a closer look at it
 

DaveNewcastle

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Could the OP pay it and still appeal?
I'm sorry if my post above wasn't clear. I hesitate to expand on the point for fear that to do so would only complicate the issue and introduce uncertainty. So I will simply repeat myself:
There is nothing to "appeal".

The OP could appeal, but it would fail. The unpaid fare is due.
 

island

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Thank you all for your advice which is what I suspected; my only reason for enquiring was parking fines are sometimes invalid when not all the info on them is correct.
I entirely understand that the UFN was justified but as a parent, it's frustrating when he doesn't have much money and the saying " you can't put an old head on young shoulders" comes to mind.
Thanks again.

Penalty Charge Notices relating to parking contraventions are legal notices and must be issued in a specified form. If not, the case can be "struck out on a technicality".

The same strictures do not apply to Unpaid Fares Notices, which as mentioned above are simply an invoice due for services rendered. Non-payment will lead to administration fees being added and ultimately to the traveller potentially being prosecuted for fare evasion.

One further difference, relevant if you do choose to appeal, which would be fruitless, will be that appealing does not operate to "stop the clock" as regards payment of the amount due, which is payable in full within the deadline printed on the notice – which may be as short as 10 days – irrespective of any appeal the passenger may choose to make, and would be refunded were the appeal to be upheld.
 

najaB

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Could the OP pay it and still appeal?
How, exactly, does one 'appeal' against a bill for services rendered. The services were either provided - in which case you pay - or they were not. In this case the OP's son did travel so there is no doubt that payment is due.
 

AlterEgo

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How, exactly, does one 'appeal' against a bill for services rendered. The services were either provided - in which case you pay - or they were not. In this case the OP's son did travel so there is no doubt that payment is due.

You can certainly appeal a UFN for the reasons I outline upthread. There is a designated appeals process on the back of the UFN.

It can sometimes be the case that a passenger holds no ticket whatsoever, the UFN is filled out wrongly, and the UFN becomes invalid as a result, leaving the recipient with no fare to pay.
 

najaB

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You can certainly appeal a UFN for the reasons I outline upthread. There is a designated appeals process on the back of the UFN.
I understand that there are circumstances under which you don't have to pay a UFN, the point I was making is that it isn't really an 'appeal' as such. In the circumstances you have outlined the passenger is highlighting the reasons why the amount is not due - either because it was never due or because the UFN has been filled out incorrectly - they aren't appealing anything.

Anyway, that's enough pedantry from me.
 

gray1404

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You can certainly appeal a UFN for the reasons I outline upthread. There is a designated appeals process on the back of the UFN.

It can sometimes be the case that a passenger holds no ticket whatsoever, the UFN is filled out wrongly, and the UFN becomes invalid as a result, leaving the recipient with no fare to pay.

But would you say this one has been filled out to such an extent where by it has not become invalid?
 

AlterEgo

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But would you say this one has been filled out to such an extent where by it has not become invalid?

I said earlier I've not seen one appealed for the reasons given in the OP. So my advice is to pay it and write to Customer Relations retrospectively.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Can you not follow that if asked, all they need to do is re-issue it in a corrected version?

I've never heard of this being done. The notice has to be filled out by the original member of staff, for a start. I also suspect procedurally it must be done on board the train, or at least railway property where the passenger was present at the time.

Yes, a UFN is sort-of "an invoice for services received", but it's not as straightforward as that.
 

TheEdge

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The way I've always understood UFNs is they operate serving two different purposes. The first is that they are a simple "bill" for a service not paid for at the time. In that form technicalities are meaningless. This is that sort of case, the fare is right, the OP is not denying that. Just pay the fare.

Technical issues only become a "problem" when the UFNs are used as part of or the basis for a fare evasion case. This is not this situation.
 

AlterEgo

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The way I've always understood UFNs is they operate serving two different purposes. The first is that they are a simple "bill" for a service not paid for at the time. In that form technicalities are meaningless. This is that sort of case, the fare is right, the OP is not denying that. Just pay the fare.

Technical issues only become a "problem" when the UFNs are used as part of or the basis for a fare evasion case. This is not this situation.

Almost entirely correct.

There's a third way too. The UFN goes unpaid and the TOC farms it out to a collections agency instead. This is more usual than a prosecution at some TOCs, including Virgin West Coast (who are prosecution-averse). The technicalities listed upthread may preclude them selling the debt on.

I have dealt with lots of UFN cases and seen a fair few struck out even when the material facts weren't in dispute.
 

cjmillsnun

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To be fair my advice is pay. The journey was made, the correct fare was charged. Therefore to appeal and by definition try and get the fare set aside (in other words free travel) is dishonest and passes the cost for the journey undertaken onto other passengers.
 

RPI

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The wording on a UFN is very clear (GWR ones anyway) in that you can dispute your liability to pay the fare, but there is no appeal process..... a subtle but very relevant difference.
 
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