What could we have done differently ?

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by Fergus, 13 Aug 2019.

  1. Fergus

    Fergus New Member

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    Here is a summary of the events.
    • My son planned to travel at 0900 on Sunday from Totnes to London
    • I booked & paid for a ticket for him on trainline.com
    • The funds were debited from my card and I received the booking code to collect the ticket at one of the ticket machines
    • I took him to the station at 0830 where my intent was to collect the ticket using my card and put him on the train
    • The ticket machine was not working and it had a printed notice on it saying to contact the on board staff (file attached)
    • Tbh we did not look to see if the ticket office was open but on GWR's website it says opening time on a sunday is 1050
    • So he boarded the train with a copy of the booking code and a picture of the vending machine with the notice
    • On the train he was issued with an Unpaid Fare Notice
    • We appealed the notice and GWR have agreed not to pursue it but have still issued him with a warning.
    • My view is that we did nothing wrong, the fault was with GWR's equipment and there should be zero consequences for him
    • So the questions are, what could we have done differently to avoid getting into this position and what entitles GWR to issue a warning to him ? 16f0e418-3968-4a0a-8591-1732d3a790ef.JPG
     
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  3. Bearclaw

    Bearclaw Member

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    So there was no opportunity to collect tickets from a broken machine, and the ticket office is closed?

    I'd be writing some very snotty letters and I'm sure the people on here can advise what the approach would be but assuming you picked up the tickets at the destination I cannot see that you did anything wrong there.
     
  4. easyken

    easyken Member

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    Sounds like a prime example of poor customer service on the railway.

    This is why I feel it's sad that a company like Virgin, who generally 'GET' customer service, are not being able to reapply for their franchise. I'd be surprised if you had a similar experience with them.
     
  5. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

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    Try applying what happened with the OP and getting past the gateline at Euston. You would be surprised.
     
  6. EssexGonzo

    EssexGonzo Member

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    It's astounding, isn't it? Even with photographic evidence, it's still somehow the paying passenger's fault?

    As Bearclaw says, escalate this as far as you can.

    In terms of what you could have done? With hindsight, maybe calling the TOC's call centre (if open) for a belt and braces aproach and to lay down a breadcrumb trail, or even confirm with a member of platform staff, if any? Even so, given the notice and your picture of it, both of these feel like overkill.
     
  7. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    There is nothing you could or should have done differently.

    I would lodge a formal complaint with GWR requesting they reconsider their response to your initial complaint, and withdraw the ‘warning’.

    I would also ask them what they expect passengers to do in the circumstances you encountered.

    Finally, don’t use Trainline to book tickets as they’re never cheaper (despite their marketing hype) and they charge a booking fee.
     
  8. Fergus

    Fergus New Member

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    Thanks for the comments so far. Yes we will be taking it as far as necessary to get the "warning" removed. Point taken about trainline. Excuse the ignorance but what does TOC mean ?
     
  9. robert7111a

    robert7111a Established Member

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    TOC = Train Operating Company, e.g. GWR (Great Western Railway)
     
  10. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    TOC is train operating company. Eg GWR, Virgin, LNER etc
     
  11. Bearclaw

    Bearclaw Member

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    If you still have a warning on file then I would make a Subject Access Request under the GDPR. Once you have that a notice of correction to them requiring (not asking - you require them) to amend this and complain directly to the ICO.

    I'd be inviting them to suggest what they think is an acceptable form of compensation for your time and trouble in dealing with their egregrious and unwarranted defamation of your character as well...

    You might want to look at the National Conditions of Rail Travel.... the relevant bit for you is..


    6.1. You must have a valid Ticket to travel before you board a train where there was the opportunity to buy one unless one of the following circumstances applies:
    6.1.1. At the station where you start your journey, there is no means of purchasing a Ticket, either because there is no Ticket office open or self-service Ticket machine in working order; and where notices indicate that you are in a Penalty Fares area you purchase a Permit to Travel if there is a working Permit to Travel issuing machine at the station where you start your journey – see Condition 10 for more information about Penalty Fares; or
    6.1.2. Where you are specifically permitted to board a train service by an authorised member of staff or notice of the Train Company whose service you intend to board;

    You say - your son. Is he a minor by any chance? That could well give you additional leverage on them to sort something out. Especially if they had a conversation with him without a suitable adult being present.
     
  12. Fergus

    Fergus New Member

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    Thank you very much Bearclaw that is very helpful. Definitely not a minor. He's 21. 6.1.2 would apply as there was a notice on the ticket vending machine. As a matter of principle we are determined to get this warning removed.
     
  13. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Complaint to GWR, if they fob you off ask for a Manager to review the decision, if that fails or you are not happy with their response then you can make an appeal to then Rail Ombudsmen.

    Also, you can complain to your MP about what happened too.
     
  14. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    You did nothing wrong.

    However I've been asked to provide advice in numerous cases of wrongdoing by GWR staff (including both on-board staff and gateline staff), so I am not surprised GWR have mistreated a customer in this way; it's not exactly uncommon, sadly.

    Pursue it with GWR and if you get nowhere, refer the matter to the Rail Ombudsman https://www.railombudsman.org/making-a-complaint/
     
  15. Bearclaw

    Bearclaw Member

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    Is Totnes part of GWR's penalty fares scheme? I'm wondering why they gave an UFN rather than a PF (or was there a PF as well?)
     
  16. 221129

    221129 Established Member

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    Train Managers can't issue PFs.
     
  17. matt_world2004

    matt_world2004 Established Member

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    Aside from there being no facilities available to collect a prepaid ticket. Wouldnt the notice on the machine constitute permission to board the train.
     
  18. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    Oh - who did they defame him to?
     
  19. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Clear and unambiguous permission.
     
  20. maxbarnish

    maxbarnish Member

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    I had the same situation with SWR but handled entirely differently - totally professionally. No issues at all. The machine was out of order and they accepted this without query, without asking for the photo I had taken. They did say the machine may remain out of order for a long time given it's 'a long way down here'.
     
  21. OxtedSignaller

    OxtedSignaller Member

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    From what you are saying they are not asking for anything and have rescinded the UFN. Not sure what else you want. Chances are they have sent a templated letter they send to everyone after checking out the circumstances. It does depend on the operator as certain mobile TIS can print ToD collections in the circumstance you have mentioned where the facilities were not available. Problem is now you do have people who purchase ToD tickets on their phone once on board staff start coming round and expect them to print it off even though they were supposed to of have had a valid ticket before boarding.
     
  22. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    A UFN should never have been issued.

    GWR shouldn’t be issuing ‘warning letters’ in these circumstances but a grovelling apology.

    All of the other issues you describe can, and do, sometimes occur but that doesn’t change how the OP should have been dealt with.
     
  23. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    True. Though it's worth noting that a UFN doesn't imply wrongdoing.
    It would be nice to see exactly what the 'warning letter' says. It could be an actual warning, or it could be a clarifiction of policy - the difference being that the former implies that the OP's son did something wrong where the latter does not.
     
  24. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    The only policy that needed to be clarified is the fact that the OP did nothing wrong and in the circumstances should have been allowed to travel without hassle. I believe this is the actual policy in the event of tickets not being able to be collected due to a TVM or ToD failure, and is documented in the Internal Knowledgebase.
     
  25. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    This says it all about how bad the situation has become; the mistreatment of customers is routine :(
    I don't understand the relevance to this thread.
     
  26. jumble

    jumble Member

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    Also and critically if the OP's son ever makes a mistake in future then he is on record as already using up one strike as a fare dodger which may very well increase the chances of him being prosecuted.
    I would be doing a subject access request in these circumstances as I would not trust such incompetent people further than I could throw them
     
  27. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Agreed.
     
  28. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Shocking.

    I don't have a smart phone to take such a picture but would rely on the fact that these machines usually have notices on them indicating / claiming that the TOC knows when they are out of order (presumably placed there in order to deter people from alleging that the machine was out of order when it was not) and expect the member of staff to be able to confirm that if they needed to do so!

    I fear the only way to prevent this sort of treatment is to complain so much (using the suggestions in this thread) that it takes more staff time to deal with the complaint than it does to issue such notices, and then someone might just decide time was better spent on improved customer service culture....
     
  29. SussexMan

    SussexMan Member

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    Just to clarify (now that you have confirmed your son is 21), your son must make the Subject Access Request.
     
  30. SteveM70

    SteveM70 Member

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    Just for clarity, as I often buy tickets for my kids who then travel alone, how would they be expected to collect their tickets at the destination? Every time I’ve collected tickets I’ve required the payment card as well as the collection code, so the only way it’d work would be for me to give my lad my credit card and me have to manage without for a number of days
     
  31. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    Some websites allow you to pay using PayPal or e-vouchers, and so in these cases there is no card number.
     

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