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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71053
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Madam, On the 12th May 2015 son bought a ticket

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Dear Sir/Madam,
On the 12th May 2015 son bought a ticket online to travel London/Newcastle return and it cost him £130-60p which he paid for using his credit card. He was given a Collection Reference number BJN95N57.
Further details of the transaction are as follows:
Virgin Trains East Coast; Coach E; Seat 40
Train departure 11.00 am
Ticket Type; Super off-peak return.
Transaction ID;###-##-#### ***** for using a VISA debit card.
Upon arrival at Kings Cross, my son went to the machine to collect his pre-paid tickets. The machine would not print out. He was late for the train and rushed onto the platform without his ticket to board it just as it pulled out.
When the ticket inspector came across him on the train, my son showed him the evidence of pre-payment, but the inspector would not accept it and issued him with an "Unpaid Fare Notice" No. ECM 768922 and pointed out to him where he should apply to, to have the situation sorted out.
Upon arrival at Newcastle, my son went to the machine on the station, put in his reference number and obtained his tickets (outward and return). He used his outward ticket to go through the barrier to exit Newcastle Station as normal.
The return journey Newcastle to London was uneventful.
On the 18th June, my son received a notice from Revenue Protection Support Services telling him that he must pay £145 penalty for an unpaid fare. My son appealed and received the same sort of reply only now they want him to pay the fare of £130-50p'
Since my son had clearly pre-paid for his ticket, what is the position re having to pay a penalty against an Unpaid Fare Notice.
My son just wants to pay the money and move on, he is so fed up with it. I am concerned, firstly because I do not believe he should be paying this money and secondly because I am worried that he might get a criminal record.
Grateful for your advice.
Kind Regards
Peter Buckwell
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
There is an offence under Regulation 18 of the Railway Bye Laws of just failing to present a valid ticket to the inspector. They could rely on that to prosecute. Whether they will or not is another matter but we are dealing in worst case scenario.
He can always appeal the penalty fare. That is basically just an offer to avoid court summons like the fixed penalty with speeding. They may well withdraw as it isn't really in the public interest.
However, the worst case scenario is that they carry on against him and there is a contravention upon which they could rely.
It depends whether you are prepared to take that risk. It is a criminal record although not a recordable one and should not show on his DBS checks.
Can I clarify anything for you?
You will find the contravention here
It has generally been interpreted to mean being unable to present a ticket to the inspector although I suppose you could argue that he does have a ticket.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear Jo,

Thank you for this. Who would my son appeal the penalty fare to?

Kind Regards

Peter Buckwell

Usually the internal appeal is the Revenue Protection Services.
The real appeal is to refuse to pay and invite them to summons but then obviously you run the risk of a criminal record.
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