Transport User Voice – June 2019 – Case study

28 May 2019

Challenging a £1040 unpaid fare notice issued by LNER  

 Mr G’s son mislaid his return ticket during a stay in London. While on board the train back to Newcastle, the ticket inspector came to check tickets but Mr G’s son was unable to find his. As a result of being unable to produce a valid ticket for his journey, Mr G’s son was issued with an Unpaid Fare Notice (UFN) for £1040.70. 

Mr G only found out about the UFN after the 21-day appeal deadline. He contacted Transport Focus to ask for assistance. 

Mr G believed that, due to his son being only 15, the ticket officer should have asked for his parents’ details so that they could be contacted directly. Mr G also believed his son should have been offered the chance to send the ticket in within a certain deadline to avoid a UFN and/or not issued a UFN in the first place. Mr Gs son had also found the missing ticket since he got home, and his father had wanted the opportunity to provide this evidence to LNER in order to have the UFN waived.

Following a review by Transport Focus, it became clear that some of the details on the UFN were incorrect. The amount had been written incorrectly; it appeared the member of staff wrote £1040.70 instead to £140.70  the price of an adult super off-peak single. Since Mr G’s son was only 15, he should have only been issued with a UFN for a child’s fare, which would have entitled him to 50 per cent discount. 

A UFN is not a fine or penalty but the cost of a ticket for that journey. It is issued when a passenger, who does not have a valid ticket, is unable to pay for one there and then. So, it is worth noting here that Mr G’s son was correctly issued a UFN, in line with the National Rail Conditions of Travel, since he could not produce a valid ticket on inspection. 

Even though Mr G’s son was 15, the age of legal culpability is set at 10 years old, so the member of staff was not obliged to request or take details for the young man’s parents. 

Transport Focus contacted LNER to request it reviews Mr G’s case and consider waiving the UFN issued to his son. LNER agreed to this if Mr G was able to send the original tickets to them, which he duly did.

LNER waived the UFN in full so Mr G’s son did not have to pay anything on top of the original ticket he purchased.

Mr G and his son were both happy with the outcome.

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