LNER 'authorised to prosecute'

The Wrong Tree

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Hi - hoping someone will be able to help with some advice on this!

A few Sundays ago I travelled up to York from Kings Cross. I bought an advance single for the outbound train and return on an anytime off-peak single through Trainline.
On the way back I got stopped for not having a valid ticket as it turns out it was for Grand Central and not LNER which I was on. I of course hadn't checked the ticket, which did say Grand Central only (there's no barriers at York so I had no need to)
Now I was pretty horrified when it turned out not to be valid as I'm always careful what tickets I book. I checked the confirmation email and the ticket details on Trainline and it all said any off-peak train and there was zero mention anywhere that it was Grand Central only - only the ticket itself said that.
I even checked that night on Trainline for the exact same trains the following Sunday and no mention of it being restricted, the following morning when I went to get a screenshot of it for my appeal they had changed the website to correctly say Grand Central only - unfortunately I don't have proof that they changed it.

I appealed over email and had it refused and they've done absolutely nothing to engage with my appeal other than essentially say - ticket invalid, pay a penalty fare of 175£ (which is frankly extortionate).
I've now just had a letter through stating that they are 'provisionally authorised for prosecution'.

Now I personally feel like I've done nothing wrong, there's no mention of the restriction when I bought it or on the confirmation email. I think I've got a strong case but concerned about the risks if they do decide to bring a prosecution.

Hoping for an unbiased opinion on the situation,
Thanks in advance!
 
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robbeech

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It appears you boarded a train without a valid ticket so this is one of the options open to them. Any complaints you have will need to be directed at the retailer if you believe the restrictions were unclear BEFORE you booked the ticket. Trainline (both the website and app) are well known for leaving out crucial information like this but unfortunately nobody can really do anything about it as there is nobody to enforce any rules on them. That said, for some time now the website and both the Android and iOS apps have shown operator restrictions on tickets, although they're not always immediately obvious they appear to tick the legal box, if not the customer friendly one.

I'm not sure what the £175 charge is based on, perhaps an anytime single plus an admin fee?

Either way, whilst you might feel you have done nothing wrong, unfortunately by boarding that train you did so. If you still have the confirmation e-mail then you would be advised to contact the retailer and complain to them. But i suspect you'll get nowhere.
 

Bletchleyite

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What exactly happened on board when you were stopped? Were you asked to buy a new ticket and refused, or did it go straight to taking details and "you'll get a letter in the post"?
 

AlterEgo

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Hi - hoping someone will be able to help with some advice on this!

A few Sundays ago I travelled up to York from Kings Cross. I bought an advance single for the outbound train and return on an anytime off-peak single through Trainline.
On the way back I got stopped for not having a valid ticket as it turns out it was for Grand Central and not LNER which I was on. I of course hadn't checked the ticket, which did say Grand Central only (there's no barriers at York so I had no need to)
Now I was pretty horrified when it turned out not to be valid as I'm always careful what tickets I book. I checked the confirmation email and the ticket details on Trainline and it all said any off-peak train and there was zero mention anywhere that it was Grand Central only - only the ticket itself said that.
I even checked that night on Trainline for the exact same trains the following Sunday and no mention of it being restricted, the following morning when I went to get a screenshot of it for my appeal they had changed the website to correctly say Grand Central only - unfortunately I don't have proof that they changed it.

I appealed over email and had it refused and they've done absolutely nothing to engage with my appeal other than essentially say - ticket invalid, pay a penalty fare of 175£ (which is frankly extortionate).
I've now just had a letter through stating that they are 'provisionally authorised for prosecution'.

Now I personally feel like I've done nothing wrong, there's no mention of the restriction when I bought it or on the confirmation email. I think I've got a strong case but concerned about the risks if they do decide to bring a prosecution.

Hoping for an unbiased opinion on the situation,
Thanks in advance!
I think we'll need quite a few more details. LNER are not a very prosecution-minded TOC and we don't often see cases involving them.

What happened when you were stopped? Were you asked to purchase a ticket for the train and refused? The one you have is valid on Grand Central and so isn't valid on LNER, so LNER are within their rights to ask you to purchase the correct ticket for your journey.

LNER are not a Penalty Fares operator. So, it is not clear how the £175 is calculated. Is it the price of an Anytime Single (£140) plus an administration fee? Could you let us know if they have explained what the cost entails?
 

The Wrong Tree

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I think we'll need quite a few more details. LNER are not a very prosecution-minded TOC and we don't often see cases involving them.

What happened when you were stopped? Were you asked to purchase a ticket for the train and refused? The one you have is valid on Grand Central and so isn't valid on LNER, so LNER are within their rights to ask you to purchase the correct ticket for your journey.

LNER are not a Penalty Fares operator. So, it is not clear how the £175 is calculated. Is it the price of an Anytime Single (£140) plus an administration fee? Could you let us know if they have explained what the cost entails?

Thanks for all the responses.

Yes I didn't purchase a ticket and they took my details. They issued an 'unpaid fare notice', which I then appealed.
I did ask how it was calculated and haven't had a response to it but at a guess I believe you are correct at the £140+admin fee.

I did try contacting Trainline but haven't got anywhere with them yet.

I do appreciate that technically LNER may be within their rights to prosecute, but I believe I should also be able to claim the same amount back from Trainline as they mis-sold the ticket.

It does seem like a ludicrous way of resolving an issue with a regular customer though as I believe I clearly bought a valid ticket in good faith. Would have happily waited 15 mins for the 'correct' train
 

skyhigh

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It does seem like a ludicrous way of resolving an issue with a regular customer though as I believe I clearly bought a valid ticket in good faith.
To be fair, you didn't buy the ticket from LNER and it wasn't a valid ticket on their train. They wouldn't get a penny in revenue for a Grand Central only ticket. The Unpaid Fare notice technically was correctly issued - you didn't have a valid ticket.

Personally I'd pay the £175 and try and claim it back off Trainline if you're sure they mis-sold you the ticket.
 

30907

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At the very least Trainline should refund the unused ticket.

If you were travelling at a time when LNER Offpeak fares apply (you say you had an "anytime offpeak single" which doesn't exist), IMO the UFN should have been for the Offpeak fare not the Anytime.
 

Bletchleyite

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To be fair, you didn't buy the ticket from LNER and it wasn't a valid ticket on their train. They wouldn't get a penny in revenue for a Grand Central only ticket. The Unpaid Fare notice technically was correctly issued - you didn't have a valid ticket.

Personally I'd pay the £175 and try and claim it back off Trainline if you're sure they mis-sold you the ticket.

And claim a refund for the unused Grand Central ticket. I forget if a £10 admin fee applies for the moment or not.
 

Haywain

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LNER do not issue penalty fares so what has been issued is an Unpaid Fare Notice. I expect that this has been topped up with an admin charge as it remains unpaid.

And claim a refund for the unused Grand Central ticket. I forget if a £10 admin fee applies for the moment or not.
The refund admin fee will apply after the date of travel.
 

AlterEgo

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Thanks for all the responses.

Yes I didn't purchase a ticket and they took my details. They issued an 'unpaid fare notice', which I then appealed.
I did ask how it was calculated and haven't had a response to it but at a guess I believe you are correct at the £140+admin fee.

I did try contacting Trainline but haven't got anywhere with them yet.

I do appreciate that technically LNER may be within their rights to prosecute, but I believe I should also be able to claim the same amount back from Trainline as they mis-sold the ticket.

It does seem like a ludicrous way of resolving an issue with a regular customer though as I believe I clearly bought a valid ticket in good faith. Would have happily waited 15 mins for the 'correct' train
OK. So, what is the series of events that has led to the authorisation to prosecute?

You have been furnished with the Unpaid Fare Notice by LNER, which you appealed, and as the appeal had no basis (you travelled with an invalid ticket and are still required to pay LNER your fare), it was refused. Have you still not paid it? If not, why?

The company is within its rights to prosecute you, as it stands.

The first thing you must do is pay the Unpaid Fare Notice. Is this still an option?
 

furlong

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There appears to be no love lost between those two train companies (LNER/Grand Central) and passengers seem to get caught up in arguments between them all too often. At this stage I'd suggest either reading up on sufficient contract and consumer law so that you can set out your argument in unemotional legal terms or employing a solicitor to do that for you - otherwise just cut your losses by paying up and then trying to seek redress. I would guess you're attempting to argue that the purported contractual term restricting your contract to one train company either did not exist in your specific contract or, failing that, was rendered unenforceable by the manner in which it was sold to you, with the consequence that the contract did permit you to travel on that train?

Was it explained to you when you had the problem, that while you now needed to buy a new ticket you would be able to obtain a refund for the incorrect one?
 

RPI

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I'm still not understanding of where the admin fee comes in, you were issued the Unpaid Fare Notice which is for the Anytime Single, did you go past the payment due date?
 

Haywain

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I'm still not understanding of where the admin fee comes in, you were issued the Unpaid Fare Notice which is for the Anytime Single, did you go past the payment due date?
A letter would only be sent in the event of non-payment within the due time.
 

AlterEgo

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There appears to be no love lost between those two train companies (LNER/Grand Central) and passengers seem to get caught up in arguments between them all too often. At this stage I'd suggest either reading up on sufficient contract and consumer law so that you can set out your argument in unemotional legal terms or employing a solicitor to do that for you - otherwise just cut your losses by paying up and then trying to seek redress. I would guess you're attempting to argue that the purported contractual term restricting your contract to one train company either did not exist in your specific contract or, failing that, was rendered unenforceable by the manner in which it was sold to you, with the consequence that the contract did permit you to travel on that train?

Was it explained to you when you had the problem, that while you now needed to buy a new ticket you would be able to obtain a refund for the incorrect one?
Does any of this assist with the OP with avoiding a prosecution for any Bylaw or RORA offence?

(Genuine question asking for an answer, not a loaded one!)
 

Starmill

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Were you asked to buy a new ticket onboard? If so, was a price given?
 

221129

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Given that York has ticket issuing facilities then LNER are correct to charge the full undiscounted single for the journey being made.

IMO the UFN should have been for the Offpeak fare not the Anytime.
Given that York has ticket issuing facilities then LNER are correct to charge the full undiscounted single for the journey being made.
 

Starmill

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If you were travelling at a time when LNER Offpeak fares apply (you say you had an "anytime offpeak single" which doesn't exist), IMO the UFN should have been for the Offpeak fare not the Anytime.
If an Off Peak Single was appropriate for the train in question, it may well have been on offer go buy there and then and not go to the UFN process. But we haven't had tjis clarification.
 

island

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Unfortunately, you had no valid grounds of appeal. The unpaid fare notice was correctly issued and your appeal was correctly refused, as the ticket you had was not valid on the train you used. As explained on the notice, the payment is due by the indicated deadline independently of any appeal you may wish to pursue. As you have chosen not to make payment in time, administration fees of £35 have been incurred on top of the £140 fare, which remains due.

You now need to make payment of the £175 due promptly in order to avoid further action being taken including potential prosecution and a criminal record. Do not stick your head in the sand as this will not go away and can get a lot worse.

If you are still within 28 days of the date of travel, you can claim a refund on the unused Grand Central ticket, less a £10 admin fee. This would be claimed via Trainline.

So what’s the point in changing then, something needs to be done about it, look at the ridiculous fares situation, hundreds for some journeys and the pointless routing guide does anyone actually read it.
None of this has the least bit of relevance to this thread; the OP used a ticket clearly marked "Grand Central only" on a train that was not a Grand Central train. The Routeing Guide does not come into play. If you have issues with there being "hundreds" of fares for some journeys or the Routeing Guide being "pointless", I would suggest you start a new thread, particularising your concerns so that they can be discussed.
 

Hadders

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Hi - hoping someone will be able to help with some advice on this!

A few Sundays ago I travelled up to York from Kings Cross. I bought an advance single for the outbound train and return on an anytime off-peak single through Trainline.
On the way back I got stopped for not having a valid ticket as it turns out it was for Grand Central and not LNER which I was on. I of course hadn't checked the ticket, which did say Grand Central only (there's no barriers at York so I had no need to)
Now I was pretty horrified when it turned out not to be valid as I'm always careful what tickets I book. I checked the confirmation email and the ticket details on Trainline and it all said any off-peak train and there was zero mention anywhere that it was Grand Central only - only the ticket itself said that.
I even checked that night on Trainline for the exact same trains the following Sunday and no mention of it being restricted, the following morning when I went to get a screenshot of it for my appeal they had changed the website to correctly say Grand Central only - unfortunately I don't have proof that they changed it.

I appealed over email and had it refused and they've done absolutely nothing to engage with my appeal other than essentially say - ticket invalid, pay a penalty fare of 175£ (which is frankly extortionate).
I've now just had a letter through stating that they are 'provisionally authorised for prosecution'.

Now I personally feel like I've done nothing wrong, there's no mention of the restriction when I bought it or on the confirmation email. I think I've got a strong case but concerned about the risks if they do decide to bring a prosecution.

Hoping for an unbiased opinion on the situation,
Thanks in advance!
I would pay the amount owed to prevent it from escalating further. I would then suggest taking the matter up with Trainline if you believe the original ticket was missold.

The sooner it all goes back to BR Mk2 or whatever they call it the better. This fragmentation of the network has become a joke, they told us cheaper fares forall and far more choice.
This isn't particularly helpful to the OP but please do feel free to start a new thread with your ideas on how you would reform fares.
 

Haywain

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Hoping for an unbiased opinion on the situation,
Pay the amount you owe. If you pay by phone you may have an opportunity to discuss the amount requested. And please report back on the outcome when you contact Trainline about your refund.
 
Last edited:

furlong

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Does any of this assist with the OP with avoiding a prosecution for any Bylaw or RORA offence?
Impossible question on the limited information supplied. That depends on what the OP does or does not do now and how LNER then responds.
(In similar situations I would suggest the best advice is usually to pay what's demanded while making sure the circumstances are fully documented at the time so the passenger has the best chance of subsequently obtaining a more favourable outcome to them.)

The validity or invalidity is a fact - it has to be one or the other and there's no in-between - and if it was a crucial fact and the two parties disagreed they'd set out their positions and a court would decide upon that fact, then other conclusions would flow from that.

Another reading of the situation might be that what the OP says amounts to alleging a breach of contract by LNER in not accepting the ticket. At that point there would be no contract - it would have been breached - so if LNER issues a UFN it would be fully enforceable in the normal way if issued for the correct amount etc. It would then be for the OP to attempt to recoup their "loss" e.g. for alleged breach of contract from LNER or alleged misrepresentation from the retailer.

(Or in other words, on the narrow question of the enforceability of a UFN issued in circumstances similar to those described, I struggle to think of any plausible arguments against enforceability.)
 
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maniacmartin

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I know this doesn’t feel fair, but I echo the advice to pay up then claim a refund for the ticket from Trainline before things escalate further.

Also, things would probably not been any better had you used LNER’s website as they also hide the operator restrictions of flexible tickets away where it is not at all obvious.
 

AlterEgo

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I wonder if the OP could post the booking confirmation (with booking ref and personal details redacted) so we can see whether he would have a case.

The site, however, does say "Valid on Grand Central trains only" when going through the booking flow.
 

AlterEgo

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They claimed earlier that this information was lacking when they booked.
I’ve simulated a purchase myself and can’t replicate what the OP says during the booking flow. It is definitely displayed, although whether it is on his booking confirmation is another issue.
 

yorkie

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...there's no mention of the restriction when I bought it or on the confirmation email....
Can you get a full screenshot and/or paste all the text from the confirmation email (with any personal data redacted)?

Feel free to send me a conversation message if you'd rather not post it publicly.

pay a penalty fare of 175£ (which is frankly extortionate).
What time did you depart York? If you know the exact train, that would be useful; if not, a rough time should suffice.

Were you given the opportunity to pay the appropriate fare? Is there any indication as to how much the total sum is calculated; is it the fare applicable at the time plus any late payment fees that have since been added?

Did LNER use the term Penalty Fare or is it that you consider it a large sum as to be penalising you? At the risk of sounding pedantic (I'm not, honestly) it's not a Penalty Fare and LNER are not allowed to charge such a fare. In theory they can charge the Anytime fare, even if you travelled Off Peak, though I'd expect the Super Off Peak to be charged if you travelled at an applicable time where such a fare would be valid.
 
Last edited:

robbeech

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They claimed earlier that this information was lacking when they booked.
The information is poorly placed, and it is often unclear. The restriction data also doesn't show on every page so it is very easy to miss. It's poor, and many other retailers (including operator based ones) suffer the same. It does however say it now, and has unquestionably been there for as long as this ticket would have been able to be booked in advance (years). So whilst there may have been minor changes to the site recently (i'm not aware of any) the operator and route restrictions (where applicable) have been shown.
 

WesternLancer

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Hi - hoping someone will be able to help with some advice on this!

A few Sundays ago I travelled up to York from Kings Cross. I bought an advance single for the outbound train and return on an anytime off-peak single through Trainline.
On the way back I got stopped for not having a valid ticket as it turns out it was for Grand Central and not LNER which I was on. I of course hadn't checked the ticket, which did say Grand Central only (there's no barriers at York so I had no need to)
Now I was pretty horrified when it turned out not to be valid as I'm always careful what tickets I book. I checked the confirmation email and the ticket details on Trainline and it all said any off-peak train and there was zero mention anywhere that it was Grand Central only - only the ticket itself said that.
I even checked that night on Trainline for the exact same trains the following Sunday and no mention of it being restricted, the following morning when I went to get a screenshot of it for my appeal they had changed the website to correctly say Grand Central only - unfortunately I don't have proof that they changed it.

I appealed over email and had it refused and they've done absolutely nothing to engage with my appeal other than essentially say - ticket invalid, pay a penalty fare of 175£ (which is frankly extortionate).
I've now just had a letter through stating that they are 'provisionally authorised for prosecution'.

Now I personally feel like I've done nothing wrong, there's no mention of the restriction when I bought it or on the confirmation email. I think I've got a strong case but concerned about the risks if they do decide to bring a prosecution.

Hoping for an unbiased opinion on the situation,
Thanks in advance!
Nothing to add to the good advice from others as to next stages (assume refund of unused ticket is an option) - but I would say as general advice (which you may have already felt you have learned) to not use The Trainline for ticket purchase. There are other better independent ticket retailers I think, but I usually say to friends who ask my advice to try to use the websites of the train company that will cover their journey, or the majority of it - as at least when things go wrong you are more likely to be debating matters with the one organisation, not an intermediary.

Anyway - good luck with securing some level of refund over this etc, and resolving the rest of it without prosecution etc - plenty of advice on here if you need it as things progress so post back if you need to.
 

GB

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How obvious and legible is the Grand Central restriction on the actual ticket? Surely when you receive tickets for events and services you check at the very least to make sure a mistake hasn't been made (either during booking, processing or printing) by either party etc?
 

SteveM70

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How obvious and legible is the Grand Central restriction on the actual ticket? Surely when you receive tickets for events and services you check at the very least to make sure a mistake hasn't been made (either during booking, processing or printing) by either party etc?

Well yes. Or more fundamentally, that’s it’s your tickets you’ve scooped out of the tray, not the receipt from the previous user’s or something
 

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