We helped a Chiltern passenger get a refunded court settlement fee of £419 after being provided with incorrect advice. Mr J booked his tickets on the Southern website to travel from Brighton to Banbury. On his return leg, he had checked with a member of staff whether his off-peak ticket was valid for the next train on Chiltern’s service, and was advised that it was. Unfortunately, the ticket was not valid for the service, which led to Transport Investigations Limited (TIL) issuing Mr J with a letter to prosecute. Upon receipt of his appeal, he was offered an out of court settlement fee of £419. Mr J paid this, but he was unhappy with the way his case had been handled so came to Transport Focus.
When appealing the case, we reviewed the ticket buying process on the Southern website to see if it warned passengers about the possibility of being prosecuted for having the wrong ticket. The website simply stated that if a passenger was to board an incorrect train, they would have to pay the difference in the fare. We pointed out the information was not good enough and Southern accepted the error and apologised. TIL accepted our appeal and agreed to give Mr J a full refund of £419.