A penalty fares scheme works on the same principle as a ‘pay and display’ car park, where motorists may have to pay a penalty if they do not buy a ticket when they park. Where penalty fares apply, rail passengers must buy their tickets before they start their journey wherever there are facilities for them to do so. If a passenger gets on a train without a ticket at a station where ticket facilities are available, they will have to pay a penalty fare if asked to do so by a ticket inspector who has been appointed as an ‘authorised collector’.

Appeals must be made in writing online here:


Make an Appeal


Or by post to: Penalty Services Limited, 9 Deben Mill Business Centre, Old Maltings Approach, Melton Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 1BL


If you wish to make an appeal for yourself, you can download an Appeal Form here. If you wish to make an appeal on behalf of someone else, you may download an Appeal Form here. You should explain why you were unable to produce a valid ticket or other authority to travel and provide any further information or evidence to support your explanation when appealing within 21 days beginning the day after you received your notice. The Assessor will not be able to obtain evidence or contact witnesses on your behalf so it is important that you include everything that you feel will help to support your appeal.


Please ensure you apply adequate postage to your letter as we do not pay excess postage fees and we will not receive your appeal.


Penalty Services will take up to 2 weeks but no longer than 3 weeks to investigate and respond to your appeal. When an appeal decision has been reached we will let you know by your preferred method (email or post).

Each penalty fare notice indicates the time available for appeal, 21 days from day after the date of the notice. Appeals received outside of the stated deadline cannot be considered without mitigating circumstances and in most cases the right to appeal is effectively forfeited.

If you have received a letter about an incident of which you know nothing, AND THE LETTER IS ADDRESSED TO YOU, then please phone the number shown on the letter. You may have to write to the company who sent the letter with evidence explaining the circumstances. It could be that an “imposter” has used your identity.

You should not open post that is not addressed to you, indeed you are breaking the law if you open someone else’s mail. You must return it to the Post Office by writing on the envelope “Not At This Address” and putting it unopened in any post box (No stamp required). If the person to whom the letter is addressed is known to you or you are aware of their correct or forwarding address then please also write on the reverse of the envelope the address that you believe to be correct for the person concerned.

You may not have been issued with a Penalty Fare. Train Companies operate a variety of other enforcement methods to report and deal with fare evasion. Our offices will not be able to help you if you do not have a notice reference number. You may contact the relevant Train Company customer services department by using the links provided on our home page.

If you have already made an appeal for your Penalty Fare Notice either online or by post, you can carry out an online check here by following the instructions on the page. Where an appeal is already in progress you will be shown details of the appeal and will be able to get more information on the status of your appeal.

Each Train Company publishes their Revenue Protection Policy on their own website. Check here and select the Train Company with which you travelled. Then navigate to their own website and search for “revenue protection” to show their policy.

If you have appealed and are unhappy with the outcome then you have the right to have your case re-heard by Penalty Services and you may submit a second appeal. If you are still unhappy with the outcome of your second appeal, you may lastly have your appeal heard by an independent appeal panel who’s decision is final. Please check the “How do I make an appeal?” section of the FAQ for making further appeals.


Our Assessors consider the facts and evidence presented and must come to a conclusion based on this information. If no further evidence over and above an earlier appeal for the same notice is presented, it is unlikely that the outcome will change. All cases are assessed in accordance with an approved assessment criteria ensuring all appeals are considered fairly and consistently.

Penalty Services ensures that all appeals are fairly and consistently assessed in accordance with an approved assessment criteria. However, if you remain unhappy with the outcome of an appeal and you believe that Penalty Services has failed to process your appeal correctly then you may refer the matter to either Transport Focus or London Travel Watch as appropriate. Both act as independent statutory bodies to protect the interests of passengers. Although they are unable to overturn an appeal decision made by penalty Services, they will consider whether Penalty Services have acted correctly in their handling of your appeal.