What does the Mediation officer do?
When a complaint is made to the Mediation officer, he assesses the admissibility of your request. Then if necessary, he launches an investigation to examine firstly the grounds of your request and the relevance of your arguments and, secondly, the lawfulness and legitimacy of the company's position.
What does the Mediation officer do once he receives your complaint?
1. …The Mediation officer
sends you a letter to acknowledge receipt of your complaint…
…after first ensuring that the case sent to him falls within his remit, that customer services have already given a response and that it has been presented within the required deadlines, the Mediation officer's acknowledgement letter makes your complaint official from the date your case file was received.
If your complaint is rejected, you will receive a letter from the Mediation officer explaining the reasons why. Sometimes, depending on the reason for the complaint's rejection (if no prior complaint has been made to customer services, for example), the Mediation officer sends the file to the relevant RATP department himself. The complainant is then informed that they are dispensed from this formality.
2. …The Mediation officer investigates your case…
… based on the information you have provided. He will ask the RATP departments for any additional information he feels he needs to decide your case. The Mediation officer has 45 days to respond to your complaint. In particularly difficult cases, this time period may be extended to four months. Complainants are advised that the time during which the Mediation officer investigates their case places the fine recovery procedure on hold and stops the case being referred to the police court to start proceedings.
3. …The Mediation officer informs you of the outcome of your complaint…
… once the investigation is complete. You will receive the Mediation officer's response by letter at the address you gave on your request. This letter goes over the terms of your request and explains the reasons behind his decision. A copy of this letter is also sent to the RATP department responsible for its implementation.
What happens after the Mediation officer has made his decision?
1. …The Mediation officer
- … stating that no further action will be taken with regard to your offence. In this case, you have nothing more to do; the Mediation officer will take care of any necessary administrative formalities.
- … by stating that your offence and the related fine remains valid, either partially of fully. In this case, his response explains the time frame within which the fine must be paid and encloses details about the various payment options.
2. …if you have to pay for your fine…
… you have all the information you need to make your payment, specifically, the payment due date and the contact details of the Offence Recovery Centre to which your payment must be made.
3. …do so in due time...
If you do not pay your fine by the due date the RATP Offence Recovery Centre automatically sensd your penalty notice to the Procureur de la République (magistrate to the public prosecutor).
This has two consequences:
- Irrespective of the fine amount paid off, the initial fixed fine amount is increased becoming an amende forfaitaire majorée and depending on the nature of the offence, this can be €180 or €375.
- At this point, RATP is taken off the case and neither customer services nor the Mediation officer can have any further involvement in it.
4. Can the Mediation officer's decision be appealed?
Once the Mediation officer has made his decision it cannot be appealed. However, if a customer wishes to pursue their complaint they can take the matter before the courts. Contacting the Ombudsman is purely optional. He acts as an arbitrator and is not there to replace the courts.
5. Once a case has been sent to the Procureur de la République, can the customer still dispute the fine?
Customers can write to the Officier du Ministère Public (official at the public prosecutor's office) at his place of residence asking for leniency by explaining the reasons for the request. But such a request will not suspend the proceedings and the higher fixed fine amount will still be immediately payable.