A commuter was told he could be facing a £1,000 fine or even jail after falling asleep on a train and missing his stop.
Graphic designer Neil Armstrong had been travelling from Victoria to Barming after a day’s work in the capital with his £4,500-a-year season ticket.
The 46-year-old woke up seconds after leaving Barming for Maidstone East and was fined despite pleading with a ticket inspector to show some common sense.
He paid the sum – £19.10 – but lodged an appeal which he was told was unsuccessful and was ordered to pay another £21.80.
The company’s rules state anyone with outstanding fines could face prosecution or coughing up £1,000 if they failed to pay.
But after the Kent Messenger contacted the train firm and Mr Armstrong re-lodged his appeal, Southeastern made a U-turn.
"I feel betrayed...it doesn't really give you a great service as it is...I feel totally let down by its pettiness" - Neil Armstrong
He said: “I jumped on the Ashford train at Victoria and I sat down and started listening to music and, with the rocking motion of the train, I fell asleep.
“Normally I wake up a couple of stations before my stop but this time I woke up and we were pulling out of Barming.
“I thought I would just get off at Maidstone and get a train back to Barming. There are usually no barriers, but there were six or seven people checking tickets.”
Mr Armstrong, of Fordingbridge Close, Allington, said he’s been loyal to Southeastern for 25 years and has paid it £80,000.
The father-of-three even offered to pay the difference in the fare from Barming to Maidstone on June 1.
He said: “I understand there are rules but surely there has got to be some common sense.
“There was no real response from Southeastern.
"It just said my appeal has been unsuccessful and that it was my responsibility to get off at the right station.
“I feel betrayed. It doesn’t really give you a great service as it is. I feel totally let down by its pettiness.
“I went for the first appeal and I thought common-sense would prevail but it didn’t.
“It was one stop and it wasn’t like I didn’t have a ticket.”
A spokesman for Southeastern said: “The appeal is being re-logged by IPFAS (Independent Penalty Fares) and a refund of £19.10 will be processed as soon as possible.
“A member of the IPFAS team will be in touch with Mr Armstrong in due course.”