Lost property collection fees

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-35942167

Rail passengers face a sliding scale of charges, up to £25 an item, to get their lost property back depending on where they mislaid it.

Transport campaigners say there should be one national system so rail travellers can find items easily.

Passenger group, Transport Focus, says having so many unique systems across the network is not customer friendly.

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said storage costs can vary.

Train-operating companies and rail stations across the UK charge different fees to re-unite passengers with their lost property, with some using private companies to run their lost property service.

Operators typically charge up to £25 depending on the item, but the maximum permitted under their franchise agreements is £30.

There are now calls for a single, central system so that passengers know how to get their property back, wherever it was lost, and exactly how much they can expect to pay.

Dervish Mertcan, from Transport Focus, said there was a need to "build trust" between operators and passengers.

"There are over 20 train companies and no centralised database," he said. "Some train companies don't even run their own lost property service so you have contact the outsourced company.

"I think the inconsistency in the service they receive is annoying for passengers. A properly run, centralised system that allows passengers to find out for themselves if their property has been found would be of huge benefit and would help deliver a better service for passengers."

Abellio Greater Anglia charges up to £25 but gives people 24 hours to come forward before imposing the fee. A spokesman said: "There is no charge for collection of lost property if it is found and collected by the owner within 24 hours. Fees for the retrieval of lost property were set within guidelines agreed by all operators. Fees cover the cost of operating the lost property service; it is not a profit-making operation."

Arriva Trains Wales, which charges between £2 and £25, stressed it did not make any profit from the cost of storing and returning lost property, saying: "[The charges] do not even cover the admin of the service as so much lost property goes unclaimed."

Virgin Trains and CrossCountry hand over lost property to rail stations. South West Trains charges between £2 and £20 to recover items but also puts on storage a fee of £1 for electrical items and 50p for all others per 24 hours.

East Midlands Trains have scrapped lost property fees altogether.

The Excess Baggage Company runs the lost property service for Southern Rail, Network Rail stations as well as Gatwick and Luton Airports. Its charges range from £3 for a left umbrella or keys to £20 for expensive goods such as laptop computers and video cameras.

The company says: "Our charges for the handling of lost property are those prescribed by the Association of Train Operating Companies and as such are endorsed by the Department for Transport."

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group said: "Train operators will do everything they reasonably can to take care of luggage, articles, animals or cycles that have been left on trains or at stations.

"As a condition of their franchise, train companies are required to maintain a lost property process. The costs of storing valuable items such as laptops, tablets, and mobile phones as well as more everyday items can vary."

They are not allowed to charge more than £2 per day per item, and not exceed £30 per item, depending on the type of property and the period of time for which it has been kept. the spokesman added.

What's a fair charge for reuniting you with something you've left on a train?
 
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westv

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Just out of curiosity what is the legal basis for charging? If I found something on the street could I charge the owner before I gave it back to them? Just wondering? Yes, I know there are costs involved in storing lost property.
 

thenorthern

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I don't think it would stand up in court if someone charged to give someone their property back.
 

Greenback

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It's not just the staffing that costs money, but logging the property that's been lost, storing it, and disposing of whatever isn't claimed.

I think a varying and sliding scale of charges based on an item's type and value is the fairest way.
 

aformeruser

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and disposing of whatever isn't claimed.

I thought if you find something and you can't trace the owner it's supposed to be handed to the police and only if the police also can't trace the owner can it be disposed of.

I wonder how many people don't try lost property because they wrongly believe they had the item after leaving the train?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I don't think it would stand up in court if someone charged to give someone their property back.

Agreed. Allowing it could also encourage theft of items where people pretend they find an item to get money.

I think the only exception would apply if the item you found belonged to someone living a long distance away (and they went home without it), then it wouldn't be unreasonable to ask them to send you money for postage/a courier to send the item back.
 

jamesontheroad

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Mrs Ontheroad lost her Samsung smart phone on a Greater Anglia train about six weeks ago ago. It was returned to the lost property office at Liverpool Street and quickly started accruing such disproportionate charges that she never went back to London to claim it. As it was almost paid off via her contract she decided just to replace the phone.

(It was, of course, completely impossible for Greater Anglia and the contractor who operate the lost property office to even consider putting the item on a train and delivering it to Norwich for her to collect).

The information provided online was limited and incomplete. Although the page has now been updated, it still reads:

The Excess Baggage Company office is located near platform 10 at London Liverpool Street station and is open Monday to Friday 0700 to 2300, Monday to Sunday.

I can't remember the exact details, but with us both working at least 9-5, without a evening trip to Norwich one weekday it was impossible to collect. I seem to remember us being told the office was closed completely at weekends, although the info we got from different sources was inconsistent.

I would note that the issue with disproportionate charges appears to have been address with the new £25 cap on all lost property items. This was not the case when we first enquired back in March - perhaps the train operators realise they're getting a bad reputation for these charges.
 
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Greenback

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I thought if you find something and you can't trace the owner it's supposed to be handed to the police and only if the police also can't trace the owner can it be disposed of.

I'm not aware of any rules so I'd be grateful if you could link to any source you have.

I wonder how many people don't try lost property because they wrongly believe they had the item after leaving the train?

Equally, I suppose there are sizeable numbers of people who don't even think it;s the worth the hassle of trying to get some items back, never mind the cost. I wrote off an umbrella once, as I thought there was little chance of it being handed in, and as it was only cheap in the first place it didn't cost a lot to replace.
 

NeilWatson

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-35967901

Police in Suffolk say they will no longer take in general lost property because most items are never reunited with their rightful owners.
Suffolk Police said the taxpayer paid for the 95% of never-claimed items to be stored or disposed of.
Police forces have no legal duty to provide a lost and found service.
Inspector Bob Cracknell, of Suffolk Police, said it would only accept items that relate to crime, contain sensitive details or pose a public threat.
 
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aformeruser

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I'm not aware of any rules so I'd be grateful if you could link to any source you have.

I recall seeing something on a TV program about it. On checking my local police website it says the following:

If you have found someone's property, your legal obligation is to try to reunite it with the owner. You could do this by putting up a notice near to where you found the item.

If you find identification documents such as a driving licence or passport, for security reasons you should send them back to the issuing authority. If you find a bankcard, please follow the instructions on the back of the card.

If you find an item in any of the areas below you should contact the manager of the premises to report the item as being found:

  • Licence premises (pubs, nightclubs)
  • Private premises (house, hotel, hostel)
  • Taxis
  • Public transport (trains, buses, trams)
  • Business premises (shops, supermarkets)
  • Educational premises (schools, universities, colleges)

If you find an item in a place other than those listed above you can take it to your local police Station where we will book it into our property system and try to reunite it with its owner.

From the above if I found a phone on the street and couldn't find the owner it seems the only option I would have would be to hand it in at the police station. However, in the case of an item left on the train it doesn't say what the manager should do if the item is uncollected.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-35967901

Police in Suffolk say they will no longer take in general lost property because most items are never reunited with their rightful owners.
Suffolk Police said the taxpayer paid for the 95% of never-claimed items to be stored or disposed of.
Police forces have no legal duty to provide a lost and found service.
Inspector Bob Cracknell, of Suffolk Police, said it would only accept items that relate to crime, contain sensitive details or pose a public threat.

At the current time their website still says

I have found some property, what do I do?
You should liaise with your local police station. It might be that you want to hold onto the property on the understanding that if the owner comes forward you must relinquish it or you can hand it in at your local police station.

If you choose to hand it in then you will be given a form that entitles you to collect the property if it is not claimed within 28 days (except mobile phones and any other unsuitable objects).

http://www.suffolk.police.uk/faqs/lostandfound.aspx
 

GarethC

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In the Suffolk Police example they only made the change on Monday so it probably hasn't been updated. It was linked to a closure of police stations and redeploymeny/redundancy of desk clerks so there isn't anyone to liaise with (unless in central Ipswich, Bury St Edmund or Lowestoft).

http://www.suffolk.police.uk/contactus/lostandfoundproperty.aspx

Is the current update where it states that lost property is not a statutory duty so they can't afford it. It does mention an enhanced online service, not sure how that helps with the physical item you find though!
 
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endecotp

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Just out of curiosity what is the legal basis for charging?

There is specific legislation allowing it, e.g. the "Public Service Vehicles (Lost Property) Regulations" for buses.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
(It was, of course, completely impossible for Greater Anglia and the contractor who operate the lost property office to even consider putting the item on a train and delivering it to Norwich for her to collect).

I had a phone stolen, and miraculously the police identified the thief and recovered the phone.

They were completely unable to return it to me, though. They expected me to travel about 200 miles to collect it in person.
 

BestWestern

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(It was, of course, completely impossible for Greater Anglia and the contractor who operate the lost property office to even consider putting the item on a train and delivering it to Norwich for her to collect).

Unfortunately, that comes down to good old fashioned mistrust and human error, and the cost of staffing and resources. The lost property office have a duty of care to the item, and as such it needs to be taken into the custody of somebody at each stage of the journey. Particularly if the office is run by a contractor, this can be more challenging than it sounds. Somebody from their organisation would need to hand it over to somebody from the train operator, who in turn then hands it over to the Guard of the train, who in turn hands it over to a staff member at the receiving station, where somebody then needs to be available at the station at the time the owner rocks up to collect it... All of that assumes that the end station is staffed, and that there is a Guard on the train.

There are issues with items becoming 'lost in the system' when put on trains; even simple internal items such as station posters and publicity often fail to make it and end up kicking about in all manner of places, simply because somewhere the chain was broken. You cannot entrust people's treasured personal property to such a loose system. Staff also dislike being held personally responsible for other people's property, which I sympathise with.

It isn't as simple as 'just put it on a train', sadly.
 
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bignosemac

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It isn't as simple as 'just put it on a train', sadly.

It was for me when I left my phone in the 1st Class Lounge at Man Picc. Virgin staff put it on the next train and I collected it from the Train Manager at Euston.

The process of logging lost property and getting it from depots and stations to the central lost property office nearly always involves putting it on passenger services. I see no reason why that system can't be used in reverse, at least to staffed stations on the TOCs network, to allow property to be reunited without the loser having to make what could be a long journey to collect.
 

Chris M

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Alternatively a courier service could be employed. This wouldn't, obviously, be free but could be offered to the customer at their expense.
 

CheesyChips

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Just out of curiosity what is the legal basis for charging? If I found something on the street could I charge the owner before I gave it back to them? Just wondering? Yes, I know there are costs involved in storing lost property.

The lost property company choose to store it in the hope that you'll pay, although they're able to just charge as a matter of fact because people think they're obliged to pay.

I lost a bag once with nothing of huge value inside which ended up at one of these orange and blue lost property huts. I asked them to give it back to me which the sap behind the till refused to do without me paying. I then asked a nearby constable to come with me which they happily did and I explained that my property is being kept from me and I made no agreement for them to hold it on my behalf. Bag returned.

Forcing you to pay is a civil matter and they're more than welcome to pursue you in small claims for £10 without being able to show how you personally entered into any agreement. They can't hold your belongings ransom.
 

Chrisgr31

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There are regular retweets from Southeastern about items that have been left on their trains, picked up by passengers and handed in. Hoving read this tread if I find something on a train I'll tweet the TOC, ask them to retweet and keep the item myself to see if someone claims it.

I have in the past found a phone, when it rang I was able to answer it and the owner came to the office to collect it.
 

Andrew1395

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Lost property on LM train. It ended up at Crewe. Very pleased they phoned to say they had found it, but surprised it could not be sent on a train back to Euston and I had to go to Crewe to collect or pay for a courier to collect from Crewe and deliver it to my home. So that was an additional £35.
 

LowLevel

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Having been station staff when we used to send lost property around unless it's owner is coming to meet the train themselves it's very easy to get distracted by almost anything else and a small but valuable item of lost property can be zooming about on a train untracked, especially in the case of a crew change.

I believe I've also posted previously about the guard who was arrested and required executive level intervention with BTP due to being unable to hand in a phone due to disruption which control were fully aware they had.

That being the case if I find something and someone contacts me about it I don't mind dropping it off by request if it's on the way as one lost property office is as good as another for me.

I have no interest in taking responsibility for another person's property as a transfer to save them courier fees or time though as I have plenty to be getting on with and if I get heavily delayed or similar it's not my priority. The exception being if it contains something like medication in which case assistance is generally requested by the police anyway.

In any case particularly for larger items the trains I work have no safe place to store them - I wouldn't put anyone else's property on a sprinter cab floor as if it rains they tend to have torrents of water washing around.
 

BestWestern

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It was for me when I left my phone in the 1st Class Lounge at Man Picc. Virgin staff put it on the next train and I collected it from the Train Manager at Euston.

The process of logging lost property and getting it from depots and stations to the central lost property office nearly always involves putting it on passenger services. I see no reason why that system can't be used in reverse, at least to staffed stations on the TOCs network, to allow property to be reunited without the loser having to make what could be a long journey to collect.

The process tends to involve a bulk of lost property from a particular location being transported in some form of large, conspicuous container - SWT use padlocked wheeliebins, GWR large blue storage crates, clearly labelled with the origin and not easily mislaid. That is very different to one person's mobile, laptop or whatever being given to a particular member of staff for safekeeping. If there is disruption, cancellation, crew change, something more important to do at the station concerned or so on, the item can easily be overlooked and then there is considerable potential for problems to arise.

Virgin are, of course, king of the PR gestures, but I personally don't feel it is unreasonable for a TOC to have a set policy, and for that policy to place the onus for collection upon the same person who left it behind in the first place.
 
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Andrew1395

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I understand why peoples property they lose and secured by the railway is not currently forwarded to a convenient location to collect. But I remember being on a plane on the runway at Zante, when the pilot announced that a passengers phone and ipad found at the terminal was secured by their local representative and would be flown back to the uk the following morning. If LM operated flights to Greece, presumably that option would not be available
 

Cletus

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I lost a set of keys on a HS1 service. They were found and I had to collect from Cannon Street station at a cost of £3.
 

Emblematic

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The lost property company choose to store it in the hope that you'll pay, although they're able to just charge as a matter of fact because people think they're obliged to pay.

I lost a bag once with nothing of huge value inside which ended up at one of these orange and blue lost property huts. I asked them to give it back to me which the sap behind the till refused to do without me paying. I then asked a nearby constable to come with me which they happily did and I explained that my property is being kept from me and I made no agreement for them to hold it on my behalf. Bag returned.

Forcing you to pay is a civil matter and they're more than welcome to pursue you in small claims for £10 without being able to show how you personally entered into any agreement. They can't hold your belongings ransom.

Different on the railways. National Rail Conditions of Carriage apply, and by buying a ticket you have entered into a contract with the operator that states that you can be charged for return of lost property. They won't pursue you in the courts, if you don't pay up they sell your stuff after three months, which is all in the contract.
 

mbreckers

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Or... don't lose your item in the first place.

Why should any TOC/Network Rail/business/individual have to look after something that you left lying somewhere.

Now I know that people will naturally forget things are sitting on a table, next to them or wherever.

I have done it myself, I left my house keys in my house door when I went out for the day. It was my responsibility, if anything had happened to my house I would have been responsible, no-one else.

If a business is good enough to find your item, hold your item in a secure place and provide staff so you can pick up your item, pay your fees. Otherwise eventually it will be a policy of immediately destroy any lost property
 

185143

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I left an annual season ticket and a west yorkshire dayrover on a 333 to Ilkley once, got off at Guiseley, realised I didnt have it and the ticket office were able to phone control who contacted the guard who handed me the the ticket when the train got back to Guiseley.

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk
 
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