A train company has backtracked on policy that saw them trouser 10% of the cash from a lost wallet when it is handed in.
The controversial customer service policy came to light after a passenger was told he would only have his wallet returned at a charge of £2 plus 10% of the cash contents.
An outraged Adam Howells tweeted the official Arriva Train Wales incensed with the administration charge, reports WalesOnline .
But he was told that passengers are charged standard rates for the return of items recovered by staff.
This is in addition to any courier or postal service fee, and the company stipulates that items cannot be returned by train.
For any cash recovered, 10% is charged on its value.
This waslimited to a minimum of £2 and a maximum of £10, according to the company’s lost property policy .
That means a passenger who lost a wallet containing £100 will be charged £10 for its return (plus the £2 return fee and postage).
Following widespread outrage the policy has now been scrapped.
A spokeswoman said: “Our customers’ feedback is really important to us and following recent feedback on this issue we will now be changing our policy with immediate effect.
“In this instance we are happy to refund the percentage that was charged to the customer who brought this to our attention.
“We are happy to begin the process of reviewing the lost property policy with customer groups and rail industry regulatory bodies.”
Other lost items also come at a fixed price for their release.
Passengers are charged £25 for the return of laptops and camcorders while mobile phones are set at £10.
Rucksacks, suitcases, watches, bracelets, pushchairs, bikes, cycle helmets and skateboards are all charged £3.
The fee for walking sticks and small bags stands at £2.
Several people tweeted complaints to Arriva Train Wales before the change in policy was announced.
Jon Jones wrote: "That is some policy isn’t it, theft in everything but name. Shameful behaviour.
"I work in a large customer service industry myself, we are always delighted to reunite our customers with their property without charge.
"It should be a lesson to your customers to be more vigilant with their property."
Another person said: "What does the extra admin involve? I too am disgusted by this policy.
"A flat fee for reuniting an item with its owner would be completely understandable but to take a % from out of the recovered wallet feels very much like robbery to me."
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David Sidebottom, director at the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “The current lost property systems in place are, in many cases, not fit for purpose for reuniting lost property with rightful owners.
"So we’re calling for a centralised database, as well as sensible rules for dealing with lost property across the rail network.
"This includes another look at fees.
"Transport Focus will also working with the new operator in Wales on lost property tracking in the future.”
According to the company’s policy, all items found on services are returned to Arriva Trains Wales’ lost property office at Newport Railway Station.
Lost possessions are stored there for up to 12 weeks, after which they are donated to charity.
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