Train firm’s U-turn after lost prop­erty fee back­lash

Cynon Valley - - NEWS - NEIL LANCEFIELD news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

A TRAiN com­pany has re­versed its pol­icy of keep­ing 10% of the cash inside lost wal­lets and purses when pas­sen­gers re­claim them.

Ar­riva Trains Wales faced an on­line back­lash after a cus­tomer ex­pressed his dis­may at the prac­tice.

it has since an­nounced that it is “chang­ing our pol­icy with im­me­di­ate ef­fect”.

Adam Howells posted on Twit­ter that the firm charged him £2 to re­lease his wal­let, and kept 10% of the cash it con­tained.

He in­cluded the hash­tag £TheftByTrain in his mes­sages.

Mr Howells also cast doubt on whether the money would have been do­nated to char­ity if he had not claimed the wal­let – as is meant to hap­pen -– be­cause the money given to him came out of a ticket of­fice till.

Anum­berof­so­cial­me­dia users re­acted to his mes­sages with fury.

One de­clared that they were “dis­gusted” by the pol­icy, while oth­ers ques­tioned whether it was law­ful.

An­other de­scribed the charges as “school ground bully behaviour”.

The up­per limit of the fees that train com­pa­nies can charge for re­claimed lost prop­erty is set out in the Na­tional Rail Con­di­tions of Travel.

Firms may charge up to £2 per item per day for stor­age, and up to £30 for hand­ing it back.

Ar­riva Trains Wales ini­tially de­fended its pol­icy in re­sponses to the Twit­ter mes­sages, say­ing that han­dling lost prop­erty “takes up a lot of re­sources” and “the fees are used to­wards the run­ning costs of the lost prop­erty of­fice”.

The operator also pub­lished its charges for re­turn­ing var­i­ous items, which in­cluded lap­tops (£25), mo­bile phones (£10) and ruck­sacks (£3).

The pol­icy for money said that it would keep 10% of any cash re­cov­ered, with a min­i­mum of £2 and a max­i­mum of £10.

But a spokesman for the operator later is­sued an up­dated state­ment which read: “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.”

Lost prop­erty found on Ar­riva Trains Wales ve­hi­cles

The lost prop­erty of­fice at New­port

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