Ar­riva re­verses its pol­icy of keep­ing 10% of cash from lost wal­lets

Western Mail - - NEWS - Fol­low us on Twit­ter: @WalesOn­line

A TRAIN com­pany has re­versed its pol­icy of keep­ing 10% of the cash inside lost wal­lets 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.

A num­ber of so­cial me­dia 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.”

In re­sponse, David Side­bot­tom, di­rec­tor at 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 na­tional data­base sys­tem, as well as sen­si­ble rules for deal­ing with lost prop­erty.”

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