Why claiming your lost property can now cost you £50

Michael Solomon Williams, from Campaign for Better Transport, said: “It is completely unfair that passengers who mistakenly leave items when travelling should then be left to foot a large bill to have their own possessions returned to them. 

“Companies should not be profiting from passengers in this way and it further undermines trust in the railways in particular at a time when we want more people to be taking the train.”

Rival firm Smarte Carte is the third-party lost property service for Heathrow and Bristol Airports, as well as providing lost property services for airlines flying into Heathrow including British Airways and Virgin Galactic. 

Finders’ fees charged to customers of between £5 and £25 helped them turn over £1.46m according to their most recent accounts – up from just a third of that the year before. 

On the FAQ section of the website the firm responds to the suggestion “I feel you are holding my property for ransom?” with the claim: “All lost items would be destroyed without a reconnection process being offered.” 

At airports including Edinburgh, Glasgow, London Luton and Birmingham, Luggage Point airport services look after mislaid items for a charge of up to £27. 

If travellers are not able to have the item posted to them at the point that they claim it, after the first 90 days the firm will charge a storage fee of £10 a day which can swell the cost up to a “maximum fee £50, including retrieval costs”. 

Customers of several lost property firms are less than impressed. One Twitter user blasted: “Unfortunately lost iPad in Stansted Airport yesterday. They have found it – great – but lost property charges £25! Robbing b—–ds” while another said: “#UnbelievableTemerity – Edinburgh Airport charges £20 for recovering lost property at security search – is this normal?” 

Other transport methods have adopted similar schemes. National Express coaches charge customers up to £20 per item to get lost property back. Transport for London has the same maximum charge, and in the 2021/22 financial year took £97,000 from customers claiming their items, while in 2019/20 it was £199,000.

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