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  1. ITV Report

Train company reverses policy of keeping 10% of cash inside lost wallets

Train firms say handling lost property takes up a lot of resources (Dominic Lipinski/PA) Photo: PA Archive/PA Images

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.

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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.

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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.”