An All Too Familar Pain

Lost & Found for the 21st Century

In today's hectic world more and more people are turning to those handy gadgets and mobile products that can be taken with them anywhere they go. The more things consumers own, the more they're prone to lose them. This in mind we actually went out and tested a new service on the UK market from Want it Bak. Lets see what Londoners are really made of.

We left a Palm m130 PDA on the Jubilee Line of the London Underground, a Sony Ericcson Mobile on the number 15 bus route, a Blackberry "email on the move" gizmo down in a local pub in South West London and a rucksack sitting in Starbucks Chancery Lane area. Lastly we left a digital camera sitting out in the open in Hyde park. Not the easiest thing leaving items lying about in this highly security conscious world we live in these days.

Here in the 21st century our lives have become more and more reliant on mobile items. As we go through our days, keeping a mental log of everything we have and where we have it becomes more and more difficult. It is inevitable that some things get lost. In fact as stated in a recent research "Around 62,000 mobile phones were left in London taxis during the last six months. That's an average three phones per taxi, according to a survey of licensed London cabbies by the Taxi Newspaper and Pointsec Mobile Technologies. Absent minded and drunken travellers also forgot 4,000 laptops and 5,000 PDA's when exiting cabs".

So what can we do to have give us some reassurance that we have at least a chance of getting our valuable or even sentimental items back.

In steps lost and found for the 21st century in the form of Want it Bak. The service is based around the belief that most people are actually honest and will do the right thing if a method is offered to them. This feel good factor is enhanced by the added incentive of a reward for doing the right thing.

Anything you can imagine, mobile phones, keys, cameras, PDA's, laptops, binoculars, backpacks, passports, briefcases, wallets and purses, golf clubs, power tools, textbooks, credit cards, cheque books... you get the picture, it can all be protected using their simple system.

How does Want it Bak work? Simple. You purchase a range of security tags each with their own unique id number. You register them with Want it Bak and that's it. If you ever lose the item and someone finds it they contact Want it Bak directly using their website or their 0800 number and they arrange a courier to pick it up and return it to the owner for a small admin charge.

One of the best things about this service is the confidential nature of it. The "Finder" never knows who the owner is and vice versa. Reassuring for owners of expensive items, they can now safely retrieve their possessions.

"It's a great incentive for people to do the right thing", says Chris Cameron from Want it Bak, "Our research shows that most people are actually honest and the biggest barrier they have to returning items is the hassle of finding out who it belongs to, arranging delivery or pick up, getting the time to drop the item off at the local police station. Now they don't have to do anything except ring us or visit our website, and they get a Reward for their troubles".

The "Finders" themselves are offered a basic reward of £10 gift pack of Want it Bak Labels. Additionally the finders may also receive gift vouchers, shop discounts, trial packs and much more. Customers may also offer an optional CASH reward to Finders as a thank you to the person for taking the time to contact Want it Bak.

Want it Bak organises Couriers to pick up and delivery directly to you your lost item. As a customer of Want it Bak you are only charged if an item is lost. No ongoing monthly subscriptions or fees. Just a basic Administration charge when an item is found of £25 which includes next day courier delivery UK wide. A small price to pay for the return of your personal items.

"This service is invaluable" say Russell Lewis of Chelsea, an actual benefactor having signed up from the start. "A few weeks back while travelling home in a Black Cab I left my portfolio containing vital customer information and demonstration CD-ROMs. It would of taken me weeks, if ever at all, to redo everything. Before the end of the day Want it Bak had taken a call and I had arranged for it to be sent straight back to me. This is an amazing service, it was all so easy."

So how did we go with our test? Well Want it Bak claim an 80% return rate, which works out to about 5 out of 6 items. It seems Londoners are more honest that we thought. The camera was found by someone in Hyde Park and within the hour Want it Bak had taken the call and arranged return. When originally registering this item we had offered £50 cash reward to the finder.

The "finder" Sam, an office worker was very impressed "I was out walking at lunch time and came across the camera just sitting there. Having personally lost my camera while holidaying in Greece earlier in the year I knew how annoyed the owner would be. The Want it Bak labels were visible enough and probably prompted me more to the right thing than if they hadn't been there. The whole process only took me a couple of minutes when I got back to the office. Want it Bak arranged a time for the courier to come and they picked it up from me at work. Few days later my reward and £50 cheque turned up in the mail. Fantastic."

The PDA & Blackberry were also found by good Samaritans and returned. In fact the only thing still outstanding was the rucksack left in a Starbucks, strangely enough the least expensive of the 5 items. No doubt the cause of a police call out during these troubled times. The mobile phone turned up a couple of days later. No bad 4 out 5. Well done London.

Like most things these days there are no guarantees of course, but just the knowledge that for a small price you can have an additional type of insurance that works when you need it to.

 

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