Your organisation has a duty to handle lost property ‘reasonably’ – but what does that mean?
Although lost property seems like the customers problem, organisations have a legal obligation to look after it. This must be done in a ‘reasonable’ manner. Want to know more about the laws protecting lost property? Read our blog here to learn more.
We’re here to explain how your organisation can manage lost property ‘reasonably’.
What is ‘reasonable’ lost property management?
Reasonable refers to many aspects of lost property management, including the length of time lost items are stored for.
The Oxford Dictionary defines reasonable as: “fair, practical and sensible”. These are three subjective words, however we can easily relate them to lost property management. Therefore, managing lost property reasonably is simple.
Firstly, give your visitors enough time to get in contact you and ask for their item back. Most enquiries come within a week or two of items being lost, however this is dependent on the organisation, venue or event.
Secondly, don’t fill up your office with ancient lost property. The likelihood of lost property being claimed a year after it being lost is very small!
Lastly, certain items will clearly have their own ‘expiry’ date, such as food and drink. Don’t keep these items around longer than necessary.
Reasonable storage times might be different depending on the lost property
If you are looking after lost property, you will realise a variety of items will be found. Each individual item will come with its own monetary and sentimental price tag. Therefore, you might want to keep some items longer than others.
However, to make everything easier, let’s group them into come commonly lost items.
– Data-Sensitive Items
– Low Value Items
– High Value Items
Data-sensitive items of lost property
Items that contain personal data must be handled in a GDPR compliant fashion. Organisations will keep these items for a limited amount of time. This could be from 1-3 days until they are disposed of correctly.
Read our blog to ensure a GDPR compliant lost property procedure – here
Low value items of lost property
Many of these items will have no monetary or sentimental value. Thus, guests may not put effort into getting them back. Therefore, look after these items for a decent length of time to give your customers the opportunity to retrieve them, but don’t fill up your office space with these common items.
Most organisations hold low value items for 2-4 weeks before disposing of them appropriately.
High value items of lost property
The likelihood of your customers enquiring about these items is high. The majority of items will probably be claimed within 2-4 weeks after being lost.
Due to the valuable nature of these items, many organisations hold onto these items for 3-6 months.
State your organisations’ lost property procedure
State your lost property procedure and clearly show your customers that all lost items are treated in a fair, practical and sensible manner.
Can NotLost help us to store lost items for a ‘reasonable’ length of time?
The NotLost platform easily shows you what items are ‘active’ or ‘expired’. Ensure items are stored for a reasonable length of time before they are discarded. Plus, this will eliminate the risk of disposing items too quickly.
How to be ‘reasonable’ when disposing of lost property?
Lost property can be a nuisance. Especially when you need to handle it reasonably, but don’t understand what that means! However, with a reliable system and our handy guidelines, you can do so.
Find out more about how to manage your lost property with a transformational lost and found software solution. Explore our Solutions page. Plus, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay up to date with all things lost property!