Those of you who followed my travels in Norway may remember that it ended with me arriving back in England and accidently leaving my iPad mini behind in the pocket of the aircraft seat in front of mine. https://peatmore.wordpress.com/2013/12. There then followed a bizarre chain of events which may be of interest as there are lessons to be learnt.
I landed in the early hours of the morning so I was not able to contact Gatwick airport lost property until the next morning. When I did I was informed that they did not deal with the airline with which I flew and I would have to contact the airline (Germania) directly. This I duly did and was asked to contact the lost and found office at the airport on location. I contacted the Lost and found office at Gatwick again and was again given the same story. Then I contacted a website airportlostandfound.com registered my loss and paid them £37 as their website indicated my payment would be returned after six months if my iPad mini was not found. After six months it was still not found so I emailed them for my refund and received no reply.
Two weeks ago I received a phone call from a man who told me he had my iPad mini and would post it to me if I gave him my address. I asked him where he got it and he said he bought it at auction. When he was using it, it locked and a message came up saying to contact me and giving my phone number. This was because I had activated the Apple “find my device facility” on icloud. I was not happy to give my address to a stranger over the phone particularly in such circumstances. So I told him that I had lost the iPad at Gatwick Airport and would contact them so that they could give him and address where he could send it from which I could retrieve it.
I then phoned Gatwick Airport Lost Property, told them my ipad mini had been found and could they arrange for it to be collected. I was informed again that as the item went missing on a Germania flight they could have nothing to do with it. When asked why I was told it was not in their contract. I asked who their contract was with and was told that it was with Gatwick Customer Services. I asked if they could arrange for the finder to send them the iPad mini and was again told it was not in their contract and in any case they could not accept electronic items sent through the post. I asked for the phone number for Gatwick Customer Services and was told they had none but there was an email address. I fired off an email to them and then went to have a cup of tea to calm myself down.
Less than 5 minutes later I had a phone call from a nice man at Gatwick Customer Services who said that he had never heard of this happening before. I gave him the phone number of the man who had my iPad mini and asked him to contact him so they could retrieve the iPad mini for me. This he did and then got back to me saying that the finder would rather send it directly to me. I phoned the finder and was satisfied that he was honest and genuine. He said he had paid £150 for it to the auction house in Bristol and as I felt sorry for him I agreed to pay him £100 by bank transfer. He did not however have the case and keyboard that had been lost with it. Then low and behold a few minutes later the man from Gatwick Customer Services contacted me again and said that he would pay the finder his £150 and also agreed to pay me the value of the missing case and keypad. When I told him the name of the Auction House, the finder gave me, he confirmed it was one the Airport lost property office used to dispose of their unclaimed lost items.
I have not given the names of any of the persons I had in contact with. The people at Gatwick Airport Lost Property have behaved according to their operating procedures which I believe are too rigid and need to be altered. Their contract should be renegotiated. Both the finder and the nice man at Customer Services have behaved exemplary. Apple should be congratulated for their find my device facility on icloud. One wonders about the fate of the many items which pass through Gatwick Lost Property that do not have such a facility. I trawled the internet seeking information about aiportlostandfound.com and discovered they are operating a scam. My lost item is still listed on their site to this day
see (http://www.airportlostandfound.com/lost-property-detail/?listing_id=55157). The man at Gatwick Airport Customer services knew about this site but there is nothing he can do about it.
In the intervening months I bought myself another iPad mini. My lost iPad mini arrived at my house Saturday undamaged and in good condition. I have since given it to my daughter who is about to embark on her own travels. She is over the moon.
Editor, Peatmore Press