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Rail firm takes cash from student’s lost purse as ‘storage fee’

PUBLISHED: 12:54 10 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:58 10 October 2018

Florence Lewis was given her purse back by Greater Anglia with 10% of the money taken as a storage fee. Picture: LILY MAY FOPPA

Florence Lewis was given her purse back by Greater Anglia with 10% of the money taken as a storage fee. Picture: LILY MAY FOPPA

Archant

A teenager has spoken of her outrage at how Greater Anglia took money from her lost purse as a “storage fee”.

Florence Lewis, 18, from Melton, lost her purse travelling home from Ipswich on the night of October 2.

She contacted train operator Greater Anglia to see if it had been handed in and later headed to Norwich to pick it up from the firm’s lost property team.

Her purse was returned with 10% of the money gone, taken without her knowledge, as a storage fee.

Her debit card was also destroyed by staff, in line with guidance banks give to railway companies when they take in lost bank cards.

Greater Anglia’s lost property policy, listed on its website, outlines the costs for different items to be stored and collected by its lost property team, ranging from £20 for items like laptops, to £2 for items like Ms Lewis’ purse.

There is an additional 50p fee for every 24 hours the item is stored, with a maximum total cost for the storage of a purse being £5.

The company said it is now reviewing its lost property policy but said the money should not have been taken without Miss Lewis’ permission.

Miss Lewis said: “There was £15 in the purse in a money bag and £13.50 when it was returned.

“I know that it is only £1.50 but I am more concerned by the principle of it.

“I was happy to pay a charge but the money they removed wasn’t my money - it was payment for a school event that I am organising.”

She was organising an event at Farlingaye Sixth form, where she is a full-time student.

She added: “I feel exploited and I am completely frustrated by the Greater Anglia customer care and lost property system.

“The terms and conditions online are misleading compared to the reality of the situation I experienced.”

Miss Lewis took to Twitter to voice her anger, calling the percentage fee “outrageous”.

One reply from Greater Anglia told her that the charges are in guidelines agreed by all train operators - but a second apologised for the storage fee being taken without her permission and then recommended she make a formal complaint.

A Greater Anglia spokesman said: “We are currently reviewing our lost property policy to ensure that it is consistently applied by staff and offers clear information to customers about the charges we make for safe storage.

“We are sorry that this customer was unhappy with the service on this occasion. Our customer relations team is in contact with her and are taking steps to redress the situation.”

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