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Lost your phone in a cab? Join the crowd!

BY Boon Koh
Published 2 December 2009

In news that is surely music to the ears of mobile phone manufacturers such as iPhone’s Apple or Nokia, around 10,000 mobile phones a month are left and lost in the back seat of cabs by Londoners. The survey was conducted by TAXI, the official magazine of the Licensed Taxi Driver Association, on behalf of a security and data protection company.

London Black Cab In addition to expensive mobile phones such as the Nokia E71 and the iPhone 3GS, more than 1,000 other electronic devices such as iPods, laptops, and USB memory sticks are left behind in London cabs every month. However, cabbies have also shared their stories of more bizarre items left behind in a cab, including dead pheasants, a toilet seat, a casket of funeral ashes, pork chops, as well as other not so unusual items such as false teeth and artificial limbs.

It used to be that a cab ride meant a leisurely 20-30 minutes of being able to stare out the window and look at the scenery, but with today’s high paced life and multitude of electronic gadgets its not uncommon to see cab passengers busy talking on their mobile phones, texting a mate, surfing the net or playing a game on their iPhone.

On a positive note, London cabbies seem to be rather honest. 80% of them claimed that devices that were left in their cabs by passengers were reunited with their owners. However, cabbies are predicting even more lost items in the cab of their cabs during the upcoming festive Christmas season, as shoppers, professionals, and tourists as the capital becomes a more frantic and stressful place.

So what do you do if you have left your mobile phone, laptop, or electronic device in the back of a cab?
The best thing to do immediately is to give your number a ring, as often the black cab or mini-cab driver would have noticed the phone left behind and will be awaiting your call. This should result in you and the driver agreeing a mutual time and place to get your phone back. While a reward is not required, you should consider giving a token reward for the effort made by the cab driver to get the phone back to you. If you left a laptop or other device, check to see if you have the cab receipt, which will often have the company number which you can call to report a lost item. You might then have to pick up the lost item at a depot or office.

If the above is of no help, you can file an official lost property report through TfL, which deals with personal belongings and items left in the back of black cabs. More information available here on lost property on London transport.