Lost and abandoned Items

My cleaning crew are constantly having to deal with left behind items by guests.
Guests that want someone else to collect on their behalf or post. Guests seem to think It’s no problem to send back but it’s time consuming.
My cleaners charge an hourly rate and are really busy.
Unless the item had significant sedimental value, not chargers, pillows, clothing, Earphones etc are they obligated to return them?
I feel they need to pay the cleaners rate plus postage or forget about the item. Is that fair?
It is not possible for pick up as the property is often unattended or has other guests.
I’m in Australia.

In Australia also.
I tell them to send me an addressed red postage bag and I will drop it in a post box.
I take a photo and forward it on.
All care, no responsibility.
They don’t send, I don’t post… their pick!

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Yes you should ensure if the guest wants an item return they organise the delivery and pay for your cleaners time to package up/be around for collection.

I am in the US, I tell guests when I find something that if they would like it back to email me a UPS pre paid label and I will box it up for UPS to pick up. I will not bring to the post office (no mail delivery where I am). About 1/2 the people say throw it away.

RR

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I haven’t had much left behind and I (in the US) have messaged the former guest and asked what they want to do and that they need to send me a Priority Mail shipping label. If I had cleaners, I’d ask for 1/2 hour of their wage for them to do the packing and mailing.

I’d keep the chargers if they didn’t want them. It’s always good to have spares for future guests who don’t have iPhones.

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@Debster – your cleaning crew is not “obligated” to do anything other than clean.

It is YOUR LISTING – YOU are obligated, to return things which guests want returned – not your cleaning crew. It’s part of being a proper Host.

Your most sensible solution seems to be having cleaners turn “found” items over to you, and have guests who want things returned send you an addressed Red Postage Bag.

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I use “Send or Request Money” (Resolutions Center) to ask for U.S. priority postage, and return the item when paid.
I do eBay sales, so have all the supplies at hand, can print my own labels, and the post office is an easy drop off or my carrier will pick up (I don’t burden them with larger packages).
I will only contact the guest if it’s jewelry or other item of obvious value. The odd pajamas or toiletries go straight in the trash.
The chargers I gain replace the chargers I lose. They’re like Tupperware, meant to circulate around the world.

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I do similar to dpfromva. I have supplies, can print postage labels from my computer and have the letter carrier pick it up. I also expect the guest to pay in advance. If this were not a simple and easy thing for me to do I’d have to charge more than just the postage. If I had to pay someone else to do it then most items left behind would become cheaper for the guest to replace than to have mailed to them.

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Thanks since posting another item left behind but easy to deal with. When someone wants a bulky heavy item returned that doesn’t fit in a satchel it becomes complicated.

I know my cleaners aren’t responsible but I need to rely on them as I can’t do a postage run.

Is there an option for that? Last time I tried to use it, I bailed and went to Venmo, because what it would let me choose was extremely limited and conflict-related. I mean, a simple “other” write-in feature would work.

Not sure about your question – here are the radio button choices for “Request Money”:

What is this request for?

Damaged or missing property

Extra services

Other trip-related issues

This. Mailing is an extra service @rayodie

Although I hate the res center, I stopped asking for pet fees there because I had to constantly remind the guests. Now I just tell them I will collect at check in and leave them a note with my Venmo info and ask they send that way or leave cash.

I have over $600 in my venmo account all pet fees, I am weird about saving bits of money here and there. I have the debit card one day I will spend it.

RR

For those reading who want to continue using the resolution center to collect pet fees I found that sending them a link to the request in the resolution center worked wonders. I had trouble before that because people didn’t get the link/couldn’t find it.

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I prefer Venmo, it goes into my secret slush fund that way!

Lol

But ya, a link would help for those that prefer to keep it on platform.

RR

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Ahhhh… great idea! I just had a guest leave stuff everywhere: toiletries in the bathroom, kitchen items & 2 items of clothing: she stayed only 2 days…
Anyway she wants me to send “everything except [kitchen items] - I’d like you to enjoy [those]!” Uh, no thanks?

We settled on the t-shirts.
I think should have thought twice about it if she, rather than I, had to put out the effort!

I had to send a “very sentimental” sexy lingerie set to Australia- :neutral_face:

You left what! where ?
Unless they left something valuable like phone, jewelry, watch it gets thrown out. I don’t run a lost & found.

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I know that you’re going to think this is a harsh thing to say but I find that when a host constantly or frequently has the same problem with their guests, then the easiest thing for the host to do is to look at the reason why this keeps happening.

Sometimes it can be a simple solution to a simple problem. For example, if a host finds that guests invariably leaves dirty pots to wash, has the host provided enough detergent? Is there a drying rack? Are there dish towels in good supply?

The abandoned items problem isn’t as simple as that, I know.

But this is true - in years, I’ve never had a guest get in touch about returning items. What do I do that helps this? I’ve no idea but a couple of long shot ideas…

When I send the check out time reminder message the evening before check out, I thank the guests for staying with us, hope they have a safe journey home, blah blah, and add that they should be sure to check that they have all their belongings when they leave.

A second thing (pre-covid) is that as soon as the guest has left, I go into the rental so that if anything valuable has been left, I can text the guest before they’ve even got to the end of the road.

I don’t know if these will help at all but although I’ve had items left, a guest has never asked for them to be returned.

Perhaps some homes are more simple and minimalistic, therefore easier for guests to do a last-minute walk through to make sure they have all their stuff?

And homes with lots of furniture and decorations are harder for guests to see at a glance if they have left something?

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For my rental, almost every time a guest has left something, or accidentally taken something, they had an early plane to catch, so I assume rushing.

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When I travel, first of all, I try not to spread out too much in the space I’m in. Then, I do all my packing the night before, aside from the last minute items. For those, I have a written list, which is generally the pillow I travel with, the clothes I’ve taken off the night before, my bathroom stuff, the things on the bedside table, and the lunch I’ve prepared to take with me on my next leg of travel, that’s in the fridge.

Never left anything behind yet.

1 Like