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    • MSE Sarah
    • By MSE Sarah 9th Jan 18, 5:33 PM
    • 123Posts
    • 66Thanks
    MSE Sarah
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I return a lost 65 jumper and keep the cash?
    • #1
    • 9th Jan 18, 5:33 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I return a lost 65 jumper and keep the cash? 9th Jan 18 at 5:33 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    Just before Christmas, I found a John Lewis bag in the pub where I work, with a 65 jumper and a cash receipt inside. It's been three weeks now, and no one has made any enquiries. Would it be wrong to return it to John Lewis and keep the cash?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

    If you haven't already, join the forum to reply!

    Got a money moral dilemma of your own? Suggest an MMD.

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    Last edited by MSE Sarah; 12-06-2018 at 12:18 PM.
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Page 1
    • Brecon Beacons
    • By Brecon Beacons 9th Jan 18, 6:07 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 253 Thanks
    Brecon Beacons
    • #2
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:07 PM
    • #2
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:07 PM
    Well, funnily enough, just today I heard someone recounting how they had lost their wallet by dropping it. When he was asked how much money there was in it, he said that he had already reported it to the Police, and told them that he thought he had dropped it. They told him that, if anyone found it and tries to keep it, it is a crime, called "Theft by finding".

    I'd never heard of this before - but it does make moral sense. If there is enough information with an item to link it back, either to the owner (or, in this case, the place of purchase - which COULD link it to the buyer), it is a crime to keep it or take it for yourself.

    To the OP considering taking it back for a refund: what if the buyer has already contacted the store? You will be labelled a thief, for trying to cash in. I would imagine the same goes for private sales on Ebay etc - don't you think the distraught owner will be looking at the ads, to see if 'their' jumper comes up for sale?

    IMO, the best thing to do would be to phone John Lewis, and let them know that you have it. They may well be able to identify/contact the owner, to collect it.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 9th Jan 18, 6:15 PM
    • 20,163 Posts
    • 33,392 Thanks
    Spendless
    • #3
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:15 PM
    • #3
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:15 PM
    When I've taken something back for refund before they've asked me for the same card I bought it on.
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 9th Jan 18, 6:18 PM
    • 1,819 Posts
    • 1,967 Thanks
    Fireflyaway
    • #4
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:18 PM
    • #4
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:18 PM
    I think it is theft . There was a recent case of a woman picking up 5 off the floor in a supermarket. She was seen on CCTV and now has a criminal record!
    I'd be tempted to take it back and then donate the cash to charity but probably you should take it to the police station. I think after a certain time you might be allowed to keep it. I once handed in to the police a ring I found. After 3 months I was allowed to have it.
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 9th Jan 18, 6:20 PM
    • 1,816 Posts
    • 2,445 Thanks
    NeilCr
    • #5
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:20 PM
    • #5
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:20 PM
    Has your pub got a website and/or Facebook page. If so, put a notice there.

    After that, tell the police.
    • Brecon Beacons
    • By Brecon Beacons 9th Jan 18, 6:22 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 253 Thanks
    Brecon Beacons
    • #6
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:22 PM
    • #6
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:22 PM
    When I've taken something back for refund before they've asked me for the same card I bought it on.
    I think OP said that it was a cash purchase, from the receipt - so they are thinking that there is no credit card transaction to link it to. However, there will be CCTV in the store which will show who bought it (if someone has already reported the loss to the store) - and lots of John Lewis customers also present their loyalty cards, which are scanned and identify the purchaser.

    My question to OP would be: why didn't you phone John Lewis as soon as you found it?
    • elsien
    • By elsien 9th Jan 18, 6:30 PM
    • 16,551 Posts
    • 41,784 Thanks
    elsien
    • #7
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:30 PM
    • #7
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:30 PM

    My question to OP would be: why didn't you phone John Lewis as soon as you found it?
    Originally posted by Brecon Beacons
    Because phoning the shop the item came from isn't an obvious starting point. If I found a similar item in a pub, it wouldn't occur to me to take it back to the store unless there were any identifying details that might help trace the owner. Checking the pub, posting on local Fb groups, police lost property etc yes. Retail store (unless I found it dropped outside), nope.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • krlyr
    • By krlyr 9th Jan 18, 6:44 PM
    • 5,858 Posts
    • 12,054 Thanks
    krlyr
    • #8
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:44 PM
    • #8
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:44 PM
    My question to OP would be: why didn't you phone John Lewis as soon as you found it?
    Originally posted by Brecon Beacons
    Because it's a Money Moral Dilemma which probably isn't true, or you probably will never know the answer to
    • chesky
    • By chesky 9th Jan 18, 6:47 PM
    • 1,003 Posts
    • 1,630 Thanks
    chesky
    • #9
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:47 PM
    • #9
    • 9th Jan 18, 6:47 PM
    You can!!!8217;t take it to the police any more, they won!!!8217;t have anything to do with lost property - not in our part of London.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 9th Jan 18, 6:50 PM
    • 62,815 Posts
    • 368,035 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    I'd have expected the procedure to be that the item was logged in the Lost & Found book on the bar with the details .... and a post made on relevant Facebook pages to say something had been found and a way for whoever owns it to be able to "prove" it was theirs by not giving all the item details/price etc.

    It's not yours. You can't keep it.
    Indeed, many people would be sacked for having it or thinking they could keep it!
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 9th Jan 18, 7:07 PM
    • 1,816 Posts
    • 2,445 Thanks
    NeilCr
    You can!!!8217;t take it to the police any more, they won!!!8217;t have anything to do with lost property - not in our part of London.
    Originally posted by chesky
    I wasn!!!8217;t particularly thinking about it is as a lost property issue.

    It was more about checking whether someone had been in about it (off chance I know) and seeking their advice on how to handle the situation
    Last edited by NeilCr; 09-01-2018 at 9:55 PM. Reason: Tidying up
    • SuperPikachu
    • By SuperPikachu 9th Jan 18, 7:07 PM
    • 127 Posts
    • 166 Thanks
    SuperPikachu
    Morally I say absolutely not, it is not yours. You must do anything you can to find the owner/contact the shop and give them the receipt details etc. I assume as its a pub you will have just waited to see if somebody came in asking about it? (if this isn't a pretend scenario)

    Realistically you could post to FB and see if that helps.
    "Wild Pikachu appeared!"
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 9th Jan 18, 7:07 PM
    • 10,731 Posts
    • 8,983 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    Why does MSE persist with these ridiculous "Moral Dilemmas", when it is downright obvious what is the right thing to do.
    • onomatopoeia99
    • By onomatopoeia99 9th Jan 18, 7:30 PM
    • 4,282 Posts
    • 9,657 Thanks
    onomatopoeia99
    Because it's a Money Moral Dilemma which probably isn't true, or you probably will never know the answer to
    Originally posted by krlyr
    The last one had a swathe of "oh it's obviously made up, they all are" posts until the person that asked it created a forum account to post replies to some of the answers.

    I didn't spot any of the naysayers coming back to hold their hads up for jumping to baseless, incorrect conculsions though.
    INTP, nerd, libertarian and scifi geek.
    Home is where my books are.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 9th Jan 18, 7:55 PM
    • 20,163 Posts
    • 33,392 Thanks
    Spendless
    I think OP said that it was a cash purchase, from the receipt - so they are thinking that there is no credit card transaction to link it to. However, there will be CCTV in the store which will show who bought it (if someone has already reported the loss to the store) - and lots of John Lewis customers also present their loyalty cards, which are scanned and identify the purchaser.

    My question to OP would be: why didn't you phone John Lewis as soon as you found it?
    Originally posted by Brecon Beacons
    Ahh yes, I posted before popping out and have just re-read, but to throw something else in there to the people saying they'll be cctv, it might have been reported etc, then there are more than one John Lewis store and in the past I've been able to return goods to any branch of a dept store.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 9th Jan 18, 7:58 PM
    • 20,163 Posts
    • 33,392 Thanks
    Spendless
    The last one had a swathe of "oh it's obviously made up, they all are" posts until the person that asked it created a forum account to post replies to some of the answers.

    I didn't spot any of the naysayers coming back to hold their hads up for jumping to baseless, incorrect conculsions though.
    Originally posted by onomatopoeia99
    I spotted people telling that person that MSE had done them an injustice by describing the dilemma in the way they did and missing out info that was relevant to the discussion.
    • wurley
    • By wurley 9th Jan 18, 8:50 PM
    • 75 Posts
    • 76 Thanks
    wurley
    Easy
    Take it to the police stn. If after 12 weeks it is unclaimed, it will then be yours - Make sure you leave contact details. Its unlikely you will be able to return it to the shop but once you get it back you could then resell it (BNWT) Conscience clear.

    Of course you could be dodgy and return it... Beware though it may have been paid for by credit card...so store credit only.
    • Red-Squirrel
    • By Red-Squirrel 9th Jan 18, 9:00 PM
    • 2,785 Posts
    • 7,440 Thanks
    Red-Squirrel
    Take it to the police stn. If after 12 weeks it is unclaimed, it will then be yours - Make sure you leave contact details.
    Originally posted by wurley
    There we go, all sorted. No dilemma at all!
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 9th Jan 18, 9:58 PM
    • 1,816 Posts
    • 2,445 Thanks
    NeilCr
    Take it to the police stn. If after 12 weeks it is unclaimed, it will then be yours - Make sure you leave contact details. Its unlikely you will be able to return it to the shop but once you get it back you could then resell it (BNWT) Conscience clear.

    Of course you could be dodgy and return it... Beware though it may have been paid for by credit card...so store credit only.
    Originally posted by wurley
    What our local police say

    https://www.kent.police.uk/services/lost-and-found-property/

    Interesting information.

    They don!!!8217;t take in this sort of found item.

    Pubs should have their own lost and found procedure. I assume our moral
    dilemma person has followed this
    Last edited by NeilCr; 09-01-2018 at 10:19 PM. Reason: Spelling
    • Brecon Beacons
    • By Brecon Beacons 9th Jan 18, 11:04 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 253 Thanks
    Brecon Beacons
    Because phoning the shop the item came from isn't an obvious starting point.
    Why not? It seems perfectly, the obvious starting point, to me!

    If I found a similar item in a pub, it wouldn't occur to me to take it back to the store unless there were any identifying details that might help trace the owner
    But there IS identifying information - plenty of it - all over the RECEIPT that we are told was in the bag, with the jumper!

    Does nobody examine the receipts they get from stores? They are choc-a-bloc full of information: the store LOCATION (to the OP who said there might be many branches within reach: you could still identify which one it was sold from!), the TIME of the purchase, the DATE, the TILL NUMBER, the NAME of the person who served you. There's also usually coded information along the bottom of the receipt, recording all sorts of fun things, like whether you requested a gift receipt, stock details about the item, and probably plenty of other things I don't know about.

    The amount of data that is collected about us when we buy things - whether or not we are aware of it - is absolutely phenomenal. And that's before you get to the really obvious things, like whether a loyalty card was used, or whether the sales assistant remembers a conversation, or knew the person who bought it.

    If the person who found this had phoned the store - there and then - when they found it, there are extremely good odds that this purchase could have been reunited with its owner. I didn't say 'physically take it back to the store' - a phone call would have done it. You could even Whatsapp a picture of the receipt.

    So I still say to the finder: what was the purpose of holding on to this item for 3 weeks, without doing anything other than saying defensively, 'well nobody's made any enquiries'?... you get the feeling that the person is just hoping that, if they do nothing to reunite purchase with owner, they will be able to claim it!
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