Friday, December 2

Lost Luggage? What (not) to do in Italy!

No sooner had I posted that TrenItalia was finally going to search for your left luggage or lost objects, than I lost my cellphone aboard an Italian train.  I decided to test drive their new service and see how I fared:

- The announcement was made on 18 Nov stating that people like me ("the distracted traveler") can now report their lost objects to the Ufficio Assistenza Clienti at the main rail station where they have disembarked.
Unfortunately for me, I did not read the fine print with the operative word, "subito" (immediately).  Although I had noticed my cellphone was missing right away, and even re-boarded to look for it, I could not find it.  It could be that it had been stolen off the little table in my distraction disembarking the train.

- Checking the Trenitalia website, however, this announcement has not made it to the computer screens of their online web content person, most likely the son of a manager's lover, hired to keep him out of trouble.  I began the Italian internot series of surfing the web (which generally feels like the surfer has actually been drowned by a massive wave).  
Clicking on:  
- Lost Luggage = Contact the City of Rome then trying
- Assistenza Clienti (Customer Assistance) Contact the City of Rome then on to
- Lost Objects under the Station Services Tab = Contact the City of Rome
and finally, looking under 
- FAQs / Oggetti Smarriti (Lost Objects) you will find the Civil Code detailing why, in fact, you must Contact the City of Rome.
Each of these options boldly promised "For more information, click on Trenitalia website", of course with a live link redirecting you to ticket purchases only.
All of which provoked the question, Does the Mayor's office get involved?

- I of course was still operating under the assumption that should my cellphone have slipped and fallen, perhaps the Cleaning Crew might bring it in.  After all, my train was the last one in that night, and perhaps by morning it'd be found and handed in the next day to Customer Service.  So off it was to that very place.

- I was given the typical customer service song & dance that one commonly receives when faced with any dilemma: "No can do."  Followed quickly with, "You should have come in immediately, we don't hold objects, we can't help you..." and soon thereafter by the agent just getting up and walking away from her desk.  A forlorn soul behind her took pity on me, flicked some pages in a log book of lost objects (I am assuming, but it was probably their bets on the day's soccer match), and shrugged her shoulders.  I asked if they might at least list what I was missing and my contact info...but to no avail.  I offered that perhaps the cleaning crew might turn it in, and then how would they reach me?  In response, I was given a tiny over-copied slip of paper.  On it, the Magic Words:  Contact the City of Rome.  At least this time it was specified "Lost Objects Office", emails & other contact info.

- I was then told to file the "Police Report" in order to assure that my tel number would be cancelled by my operator.  The dept was located nearby, right in front of Track 13.
Going there, I was sent to Track 1 - about 1 mile away.  

- Thankfully, the police dept was actually on Track 2, so I only walked about 1/2 a mile.  Once inside, I began the wait - but after 40 minutes the same 3 people were still ahead of me.  So I up & left with the knowledge that my cellphone was now in use by some lucky chap who boarded the train that very morning.  So off I went directly over to a Vodafone store.

- Turns out, I no longer need a police report for them to cancel the SIM card & issue a new one.  New card in hand, I started receiving messages from the fellow that had my phone.  With a sense of humor, he asked if I might not top it up with funds.  

- I had an appointment at the Carabinieri later that day, so I filed a report - saying this guy clearly had my phone.  That "denuncia" (complaint) only took about 40 mins. to complete-they didn't ask for my first born, just my father's name. I would like to think that they'll track this guy down thru his cellphone that now appeared on my screen (as the Italians like to quip, La mamma of the idiots is always pregnant...). 

In short, the new TrenItalia fab "lost & found" service:  
(0) in communications
(Sub-Zero) if you only notice your missing item much later 
and in terms of efficiency (-25) Contact the City of Rome's lost & found office 
Once there, I can assure you, you will be sent to the police station taking hours to file a complaint, and, only in the unlikely event that your bag or object should ever turn up (assuming the gypsies haven't pulled it out of the rubbish bin first), you would need a return trip to Italy just to check on it and retrieve it.  (-100).

Oh - and to Contact the City of Rome?  
Try email:
Address:  Circonvallazione Ostiense 191
opening hrs:  
Mon-Wed-Fri 8:30 - 13.00 / Tues 8:30 - 13.00 & 15.00-17.00 / Thurs 8:30-17.00


cuzliz said...

I'm hoping this "losing my cell phone" epidemic is not genetic. That's 3 so far. :-)

Irreverent Italy said...

During this experience I also did a brief inventory on all the hats I've left over the years on planes, trains, buses, trams...
The figure approaches something like 13.