I ordered a small amount of TV stuff from good old Screwfix which came
My first suprise was a (big) extra box containing an electric tile cutter
which I hadn't ordered. I told Screwfix , they're collecting later and
kindly let me have 10 quid for my trouble. But my biggest suprise was yet to
I opened the box with the TV bits and bobs to find a shiny 3G mobile phone
looking me in the eye. It was over the inner divider bit, not amongst the
bought stuff. It looks new and is a currently available model, value over
£300, though unboxed with no charger. You would think it probably came from
the Screwfix warehouse however there was a hole in the box big enough for it
to have got in (somehow) in transit. I told Screwfix, after some
deliberation they rang back and suggested that, because they have no way of
tracking it, that I deal with it 'at my discretion'.
I looked up instructions on the net but so far haven't been able to get into
it to see if it has an owner or even a SIMM card or whatever (it does look
new), it might be dead or locked (it only illuminates briefly when you hit
the 'photo button). I don't know if anyone like a phone shop would be able
to crack it open.
Any ideas what I should do?. At the moment I'm thinking of dropping into my
local constabulary for advice. I could just send it back to Screwfix but
then maybe I wouldn't get to keep it if there is no traceable owner.
Don't bother giving it to your local cop shop.
It could have fallen out of the pocket of a screwfix warehouse person
or was in another parcel which came open.
If it isn't new and someone has reported it missing then it will be
barred anyway. Otherwise you may as well use it or sell it.
Try to talk to the packing department direct. It probably fell out of
someone's breast pocket!
Could have been worse... something falling out of a breast pocket once
put a nuclear power station out of action for several weeks.
Several of us at work had repeated problems with CPC packages
falling to bits in transit, and arriving with small items having
fallen out, or the whole thing being returned by the courier to
CPC before even being delivered due to inadiquate packing.
However, my last few orders have been OK, so maybe they've done
something about it.
The phone will have an IMEI number. This uniquely identifies the
handset, and allows UK operators to refuse network access to the phone
should the owner report it stolen. The SIM inside will also have a
number on it, again, a unique number. The SIM should also have a
network operator logo on it, which should let you know which network to
If there is no SIM inside the phone, then that sounds very suspicious.
A phone falling out someone's pocket would have a SIM in it - a phone
which doesn't sounds like it's been placed there for some reason (trying
to get rid of stolen goods???). Without the charger etc, it's a bit of
a useless item.
I would do the following:
1.) Locate SIM and contact network operator informing them of the SIM
number. This will allow them to find the account holder for the SIM/phone.
2.) If no SIM, then contact the police informing them of the situation
and the IMEI. As with most items handed in to the police, you should be
able to keep it if no-one collects it after a while.
If you try to sell on the phone without doing these, you run the risk of
it being barred by the original owner and then the purchaser coming back
Do the right thing - if this was your phone that someone found, it would
be nice if they did a few simple things to try and return it to you.
Not really, chargers cost next to nothing. And even barred phones are
worth good money because the barring is not international.
Problem is that many times it gets you nowhere. I've come across
policemen who didn't care and companies and their staff who just
couldn't be bothered when you try to do the 'right thing'.
The only real chance is to try and contact the original owner by
looking at saved phone numbers - that's if the phone isn't brand new.
If its a common model, finding a charger and charging it shouldn't be
too difficult. Then check the phonebook for an entry 'ICE' (In Case of
Emergency), Home, Work or similar.
If you find any of these, give on of them a call !
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