Searched for and Found – Facts and Figures of Lost-Property Matters in Austria


Losing something can be quite annoying.
However, you are not alone.


Every year, hundreds of thousands of items get lost in Austria. Sometimes it is a scatterbrained hand movement while on public transport and your cell phone slips out of your trouser pocket, another time the money remains stuck in the ATM because you are distracted with your thoughts.

50 percent of all finds go directly back to the owner

In 2017, 80,000 items were reported lost in Austria; 190,000 items were found. In the City of Vienna alone, over 75,000 items were handed over to the “Zentraler Fundservice” (Central Lost Property Service), most of which were forgotten on public transport. In Vienna, the items most frequently handed in are ATM cards, key bundles and purses. But less mundane objects find their way into the lost property office, such as bridal gowns and even hamsters..

The greatest joy is when a valuable object finds its way back to its owner. This is the case with about half of all the objects!

But it hasn’t always been that easy.

It was not until 2003 that Austria has had a software solution for the management of the lostproperty system. The online lost-property website, fundamt.gv.at, developed by the Viennese software company RUBICON IT GmbH, is now used in 8 provincial capitals and over 500 towns and municipalities. Also the Vienna Airport uses it to administer its found objects. Since the implementation of the website, the responsibility of the entire lost & found process has been handed over to municipalities and magistrates. Police departments no longer provide this service.

What happens to found items?

Lost property offices keep all objects until the expiration of specified periods. And what happens after that? If the items have not been picked up by then, they are either donated for charitable purposes or auctioned. In Vienna, for example, uncollected items are auctioned in the Dorotheum or land in the thrift shop Altwarenmarkt 48er-Tandler.

Finder’s reward? Do not rejoice too soon!

Anyone who finds something in Austria can look forward to receiving a finder’s fee – at least in theory. This is claimed from the owner of the found item. The amount of the finder’s reward depends on the type of lost item. However, the finder can reckon to receive at least ten percent of the value. Just don’t overlook the fine print! If the value of the item exceeds €2,000 the finder’s fee is cut to 5%.

Lost property office online

Last year, approximately 190,000 citizens searched fundamt.gv.at for lost items. Now the mobile phone has taken over the key as the most wanted item. A simple, barrier-free search portal is available to the online customer for reporting and searching lost items. In the search, the central database takes into account found objects from all participating regions, which increases the success rate. The portal makes it possible to identify and locate lost and found items very quickly. If the lost item is not identified, the customer simply generates a loss report, which is automatically taken into account in the future collection of found objects. In the event of identification, a notification is sent to the customer who has lost the item.



 
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