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Have you ever gotten out of a Lyft and realized as the car was driving away that you forgot something in the backseat? Rideshare companies like Lyft have sought to make it easier than ever for you to retrieve your lost item.
In this article, we are going to show you everything you need to know about Lyft lost and found. By the end, you should be able to find lost items without a problem.
- How Does Lyft Lost and Found Work?
- A Step-By-Step Guide to Retrieving Your Belongings
- What Passengers Should Know About Drivers When They Leave Something in Their Car
- Why Drivers May Not Return Your Item
- What Drivers Need to Know
- Frequently Asked Questions
How Does Lyft Lost and Found Work?
Lyft lost and found allows passengers to pick up their lost phone and other belongings that they left behind on their last trip. The company recommends that passengers contact their Lyft driver directly and ask if they have found a missing item.
Lyft recognizes that a driver having to return a lost item is money out of their pocket, as they could instead be driving during this time. So, Lyft charges the passenger a return fee of $15, regardless of the value of the item. The driver receives the entire return fee, although you are not charged until you receive the missing item.
The company also makes it possible for drivers to mail lost belongings as well. Lyft does not guarantee delivery and notes that in-person returns are the preferred method to resolve lost & found cases.
Lastly, we should note that the company is no longer utilizing Lyft Hub for its lost and found. Hubs are like service stations, allowing customers to speak to representatives and for drivers to do things like fill out paperwork and get vehicle inspections. Drivers used to be able to drop off lost items here, but that is no longer the case. Passengers will need to work directly with drivers to obtain their missing items.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Retrieving Your Belongings
Ready to retrieve your lost item? Below is a step-by-step guide. The process depends on your ride history and whether your ride was within the last 24 hours.
Rides Within 24 Hours
If you lost an item within the last day, here’s how to get it back.
- Open the Lyft app on your cell phone.
- In the top left corner of the app, you’ll see a menu icon. Open the menu. Select “Ride history.”
- Select the ride where you believe the item to have gone missing. Once you open the specific ride, scroll to the bottom and click on “Find Lost Item.”
- The app gives you the option to “Call” or “Send Message.” Lyft recommends that you call the driver first, as it says that this is the simplest way to coordinate the delivery of lost & found items. If the driver does not answer, you can send a text. Lyft masks phone numbers, so the driver will not see your info.
- If you get a hold of the driver via phone, be sure to give them a description of the lost item and arrange a pickup location. Give pertinent details, like whether you were sitting in the front or back seat.
- Meet the driver to pick up the item.
- Lyft will charge a $15 lost and found fee to the credit card on file. This fee covers the driver’s time spent returning the item.
- You also have the option to provide an extra tip. You can give the driver cash when they meet you, but you can also add a tip via the Lyft app after the fact. To tip on the app, go back into “Ride History.” Then, select the Lyft ride in which you lost the item. You’ll see an option to “Tip Driver.” You can also find this located on the ride receipt that you receive via email.
For Rides More Than 24 Hours Ago or If You Lost Your Phone
If you lost your item more than a day ago, you may not have as much luck getting in touch with your driver. Instead, you’ll probably need to work more closely with Lyft support. This is also the case if you are seeking to get your phone back from your driver.
- If your ride was more than 24 hours ago, login to the Lyft app and repeat the steps above to try to contact your driver. If you’re missing your phone, log in to Lyft via a computer, if possible. Since you won’t be able to make a phone call, you’ll need to send a message to the driver.
- If your driver does not respond within 24 hours, select “Contact Support” at the bottom of your app. Lyft support will work as a middleman to put you in contact with your driver.
- If your driver finds your phone, you’ll need to provide contact information and an alternative number so that the driver can call you if necessary. If you do not feel comfortable sharing your contact information, let Lyft support know. They will arrange for your return to be completed by mail instead.
What Passengers Should Know About Drivers When They Leave Something in Their Car
There are several things passengers should be aware of that are happening on the driver’s end when you leave something in their car.
Lyft will try to help you, but ultimately, they do not accept responsibility for your lost belongings. Here’s what their Terms of Service says about it:
We do not procure insurance for, nor are we responsible for, personal belongings left in the car by Drivers or Riders.
Lyft tells passengers that their first line of action is to contact the driver directly. So, here are a few things you should know about what drivers will usually be thinking. Knowing these things will greatly improve your chances of getting your lost item(s) back.
1. Drivers Want to Return the Items
More than likely if the driver has found your lost item, he will initially want to return it to you as much as you want it back.
Most drivers want to return items just because it’s the right thing to do. Other, perhaps not-so-decent drivers may not want to, but they’ll try to anyway because they know if they don’t it could be a lot of trouble for them eventually.
So first just know, that more than likely, your driver does want to return it to you.
But from there, it’s up to you to work with them in a way that will increase the chances that they’ll actually follow through with their initial desire to help you. If for any reason they decide not to, there’s just not much Lyft can or will do about it.
2. A Driver Might Not Realize There Is a Lost Item in the Car
Another thing you should know is that it’s highly possible your driver doesn’t even know you’ve left an item in his car, and there are several reasons for this.
Let’s say you leave your phone on the backseat. You get out and he zips off to pick up his next passenger. Well, several things could happen here. The next passenger might find it and decide to steal it himself! Or, the next passenger may sit on it, not realizing it’s there, and in so doing, pushes it between the seats. This will make it less likely that your driver will ever see it.
So, unless it rings or makes some noise while the driver is alone in the car, he may never notice it’s there. If it rings while he has other passengers in the car, he’ll just think it’s their phone. So don’t assume the driver even knows he has your phone.
On the other hand, the driver may very well find your phone and he may report it to Lyft.
However, this is something very important to keep in mind…he probably will not know which passenger left it in his car. He may have just completed seven different trips. There could have been more than 10 people in his car during that time. And he will most likely have no idea which one left their phone.
So, when he reports it to Lyft, Lyft will ask him if he knows who left it in his car and he’ll say no. In that case, Lyft will wait to hear from you, then they’ll try to match it up.
Remember, Lyft first makes it your responsibility to contact the driver. You should only contact Lyft if you’re not able to reach the driver.
In that case, what is supposed to happen is that after you contact Lyft, they will try to contact the driver and give him your phone number. Which can be a problem if it is your phone that you have left in his car!
If that’s the case, you’ll have to give them an alternate number. Then, the driver is supposed to contact you to arrange a time to meet you and return your item.
Understanding Why Well-Intentioned Lyft Drivers May Not Return Your Phone
This is where things can take a turn and start to go wrong. You know what the driver is supposed to do and they know what they should do — but that may not be what they will always do.
The driver, no matter how well-intentioned, now comes up against the reality of returning the phone to you. He may have started out with every good intention in the world, but now he begins to realize, this is going to cost him a lot of time and therefore money!
In most cases, while a driver may initially genuinely want to return lost items to passengers, when they get into the actual process of doing it, they may find out that the passenger is now located far away from where they are. It may take them 45 minutes to an hour just to drive to the passenger.
Understandably, they start thinking, “Who is going to pay me for that time?” Lyft will pay them a $15 return fee, but that’s just peanuts if the driver is looking at two or more hours taken out of his day.
The more they think about everything involved in returning your phone or other lost items to you, the more they realize they’re going to lose some serious money. They may tell you they’ll stop by when they’re in your area, but that could be days and days away…if ever!
At this point you, as the passenger with the lost phone, start feeling like you’re getting the runaround from the driver. He’s not giving you a time when he can meet, he’s not returning your calls and you start to get an anxious feeling about your chances of ever seeing your cherished phone again!
Unfortunately, the driver in this video typifies the thinking of too many drivers.
Our advice, if you are really desperate to get your phone back: Just offer up front to pay the driver. Offer him $30 to $50, or ask him how much it would take to make it worth his time. If you do this, he’ll probably show up before you even get off the phone with him!
Lyft Lost & Found – What Drivers Need to Know
So, let’s flip the coin over and take a look at what drivers need to know.
The first thing you as a driver need to know is that Lyft tells riders their first line of action is to contact you directly. So you’ll either get a phone call or text message (through the Lyft messaging system) for up to 24 hours after the trip has ended. If you’re expecting the first contact to be from Lyft, it may not be.
Drivers, you need to know that the passenger desperately wants their lost item(s) back. You should also know that they think you are obligated to bring it back to them.
You should try to do everything in your power to get the passenger’s belongings back to them. You may not be legally obligated to do so, but you should try your best. Just think what you would want a driver to do if you left something in their car. Yes, maybe the passenger was negligent or irresponsible, but they’re human. And humans make mistakes from time to time. It’s a pretty sure bet you’ve lost a few things as well! Just remember, the right thing to do is to get the lost item back to your passenger.
However, you shouldn’t be expected to lose money. When the passenger contacts you, just tell them how much you’d like them to pay you for your time. Don’t be greedy, just give them a fair price. Base it on how long you think the transaction will take and then charge them about what you would normally make for that period of time.
When a passenger attempts to contact you, you owe to them to respond and try to work out a reasonable way of returning it.
If you absolutely can’t meet them, then get creative and work out some other way. Perhaps tell them you’ll leave it at the front desk of a hotel that’s convenient for you and let them pick it up from there. Ask the front desk clerk if he could help you out and hold the phone for them to pick up. Then put it in an envelope and write their name on it.
You should also get them to confirm this procedure in writing via a text message. That way you’re covered should they ever later try to charge you with theft. Also, take a photo with your phone of their item in the envelope with the clerk at the front desk.
That’s just one suggestion. You can think of your own. But you really should try your best to return the item.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still looking to learn more about Lyft lost and found? Below are some of the questions most frequently asked about the program.
I am a Lyft Pink member. Do I need to pay a return fee?
No, Lyft Pink members are not charged return fees. This is one of the perks of membership. If you tend to lose things frequently, the membership may be worthwhile.
Why am I having trouble getting in touch with my driver?
Lyft specifies that its drivers operate as independent contractors and are in no way obligated to remain in direct contact with the company. So, the driver has no binding obligation to answer your requests to return a lost item.
Unfortunately, if this is the case, you are out of luck. Lyft does not insure, reimburse, or replace any missing items.
My driver is not responsive. Are you sure there’s nothing else I can do?
If you are having trouble finding a missing item, Lyft recommends that you contact your local authorities. If you have lost something that contains personal information — such as a cell phone — you may need to file a police report. If the local authorities reach out to Lyft, the company will do everything it can to assist in locating the item.
I don’t want to meet my driver. How does mailing work?
Lyft does not protect against shipping times or delays when mailing lost items, specifying that shipping will likely take longer than an in-person return. The company provides its drivers with everything they need to send the product to you.yft will automatically charge the card you have on file. You will still be charged the $15 return fee, since the driver is taking time to package the missing item and drop it off with a carrier.
I paid my driver in cash. Why am I still being charged a return fee?
Return fees are a standard at Lyft. The $15 that you are charged goes directly to the driver. The only way you can avoid having to pay this fee is if you are a Lyft Pink member. Anything you give the driver in cash comes as an addition to, and not a substitute for, the return fee.
I also tend to take a lot of Ubers. Does Uber also have a lost and found program?
Find Your Items Thanks to Lyft Lost and Found
If you realize that you left something behind in a Lyft, there’s no need to panic. The company makes it simple for you to reach out to your driver or customer support to try to pick up the lost item.
Remember that you are not guaranteed the item’s return. The sooner you realize that you are missing an item, the higher likelihood that you’ll be able to retrieve it. Of course, the best way to prevent your items from going missing is to be extra diligent when exiting the vehicle to make sure that you have everything you got into the car with.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.