Have you ever lost something and wondered, “how will I get it back”? How that mobile phones have our life history stored in their memory, the cost of losing a phone is much more than the price to simply replace it – memories are priceless.

Given that, it’s interesting that there are relatively few online lost and found websites. It seems in the age of Uber that we could find a way to unleash all of the “finding” power of millions of cell phone users to help return lost items.

There are several options for lost and found services. Some are considered “full service” and have higher costs, while others are “self service” and are free.

Return.me – Full Service Lost and Found Services

One of the largest of the full-service lost and found services is return.me. It works by having customers purchase pre-printed “tags” with a specific ID number on each tag. The options include key tags, ID tags and adhesive ID tags. When a customer purchases a Tag, they simply go online to the return.me website and register that tag. If someone finds it, the tag has instructions to call and/or visit the return.me website to begin the recovery process.

Return.me acts as the go-between between the finder and owner of the item. In most cases, shipping is involved and the details are handled by returne.me’s staff.

Return.me Pricing

Return.me charges anywhere from $8.99 and up for a tag to use on a cell phone (gadget category). This is a very reasonable amount based on the amount of work that goes into recovering an item that may need to be shipped. For local lost and found, however, the full-service fees may be overkill.

Regardless, the value of a person’s phone these days well exceeds the nominal fee of $9. What’s more, cell/mobile phone insurance generally covers the loss of a phone but charges a deductible of up to $200. $9 for a simple recovery is well worth it.

FOUNDio.com – Self-Service Lost and Found

Self-service lost and found options are becoming more popular because virtually anyone who finds a lost item HAS A CELL PHONE that can be used to immediately notify the owner. 99% of items are lost within a very short radius of where the owner lives (10 miles or less from their house) so the full service shipping feature is over rated.

The power of recovering a lost item with the help of mass “finders”

With the saturation of mobile phones, every person is now a potential “finder” of a lost item. Not only that, but they can quickly and easily notify the owner before the owner travels too far from the lost item. Imagine finding someones book bag at the library. You see a FOUNDio.com tag and use your phones browser to pull up the website. You enter their Tag ID and boom, the owner has been notified. They follow your instructions and pick up the phone from the library lost and found.

FOUNDio.com Pricing

Free. Nada. Nothing.

The cool thing about a service like FOUNDio.com is that it takes advantage of the fact that people are smart and technically capable. It also relies on the fact that most people are honest and want to do the right thing.

While most lost and found services charge money for their labels (and some even their service), FOUNDio.com is based on the idea that losing something stinks and why should a company benefit from that?

FOUNDio customers can create a label (either by hand or printed) and then use the service for free. There is never any charge for using the service.

Why both services work

We’ve all lost things at some point in our lives. Some have lost things that are irreplaceable. The internet has given birth to many “crowd sourced” solutions like social media and transportation. Why not adopt that power to help return lost items to their rightful owner?

Both full- and self-service lost and found services can be found today. They all basically work because most people are honest and will try their best to help return an item to its rightful owner.

If you have expensive gadgets like phones, keys, book bags, etc., you should try one of the services and see what you think.