If I leave something in a cab, can the driver charge a fare to return it?
If I leave something in a cab, can the driver charge a fare to return it?—Marc Josephson, Brampton
The short answer is no. Almost all aspects of cabbie protocol are laid out in the City of Toronto’s Muni_cipal Code, including the stipulation that drivers check their cars after every fare. In theory, this means that any item left behind will be returned on the spot (and also, that a driver won’t have to double back to Ajax to deliver your $30 knock-off Prada bag). But as anyone who has placed a frantic call to the lost and found department knows, it doesn’t always work that way. If you’re looking to fight the good fight, you can report amateur extortion acts—i.e., when a cab driver insists you pay to have your property returned—to the city’s Licensing and Standards Division or even to the police and hope for your day in court. But if your goal is the safe return of your lost item, you would be wise to have a driver drop your phone, or laptop, or wallet, or teacup chihuahua at company headquarters and then retrieve it yourself. Also remember that one man’s treasure is another man’s trash, meaning no one is likely to put much effort into tracking down last week’s issue of People magazine. “We’ve had calls about TV dinners,” says licensing supervisor Gus Michaels, who adds that lost property is ultimately the responsibility of the person who lost it. Maybe Mom had the right idea clipping your mittens to your jacket after all.