Thursday, July 28, 2005
Review of BAK2u Loss Recovery Service
Originally written for SPUG. You probably know what this feels like. Having just misplaced your PDA, you rush back to where you might have dropped it, only to find an absence accompanied by that unmistakable, heavy sense of helplessness. All you can do is wait... knowing that you probably won't see your gadget again. A new service called BAK2u might just be the thing you need to help you recover your lost property. Let's say you've lost your Palm; it is not easy for a person who picks it up to immediately know who the owner is, and this is where BAK2u comes in. The service includes labels that you stick onto your device. On the label is a number and website for the finder to go to and report the missing device. The finder only needs to log into the website or call the toll-free number to report the loss, making recovery much easier than if no such label is found. BAK2u labels are sold in packs that cost SGD$9.90 each. Each packet contains two labels of different lengths (5x2cm and 6.5x1cm). After applying the label onto your device, you will not be able to peel it off and re-adjust the positioning and alignment, so be sure to get it right the first time. Next, we go to the BAK2u.com website and register our label. Each label is valid for three years. Click on the Activate Label link... If you haven't created an account before, you'll be asked to fill in your contact and credit card details. The last step involves filling in the serial number and any interesting characteristics of your device. You can also specify any additional reward for the finder. Does it work? You can use the labels on your mobile phone, PDA, MP3 player, digital camera etc. If someone finds a lost device, he or she won't be able to contact the owner without some sort of identification on the device. With the label in place, a finder would have no trouble calling the toll free number printed on the label to report the loss. Loss reporting can also be done through the Internet. When it is confirmed that that finder has found the lost item, a courier will meet the finder at his or her convenience to retrieve the item. Now, this is what I really like about the service. I think it might be the tipping point for a reasonably good Samaritan to decide to return the device rather than to keep it for himself or herself because of the 'difficulties in trying to return it to the owner' self-justifying excuse. There is no cost or hassle for the finder to do the good deed. In addition, the finder will also be rewarded with a S$49.90 gift pack (5 packs) from BAK2u. Is the price worth it? The price for two labels is S$9.90. Now, I do realise there are those who don't believe that any finder would return lost property, especially expensive gadgets! I think that's a fair point. Then again, it is also not totally impossible that there are nice people around who would want to return lost property, and that would be virtually impossible without some sort of identification or labelling on the device. Bottomline: Without any identification, the probability of loss recovery is almost zero! So I think for the price of a Big Mac meal for a label that's valid for three years, it's very well worth the price. When a lost item is successful found through BAK2u, the owner pays BAK2u an additional service fee of S$49.50 plus shipping charges and tax. If the item is found locally, the shipping charges will be the local courier fee. If the item is lost and found overseas, the owner can choose to have it couriered by DHL International; the delivery cost would depend also on the weight and size of the item. Although the extra fee seems costly initially, the cost and benefit analysis is straightforward: the cost to replace a lost item will almost always be more than S$49.90 plus shipping anyway. Factor in not only the inherent price of the lost device itself, but also the cost of not recovering important and sensitive information that resides in your gadget, and the need for a small investment in labels becomes compelling. I have one slight complaint with the adhesiveness used for the labels. By design, the labels, while strong, can be peeled off by a persistent bad guy who picks up the lost item. Now, this is due to customers' requests so that if the labels are not needed in the future, no ugly marks will be left behind. I'd prefer the adhesiveness of the labels to be strong enough to leave behind some 'residue' if it's really torn so that a bad person would think twice before reselling a found item. I'm told this might be considered future revisions of the product. Other than that, for the purposes of identification and loss recovery, the BAK2u serves its purposes well. The website is intuitive, and more importantly, a good Samaritan will be provided with just that needed extra push to return a found item. Discuss here.