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I Want My StuffBak!

I’ve already discussed a number of security measures – mainly software – that we can take to protect the data on our Treo in case of loss.  However, now there’s another option that quite simply offers people a cash reward for doing the right thing and returning a found device to its rightful owner.

The service is offered by a company appropriately called StuffBak which effectively ‘brokers and facilitates’ the return of these found devices with the incentive of a reward via a toll-free number or its website (www.stuffbak.com).

How it Works
You purchase a label pack – $4.95 for two labels.  Each label (which the company claims is virtually indestructible) comes with a unique identifier code (I put Andrew for illustration purposes in the oversized image below but it would be something like AJN8U7B).  You then attach this small label somewhere on the side or back of your Treo.

Next you visit StuffBak’s activation page and enter your unique identifier code to get started.  You’ll be asked to register your item with a product category, sub-category, make, model, serial number, description (if there are unique or identifying characteristics) and finally an optional cash reward (I put in $50) in addition to the standard $20 that StuffBak will provide for every returned product.

After completing the activation page you’ll be asked to register as a new StuffBak member creating your username and password and naturally also providing all of your contact information for returns – you can change any of this data at any time.

The final optional step is to upgrade your ‘protection level’ from the included 2 years Free Recovery (after the coverage period has elapsed the recovery fee is $29.95) to the 5 year Premium Service ($19.95)which adds free recovery for all your registered items, priority service and handling, overnigh shipping and a 20% StuffBak store shopping discount.

Why it Works
According to StuffBak, “Finders are motivated to return lost property because StuffBak's system is simple, convenient, confidential, cost-free and offers them a reward. All they have to do is provide us the label number and we arrange for a courier pickup or direct them to a nearby drop-off center. They don't have to try and find the owner, pack a box, or pay for shipping. Once the property is returned to the owner, they receive StuffBak's standard reward, $20 worth of STUFFBAK labels, plus any cash reward you may have offered.”

The fact is that most gear is often ‘forgotten’ or ‘misplaced’ and not stolen so the chances of finding an honest person willing to return them is actually quite high.  Typically the problem is that the finder doesn’t know what to do with nor where to leave the item while on the other hand we have trouble even remembering where we may have lost our property – basically the two parties are typically unable to connect and StuffBak provides that connection.  Some journalists actually put the ‘increased returns’ notion to the test and intentionally lost some portable devices – the return rate was between 65% and 80% and StuffBak claim an average of 75%.

Overall I really think that the additional peace of mind provided by StuffBak’s service is well worth the low $4.95.

Treonauts love simple solutions

Posted by Andrew on September 14, 2005 at 02:16 PM

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by A. Davis | Sep 14, 2005 4:05:18 PM

"which the company claims is virtually indestructible"

... yet you placed the sticker on the *removable* battery cover; thus who cares if the sticker is virtually indestructible as all the dishonest guy that finds your Treo has to do is get a replacement battery cover. :)

by MILE | Sep 15, 2005 10:10:15 AM

Actually I have been trying to find a replacment battery cover here in Germany for months...but with no success...!! Any ideas where I could get one...?!

Oh, and about the actual subject -- isn't that the same idea as http://www.boomerangit.com/?? I remember that they had such stickers included with the first Tungsten I bought...but eventually they went out of business or so...?! Or did they...?!

So, there we go again...with another company trying the same thing...!? Which is a good idea generally...but after the negative experience with boomerangit.com I just don't have that much trust anymore...

by Andrew | Sep 15, 2005 10:36:40 AM

MILE - Thanks for the tip, I didn't know about this other company. What was your actual negative experience with them?

A. Davis - I like symmetry and so placed the label on the battery cover. If someone has no plans to return my Treo then I don't think that they'll really care where I've placed the label... ;-)

Cheers, A.

by MILE | Sep 15, 2005 11:33:46 AM

Well, as I said -- back when I bought my first Tungsten some of their material was bundled with the package, inclduing one of their stickers and a coupon for a 6 month trial...

They even had a German callback phone number installed and had a loclized German version of their website, so it seemed like a good thing...!

I placed the sticker on my Tungsten and the went to their webiste to regsister the assocuated number, but it just wouldn't work...! I sent an email in German first, the one in English -- never got any reply...!

After that, I tried contacting them now and then, noticing that their website was temporarily unavailable and that the German site had vanished...and then I finally gave up...! I liked the idea though and that they bothered setting up a German service, bit it seems they just didn't get the job right after all...!?

Its weird though that their stuff was bundled with the first Tungstens sold here in Germany, so Palm must have liked the business model and probably trusted them...

I just saw that their site is still online...or online again, whatever...!? Even the German pages are there again...but I've lost my trust in them anyway...

by Roger | Sep 19, 2005 10:03:44 AM

I used this service at one time. Then realized it would be free to stick my own sticker on the Treo!

by James | Sep 21, 2005 8:10:26 PM

I actually use a company called Trackitback who does not charge anything when a lost item is returned. I mean nothing. I lost my cell in Oakland and they shipped it back to me for free. I was very happy!

Check them out -

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