“In most cases there isn’t much difference,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “However, in a small, observant office, shul or yeshiva, the vending operator does not necessarily consider the untaken change as ‘gone,’ so it’s proper to contact him. Even there, if you already took the money with intention to claim it, you may keep it.”
(For a more detailed treatment of this topic, see article by Rabbi Tzvi Price, “What to do when you Find Money in a Vending Machine,” at the BHI website, www.businesshalacha.com.)
About the Author: Rabbi Meir Orlian is a faculty member of the Business Halacha Institute, headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, a noted dayan. To receive BHI’s free newsletter, Business Weekly, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions regarding business halacha issues, or to bring a BHI lecturer to your business or shul, call the confidential hotline at 877-845-8455 or e-mail email@example.com.
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