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£10 million owed to consumers in unclaimed credit
Friday 22 October 2010 12:16:13 by John Hunt

Ofcom are advising consumers to check that they are not owed money from switching to a new communications provider following data showing that around 2 million consumers left their previous provider without claiming at least £10 million that was held as credit on their accounts. Often, the amounts due are from paying for line rental in advance or for promotional credits that customers should have received during their contract.

Ofcom have been working with providers to encourage them to change their processes for refunds. Currently, only three major providers are squeaky clean and will refund the credit to customers automatically. These are BT, Orange and the Post Office. After discussions, T-Mobile has agreed to automatically refund outstanding credit, and Vodafone will do so for customers who pay by direct debit. Virgin Media and Virgin Mobile will refund any credits over £1 and from December, this will be an automated process. O2 will automatically credit amounts over £20 whilst Sky, TalkTalk (and subsidiary brands), and Three customers will need to contact these provider to arrange a refund.

"Consumers were telling us that they found it difficult to claim unused credit from their providers when they left their contracts. Taken together, people have been millions of pounds out of pocket as a result.

We hope that automated refund processes, clearer signposting by providers and our new consumer guide should help consumers claim back money that is rightfully theirs."

Ed Richards, (Chief Executive) Ofcom

Ofcom have created a useful guide (pdf) which advises consumers how to claim credit if a refund is due.

Comments

Posted by NetGuy over 6 years ago
I would say BT are far from "squeaky clean"wrt refunds.

In March an Openreach engineer visited on request to check my line because of a constant hum and in May I was billed with claim I had faulty house wiring (except nothing was plugged in). The money had been taken from my a/c even though I was disputing the charge (investigation time 10 working days).

BT didn't make any effort to keep me informed so I chased them (seem incapable of sending me e-mail) and after them saying it would be credit on my next bill, I took it higher until it was refunded (at least another week).
Posted by NetGuy over 6 years ago
Separately, having not had a fixed line for years and moving home, I had to pay a 50 pound deposit in January for a new line (free installation deal at the time).

When the 6 months were up, the response to my request for refund back to my bank account was met with a "sorry, can only be made a credit to a/c" but after another week of chasing I took it to the complaints department and then a further week went by before a refund to my account was made.

I spend 0.00 on calls with BT so any amount held by them would only go down slowly as they are taking basic line rental fee each month.
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