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.