Telecoms regulator Ofcom is warning consumers to check they aren’t owed money when they switch to a new communications provider. It estimates at least £10 million has been unclaimed in the past two years; that's around £5 for every customers who's switched to a different landline, mobile, broadband or pay TV provider.
Ofcom has been working with communications providers to encourage them to automatically refund credit to their 'contract' customers. Initially it found that only BT, Orange and the Post Office automatically refunded outstanding credit to their customers; it's subsequently persuaded most others to follow suit although customers of Sky, TalkTalk and Three still need to contact their provider directly to arrange a refund. In all cases consumers should now be informed by their service provider if they have outstanding credit. (Different conditions apply for 'pay as you go' credit).
Ed Richards, Ofcom’s Chief Executive, said "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."
[Consumer guide (pdf)]