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Reclaim Phone Credit

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Becca | Edited by Jenny

Updated 12 Oct 2015

If you've switched TV, mobile, broadband or phone providers in the last six years, there's a chance you're owed a little cash. You can get it back at speed.

Many providers, including TalkTalk, and Three Mobile, don't automatically refund leftover credit on an account, meaning millions of pounds in unclaimed cash is available.

What's a telecoms credit refund?

Most large telecom providers, including BT, EE and the Post Office, say they automatically refund leftover credit on your account when you leave. The information in this guide primarily relates to pay monthly utility contracts, although where relevant we mention the policy for pay-as-you-go credit (if it's a mobile network).

Even then though, things can get overlooked. Some firms, including TalkTalk, and Three, operate a DON'T ASK, DON'T GET policy. They won't give it back to you unless you ask for it.

Ofcom estimates millions in bill credit is unclaimed. It urges those who have switched contracts in the past six years to check if they are owed a refund but this only applies to customers with monthly contracts. The rules are different for those with pay-as-you-go mobiles as the maximum time to claim back unused credit is around six months.

Why would I be owed cash?

You might not think you’re owed money, but it’s easy to earn credit without realising via promo deals or by paying in advance.

For example, if you signed up to a "12 months for the price of nine" offer, often you still pay for the full 12 months then get a rebate after 12 months. Many people assume that this rebate is automatic, but it's not always.

Finally, if you’ve complained about something, you might get credit added to your account.

Reclaiming success

The successes have flooded in since we launched this guide back in 2010. Brilliantly, they were bigger than we expected, reaching into the £100s. Please add yours to the Credit Refund success forum thread.

Here are some of the best...

Did as instructed and to my amazement found I have a £144 refund due to me from TalkTalk. Well impressed. Thank you Martin. - sheppie230

I have £23 on its way from Vodafone and a nice £73 from Orange. I checked with Virgin Media and I have £394 in service charges PLUS £150 for the rental of a TV box that I should not have been charged for. HAPPY DAYS!- nsabournemouth

I had a mobile phone contract with O2 over two years ago. I just rang to check if I had any credit on my old account. I wasn't hopeful, but they are refunding £19 into my bank account! - allie_81

How to reclaim

If you've left a telecoms provider in the last six years, check our provider-by-provider guide below to find out how to grab your cash.

Just call up and ask: "Do I have any leftover credit on my account?"

Even if our guide says "no action needed" for that provider, make a quick call if you suspect you're owed credit just in case you were overlooked. Several forumites have reported getting unused credit back after calling providers, even though it was meant to be automatic.

You can go back six years

You can go back six years in England and Wales, or five years in Scotland. These time periods are limited by law. The provider should also hold the data for six years.

How to reclaim from each provider

Here are details of how to reclaim from each of the major providers.

BT

BT

Is the refund automatic? Yes. It's worth checking though, as some forumites still found unused credit after calling.

Where can I see this? The final bill shows if you're in credit.

What do I need to do? No action required. The account's normally credited within 21 days of the final bill being sent out.

Phone number? 0800 800 150

O2

O2

Is the refund automatic? Yes, for credit of more than £20. No refund is available for pay-as-you-go credit.

Where can I see this? The final invoice will show if you're in credit.

What do I need to do? Claim online O2 for refunds of less than £20. No action required for credit of more than £20.

Phone number? 0344 8090 202

Post Office

PostOffice

Is the refund automatic? Yes.

Where can I see this? The final bill shows if you're in credit.

What do I need to do? No action required. Credit's automatically refunded within 10 working days of the final bill. Whatever payment method you used during your time with the Post Office, your refund will be by postal order.

Phone number? 0345 611 2970

Sky

Sky

Is the refund automatic? Yes.

Where can I see this? Your final bill will show whether you're in credit.

What do I need to do? No action required. Sky automatically refunds you by direct debit or credit/debit card, within 45 days of your cancellation.

Phone number? 03442 411 653

EE/Orange/T-Mobile

T Mobile

Is the refund automatic? For contract customers, yes. Pay-as-you-go credit is non-refundable.

Where can I see this? The final bill shows if you're in credit.

What do I need to do? A refund of any credit on a closed account will automatically be processed within four weeks of the bill being generated.

Phone number? For mobile: 07953 966 250. For broadband or home phone: 0800 079 8586.

TalkTalk

TalkTalk

Is the refund automatic? No.

Where can I see this? The final bill shows if you're credit, and includes number to call to request a refund.

What do I need to do? Call customer services to request a refund. TalkTalk offers refunds by cheque, card and bank transfer.

Phone number? 0203 441 5550

Three Mobile

Three

Is the refund automatic? No.

Where can I see this? The final bill will show if you're in credit.

What do I need to do? Call customer services to request a refund.

Phone number? 0333 300 3333

Virgin Media

VirginMedia

Is the refund automatic? If you're a broadband, home phone or TV and the credit is more than £1 – yes. If it's less than this, or for contract mobile customers, it's not automatic. No refund is available for pay-as-you-go credit.

Where can I see this? The final bill shows if you're in credit.

What do I need to do? If you're a broadband, home phone or TV customer - nothing, the credit is refunded automatically as a cheque 35 days after the disconnection date. Mobile customers must cal to request their refund.

Phone number? 0345 454 1111

Plusnet

Plusnet

Is the refund automatic? Yes. 

Where can I see this? You should see this on your final bill.

What do I need to do? Nothing. The refund is processed back to your primary payment method, or cheque if Plusnet doesn't have your payment details.

Phone number? 0800 432 0200

Vodafone

Vodafone

Is the refund automatic? No.

Where can I see this? The credit will be applied to your final bill, after you've contacted Vodafone to claim it.

What do I need to do? Call customer services.

Phone number? 03333 040 191

Other providers

If your provider's not listed, simply call 'em up. Even if you don't have a clue about whether they refund automatically, just call and say: "I'd like to check if there's any leftover credit on my account please." Then report your success in our forum.

How much did you get back?

Once you've contacted your provider, if you've managed to reclaim some lost credit please help us keep track of numbers by clicking one of the following counters.

Please vote How many votes? (Updated hourly)
Nothing 482
1p to £19.99 365
Over £20 238
After you've clicked, please share your experiences in the Credit refunds discussion.