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Reclaim Phone Credit

Have you switched providers?

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, meaning millions of pounds in unclaimed cash is available. Successes are flowing in.

What's a telecoms credit refund?

Most large telecom providers, including BT, EE and the Post Office, say they automatically refund leftover credit when you leave. 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 youíre owed money, but itís 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 youíve 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.

Pay less to call

Many of the providers' numbers below are 0870 or 0845 numbers, costing up to 11p/min. Search on SayNoTo0870.com for alternative local rate numbers (see SayNoTo0870 for more info). Remember that this website's numbers come from its users, so nobody verifies the numbers. Thus a few dud numbers are listed and scammers could post fake ones, so be careful if revealing sensitive info.

Plus, most mobile networks charge costly rates for 0800 "freephone" numbers. Read the 0800 Buster guide to get a normal number to call, included in any free minutes. Once connected, dial ANY 0800 number to get through at no extra charge.

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 always has been. It's worth checking though, as some forumites still found unused credit after calling.

How does it work? The final bill shows if you're in credit.

What do I need to do? No action required. The account's normally credited within five working 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 (since 2009).

How does it work? The final invoice will show if you're in credit. It includes the number to request a refund.

What do I need to do? Contact O2 for refunds of less than £20. No action required for credit of more than £20. You can apply online at O2.

Phone number? 0344 8090 202

Orange

Orange

Is the refund automatic? Yes.

How does it work? The final bill shows if you're in credit. A refund of any credit on a closed account will automatically be processed within four weeks of the account being closed. It can take up to four weeks for a refund to reach a customer, but this depends on the original payment method.

What do I need to do? No action required.

Phone number? 07973 100 150

Post Office

PostOffice

Is the refund automatic? Yes.

How does it work? 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? 0845 6003 210

Sky

Sky

Is the refund automatic? Yes, but only since November 2012.

How does it work? Your final bill will show whether you're in credit. Sky automatically refunds you by direct debit or credit/debit card, within 45 days after your cancellation.

What do I need to do? No action required. Confirmation of the refund will be sent by email or post (however you receive your bills).

Phone number? 0844 2414 141

T-Mobile

T Mobile

Is the refund automatic? Yes.

How does it work? The final bill shows if you're in credit. A refund of any credit on a closed account will automatically be processed within four weeks of the account being closed. It can take up to four weeks for a refund to reach a customer, but this depends on the original payment method.

What do I need to do? No action required.

Phone number? 0845 412 5000

EE

T Mobile

Is the refund automatic? Yes.

How does it work? The final bill shows if you're in credit. A refund of any credit on a closed account will automatically be processed within four weeks of the account being closed. It can take up to four weeks for a refund to reach a customer, but this depends on the original payment method.

What do I need to do? No action required.

Phone number? 0800 956 6000

TalkTalk

TalkTalk

Is the refund automatic? No.

How does it work? 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? 0800 444 1820

Three Mobile

Three

Is the refund automatic? No.

How does it work? 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? 0843 3733 333

Virgin Media

VirginMedia

Is the refund automatic? Yes, for amounts over £1 and always has been. Though it's worth checking, as some forumites still found unused credit after calling.

How does it work? The final bill shows if you're in credit.

What do I need to do? Nothing

Phone number? 0845 454 1111

Plusnet

Plusnet

Is the refund automatic? Not always.

How does it work? The refund is only automatic if you change provider using a MAC (migration authorisation code). This is required to change internet providers rather than cancelling your service altogether. For more info, see Plusnet.

What do I need to do? Nothing

Phone number? 0800 432 0200

Vodafone

Vodafone

Is the refund automatic? No

How does it work? Call customer services to ask for a refund.

What do I need to do? Call customer services.

Phone number? 0333 3040191

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 392
1p to £19.99 313
Over £20 173
After you've clicked, please share your experiences in the Credit refunds discussion.