At least 135,000 former Spark customers may be in line for a credit refund - and people should check their mailboxes or their inboxes.
Spark announced today that it is launching a public campaign to return credits left on former customers' accounts – as long as those customers have left Spark within the last seven years.
The credit refund campaign applies to Home, Mobile, and Business customers with a credit balance of $1 or more. It excludes Government, Enterprise, and Corporate accounts, customers in receivership, liquidation or deceased estates, or customers where mail has been returned previously.
The campaign resulted from discussions with the Commerce Commission about a billing system issue and two other issues surrounding some of the outstanding credits.
The ongoing investigation prompted Spark to review the broader account credit issue.
“As a result, we decided to take a more public, proactive approach and run a public campaign to encourage former customers to claim their credits,” the company says in a statement.
Spark Home Mobile and Business acting CEO Grant McBeath explains that there may be many reasons why former customers may have credits or debits on their account.
“Some customers were left in credit at the end of their account termination process due to the way their final bill was calculated. Some customers didn't cancel an automatic payment before leaving or mistakenly paid their final bill twice. Or in some cases, a refund from a billing error on Spark's part was discovered after customers had left Spark.
He says that whatever the reason, Spark now wants to give that money back.
“We want anyone with a credit to get their money back. Once a customer has left us, it becomes harder to track them down and then verify their identity to make sure we give the credit to the right person – while also making it as easy as possible to claim their credit. So, we're launching a public campaign and contacting former customers who have a credit from the last seven years to remind them of this.
If Spark doesn't hold a customer's bank details, in most cases the customer receives a notification of their credit in their final bill or receives an email or letter at a later stage when a credit is retrospectively made to their account. Some customers have also received reminders by email or letter.
While the company has been in contact with some former customers and refunded credits, the company has not reached all former customers – and some haven't claimed their refunds.
This could be because some people have changed their emails or postal addresses, which means their final bill or reminder letters didn't reach them.
“If former customers don't open their mail/ email – or if they simply don't bother to claim what might be a relatively small amount. Unfortunately, whatever the scenario, if we don't have current bank account details for the customer, we can't refund the credit,” the company says in a statement.
“Alternatively, if a customer has their old Spark account number handy, they should head to spark.co.nz/refund and fill out the form and we'll let them know if they have a credit. If a customer doesn't have their old Spark account number, we'll need to check a few details our end, so they should click on the ‘Don't know your account number' link. This website is available to former customers on a permanent basis.
Customers with a credit can choose to have their money sent to a personal bank account, transferred to a different Spark account, or donated to one of the worthy causes at the Spark Foundation.