Spark is launching a public campaign to contact former customers so that the business can return credits left on accounts from when they left Spark. Over the next week, around 135,000 former customers will be sent an email or letter prompting them to go to the Spark website and enter their details, so Spark can return these credits to them.
Like many businesses with variable monthly bills, when customers leave Spark there may be a small credit or debit left on their account. A minority of those customers who left Spark in the last seven years still have credit left on their old account. These credits range from a few cents to over $100.
Grant McBeath, Acting CEO of Spark Home Mobile and Business says, “There is a range of reasons why a former customer might have a credit left on their old 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.
“Whatever the reason, the credit remains on these old accounts and we want to give the money back. This money is held for the customer until it is paid back.”
Spark has communicated with many of the former customers with credits previously. If it 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 lots of people have successfully received their credit this way, Spark has not yet reached everyone – and some haven’t claimed their money. For instance, when people have changed their email or physical address and 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.
Spark is in discussions with the Commerce Commission about a billing system issue and two operational issues that relate to a small proportion of the outstanding credits. While this investigation is ongoing, it prompted Spark to look take a look at the broader issue of account credits. 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.
McBeath explains, “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.”
Notes to the editor:
- If a customer has left Spark in the last seven years and has a credit, we’ll send them a letter or an email to their last known address. Note that this applies to Home, Mobile and Business customers with a credit balance of $1 or more, but excludes Government, Enterprise or Corporate accounts, customers in receivership, liquidation or deceased estates, or customers where mail has been returned previously.
- 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.