By Loabay Admin1, May 29 2018 11:24PM
Spark will try and pay refunds to 135,000 former customers who left the company over the past seven years, in a move that may take the sting out of a Commerce Commission investigation.
It is believed Spark hopes to refund more than $1 million, with credits ranging from a few cents to – in a small number of cases – more than $100.
The former customers who are due refunds are mostly understood to be "on account" mobile or fixed-line customers who either had their final bills miscalculated or who overpaid them.
Spark home, mobile and business manager Grant McBeath said there were a variety of reason for the credits.
"Some customers didn't cancel an automatic payment before leaving or mistakenly paid their final bill twice."
But in other cases, former Spark customers were left in credit because of the way their final bill was calculated, he admitted.
"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."
Spark spokeswoman Ellie Cross confirmed the Commerce Commission was investigating the existence of some of the credits but said most were not caused by Spark errors.
"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," the company said in a statement.
The company hoped the refunds would create "goodwill" with the market watchdog as its investigation progressed, Cross said.
Spark will send emails or letters to the 135,000 customers to advise them they can claim a refund and would also be launching a "public campaign" to try to track down those whose contact details may have changed.
Customers with a credit could choose to have their money credited to their bank account, transferred to a different Spark account, or donated to one of the "worthy causes" at its Spark Foundation charitable arm, the company said.
If the credit is unclaimed in seven years, balances over $100 are transferred to the IRD. However, the customer can claim the money at any point in the future, regardless of whether it has been transferred to the IRD.
Source : Stuff NZ