June 2018 - billing issue refunds
In June 2018, we fixed an issue with giffgaff’s billing system that meant that some members were charged from airtime credit for their mobile data use, when it should have come from their goodybag. We've now fixed the issue so that it won't affect anyone in future, and would like to apologise to everyone who's had this happen to them. We've been in touch with affected members to make sure that they have a full refund.
What caused the issue?
An error on our billing platform meant that when a member bought a goodybag, the session that member was using would not refresh. That meant that even though that member had bought a goodybag, their data use could be charged to their airtime credit if they had some on their giffgaff account.
When did this start and finish?
We discovered the extent of this issue following a member complaint in April 2018. After investigating further, we discovered that other members had been affected as well, and initially traced it to a change in the billing system that was made in 2016. On further investigation, we discovered that it was possible for some members to have been affected before this date.
There is now a fix in place as of June 2018 so that this won’t happen again.
How do I know if I’m due a refund?
When this happened, we contacted members directly, through the email address or phone number attached to the affected giffgaff account. We sent these out over the course of the first two weeks of July 2018.
You can also check if you're affected through this webpage, which we've set up specifically for this. Just enter the information of the account you want to check, and we'll let you know then and there, and what to do next.
You've sent me more than one email. Why?
We sent emails to every account that's been affected. If you've had multiple giffgaff accounts (for example, if you were with giffgaff, left, and have since returned), then you'll have been notified for each of them. You can tell which is which because we'll include the associated member name on the email like usual. Please make sure you make a selection from each email you receive to make sure you get all refunds that you are entitled to.
I think I should have got a refund but I don’t have my email or text. What’s happened?
For those members who need to make a choice, we’ll still be sending out emails and text messages up until 23:59 on July 13th 2018. For automatic credit refunds, this may take up until August 15th 2018.
You can check if you're affected through this webpage, which we've set up specifically for this. Just enter the information of the account you want to check, and we'll let you know then and there what you might need to do. You may have already been automatically refunded.
And, of course, make sure you’ve checked our email hasn’t gone into your spam folder by mistake.
The email address you have for me isn't in use any more. How do I get the email?
If you can't access that email address any more, then don't worry - we'll be sending reminder messages out if you don't make a choice. Just log in to My giffgaff and update your email address, and when we send the reminder it'll go to your new email address and you can make a choice there.
If you don't make a choice by August 15th 2018, you'll automatically be refunded to your airtime credit.
How are refunds being paid?
If you’re due a refund, you’ll be contacted directly, through the email address or phone number that was attached to the giffgaff account at the time. Most members will be refunded automatically, but in some cases you’ll be able to choose to take your refund as airtime credit or as a PayPal payment. If PayPal isn’t appropriate, you may also be offered a cheque.
How long will it take to get my refund?
If we ask you to make a choice of how to receive it and you choose airtime credit, it will be refunded within 3 days of letting us know. Automatic airtime credit refunds will be processed before August 15th 2018.
PayPal refunds will be sent from giffgaff within fourteen days after making your choice. Some PayPal payments may have to go through additional processing by PayPal once they have been made. If this happens in your case, PayPal will be able to advise further.
Cheques will be received by members between 4-6 weeks from letting us know of your choice.
You've sent me credit when I chose something else. Why?
If you've had multiple giffgaff accounts in the past, it may be that one of the accounts is automatically credited even if you chose to take it a different way on another account. We'll include your member name in the texts and emails that we send to help you keep track of this.
If I don’t make a choice, what happens?
We’ll remind you to make a selection if you haven’t done so two weeks after our first email. If you don’t make a selection before the deadline of August 15th 2018, we’ll automatically refund what you’re due to your airtime credit balance. We’ll remind you a week before we do this as well. If you don’t currently have a SIM, we’ll be arranging alternate methods, and you may receive a cheque.
I’ve already left giffgaff, but I’ve been told I’m getting a refund. Why?
The refund that you’re due will be from when the billing issue occurred on your account while you were still using giffgaff. This could have been any point from when the issue began until June 2018.
In the email we’re sending you, you’ll be able to give us your PayPal information so that we can refund you directly. If PayPal isn’t suitable, you can also provide your name and address for a cheque to be sent out to you.
How can I be sure this won’t happen again?
We know how important having a reliable service is for giffgaff members, and so we’ve put a fix in place to ensure that this issue will never happen again.
Why are there cheques being sent?
We’re in the process of refunding our members past and present who were previously incorrectly charged as a result of a billing error.
We have contacted every member possible to let them know about this and inform them of their refund.
For our members who have since left giffgaff that we’ve been unable to contact we have used a tracing service to find their address and send a refund via cheque.
Why have I received a cheque to my address that is not addressed to me?
We are trying to get cheques to as many members as possible to try and refund 100% of our members that were affected.
However, this service is not 100% accurate and / or some of our members may have inputted incorrect or old postal details when choosing to receive a cheque as their refund method.
If you’ve received a cheque that is not addressed to you please return it, let us know via the email address provided or feel free to ignore it if you do not wish to cash it.
Why are you checking my credit file and does this affect my credit history?
We are using the tracing service to try and find a postal address for members who have left giffgaff, and are due a refund, to ensure they receive this as soon as possible.
This has been done as we have previously been unsuccessful getting in contact through traditional means.
Does this affect my credit history?
This check can only be seen by you, not by any lenders or creditors and will not affect your credit history.
Tracing in this way in order to provide a refund (known as asset reunification) is a permitted and recognised practice by the FCA.
I still have questions. Where can I find out more?
We have a discussion thread on the community Announcements forum. Please head over there and ask and we’ll be happy to clarify.