Could you be owed a fortune?

happy girl holding fan of cash...

How would you feel if somebody told you that you were owed hundreds of pounds? There's a fair chance that you are.

There's millions of pounds lying left unclaimed that can be accessed with just a little effort.

Late last year, life insurer Beagle Street carried out research that indicated that Brits were missing out on as much as £8.5 million in unclaimed lottery prizes and £50 million in unclaimed Premium Bonds, for example.

"There is simply too much money sitting unclaimed and far too many people missing out on money that is rightfully theirs," says managing director Matthew Gledhill.

So who might owe you money?

The National Lottery
This is one of the easiest things to check - but it's surprising how many prizes go unclaimed. There's a list of big unclaimed prices. For smaller wins, you'll need to check back for the winning numbers, here: just click on 'check results' and then 'draw history'. You have six months to put in your claim.

Your bank
There's as much as £5 million sitting in dormant bank accounts at any one time, but it's possible to track the money down. My Lost Account, which is organised by the British Bankers' Association, the Building Societies Association and NS&I, will check for you.

Your pension provider
There's another £3 billion in unclaimed pensions, says Beagle Street, mostly in amounts of £5,000 or less. Your best bet here is the Pension Tracing Service, which has details of 200,000 pension schemes. You shouldn't need the original paperwork, though the more information you have the better.

Your payday lender
Following a crackdown, payday lenders are being forced to repay customers who should never have been given loans in the first place - and these repayments are amounting to millions of pounds. If you think you were mis-sold a loan, your first step is to get in touch with the lender to explain why it should have realised you couldn't afford it. If you don't get anywhere, the Financial Ombudsman will help for free.

Your electricity supplier...
You'll need to move fast, but pay-as-you-go energy customers are being given a £12 refund. Those with meters should have had their discount already, but anyone with a pre-payment meter should have received a voucher through the post. This can be redeemed at a Post Office in the next two weeks. If you don't remember receiving one, your supplier should be willing to send you a replacement.

...or your previous supplier
It's probably the last thing you think about when moving house, but many people end up being owed money when they do, or when they simply switch supplier. My Energy Credit explains how you can find out whether you're owed any money, and how the claims process works with the major suppliers.

From an airline
It's not the easiest process in the world, but it's possible to claim up to 600 Euros per person for flights that are delayed for three hours or more, as long as the delay isn't caused by 'extraordinary circumstances'. And while airlines used to routinely claim this included technical faults, it's now been ruled that they can't. You should have as much as six years to claim; there's advice from the Civil Aviation Authority here.

Airline Suit Wants Refunds For Delayed Checked Bags

Most outrageous bill mistakes
See Gallery
Could you be owed a fortune?
Carol Sandford, 72, called 118 118 from her mobile phone unaware of the charges involved. Calls to the number cost £1.88 per call and there is also a £2.57 per minute charge from landlines. TalkTalk raises this to £5.68 for the first minute and £3.28 per minute after that. TalkTalk told Carol the charge £81.12 charge was correct but luckily 118 118 were kinder, offering to repay the charge in full. Read the full story here.
One Londoner was more than a little confused when his debit card was declined while he was trying to buy just six bottles of American craft beers. But he quickly realised that instead of the £22.30 he owed, he had been charged £223,000! It's thought he punched in the PIN number before the machine was ready and it added the numbers to the total. Luckily the 28-year-old saw the funny side and laughed the incident off. Read more on the story here.

Early Lewis from Detroit was amazed to find his water bill was almost 100 times as much as he was expecting. The bill claimed that Lewis had used 3,740 gallons of water in just one hour. Thankfully common sense prevailed and the Water and Sewage Department admitted it was a mistake and subsequently charged Lewis the $36 he should have been charged initially. Read more on this story here

George MacIntosh, 73, was charged a staggering £200 for premium-rate gambling texts he didn't intend to sign up for. Unfortunately this wasn't a scam but a legal service from a company called Zamano. It seems the retired vicar had accidentally signed up after responding to an initial text from the company. Read the full story here.
Philip Groves was amazed to receive a £1,411 bill from Vodafone last year for his 10-year-old daughter Trinity's phone. It turns out Trinity had watched 28 hours of instructional loom band videos on YouTube, assuming her phone was using wifi. But the wifi had cut out, leaving her phone using the data allowance at it's highest rate. Vodafone refused to cancel the bill and threatened legal action. Read more here
Daniel Pontin was in for quite a shock after opening a gas bill charging him £31,000 for a year's worth of gas in a one-bedroom home. Pontin claimed his meter was broken when he moved in and was initially charged £35 a month for six months before he stopped receiving bills. When the huge £31,000 estimated bill arrived Npower told Pontin to ignore it while they investigated. Read the full story here
Read Full Story