/ Money

Surprise! You’ve just opened a Next credit account

Next account card and directory

You go onto the Next website to buy a shirt or a dress, and before you know it, you end up with a high-interest credit account that you didn’t ask for. Have you been signed up for an unwanted Next credit account?

If your card is declined when you’re shopping online, what would you guess will happen? It’s fair to expect you’ll be invited to choose another card or cancel the order, because that’s how the vast majority of shopping websites operate. But the Next website is different – and not in a good way.

Pay by card when buying on Next.co.uk, and if the card’s declined, Next will automatically set up a credit account for you and charge the order to that account.

Next account interest rate

At that point, you need to cancel the order or settle your account within a month of receiving your statement, you’ll also have to pay interest at 25.99% APR – more than most credit cards charge.

We think it’s irresponsible to set up a new credit account for a potentially vulnerable customer, as a failed card payment could mean that the customer doesn’t have enough funds in their bank account or that they’ve reached their credit card limit. And if you have a weak credit rating, opening such an account is likely going to damage it further.

Poor credit rating on the cards?

We want Next to change its website so that if your card is declined, you’re given the explicit option to choose another card or cancel the order, rather than having a credit account set up.

Next told us that the problem occurred in only 0.1% of internet orders it received, but said it is already working on a fix and it should be corrected shortly. We’ll be checking back to make sure that Next follows through on this promise.

It’s good that Next has recognised the problem, but it begs the question: why was this unfair and counter-intuitive system in place to begin with?

Have you encountered issues when paying for goods on the Next website? Have you been signed up for an unwanted Next credit account? Were you able to pay it off before being hit by the interest?


I have just tested this myself.

I used my Visa debit card that has no money in my account as it’s a old account I no longer use & I also have a pretty good credit file.

But, after I used the old debit card I had this message pop up “There was an error processing your card payment. Please check with your bank that you have sufficient funds in your account and re-enter your card details carefully including your security code.”

So it must be true, this only happens 0.1% of the time.

Ann Froggatt says:
19 August 2013

About a month before Christmas 2012 I ordered 2 items from the Next website. My credit card was accepted, but the website wouldn’t let me pay the full amount! When I sussed what they were trying to do, I paid with my card in several instalments, well within the deadline. These instalments were all accepted and I cleared the amount owing in full.
Later, I received a letter telling me I was required to sign a credit agreement. I ignored that but kept the letter in case of subsequent dispute.
Then this summer I received an email telling me I was going to be charged (£3.95 I think) for a copy of the new catalogue. This has never happened, nor have I received ( indeed, never wanted!) the catalogue.
I don’t intend to buy from their website in future, but it will be very inconvenient trying to get to one of their shops.

Alison Ryan says:
23 August 2013

This was exactly my experience – except I did receive their massive directories. I am web savvy and my credit cards are fine – I have no idea how I managed to set up a credit agreement after buying one very nice pair of shorts.
Am now trying to extricate myself.

I find it frustrating that you can’t buy anything online from Next without setting up a Next Directory account which then asks you to sign a credit agreement etc. I’m vary wary of these kinds of accounts and how they affect your credit report so unfortunately I can’t buy anything from them online.

MrsSWoodward says:
31 August 2013

I completely agree. I ended up stupidly attempting to see if they’d improved their system recently only to end up discovering its even worse than ever. I immediately decided to cancel the order & was told that was fine and no paperwork would go out (they had my old address registered to the account & even though id given a new delivery address they were unable to update it). Low and behold I get repeated emails and texts saying delivery is on the way (even though it wasn’t but it was me who then needed to go sort it all out in store!) and paperwork sent to my old address. Identity theft alert!!

disgrunted says:
20 August 2013

Would NEVER buy from NEXT if they try to do this to me

ShoulaWouldaCoulda says:
22 August 2013

The very same happened to me as mentioned in this month’s Which? Last Christmas I bought a blouse from Next on behalf of my mother because my sister had asked her for it as a Christmas present and being elderly she didn’t want to do it herself. I “paid” with my debit card, or so I thought.

About a month later I received a statement from Next, which I misread to be a receipt, so I filed it and thought no more about it. Another month passed and Next sent another statement. The penny dropped when I saw that the £29 blouse was now costing over £40.

Ok, I should have looked closer at my bank statement and alarms should have rung when Next sent me a statement. It was the Christmas period, I was away for some if the time and being self employed I was too busy chasing work to pay much heed. Add to that the fact that I didn’t ask for or want a Next credit account, so it was the last thing on my mind.

I paid the now overdue account, but on checking my credit references with Experian, I now find that Next have posted a black mark against me. I was bankrupted a few years ago and I’ve been working hard to improve my credit rating – now because of Next’s dodgy way if operating, all my efforts were for nought.

Pete says:
24 August 2013

I ran in to this problem two weeks ago, however I didn’t have my credit card declined, I got a “technical problem has occurred” error on the website, and that led to a credit account being opened up in my name. I don’t know the cause, but I do know the credit card I used was ok for other transactions, so it shouldn’t have been a credit limit or denial problem.

Even worse, I couldn’t close the credit account instantly. I had to wait for the order to be completely processed (Saturday to Monday) before they could close the unauthorized account. I did complain on the Next Facebook page, and via a letter to Next, and got the most insulting non-apology possible: “I’m sorry you feel that way”.

Wendy - Devon says:
24 August 2013

I purchased an item in July this year and had assumed ( incorrectly) that my card had been debited with the full amount. Last Friday I received a letter from next to inform me that I was late in my instalments to my account. I immediately checked my bank account and saw that no payment had been taken out of my account. I went onto the Next website and paid in full.
I did not want a store account, I did not ask for a store account and have not received any communication from Next to inform me that I had opened an account or that a payment was due – until I received a late payment notice. I feel that I have been mislead in this transaction and sincerely hope that one late payment on an account, I didn’t know I had, has not transferred to my credit rating.

Kate H says:
24 August 2013

I’ve had a very similar experience. I tried to buy some items off the Next website last summer, was given a couple of (I felt) misleading options which strongly led you towards the credit account option, but when I clicked the other option I got a technical error message – note nothing to do with my card. Then later on I received an email welcoming me to my new credit account. I phoned up immediately and demanded to know how on earth they could open me a credit account without my knowledge, let alone my consent, and insisted they not only close the account but also removed anything to do with it from my credit history, and got them to confirm this in writing, which they did (although I’ve no idea whether they actually could remove credit searches etc). Funnily enough the person at customer services didn’t seem that surprised or interested, despite this seeming like a fairly serious flaw (and breach of consumer credit law!) on their website. Now I know why not!

my2girls12 says:
24 August 2013

I have now had 2 bad experiences with Next. The first..I paid for some furniture on my own credit card on line, unaware that my credit card (which was no where near its limit!) was declined halfway through purchase, and a credit account opened on my behalf! I received a letter from Next advising of my new credit account which I did not want. It took several very long frustrating phonecalls with customer services to have this stopped. I eventually had them transfer the remaining balance to the card I wanted to use in the first place. Then just a couple of weeks ago I wanted to order some homeware from Next, and because of what happened on line I thought I would call them instead. I made it clear from the start I did not want a credit account and wanted to pay for my goods by direct debit… after 5 minutes I had placed my order and the assistant advised me she had opened a credit account!! Needless to say I was not happy and made it very clear how unhappy I was and that I had made it very clear at the beginning of the conversation I did not want a credit account. The assistant apologised and advised someone would call me back to ensure this account was closed. About half an hour later I received a phonecall and this was from the assistants supervisor. This person was incredibly rude and said it was standard for an account to be opened. I said I did not want an account and made it very clear at the start of the conversation. After being talked over by this ‘supervisor’ I then had the pone put down on me! By now I was very stressed and upset and called back straight away. Luckily I got someone helpful who apologised, I advised I wanted this dealt with as I was so upset at how I had been treated. She advised it would be looked into. I cannot believe a simple call to place an order turned into such a stressful experience! Anyway about a week later I received a £20 gift voucher for the upset that had been caused. My advice to anyone thinking of shopping at Next?? ……don’t do it!!! You will find yourself with an unwanted credit account and Next directories- needless to say after using my voucher I will NEVER use Next again!

Gotrdon Wright says:
25 August 2013

A few months ago I ordered a Microwave oven from Next. However instead of a microwave oven a large canvas of Buddah was delivered costing about £65 the same as the microwave oven. A collector picked up the canvas and delivered the correct oven and I paid the oven cost by credit card.
I weas horrified to receive an account (which I had not asked for, for the £65 Buddah canvas which had being delivered in error and picked up by a collector. When I did not pay this sorry we will fix it. I then rceived another request stating that If I did not pay the outstanding amouint plust interest ‘a debt collector would call and I would be black lisated on my cred ‘Twitter’– This produiced the required result and the item was removed and I was senty a £20 gift voucher-However not a happy experience and I would be very reluctent to buy from Next again!

this happened to me some time ago (and I worked in financial services for a decade, now doing a finance based doctorate so should have been able to notice) – I was so cross and complained but they were unapologetic!! absolutely shocking and disgraceful

Jean Wilson says:
26 August 2013

I ordered something from Next 2-3 years ago and had the same problem and had to go to great lengths to get them to close the account they had set up. I then recently ordered some things online from them. There were quite a few items and when I got to the final stage to pay, the order just disappeared from the screen. I was still puzzling what had happened and the phone went and it was Next. They had my order in front of them and wanted to help me process it. It was all a bit strange but having emphasised that I wanted to pay in full by my credit card I thought I had finally achieved it. To my surprise about a week after the goods were delivered I received an account statement saying I still owed most of the money. I had to then phone next again and having finally been put through to a supervisor I had a long debate about how I didn’t want an account and I wanted to pay in full with my credit card and I hadn’t given them permission to set me up an account. They tried to tell me that because I already had an account it had defaulted to that. I explained that I had been assured that account had been closed. She then tried to tell me that because the order came in 2 parts that they weren’t legally allowed to take my money if they hadn’t dispatched the whole order so they had set up the account. When I responded that I order a lot of things on line and I had never come across this before and it was no way to do business she claimed no one else had ever complained. My experience of Next on line has been very negative and I feel that they are going to great lengths to try and force people into accounts with them. I have never experienced anything else like it so I was very pleased to see your article this month. Thank you.

Charlotte Bache says:
26 August 2013

I bought some items online with a giftcard. I had to return the items to store Next put the credited amount on an account. So when I went into the shop with my gift card and was embarrassed at the till to find the gift card empty (this is when I discovered the account). When I got home I rang the company, they apologised and closed the account and put the amount back on a a card which I had to wait to get in the post.
I went and bought something else in store, returned it and found once again I have an unwanted account!
Please sort them out!

Olive47 says:
26 August 2013

I had this very experience with Next just a couple of weeks ago. I logged on wanting to buy a top I’d seen. I was warned that my credit account would be searched, in other words a credit account would be opened even though I hadn’t wanted credit.
I had a bad experience some years ago with this kind of system using Simply Be. I bought an item, paid and then received it. I then received a letter saying I had made a late payment. I complained pointing out that I’d had no credit with them. I assumed it had been rectified but some 5 years later on checking my credit record, there it was, a Late Payment for Simply Be! I complained in strongest terms and they agreed to remove it because I’d complained at the time! This system is unfair and illegal, destroying someone’s credit rating when they haven’t even had any credit with the company is immoral and so is setting up a credit account when all I was trying to do was buy, and pay for, a top.

Jane says:
27 August 2013

I have just experienced a problem with the Next website. Not for the same reason, but fairly similar.
I was buying some shoes to be delivered and clicked on ‘Complete Order’ expecting to be taken to a payment page. Instead I was told I had placed the order and that a credit account had been set up. No options for paying in advance by card which is what I would normally do. Having spent most of my life trying to avoid credit accounts I was pretty annoyed. I rang up straight away to try to cancel the order or pay for the shoes by card over the phone but was told that neither were possible. The only thing I could do would be to decline the delivery when it arrived. As I knew I would be out when it arrived, and as delivery people on my road tend to leave items with neighbours etc I knew this wouldn’t be possible. And when the item did arrive (and was left with neighbours) it turned out that I would have to pay extra to get the couriers to come and collect it again.
In the end I had to make a special journey to return the shoes to a store and my credit account is thankfully now closed.
The reason the lady gave me on the phone for a credit account being set up was something to do with ‘terms and conditions’ and ‘small print’. There is no way however that I would have agreed to a credit agreement given the choice, and I’m pretty sure that I have ordered items on their website before and paid by card. So I’m not sure what happened. Anyway, I will be extra cautious from now on when buying things online, and don’t intend to order anything from Next again.

Becca says:
27 August 2013

I purchased some clothing on the website and paid with my debit card. Unlike some of Next’s customers the payment went through. I returned some of the items for a refund. The credit was placed on a Next account that I didn’t know existed rather than to my bank account and was never advised this would happen.

James says:
27 August 2013

When my credit card details were fraudently used earlier this year Next was the only site I know of to refuse the fraudster. Many better known big name retailers were happy to supply the scammer with expensive goods so hats off to Next, as far as I am concerned.

Olive47 says:
27 August 2013

Having read this blog, I decided to check that a top I bought a couple of weeks ago on the Next website had been taken from my debit card. It had not. I loged on to the Next website and clicked on My account to find a credit account in my name with the cost of the top in credit. I logged in my card details when I ordered this top and did not want or ask for credit. I am fairly certain my card would not have been declined, it never has, so it seems it is not only when a card is declined that a credit account is set up by Next. This seems like a very dishonest way for a large and popular company like Next to behave. Hooking in customers to credit without their knowledge is immoral and deceptive. Shame on you Next in these times of hardship to make life even more difficult for some people who are struggling to make ends meet.

Rachel says:
28 August 2013

Had exactly the same experience from next. cannot believe such a large organisation could operate in such an underhand way. Only found out that I had a credit account after reviewing my credit history. Shameful way to run a business; as many others I regularly shop online and have never encounted such a procedure, although there are terms and conditions, and the argument is that you should read them (I would argue they are ambiguous anyway!) it should be made very clear what you are agreeing to and given the option just to pay by direct debit, as most other organisations would allow. Very disgruntled with this service.

Graham says:
29 August 2013

After reading your article an incident my son experienced recently made sense.

Some items from NEXT were delivered to his old address. He has never ordered items from Next online – fortunately the new owner alerted him.

When he called NEXT he was told that a credit account had been set up in his name – he then went through a lot of hassle to get the goods returned and the account cancelled.

Fortunately it appears that his credit rating has not been compromised.

It beggars belief that a company of this size can have such lax procedures – please keep the pressure on to get this addressed.