/ 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?

Comments
Ric says:
3 March 2014

I bought some items from the web site, didn’t notice the “pay-now” button and assumed they would take the money from my card. A few days later I received a form through the post asking me to authorise a credit account. I called them on Friday and they were very apologetic and said they would change my account to “pay when you order”. When I complained that I’d been put to the trouble and expense of calling up to sort it out they offered a £5 credit note – we shall see if it arrives. So, they’re still at it but, from the positive response I received, I guess they’re aware they have an issue.

Vanessa says:
8 March 2014

I ordered from Next about a year ago. It was over £100 worth of goods and I paid using my John Lewis Partnership card. It was hard to even find a way to do that -the default was the credit account, which I did not want.
The payment was declined (I didn’t understand why, I had just bought goods on a different site, too) and the credit account set up. What was interesting was that 5 minutes later I had a call from John Lewis Partnership customer services to say my card had been compromised and suggesting the Next transaction was the culprit. The card was cancelled and I had to wait for a new one as a result.
I phoned Next to pay the bill immediately using a different card and asked them to cancel the credit account. However, even a week or two later, they were sending emails telling me it was important I signed and returned the credit agreement, implying it was necessary.
I regularly shop online, but would not trust the Next website again.

Angela Monaghan says:
12 March 2014

My 17-year old daughter tried to order an item from the Next website using her debit card – she regularly orders things online and is experienced in doing so. She says it didn’t work so she phoned her order through instead, again using her debit card to pay – or so she thought. The customer services operator asked for her date of birth, which she gave, without thinking that this wasn’t required to pay by debit card. As far as she was concerned she had ordered and paid for an item and that was that. Today she received a credit agreement in the post. When she phoned to ask why it had been set up without her knowledge she was told that she had applied for it online and was owing £2.00 on the account. I took over the call and asked why they had set up a credit agreement for a 17-year old without their knowledge. I was told that the wrong date of birth had been entered on the website and that to cancel the entry on her credit file we would have to send a copy of her birth certificate to prove her actual age.

I am incensed. My daughter was simply trying to place an order and as far as she is concerned she paid for it fully on her debit card. She didn’t realise that she was setting up a credit agreement and only gave her date of birth because she was asked for it. She did not give a false date of birth – I believe they are lying but have no way of proving it – so they knew she was underage. If we hadn’t intervened she would be owing money without realising it. I don’t see why we should have to prove her date of birth to close down an account that was never requested!

This is unscrupulous behaviour and should be stopped.

Angela says:
6 September 2014

I agree it’s disgraceful – same just happened to me but because I gave my wrong date of birth (I’m always wary of giving my correct date of birth) I was told ‘on this occasion I would have to pay by Visa’ which is what I wanted to do anyway. Now I’ll have a search on my account which will affect my credit. Disgraceful – I want to know to whom I complain?

Yvonne says:
13 April 2014

In April 2013 I was recovering from an ankle operation and was pretty much housebound so had a look at the Next website with a view to buying my grandaughter (aged 3) some clothes and slippers. And then the NEXT NIGHTMARE began:

I had never used the Next site before and certainly never intended to open a credit account. It looked as though you could pay by debit card so I started to shop. I selected some clothes which were marked “age 3” and a hat marked “3-6” and some children’s Moshi Monster slippers size 7 which is the average size for a 3 year old.

I then attempted to buy the items using my debit card. I thought I had clicked on all the correct buttons but then the system seemed to have a mind of its own and informed me I now had an account – exactly what I didn’t want! I telephoned immediately and said I had attempted to pay by debit card but that their system had automatically opened a credit account. I was horrified. I said I did not want an account and certainly did not want any credit checks done on me. I was told that they had a fault in their system which is why it had not accepted my debit card. I was told to wait until I had received the goods and then sort it out.

When the goods arrived the hat was for a 3 – 6 month old baby, not a 3 year old child and the slippers were an ADULT size 7 – Moshi Monsters!! Not only were the items wrong but I would be charged something like £3.40 to return them!

I phoned again and said I was not going to pay for the incorrect items to be returned, that their site should make it clear whether they were talking about babies, children or adult sizes and that they should never have opened a credit account when I did not want one!

The person said to return the items and the postage would be refunded which it was and that the account would be closed on payment by debit card. I specifically asked him if a credit search had been carried out against my name for what in the end amounted to £13. He assured me that it had not.

Fast forward to February 2014 when I obtained a copy of my Experian credit report and lo and behold there is a NEXT account and C search against my name. Yes it was closed within a week by NEXT but it will remain on my credit file until 2019 for the princely sum of £13 with an unwanted credit limit of £600!!

Will there be a next time with NEXT for me? – Definitely not!!

Tracey says:
13 April 2014

I saw a set of £20 fairy lights in store about 3/4 years ago but they were out of stock so I went home to buy them on line. I bought them (and thought I’d paid for them). It was a good few months later that I had a final notice from a debt collection agency for about a hundred pounds. During the intervening months since receiving the lights I had no letters or statements – I was completely unaware I had opened an account and was absolutely horrified. I seem to remember explaining my side of the story and I think they may have reduced the final payment due, its a long time ago now and I can’t really remember. I have always thought it was my ineptitude that was the cause …. I am glad to find out that it wasn’t all mine!!!!

Dawn says:
28 April 2014

Same story as everyone else. No problems in the past, we bought things and paid for them straight away by credit card. But I noticed on a new order last week that somehow we’d now acquired a credit account, and it turned out a jacket my husband had ordered a couple of months ago hadn’t been paid for but instead had been put on a credit account which my husband hadn’t asked for or agreed to and thus didn’t know about. When our new purchases arrived I paid the lot off (we’d just got an email telling us we’d failed to make a payment for the jacket). So we now owe them nothing, but this morning we got a letter telling us we’d failed to make a minimum payment and so they could take legal action against us. I realise the letter was probably posted before our online payment for the full amount was made, but it’s still upsetting to see ourselves accused of having ‘broken the terms of this credit agreement’ and being warned of possible legal action against us.

What really bothers me is that if I hadn’t made the purchases I did last week we’d be none the wiser about this credit account. We didn’t know we had it, my husband thought he’d paid for the jacket at the time of purchase, and we get so many advertising emails from shops we don’t bother to read them, we just trash them as I’m sure 99% of people do. So email after email could have been sent and wouldn’t have been read, also we get a lot of junk mail so an envelope from Next (as from any shop) could just have gone in the bin. The only reason I opened the one that arrived today was because I suspected it was something to do with this unwanted credit account. We now intend closing the account and that’ll be an end to our shopping with Next online. It’s a pity, as we both like their clothes and online shopping is very handy for us, but this credit account business being sneaked into transactions seems to us to be sharp practice and we won’t encourage it. If and when. Next decides to be open about the way they conduct their business, we may shop with them again, but in the meantime we won’t.

Kate Hughes says:
1 May 2014

I like to think I’m pretty savvy at online shopping etc But even I also got caught into inadvertently opening up a credit account that I did not want with Next. My 12 year old daughter had created the basket with some items she needed. I checked thoroughly what she was buying, cost, and size etc; I thought I was just registering with the website, and then when I discovered that rather than moving to the payment stage, it had started to open up the credit account, there was no way of going back through the browser to restart or cancel the credit account. I tried really hard to find their payment now option but couldn’t see the button anywhere, and she needed the items quickly so I had to let it go ahead and open the credit account. But I was really annoyed that I then had to waste another 15 mins at least going through the palaver of calling them up and cancelling the credit account which they couldn’t immediately do but had to wait another 48 hours. I told Next I thought the site was confusing and unhelpful and that I’d be encouraging my daughter to stick with New Look from now on!!

Susan C says:
2 May 2014

Happened to me twice. Thought it was my mistake first time but next time realised this is intentional on their part. It was really difficult to get through to Next customer services to cancel this unwanted account. Also went to Next store in Aylesbury recently and the changing room was so filthy I left without trying anything on. Will give this retailer a wide birth in future.

Dave says:
7 May 2014

I posted on this thread several months ago after being stung by this Next ploy. Thought an update may be useful. I contacted Next threatening to take this up with the FSA as they had, in my opinion, deliberately duped me into opening a credit account. I also pointed out that they had previously promised publicly to stop doing this (there are several articles about it on the internet).

It took a while to get an answer in writing but ultimately they were very apologetic and, without any further pressure, to my surprise sent a £25 gift voucher. To me, that seemed a tacit acknowledgement that they know they are operating on very dodgy ground – although I’m sure they would argue otherwise.

In any case, it’s worth pursuing if you have a grievance – not just because of the money, but because the financial consequences may actually force them to rethink their behaviour.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a record of the wording of my original complaint as it was filed via their website.

Emma B says:
9 June 2014

Be aware of the damage their accounts can have – have just sent this complaint to them.
I have applied for a remortgage on my house and it has been denied due to a late payment file put there by you. I have an excellent credit rating and am devastated that this would have such an impact and stay on file for 6 years. I have already contacted you and been told you will not help me by removing the file as a gesture of good will due to the seriousness of the effect it is having. I forgot to send a payment of £27 back in october and was emailed to say this – I realised my error and sent the payment immediately. I had no idea that this small and insignificant amount of money would cause me so much distress now. I have appealed to you to help me and you have refused – you show no value towards your customers and have treated me like a criminal despite the fact that I do not owe you any only money and did not repeatedly fail to pay. It was a mistake and one I will be paying for now for 6 years. All you had to do was show some compassion but no – you lost my account and my custom instead.

Chel says:
11 June 2014

Next automatically opened a credit account for me when i was paying for an item via debit card. I was unaware of this until 1 year later when i went to pirchase something online and automatically charged it to the credit account when i wanted to pay via debit card. I called up complaining that i knew nothing about this credit account and cancelled my order with them out of principle. I’m currently waiting for the credit account ti show he items as not received and was told the account will be closed once it is rectified but 1 week later and still the same. If they dont rectify it shortly im going to have to pay it just so it doesnt effect my credit score. I assume the opening of the credit account is in t&c but it should be clearer. When i spoke to a person she confirmed that you must register in order to purchase online at next and when you do, they will open a credit account. I hope i do not incur charges or have to pay them any money because of this. If so i will be taking it further.

My daughter (unknown to me) set up a next online account when she was 17 years old, because she wanted to buy me a Xmas present which wasn’t in store. She then started to use it a few months later because it wad so easy. She got herself into financial difficulties and I then had to bail her out. She was too young to set up the account in the first place and obviously no checks are carried out because she was born at our address and is registered here for everything. However when she first got herself into difficulty she tried to handle it herself and started a payment plan with next but she didn’t understand that if she didn’t pay by the precise date she was penalised with charges. Also now a few years older she is looking to save up and get a mortgage but now her credit rating has been affected. I’m absolutely staggered that she was not checked out properly in the first place. Does she have any come back?

Sarah says:
4 September 2014

I’m so angry!!! I bought a pair of jeans for my husband on Monday. They arrived today along with a credit agreement for £600! I’ve shopped with Next before and like others must has misunderstood the “quick payment” option at checkout. Like other online shops (like amazon) I thought they’d stored my debit card information from my previous order and this was being used.
I checked my bank and sure enough no payment to Next has been taken, logged into my Next “account” to then find a statement and payment history page!
In shock I straight away paid for the jeans (hoping I’ve not got 3 days interest already!) then called their customer service number. Surprisingly option 1 was for “if you didn’t want an account”. Now I have to wait until tomorrow evening for them to call back to confirm my payment cleared and to go through the “process” of closing my account.
HOW can’t they do this?! They did not have a credit card from me, just my debit card which is plenty in the green so there’s no way my payment failed.

Angela says:
6 September 2014

I was ordering some jogging bottoms and t-shirts, debit card at the ready. Then as I clicked understand the terms and conditions – in tiny print it said by clicking this you are accepting a credit check. I’m very careful with my credit rating, which is excellent now after being poor a few years ago, and I would never expect to be fooled into agreeing to have a credit check when I haven’t applied for credit. As it happens I always put the wrong date of birth down, but their reason for asking for my DOB was ‘you have to be over 18’… no indication they’d try and use it to obtain credit on my behalf without my request. Because of the wrong date of birth I was asked to pay by debit card, which I wanted to do anyway. Feel VERY annoyed and hope this doesn’t show up as a negative on my credit rating.

Princessfusia says:
6 September 2014

Avoid Next Online Shopping!!! When you register as a new customer and attempt to purchase an item, they will automatically credit score you (without asking your permission) and give you a credit account !!!!

I went into store today ( 6th September 2014) and a store assistant gave me a £10 voucher to use online ( a gimmick to get you to register online so they can credit score you for a Next Account I now realise!) and said there was no catch!! Yeah right!

I went online when I got home to place an order for some perfume and use my voucher and as I was registering I realised the website said my order had been placed! I thought to myself how is that possible when I haven’t paid for it?? When I checked my email I was surprised to see I had a email conforming my order for the next day.

I straight away called the number on the email (which is charged by the way!) and asked why I had a order that I hadn’t paid for yet. They said it went. On my ‘account’ and I must have pressed something to sign up to it!! It my fault! Well Ii re checked everything and at no point was I asked to sign up for a credit account. I asked for my order to be cancelled and they said that was not possible as it had already been packed for delivery (In 15 mins…yeah right!) and I could not close my account until the balance was settled!!

I asked to speak with a manager who had to call me back. They asked me to get the courier to take the package back of I didn’t want it and when the balls co is zero she will cost my account and readjust the credit report. I will have to wait and see if they stick by their promise.

I think it’s disgusting how sneaky they are with credit scoring people. Even if they say this will happen in some small terms and conditions somewhere(not sure if they do or not) it a should be made clear to the customer in big writing before it happens and the customer should have the right to choose not to go through with it. I expected much more from a big company such as Next. I will never use them again as do not trust them now.

After downing my time and money trying to fix their sneaky mess, an apology wouldn’t be nice at the very least!

miss taylor says:
29 September 2014

Same thing happened to me this week….ordered a top got to the end expecting to see payment options and none came up – just the word order complete. I didnt think i had placed the order correctly , but the next day the top arrived – followed by an account letter from next telling me i had an account to the value of £500+ …if i had realised this during the order i wouldnt have continued . I cannot believe next is getting away with it at all. My family will not shop there ever again.

This happened to me. I tried to buy something, turns out I’ve had a £900 limit since 2011. How can a company be so irresponsible? I am sure that Next as a company is made up of decent human beings with morals; so who made the decision to either set the site up to do this and/or did not stop the practice when they were alerted to it. I wonder how many people who aren’t so fortunate to be able to pay outright have spiralled into debt because of things like this.

I doubt this comment will change anything but just wanted to say – it’s still happening.

Goodbye next says:
26 December 2014

Hi there, the exact same thing happened to me. I am so pleased you have written about you r experience as I was feeling rather daft.

I shall be closing the account after speaking to the shop manager.

Cathy says:
21 December 2014

I frequently order from websites, but never have I unknowingly opened a credit account by paying with my debit card!
I ordered 2 shirts in what appeared to be the normal ordering process, I entered my debit card details and it was over and done with 1 minute later. Checked my bank account the morning after and they had deducted the £96 and had my shirts delivered in store a day later.

However 2 days later I get a lovely letter through the post saying I need to sign a credit agreement??? Something I did not even consider!!

It’s taken 7 years to get my credit score to a level where I can have a mobile phone contract in my own name again, no doubt this credit check has knocked me back down!!

Are they even allowed to do this?
I paid by a debit card that cleared straight away, when you accept terms and conditions you don’t expect a condition that is unrelated to your order…. surely you can get them through the unfair contract terms???

Even though we accepted their terms and conditions wasn’t it just to run a credit check, not to open a credit account??
Does this not make that credit account invalid as their is no reasonable consideration by the consumer??

Will not be using Next again!!!

Jamie Nash says:
21 December 2014

If anyone has had a credit check done without their permission you can write to
Next stating they have to confirm
that there is no record of them having done a check on you and if there is
that they have to amend your record for tr big three credit reference agencies-if not you will be reporting them not only
to the financial ombudsman but also the fraud office.

PS WHICH-surely there’s enough evidence here to report them to
SFO now-please can you do this on everyone’s behalf?

Next’s website is equally misleading regarding signing up for their ‘Directory’ (fancy name for a catalogue).

They offer a free copy of the catalogue but fail to make it obvious that you are signing-up to receive future editions chargeable to your chosen method of payment (at £3.75 each, I believe).

I complained and cancelled the catalogue subscription (by email) and received a standard, hollow, corporate apology.

Thankfully, my credit card payment was accepted, so I have no credit account with them.

PS The goods (clothes) were very poor quality and were returned for a refund.