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Next website still confusing shoppers

Next account card and directory

Shopping online with Next can still lead to credit problems, despite changing its site after our previous investigation, where we revealed it automatically set up credit accounts if your card was declined…

While Next does seem to have corrected this and now lets you choose another card or cancel the order like other online shops, we’re still getting reports of unwanted credit accounts being opened in other circumstances. Like Kay, who told us in January:

‘I was checking my credit report the other day and was shocked to find that Next had set up an account and given me £600 credit without my knowledge! I am really annoyed as having credit accounts open affects a person’s credit rating. Like the others I recently purchased something online and paid for it by debit card and not by credit card.’

Next’s confusing website

We think Next’s website is still too confusing. After you confirm your address and delivery method, the first words on the next page are ‘Order complete’. If you want to pay by card, you have to click on the inconspicuous ‘Pay now?’ button further down the page – otherwise a credit account will be opened and the order charged to that account.

Paying on a credit account could lead to you paying interest at 25.99% APR – more than most credit cards charge – if you don’t cancel the order or settle your account within a month of receiving the statement.

We’ve asked Next to fix this so that a credit account is only opened when the customer has actively chosen this option.

Next did not accept that the ‘Pay now?’ button was inconspicuous, but said it would be changing its website so that after confirming their address and delivery details, customers will see two very clear options saying ‘Pay now?’ or ‘Add to your account’ before they see the ‘Order complete’ message. We will monitor Next’s website to ensure these changes are made.

Have you had these issues with Next?

Comments

Next are a business remember. While I do not by any means agree with what they do. I do understand why the web designers have made the site that way.

Next make alot more money when people set-up accounts so that is what there trying to get us to-do. It’s very cheeky and morally wrong, but I can understand why they have done it that way.

Last year I bought a bed base from Next website, paid in full by credit card at the time of order (which is confirmed on the order confirmation email) but they still set up a credit account for me, without asking.

First i heard of it was when i received the paperwork through the post. I immediately told them to cancel it as I had not asked for a credit account. This credit account now appears on my credit report – the dates on there are incorrect too (purchase was made 1/3/13, but according to credit report my credit account with them started on 14/1/13 and it appears to have not been fully closed until 19/7/13, despite telling them to cancel the credit account around April).

You have to wonder about the commercial acumen of some companies. If I were in Next’s position and Which? told me the website was too confusing, the last thing I would do would be to dispute it. There was a time in retail when the customer was always right [even when they were wrong].

Steve Quinn says:
21 February 2014

Next know exactly what they are doing here. It is sharp practice and they make money from people by fooling them into buying by credit. This should be stamped on by the FSA. I personally will never shop there again because of this nonsense and would advise others to stay well clear.

I completely agree, and will never shop with them again because of my experience.

I agree with Steve. Next were told-off by Which? and made a change that wasn’t good enough. When they were told-off again, they disagreed with it and sought to defend themselves. This exposes their exploitative conduct for all to see. They could easily have said “Yes, we can do better than that” and quietly gone away and made an acceptable change to their website. Now they have incurred bad publicity, come out of it with a bad reputation, and lost customers into the bargain.

I would like to see an end to underhand tactics, whether they lead to opening an account, receiving marketing information or having contact details passed to other companies. The default should be to opt-out.

Pursuing companies such as Next will deal with individual problems, but we need to prevent that happening in the first place.

We need all companies to conduct their business in a responsible way that respects consumers, or face fines.

Quite agree, It seems “ethical commerce” has become a contradiction in terms.

I agree with the previous views. Next’s change is not good enough. They set up an account for me even though my card had been accepted.

I will never shop online at Next again – and warn others not to do so as well.

Katy C says:
24 February 2014

I, too, was set up with an account automatically last year (and I’m not naive about these things – the whole buying process seemed exactly the same as any other, non-account website) – I was absolutely furious, and I’ve cancelled it, but only after I’d been charged for some stupid catalogues that I never requested (the cost was waived when I rang them). Totally unacceptable practice, and if it transpires in future that my credit rating has suffered, I will take further action.

Absolutely agree with those who say they will never shop with Next online again.

Sarah says:
24 February 2014

Really pleased that Which? are staying on top of this issue for consumers. I had the same problem with them opening an account without my permission, I had to call them three times to finally get it closed. Will never shop at Next again.

Geoff says:
11 March 2014

My girlfriend has just been refused a mortgage. Why? Because she has a default notice on her credit report from ‘Next Directory’. It seems she bought something off the Next website back in 2009 and rather than charging her debit card they set up a credit account for her and put the item on the credit account. She didn’t receive any letters to ask her to pay her balance, and thinking she’d paid for the product didn’t realise she had this unpaid balance. It’s despicable really the way Next operate. I’ll be telling all my friends to boycott them and spread the message.

Simon Lytton says:
19 March 2014

Having been a loyal Next customer in the past, I tried to use their website for the first time in January to buy some jeans. The website announced that the order was complete, even though it hadn’t asked for payment yet. Nowhere did I see an option or make a choice to open a credit account.

Soon afterwards I received a credit agreement through the post. I phoned up and told them I had never requested a credit account and did not want one. They then took a card payment for the jeans instead (at a higher rate than advertized on the website – unbelievable!) and promised to close the account.

Today I have received notification from CreditExpert that Next Directory have added my new credit account to my credit file, and that my credit rating has gone down as a consequence.

I will be making an extremely irate complaint to Next, as it is not just poor customer service, it is frankly criminal that they could set up such an account without my permission. It seems from the accounts of others here and across the internet that Next are doing this systematically, and I hope the FCA and Trading Standards come down upon them very hard, very publicly, and impose a considerable fine.

David says:
7 May 2014

This practice still continues as I found out today. I created an Account (like you would with Amazon, ASOS, any other online retailer) as I had £140 worth of gift vouchers to spend for my Birthday. After putting in my details – identical to ANY online retailer – I was suddenly presented with a screen showing I had a Next Account with a Credit Limit of £900! I am in the process of applying for a mortgage so was outraged.

I contacted their complaints department and was told I must have chosen ‘Buy Now Pay Later’. Considering I had NOTHING in my basket this was impossible. He was adamant though and refused to let me speak to a Manager. He said he would close the Account and remove the search from my Credit File. I ran my credit report this evening and the search from Next Directory is there. Equally my Account is still ‘Open’ with £900 to spend.

At no point was there a Box to state I consented to a Credit Account or Credit Search. Yes they claim their T’s and C’s say they can, yet many people have been caught out.

Those who are interested; MSE has also picked up on this which I’ve included. DON’T BUY WITH NEXT ONLINE! http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/shopping/2014/05/shopping-online-at-next-it-could-hurt-your-credit-rating

Nicola says:
4 July 2014

Hi, I’ve just tried to purchase an item on Next online and there’s no option but to commit to a credit search / get an account opened, I understand I can pay on my debit card etc at payment stage but I cannot get to this as I’m unwilling to agree to the former. There’s no way round it, you add the items to your basket and then click to register as a new customer, provide your personal details as you would with other online sites, but then you have to click to agree to the terms and conditions, of which the credit search is part of. Despicable and very surprising for such a well known retailer. Very sneaky

Rammie says:
19 July 2014

Today I tried to order a pair of jeans from Next, created an account with password and selected ‘Pay Now’, entered my credit card details only to be told there was an error processing the payment with my card and to contact the Bank. I contacted the Bank to confirm there were more than sufficient funds to cover the £18 payment and the Bank advised Next had made no attempt to take payment from my credit card. I then called Next asking why they declined my payment which they could not explain. I was then told a Next credit account had been set up for me anyway as part of the online processing . I was furious about this as I had not selected to apply for any credit with Next. I had selected ‘Pay Now’ and just wanted to Pay and Go with my own credit card. It is incredible Next can get away with this practice. Giving people credit that they never asked for is beyond belief. I asked for the account and all information they had gathered from me online to be deleted. This is a hassle I could do without as I am going to have verify Next have deleted my account and I will need to check my credit reports in a couple of months time. I wish I had seen these earlier threads about Next before I logged onto their website this morning. I will never shop there again in store or online.

Further to my comments on 21/2/14 I was outraged to receive a letter in the post, dated 11/9/14 advising me that the interest rate on my Next Directory Credit Account is changing. Considering I had contacted them over a year ago to cancel the account they had automatically set up against my wishes I phoned the number. I was told, quite unbelievably really, that the account hadn’t been closed properly! Absolutely outrageous that this organisation is allowed to continue to behave in this way, setting up credit accounts without explicit consent and then failing to properly close the accounts. This means that I’m going to have to go through the rigmarole of checking my credit records all over again to make sure it’s not showing up there still. When will Next be made to stop this practice???

Sheetal says:
27 September 2014

Hi,
I don’t know whether this is the right place to submit my query, but I hope some one can help me. I purchase stuff online during last year’s Christmas sale. I returned some things and the lady at the counter said that the money will go into your directory account as you paid online. I though… fine. Then I got a letter and leaflet and card saying that next is offering me a credit card. As I didn’t want any credit card, I binned it.
I thought of cashing my money that should have been in my account after I returned the goods, but I couldn’t find any statements.regarding that. Just the account summary showed : present account balance : 38.01 CR. When I tried to purchase something, there always popped a message: due to security reasons, you have to pay by card, thereafter you can use your directory account for payment. I never purchased anything after the Christmas sale and lost hope to ever getting my money back.
Today is Next sale and I again thought of purchasing somethings. When I checked my account, the account summary still shows present balance : 38.01. But when I go to All Statements , for the fist time I saw the returned goods with their price. Here the present balance is : 133.50 CR
I am confused. Is it the amount that next has to pay me or I have to pay? I calculated, and the amount of the returned goods comes to 78. So what does 38.01 or 133.50 mean?
And there is the issue of this credit card, which I wasn’t even aware of till I read the posts here.
My account summary says :
Your available credit : £1,034.00
your credit limit : £1,000
What does it mean?
Can I get my money back, or will I be paying them to get out this credit card mess?
Thanks in advance

If you call Next customer services give them the account number (your online Next account number) and ask them to refund the amount back to the original payment card they will do so without issue. Failing that call into store and ask a member of staff to call the directory for you. I have done it twice without any problems.

Sheetal says:
27 September 2014

Sorry for the typos.

I’m so upset as I think Next has just run a hard credit check on me without my knowledge. I’ve been working on building my credit, and I’ve been very careful recently not to apply for any new cards to help improve my credit score.

I was online shopping and I ran a google shopping search for pajamas. A nice set came up on linked to the next website, and so I clicked on the product, thinking surely Next is a reputable dealer. I glanced at the product page, added to cart, and hit the check out button like I do with any normal online shopping site.

It did the usual request for my name and address details. Many online shops require you open an account with username and password. Usually these are just login details so you can access your purchase history and saved information later on. I was completely under the impression that the account I was creating was just your typical username/login set up. The button I clicked said only REGISTER YOUR DETAILS. I thought I was registering, not applying…

I put an accurate name, email, and home address. Then I put in a fake birthday and phone number. I never share those particular personal details for security reasons, as they are utterly unnecessary for an online shop. I am truly hoping that just my name, email, and home address was not enough to run a hard credit check, and the fake birthday may have put it off. If anyone knows the answer to that please do tell me!

After this I clicked continue. Here there are 3 check boxes. Would you like a free directory (yes or no). I clicked no. Tick this box if you do not wish to receive sale and other information related to next. I ticked that one. And finally, I accept the T&C and cookie policy. I did tick that, and no, I didn’t read them. This is 2014 and I’m trying to do an online shop like a normal human being, I would never expect such a shocker in those T&C’s. Because I knew next was a big, well known company, I trusted that their T&C’s would be reasonable and faithfully believed their T&C’s would not include such a scam.

Below these tick boxes, there were two paragraphs of fine print, which I did not even notice. It’s only going back and looking at it now that I even realize that it’s there. Up through this point, I was still under the impression that this was a normal online shop, I was only registering my login and delivery details and trying to get on with completing the payment.

I clicked continue. The next page was selecting a shipping method (further confirming to me that this was a normal online purchase!) Home delivery, or store collection? I selected home delivery and clicked continue.

Here a warning came up at the top with a red exclamation point. I am copy/pasting it here:

” To Complete Your Order,
we will require you to pay by credit or debit card. The credit or debit card must be registered to your billing address.
Please note payment will be taken from your card immediately.
For more information call 0333 777 8000 Lines Are Open : 7.30 am – 11.00 pm Monday to Saturday, 8.00 am – 11.00 pm Sunday. National call rates apply”

It just wanted a valid card with correct address for payment. That’s fine, I thought. Many shops require that. Below this warning, there was the order summary with instructions for the courier. The order details looked correct, and I clicked continue.

And there was the shock. The next page was supposed to be payment page. At the top, in bright red letters, it said something along the lines of ( I don’t remember it exactly) ‘unfortunately we are unable to issue you credit at this time’. There was a more information question mark, and clicking that gave links to the experian and equifax websites.

Only in the T&C’s and in the fine print below the checkboxes did it indicate a credit check would be done. I, as any normal human being, did not bother reading the T&C’s for a £15 order. I also easily missed the fine print below the check boxes.

I still thought I was REGISTERING MY DETAILS, as the original button said. Nowhere did it say APPLY FOR CREDIT, which is what that button really was.

Needless to say I was horrified. I immediately left the site, cleared my cookies, and restarted my browser. I can still login to the account though unfortunately, so it did save the information.

I’m very upset, I will be calling them tomorrow to close my login account and checking my credit score to see what damage might have been done. I’m gutted that my credit score my have taken an unexpected hit, and I will never, ever, ever do business with Next in any way shape or form, and I will tell everyone I know not to either. This is an absolute scam and I’m shocked that they can get away with damaging people’s credit like this.

Another sucker says:
28 October 2014

I also fell into the trap. As a regular online purchaser, it never occurred to me, that by giving my details I was applying for credit. As soon as I received the letter I called Next and asked them to cancel the application. I am also writing to confirm this has been done. When I asked the call center how I could be assured that my credit rating had not be affected, I was told to get a credit check through Experian. I pointed out that this had a cost and also credit checks and was told I could do it for free for 30 days, which isn’t strictly true.
What I need to know is whether on request Next have to send me a copy of my “Register Your Details” page. I am pretty sure I ticked NO to receiving the Directory and YES to not receiving other information. Anyone any legal knowledge ref. this?

I understand that Next has now updated their website to comply with Financial Conduct Authority regulations.

Another sucker says:
28 October 2014

It is still not that clear especially if you are a regular on line purchaser and just “press the buttons”. I have never come across applying for credit as part of my online purchase, and being naive it never occurred to me that one would do so?.

I agree with you. It should simply be:

How do you wish to pay?

Debit card
Credit card
Credit account

Each should have a tick box beside them and their should not be a way of setting up a credit account in error. It is not difficult to do correctly but Next seem to find it so, even after the FCA got involved.

Jamie says:
29 October 2014

The first time surfer offers that they have in store to entice then trap people into getting into debt are also horrendous