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Beware of buying from www.next.co.uk!

publication date: Feb 10, 2010
author/source: Nicole Burroughs
thumbs downI was looking for a new winter coat and found something which looked just perfect on www.next.co.uk.  I went through the whole on-line purchasing process, only to find that the order confirmation screen popped up before I'd entered any payment details.

I asked a colleague of mine if she'd ever bought from Next online and she explained that an invoice would come with coat when it was delivered and that I had opened an account with Next by placing the order. She went on to say how fed up she'd been when the same thing happened to her – if only I asked her before ordering!

I was furious. At no point had the website made clear that to buy online you have to open an account. If it had, I would not have gone ahead. I realised straight away that this feature of the online shopping process must be buried deep in the T&C wording - a dirty and deliberate trick by Next to dupe people into opening an account with them.

I decided to take receipt of the coat, pay the invoice and cancel the account immediately, at the same time telling whichever Next representative I got on the phone exactly what I thought of their underhand sales tactic.

This I did. The telephonist I spoke to reacted with utter disdain. She explained that it was there for all to see in the T&Cs in such a practised way that I knew this was a conversation she'd had many times before... it seems I'm not the only person who does not always read the small print. She then went on to add insult to injury by telling me that I had to purchase a Next catalogue before I could close the account. Apparently I signed up to this inadvertently as well.  The price may only have been £3.75, but it was money I bitterly resented spending.

The money was paid and the account was duly closed. Oh, sorry, no it wasn't. That took a further three phone calls, the last of which I made after I received my monthly account balance through the post!

Needless to say, I will not buy from Next online again, and I would suggest others boycott it too, until Next decides to be upfront about its tactics to boost account-holder numbers.