Moneywise helps a reader unable to get a mortgage because of a disputed debt
I can’t get a mortgage because I refused to pay for a Next order that never arrived.
I ordered £2,700 worth of clothes from Next in 2017. The parcel was apparently delivered and signed for by someone named Scott, but it never arrived at my home.
I have had a lot of rows with Next over the issue as I refused to pay for something that I didn’t receive.
The case has been reopened twice but on both occasions Next has closed it saying I owe them the money and it will affect my credit rating if I don’t pay it.
When I checked my Equifax account, I saw that the ‘debt’ is destroying my credit rating – despite me having agreed to pay £5 a month until I could get it sorted.
My husband and I want to buy our first property next year after saving up for our deposit, but Next has ruined our chances because of the hit to my credit file.
I’m distraught and have now made the decision to reopen this case. Why I just accepted the fact I had to pay it I will never know.
This is not a standard complaint about a lost delivery but something that has escalated to become a major problem for your hopes to buy your own home.
You highlighted inconsistencies with the statements that the delivery driver made, which back up your claims that the items were never delivered to you – but then you rashly agreed to repay the money that Next said you owed it at a fiver a month. While you did that in an effort to protect your credit rating, that action proved fruitless when you decided to stop making repayments to the company because you thought it was unfair.
But agreeing to repay the money in small instalments has hit your case against Next.
Effectively, Next has evidence that you were repaying a ‘debt’ – and now that you’ve stopped, that information has been added to your credit report as a black mark.
You told me: “Due to the situation, I have now been unable to get a mortgage with high street banks because of this on my credit file. It’s had a huge impact.”
Next told you to take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if you were still unhappy with its response, and this is something you have done.
I contacted Next to see if we could sort things out but the company told me:
“The matter is now in the hands of the FOS, to which Next will make a written submission, robustly defending its position that the goods were delivered to the customer in April 2017.
“The company is therefore unable to comment further at this stage.”
Therefore, I can only wish you all the best in your dealings with the Ombudsman and warn other readers not to enter into any financial agreements – such as agreeing to repay a disputed debt – without considering the impact on the rest of your finances.
If you’re unsure of your rights, contact your local Citizens Advice for help.
OUTCOME: Reader turns to the FOS in case against Next