BNPL users charged for credit firm mistakes

Thousands of people are being incorrectly penalised for buy now, pay later (BNPL) debts as a direct result of errors by retailers and credit companies, new research from Resolver has revealed.

The independent issue resolution service has called on both credit firms and retailers to “act now” to stop consumers being charged unfairly.

Resolver has helped people sort more than 17,500 complaints about BNPL credit in the last two years. However, new research has found that one in 10 complaints relate specifically to issues concerning returned items, resulting in people potentially defaulting on credit deals unfairly.

BNPL users are increasingly reporting that due to returns not being logged properly or lags between the retailer and credit firm communicating, they are still being billed for returned goods. Many complaints are about the credit firm failing to address the complaint or situation when notified, with some people being passed to debt collectors for relatively small amounts.

According to Resolver, consumers are being pursued for payments by credit firms despite items being both returned on time and confirmed by the retailers, while some are being charged late payment fees for items by some credit firms. BNPL customers have also been forced to pay for items in full or in instalments while waiting for complaints to be addressed.

However, both the Consumer Rights Act and Consumer Contract Regulations provide statutory rights when it comes to returning goods, without the need to take credit out.

“Getting a refund for returned goods should be pretty simple – but using BNPL later credit to pay for the goods makes it a fiendishly complicated process,” commented Resolver CEO, Alex Neill.

“Increasing numbers of people are being asked for payment or penalised for late payments for goods they don’t even have anymore.

“It’s too easy for retailers and credit companies to blame each other when things go wrong – and our users are making it clear that they are struggling to get errors corrected when they contact the firms. Both credit firms and retailers need to act now to stop people paying unfairly for their errors.”

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