NextCard Complaint - NextCard on line application is unclear
I recently attempted to apply for a NextCard Visa on line. In the process of applying I came to point in the online forms where I got to select a credit card design and saw that there was a $9.95 charge. I never pay to get a credit card, so I tried to cancel the whole transaction. I though that I had successfully cancelled the application. But this was not so. NextCard sent me a statement for $9.95, and then the next month charged me a $29 late fee, and the next month charged me another $29 late fee. Since I am away a lot the amount due was approaching $100 before I picked up my mail and to my horror saw what had happened. On my first call to NextCard, I got the card cancelled but the NextCard rep refused to cancel the outstanding charges. Subsequently, I got another statement, showing my card was cancelled but NextCard still charged me another $29 late fee!! On my second call a NextCard rep did cancelled all charges against me. However, later on that call, a NextCard supervisor told me the rep had actually excited his authority in canceling the charges. Also the NextCard supervisor refused to do anything to correct the bad credit record NextCard had issued against me. The NextCard supervisor refused to give me information on where I could file a complaint against NextCard's behavior. And NextCard maintains that since I had gotten to the "Congraduations you have been approved screen" my application could not be cancelled any longer on line and that it was then my responsibility to call NextCard to cancel my application.
Well, I don't think that I should have to be responsible for a confusing online application form put to consumers by NextCard. No where did the implied meanings that the NextCard techies assume around their confusing forms was I informed that my transaction was complete and that I was now obliged to pay them $9.95 or face lay fee charges of $29 per month. No where on the online forms did NextCard tell me that I'd have to call NextCard to cancel the transaction only they knew had completed.
In my opinion, there need to be standards for what constitues a legal completion of an online transaction. Otherwise, consumers are at risk of getting scammed by sharp operators who create web sites with very low usability. Additionally, web operators that file bad credit reports against their consumers, should be required to let the consumer tell their side of the story in the bad credit report.
My credit rating has been damaged by NextCard and their terrible human factors in their website design. It was only through luck on my part, that one of their service reps exceeded his authority to cancel the close to $100 in late fees and thereby save me a legal hassle. In my view, NextCard's website is NOT FAIR to consumers. It is unfortunate that there isn't a means for consumers to force NextCard to improve the usability of their onsite website. Just like there are standards for paper credit card application forms, I believe there need to be stringent standards for online applications (and web interfaces) and all charges around a transaction need to be made clear to a consumer and the consumer needs to be given a clear option to cancel the transaction before it is committed.
Finally, a firm offering online applications should be responsible to at least attempt to offer online communications and notifications of transactions. That is, if someone applies online then the vendor should reply in a like manner (e.g. via email) rather than through a different mechanism. What NextCard is doing is as a bad as say, someone applies for a credit card via the US mail and the credit card supplier then starts billing the consumer via pony express.