You wouldn’t credit the excuses from my John Lewis card

I acquired a John Lewis credit card in June. In August I made my monthly repayment using my debit card, only to receive a message that the payment had been refused by my debit card issuer. I tried twice more with the same result. My bank confirmed my debit card had not been blocked and John Lewis credit card services managed to take the £680 payment over the phone.

Fifteen minutes later, I received four emails from John Lewis card services thanking me for making a payment – in fact each “failed” transaction had completed and over £2,500 had been debited from my account. John Lewis blithely advised it could be three days before I was refunded and offered £50 compensation and a hamper.

The same thing happened again in September. I waited for 30 minutes after the “failed payment” message, and duly received an email thanking me for my payment. Same again in November, when after over four hours, no email had arrived confirming the payment had gone through, I tried again, receiving the same message. I later discovered both payments, amounting to over £1,200, had been debited from my current account.

SD, Cambridge

The John Lewis Partnership Card has endured rocky times. In 2016 an IT upgrade locked customers out of their accounts and rejected payments and in October a security update caused similar mayhem.

Once again John Lewis blames “essential upgrades” and says “a very small number of customers” were affected. However, it claims that you made repeated payments after failing to receive confirmation.

When I pointed out you were explicitly informed that the transactions had failed, it concluded that you would have seen an error message rather than a failed payment alert. It states that the problem is now resolved.

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Both are nonsense. You’ve had the problem twice more since and sent screen shots of the message stating, unambiguously and incorrectly, that your card had been declined.

A case of wine has now been added to the hamper, but the company’s assurances that the problem has been sorted are not reassuring.

If you need help email Anna Tims at or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number. Submission and publication are subject to our terms and conditions


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