Wednesday, April 14, 2010

GrosBill - Out!

When you google GrosBill, the blurb says “GrosBill sells the most recent and innovative ‘high tech’ electronic and house hold appliances at discount prices online and in 7 stores” (my translation from French). Yeah – except if your innovative high tech electronic product doesn’t work so you take it back to the store. This is what happened to me – it’s so bad, I’ve simply got to out those “bad guys”.

Last year, on Thursday Dec 17, I bought an external hard disk at the GrosBill Paris store. I needed to backup files on my new Macintosh computer, and the man who helped me set up my Macbook Pro had highly recommended GrosBill. I of course told the guy behind the counter that the hard disk was for a Mac, not a PC, and bought it, paying 90 euros for the pleasure, including a special guarantee.

Once I arrived home, I connected the disk– and nothing happened. So the next day, Friday, I went back to GrosBill which, by the way, is really far out of my way and takes forever to get there! Imagine my surprise when, even with the guarantee, the guy behind the counter refused to take back the disk. He told me that it was my responsibility to format the disk for a Mac. Basically he said that “somewhere in the computer system you need to find ‘hard disk’ so you can reformat it for a Mac”. Right.

I made the mistake of taking him at his word and returned home. I looked at the system preferences and - nothing. I opened the disk utility and yet again – nothing. The following Monday, again I wasted my time going back to the store, this time to return the disk. It got even worse. Another customer service guy refused to believe me and insisted that he test the disk. “On a Mac?” I asked. Of course not! And on their PC the disk icon appeared. Then he admitted to me it wasn’t possible to reformat the disk (which is interesting since on the box it said you had to reformat it for a Mac).

At this point, I decided to return the disk for a store credit. I also asked the customer service guy where I could send an email about all this, and he gave me an email address. As soon as I got home, I sent an email with the whole story, in French, including, at the end, that I was so exasperated with their nastiness that I would “out” them.

I soon received an automatic response saying “The questions we deal with at this email address only concern problems of bank payments. If your question concerns an order or how Grosbill functions, you will receive no response from this address.” The guy had given me a wrong address – on purpose I’m sure! Par for the course.

Later, to my surprise, I did get an email response. This is what it said: “Hello. Only the store manager can decide what to do for you. You have been given a credit. We cannot do anything else for you. You may, if you wish, inform your network or a consumers association. Sincerely, GrosBill Customer Service.”

OK – they said they didn’t mind my informing my “network”. I can also add that there is a kind of “happy end” to this story. I figured that I needed to use the credit, and finally I found something for the same price – a cordless headphone. Ordinarily I wouldn’t spend 90 E on a headphone, but what the heck. I wanted one. And when Anvil’s heavy metal rock sound burst into the middle of my head, I did feel that I had turned it around. Somewhat.

My advice to anyone living in France is - avoid GrosBill. Like the plague.