For several weeks, testimonials from Fnac and Darty customers engaged by surprise with Canal+ have been multiplying, especially on Twitter. On the side of the main interested parties, it is however ensured that the procedure is clear.
It has been several years since Canal+ entered into a partnership with Fnac Darty. One of the main points of this agreement allows sellers of commercial brands to offer their customers subscriptions to the encrypted channel, generally with advantageous trial periods. But in recent months, Twitter has seen messages from disgruntled users flourish. The complaint is more or less always the same. Following a purchase at Fnac or Darty, the customer finds himself committed for the next 24 months with Canal+, without the possibility of terminating. Some examples below:
Hello @canalplus is it normal that you punctured my bank account by violating the law 3 times when I never signed a contract with you, never consumed with you, because of a trial offer that I was included with FNAC and that I have never used?
— The Big Blonde (@LeGrandBlond666) May 4, 2022
Well, you imposed a channel plus subscription on me after a purchase at Fnac, impossible to cancel, what to do? @canalplus
— ‘ (@_Sooow) May 4, 2022
@canalplus I have just discovered that I had been subscribed to a Canal+ offer without my knowledge when purchasing an Iphone at Fnac in Boulogne Billancourt on June 19, 2021 and that my account was debited with the sum of 31, 99 Euros per month, Stop and refund, please
— Francois Collobert (@FCollobert) December 31, 2021
SO MY DM ARE OPEN I’M WAITING FOR AN ADVISOR.
— Cota (@cotavans) April 5, 2022
So what happened? We went to see both sides of the partnership to find out more and try to explain this rather problematic situation. As expected, both parties deny any malicious intentions. As for Canal+, we are simply told that there is indeed an offer allowing Fnac Darty customers to benefit from a 24-month Canal+ subscription with the first month free. This subscription can be canceled before the end of the first month, a procedure which is done “simply from the customer area or by simply calling Canal+ customer service“. Accuracy which is important, the subscriber is supposed to be informed of these subscription conditions, by the seller and by an SMS, and also at the end of the first month. And if the customer disputes, “the subscription can be terminated by simply calling customer service“.
A tacitly renewed trial period
At Fnac Darty, which manages all the customer relations part in this case, we go into a little more detail. “To be able to benefit from this offer, Fnac or Darty customers must go through a clear subscription process, with an in-store salesperson who communicates the conditions and details in full transparency. It is the latter who collects the contact details and data of the customer (surname, first name, email address, bank details or credit card) and thus proceeds to the subscription of the offer, via the dedicated subscription distributor portal.“, we are told.
After this step in the store, the customer receives his identifiers and password by email, as well as a subscriber number and a reminder of the subscription conditions of the offer. The problem is that at the end of the trial month, the consumer is not offered to stop his subscription. He must do it himself before the deadline. “In the absence of action on the part of the customer before the end of the free period, it is renewed for a commitment period of two years, and [il] will be deducted monthly“, continues our interlocutor at Fnac Darty. And this interruption – supposed to be done in four clicks on the Canal + site – must take place between the 1st and the 26th of the month following the subscription. Beyond that, it is too late.
A practice not illegal, but sometimes badly managed
This practice, which may seem a little sneaky, is not illegal and is unfortunately quite common. At Fnac Darty, we ensure that everything is done to make the transaction as clear as possible, and we remind you that “the subscription of this offer cannot be done without the prior validation of the customer, who must transmit his bank details to be able to benefit from it“.
Since November 26, an SMS has also been sent to customers who have chosen to take advantage of the offer. Internally, a tool was also deployed in March to remind “the essential steps to be implemented by the seller before and after the sale of this Canal+ offer as well as the processes to be followed to avoid any type of customer misunderstanding“. Obviously, we don’t present it like that on the side of our interlocutors, but these reinforcements of the procedure are very similar to corrective measures applied to compensate for probable malfunctions that have led to numerous manifestations of dissatisfaction.
Remain cautious to avoid (expensive) misunderstandings
So what can you do to avoid this kind of situation? First, ask yourself the right questions when buying from Fnac or Darty. There are usually quite a few valid reasons for you to be asked for your bank details or a credit card imprint. If you are told about a subscription offer to any service whatsoever and you are tempted, make sure you have noted the end of the possible free period, and do not hesitate to set up a reminder on your phone, for example, to make sure you don’t miss the deadline if you ever want to cancel. If you are not interested in the offer, do not hesitate to point this out firmly to the seller, to be sure to avoid misunderstandings.
Of course, it can happen that things are not done according to the rules. Sellers head in the air or who do not have time to explain all the terms, for example in periods of high attendance, it exists. Sellers who are a little too greedy who think above all of the premium received if they sell a maximum of these subscriptions, it is also possible, but we dare to hope that it remains quite marginal.
In any case, if like some tweeters mentioned above you have the feeling of being cheated, you will have to step up to the plate while ensuring that you have not actually missed a step in the transaction. In this case, you will have to see directly with Canal+ and demonstrate your good faith. And if that’s not enough, all you have to do is contact the consumer associations… or pay.
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