Celside and Hubside insurance can no longer be taken out with Fnac. There have been months of complaints from customers who have taken out insurance for mobile devices with the French company SFAM. This media previously reported on the practices of the French group, also by Hubside.Store, which caused a large wave of complaints for abusive contracts and excessive payments. Now, hypertextual was able to know exclusively that Fnac has decided to change supplier and cut relations with Hubside.
The company’s strategy is clear, as this medium has learned. Besides insurance, they include other services that the buyer has not requested and, in many cases, is not even properly informed about. The tactic is to try to get the client to sign several contracts which, supposedly, they can be canceled easily and free of charge within one month. The reality is something else.
SFAM was 10 million euros fine by the Department of Competition and Consumer Affairs. The agency found that they conducted deceptive practices and intentionally withheld information to increase the number of contracts.
Despite the legal measures, SFAM continued to operate and continued to offer the services of its companies to Fnac, a company in which it is a shareholder. the modus operandi It was based on the Celside insurance offer with the purchase of electronic or mobile devices. It was promised that the first month would be free and could be canceled without obligation for the first 30 days. However, with this assurance They “colaban” the service of creation of web pages and cloud storage of sister company Hubside. So customers end up buying a subscription for something they didn’t order.
The problem arises when they want to cancel the insurance and everything they have “stretched”. Eternal unanswered calls, broken promises and, meanwhile, monthly charges that sometimes exceeded three figures. Fnac previously informed hypertextual that the SFAM services are external to the company but that they monitor claims. In the event of a complaint, it is brought to Hubside’s customer service and followed up.
However, the wave of complaints has not stopped and on social networks like Twitter there are hundreds of tweets explaining the behavior of the SFAM. Also in the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) and in a Telegram channel. From April 1, It seems that these demands have been heard.
The relationship between Fnac and Hubside is cooling
As you may have discovered hypertextual, Fnac has terminated the employment contract which bound him to Celside. Since last Friday, the insurance of this company is no longer offered in stores in Spain. However, customers who have a problem with Hubside or Celside will continue to receive support, reports the confidential source who confirmed the information. The new service providers are GP (Garantie Privée), also French.
The first news came from the Telegram channel of those affected by Hubside, Celside and the SFAM group. A Fnac employee informed the members of the group that she had been informed by her superiors that Celside insurance could no longer be taken out in stores. Likewise, he warned that people who want to make a claim or have doubts about the services they have contracted, did not go to Fnac. “They will not be able to help you with anything because there is no employee of this company in the store and normally the one who handled the complaints was an employee of the SFAM who was in the store,” said he wrote on the channel.
hypertextual contacted Hubside and Celside for details but received no response. Fnac has not yet published the official press release.
Hubside.Store is growing despite everything
Fnac’s decision to no longer offer Celside’s services is an important step in the fight against this company’s misleading practices. However, much remains to be done. In addition to Fnac, other companies like Xiaomi and K-Tuin offer these assurances. Similarly, SFAM initiated an expansion strategy in Spain for Hubside.Store last year.
Since last year, stores have been opened in cities including Barcelona, Zaragoza, Madrid and Seville, while the company plans to open 30 new stores in Spain and Portugal. Hubside reported to hypertextual which in 2021 reached 400,000 new customers in Europe and that they hired 400 employees in Spain to strengthen their teams.
A former employee of Hubside.Store remained anonymous explained to this media that the services of this company are not a scam because they exist; the problem is in the means of convincing the customers. Hubside is described as a service for the purchase and rental of electronic devices and as a specialist in refurbished products.
Four contracts per customer
For salespeople, the maxim is to get customers to sign four contracts in one sitting. four servicesamong which mobile insurance, online storage service and a loyalty club called Reward Club which offers discounts in stores such as Fnac and AliExpress stand out.
“When we get the client to sign, he signs four contracts at the same time,” the worker explained. Under the pretext that the first 30 days they will not have to pay anything and that they can cancel the service whenever they want, many people sign up. The problem arises when the odyssey starts canceling this service.
In addition to the lack of information about the services they have contracted, consumers who call to cancel subscriptions they don’t get a response. Or operators claim their servers crashed, an excuse that more than one customer has offered on social media like Twitter. All this in order to delay the cancellation date and for the first costs to arrive.
Celside and Hubside The Hell Doesn’t Stop There
Fnac has stopped collaborating with this Hubside and this Celside through insurance, and that’s good news. However, it remains to be clarified how the cases of the hundreds of people affected by these practices will be resolved. At Fnac alone, customers are demanding that their money be returned to them even if they have finally managed to cancel the subscriptions.
During these months, several initiatives were born, such as this twitter account, which aims to bring together all the victims of SFAM. The idea is file a joint complaint; the same goal also has in the Telegram group. So far, no complaint has been filed.
Beyond Fnac, many others are affected by these practices. The assurance offered in other stores such as Xiaomi and Hubside.Store store customers. Fnac’s decision will not change things overnight, but it is the necessary confirmation of the scope of claims against Hubside. Let’s hope this is the first stone that falls from the domino.