Grollier: The Book Club From The Pit

Spring 2004 - Becky makes the fatal mistake of signing up for a kids book club with Grollier.
Spring - Winter 2004 - Becky receives and pays for a number of kids books, then decides she's had enough and cancels her membership.
Winter 2004 - Becky moves at around the same time she cancels her membership so she also gives Grollier her new mailing address. She receives a few more books in the mail from Grollier at her old address and marks them "return to sender - MOVED" and drops them in the mail.
May 2005 - After not hearing from Grollier for 5 months Becky receives a letter in the mail from a collection agency telling her she owes around $30.00. After calling Grollier to confirm and tell the company her mailing address again Becky pays it.
September 2005 - Becky receives another letter from another collection agency telling her she owes around $70.00. Becky gets really angry and now things start to get messy...

So I phoned Grollier. I find out that they have charged me late payment fees. Why were my payments late? Because I never got the bills. Why did I never get the bills? Because they still have me listed at my old address. I tell them I want to talk to a manager. They ask why. I explain the whole story. They put me on hold to transfer my call. I end up in some crazy system with a whole bunch of french streaming past me and all I can make out it that the recording is saying a number at the end of every sentence. Obviously I am expected to select the appropriate extension. So I press a random number. I end up with a person who can barely speak English telling me that I am in the wrong place. I explain the whole story again. I get told to hold while my call is transferred again. I am back in the world of rapid French and numbers at the end of sentences again. I press another number. I find another person who can barely speak English and once again give them my story. I tell this one that they better not put me back in that menu and that I want to talk to a manager right now. (I am starting to feel a large ball of rage rolling through my body.) She puts me on hold, but not in the menu, and another person comes on the line. This person tells me she can't do anything to change how much I owe. I ask her who can. She tells me I need to speak to a manager.

Lets just take a little break here while I try to calm down. Even reliving this more than a year later makes my pulse start to race. I don't think I have ever dealt with a company that has customer service this bad. My theory is that they want to make you so furiously frustrated that you will pay whatever sum of money they ask without question just to get them out of your life. Sadly, I am not the type of person to stand for something like this. It's the principle of the thing. Anyways... Back to the phone call.

I am now getting extremely angry and I tell her that I thought she was a manager. She says that she is just a shift manager or something and that the real manager is not there. Since it is business hours I say something like, "How can there be no manager during regular business hours?" She does not reply to my question but says in a snotty voice something like, "Mrs. Willems if this bill isn't paid it will negatively affect your credit rating."

Let's take another moment to just take a few deep breaths shall we? In... And out... In... And out. Does everyone feel better? Good. Let's continue then.

Unfortunately I was too angry to take some deep breaths and so I tell her, "I don't give a damn what happens to my credit rating. You can shoot it straight to hell for all I care. I am not paying that money. You will have to take me to court." She suggests that I might like to leave a message on the manager's voice mail. I tell her that would be fine. "Please hold while I transfer your call." I am back on the French menu with the numbers at the end of sentences.

In... And out... In... And out.

I hang up. I try to go on with my day. I really do. I try to calm down. I write this post. I stew about things while I try to set up some shelves for our storage room. I break a drill bit and crack one of the pieces. I decide to call back.

I get another woman with a French accent and tell her the whole story. I tell her if she puts me back on that menu I am never calling back and I am never paying them anything. Ever. I tell her I want to talk to a manager. She says the best she can do is let me leave a message. This time I get her name and extension number because I am sick of telling my whole story over and over. I tell her if I don't get the manager's voice mail that I am going to be very angry and that I will be phoning her back. She puts me on hold and I am finally connected to some one's voice mail. I leave a crazed message with statements like, "... worst customer service I have ever had to deal with..." and "... never see a cent..." then I give her my account number and tell her to phone me as soon as possible.

A week later there is still no phone call and so I phone back. I manage to stay calm and tell the woman on the phone that since it is apparent that I am never going to get to talk to a manager (she offers to let me leave another voice mail message) that I would like them to send me a full account history and then I will decide how much money, if any, I will pay them.

A month later we still have no account history. This time I get Glen to phone. They still have us listed at our old address and have no record of me ever asking for an account history. They tell him it never happened. I must have been hallucinating again. They get our new address and promise to send a full account history out that day.

We never got one. We never phoned back.

November 28, 2006 - Becky receives a notice in the mail from a collection agency instructing me to send a payment for around $70.00 to Grollier immediately.

November 29, 2006 - Becky phones Grollier and is told that they sent the account history last October. After the woman tells me repeatedly that I was sent the information and I tell her that I never got it (Why is it that they always tell you things happened or didn't happen like you have no grasp on reality and should just say, "Oh, okay. I got it? Sorry. My mistake.") I tell her, "Look, there is no point in both of us getting mad here. I want to speak to a manager." She tells me she can't connect me to a manager, of course, and that I can speak to someone in collections since she can't do anything for me anyways. I say, "It would have been nice if you'd said that at the beginning." She tells me that I didn't ask.

In... And out... In... And out... And in...

She says, "Please hold while I connect you to Sophia in collections." Then I hear a whole bunch of rapid French and then, "This is Sophia, please leave a message including your account number and I will get back to you as soon as possible." So I left a message.

I am telling you people. I would rather go to court and end up doing community service before I would ever pay that company a cent. They are crooks of the first order. A friend of mine told me that they had tried to charge her over and hundred dollars for books she never received. About a month after she had cleared everything up and closed her account she received some books in the mail from them along with another bill. Her husband phoned and told them that they would send these books back, but if they ever got anything in the mail from Grollier again they would consider it a gift.

The moral of the story? Always read the fine print. If any of it says Grollier... Run, don't walk, as fast and as far away as you can. Trust me.


  1. Sounds much like my experience with that evil company. I was told by someone to take the books out and send back the empty package and a note thanking them for the gift. I don't remember what I did to get rid of them but I haven't heard from them in about 15 years. I hope you get rid of them soon.

  2. Good thing you put those breath instructions in there because I was starting to get mad for you! I hope it all gets worked out!

  3. you said damn, and hell.... i'm telling

  4. Is that a part of living in SK and having small children? I recall getting books from Grollier also. Although off hand I can't say my experience was as brutal as yours. I recall cancelling orders, and them sending out more in the series. I would just send them all back "Return to Sender."

  5. I also had my share of problems with that company. I think I got married, changed my name and moved out of the province. Haven't heard from them in about 15 years. They are definitely from the pit. If you need kids books, go to Walmart or anywhere other than them.

  6. Trav, if you ever had to deal with this company 'damn' and 'hell' would be the least of the foul things you'd be spouting...

  7. Well, if they take you to court, you should be able to show them your phone bill cuz it should show on there the numbers you call and the amount of time on the call, even if they are toll free. Just a thought. It was never that bad for me. Mind you, I only got books from them once. They've phoned me at other times to ask if I wanted more books, and every time I've said no. I agree with you. They are a bunch of asses!!!!

  8. You should do what I did when Alberta Health Care sent me to collections due to a mistake they made (billing me when I wasn't living in Canada). I got on three way calling with AHC, and the collections agency, and I yelled until something got done. They dealt with it, after saying about 14 times, "Ma'am, calm down, please calm down".

  9. I've had a similar misfortune, although it didn't take quite this long to straighten everything out. Grolier . . . it all looks so enticing when you begin. But to get rid of them - that is the problem! I'm having trouble "getting rid" of DoubleDay Books too . . . they keep calling me every six months or so, telling me about their "latest promotion" (I haven't been a customer of theirs for 3 years!). Before they get into their talk about what they have to offer I say, "Sorry, I'm not interested." and hang up. I can always hear them STILL TALKING as I'm hanging up the phone. Don't these people "get it"? I feel for you, Becky and I hope you can be rid of this insanity once and for all.


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