Circuit City And Assurant Solutions — why you shouldn't buy anything from liquidation
Why Circuit City Went Out Of Business And Why You Should Not Buy Anything From Their Liquidation.
Toward the end of last year, I purchased a 50 inch Samsung plasma TV from Circuit City. I had to save and work overtime for almost two years to afford this TV. I knew that I could not just go out and replace it if it broke, so I wanted to get an extended warranty even through it was very expensive.
October 22nd 10:00 am
My Case # is 8946771.
I called Circuit City’s nationwide service [protected]) about the TV not working. The screen would black out and the audio would pop loudly. Eventually you could not even get the set to turn on.
October 23rd 12:00 pm
Circuit City called me back saying that Heartland Audio and Video would be coming to look at TV tomorrow.
October 24th 9:00 am
Joe from Heartland came and looked at the TV. First, he said that it must be something I had plugged into it. Basically he was saying that it must be something I was doing causing the problems. Next, he said that it was a firmware issue and that it needed to be updated. I told him that it had been updated to the latest version and running fine with no problems until now. Finally, he said it was the main board after he could not get TV to power on anymore. He then explained to me that he would have to order the board. He said that he would get approval probably on Friday the 24th, but at latest he would get it on Monday the 27th. He said that it would take 2-3 days to get the board depending on which Samsung parts dealer it came from (east or west coast). I asked him if Samsung or Circuit City would cover the repair. He said Circuit City would call to see if it was still under manufacture’s warranty and they would go from there. He assured me that it would be fixed within a week which I went over with him again before he left. I felt satisfied at this point. Although inconvenient, a week seemed to me to be appropriate to fix an issue such as this.
October 29th 11:00 am
I called Circuit City to get an update. “You need to contact the technician” he said. “I can’t do anything for you until then”.
2:55pm I called Heartland back to see if the board was in, and to set up an appointment to install it. He told me “I have to get approval on it”. I said “I thought that was going to happen on Monday at the latest”. “I have to get approval” he repeated. “I will get it today and it will be a couple of days to get the part in”. I wasn’t happy, but I am reasonable and willing to wait another few days.
November 4th 11:47 am
I called Heartland to schedule an appointment to install the new board. No answer, so I left a message.
5:33 pm Heatland called me back. I was working so my wife talked to him. She said that he was very rude to her, and said the board was on backorder. It will be another 10 days for it to come in. She questioned why it would take so long, and she told him that this is our only TV. “We can probably do it in 7 days then” he said. She asked “If you could do it in seven then why would you say it would take ten”? “That would be the worst case scenario to fix the TV” he replied.
7:00 pm I called Circuit City Service phone number back. I gave them my information. She asked me to explain what was going on. After a long and in depth explanation she told me that I would have to talk to Circuit City’s Customer Relations department. “Why didn’t you tell me that before I explained all this to you”? “I will transfer you” she said. Customer Relations was of course was closed.
I called Circuit City Customer Relations [protected]) many times throughout the day. I kept getting a message that said “We are closed due to incremental weather”.
I called Customer Relations many times throughout the day. I continued to get a message that said “We are closed due to incremental weather”. I am starting to wonder is this place actually exists.
Again I called Customer Relations many times throughout the day. I continued to get a message that said “We are closed due to incremental weather”.
3:43 pm Finally I got an actual pick up at this number. He told me that they were closed due to snow. I guess the 24/7 support that it says on my plan only applies when the weather is good. He told that they would search other distributors to get the backordered part in earlier. He also said that the repairman should have never told me that it would only take a week to fix the TV. He said the average time is less than 30 days. My contract says typical time is 14 business days (at this point I have read every line of it). Either way at least by Thanksgiving at the latest it will be fixed. He also told me that after 45 days if there is no “light at the end of the tunnel” that they would replace the TV. He promised to call me back either Monday or Tuesday. He never called back and neither would anyone from Circuit City who promised they would. I guess I am stuck waiting for the part. I am feeling quite frustrated at the whole situation at this point, but what could I do besides wait?
November 12th 6:20pm
Joe from Heartland called to let me know that the part was in, and the TV would be fixed today. I couldn’t believe after all of this it was finally over. I told him that I would be home over most of the 1:30 to 5:00 time frame he gave me. He said “Well you need to be home to help me take the TV off of the wall”. I know that this shouldn’t be my responsibility, but I am willing to help if it will get this fixed, so I canceled my appointment. This TV is 50 inches by the way. It is not light. He came, and I helped him get the TV off of the wall. I helped him take the back off of the TV and he replaced the board. We picked it back up and mounted it on the wall. It was hanging crooked because the bracket had slipped off of the screws. We had to take it back down again, and fix the bracket. We then put it back up on the wall. I thought finally it is right. It is fixed. He turned the power on….., and it did the same exact thing! Picture cut in and out to black until it wouldn’t turn on anymore. I wanted to either scream or cry at this point. It was a wrong diagnosis. He said he would have to take it to the shop to figure out what was wrong with it. We had to take it off of the wall three times in all. I then had to help him carry the TV out to his van. He put in between the two front seats, with no cover, support, or protection. I though about it bouncing back and forth there as he drove away. Is this the same TV that I was worried about getting finger prints on before all of this happened? I asked him how long it would take to fix. He said “I will have to figure out what is wrong with it”. “So you can’t give me any time frame on the repair”? “I will have to work on it”. He gave me no paperwork or anything else, and drove off.
November 19th 8:47am
I called Heartland and left a message on voicemail for them to call me back to give me an update on the repair.
Friday November 21st 8:42am
I called and talked to Patty at Heartland. It has been over a week now since he took the TV. She said that she did not have any information on it, but she would leave him a message.
9:05am I called Samsung to ask about my warranty service. They confirmed that TV was under warranty until January 13th 2009. I asked him how long the average repair time was, and he said 9 times out of 10 it can be fixed on the spot if the TV is made in last couple of years. This was one more mistake on Circuit City’s part that made the repair the mess it became. I am sure they voided the manufacture warranty by working on it.
November 22nd 8:47am
I called and talked to Patty at Heartland for an update on the repair. She said that she would leave him a message.
November 24th 9:01am
I called Heartland and talked with Patty. “Do you know this is the 4th time I have called and left a message”? She suggested that I call his cell phone, and gave me the number. She didn’t know why he did not return my calls.
I called his cell phone. No answer, it just rang. I left another message. I can not comprehend why after five calls, someone can not take the two minutes to pick up the phone and call me back.
9:07am I called Lori at Circuit City customer relations. She said she would talk to Heartland and give me an update. Otherwise there was nothing else she could do. She too promised that she would call me back after she talked to him. I asked her why Samsung wasn’t contacted for warranty service. She said that they thought warranty was only 12 months, so they never tried to call. Lori like the others from Circuit City promised, but never returned my call.
Today is Thanksgiving. This is one of the biggest holidays to watch the Television. Traditionally people gather around to watch the big game or other holiday programming. My family instead is stuck staring at an empty wall mount with wires hanging out of a hole in the wall. Thank you Circuit City Advantage Protection Plan.
Nov 28th 5:00 pm. Joe from Heartland returned my repaired TV. I again had to help him bring it in and put it on the wall. He told me that it was a power board that was bad. I was so glad that this mess was finally over after a month of calling and arguing with people to do what I already paid them to do. He plugged in the TV…..and……it did the same thing. Joe said it had to be something that I had plugged into it. After about an hour of troubleshooting different things, he said to turn off the HDMI feature that allows the TV to communicate with other HDMI devices. This was a pain for me since things no longer worked the way they were setup to work, but I was willing to try anything at this point. I also switched to a new HDMI cable because he said that the cable could have a short in it. The TV seemed to work for now, so he left. Later I decide to clean the dust off of the front of the TV. I then noticed sever fairly deep scratches on the front of the TV (below the screen). This was just one more thing that shows how unprofessional this repair was.
The TV started to turn black and then turn off. I would say that I got about six hours of viewing out of it since it was fixed. Furious is the only word that can think of for my reaction at this point.
The TV worked for part of day, but then got to the point it would no longer even power on (same as before).
6:02 pm I called Circuit City customer relations.
I talked with Aaron who told me that once again Heartland would have to come out and diagnose the problem. I asked him how many times they had the TV as being repaired. Under Circuit City’s program after three repairs, on the fourth failure they will replace the TV (no lemon guarantee). He said the TV was still only repaired once. How can that be considering how many times it has been fixed? He said that is the way it is. I asked him if someone else could look into repairing it since over 40 days had gone by and we are still having the same problem. He told me nobody else could come, and there was nothing more he could do for me. This is starting to sound familiar from the customer relations department.
6:50 pm I called Heartland and left a message that we need to schedule another appointment to come look at the TV. Same problem as before.
7:34 pm Joe called me back. He said there were still things they could do to repair TV, but they would take more time. I told him it needed replaced at this point. If it can’t be fixed in 45 days, then that was long enough! He didn’t agree. He said that he couldn’t even look at it until he gets the ticket number from Circuit City.
Heartland called to set up a schedule to pickup the TV again.
Joe from Heartland came out. TV wasn’t acting up at that exact moment. He said he thought it probably just needed the voltage adjusted. We took it down, removed the back and he adjusted it. I also told him that the side inputs were not working. He looked at them, and said he didn’t know why they didn’t work. We put it back up on the wall. He said to call him directly from now on (don’t call Circuit City). After this my family went to visit family in California, so we were gone for two weeks. Since I could not watch the TV to see if it worked for longer than a couple of days, they closed the ticket out as the work being finished.
The TV started to cut out like before. What did I do to deserve this? This is never going to end. I called Joe at Heartland TV, and he said that we needed a new ticket because it was closed.
I called Circuit City customer relations and service number. They were closed (24/7 coverage, remember).
Circuit City announced that they are totally going out of business in the US. All stores are closing which is no surprise to me after the customer experience I have endured.
8:30 am I talked with Melissa at Circuit City’s nationwide service number. They are sending out Electra-sound [protected]) to look at TV. My new case # is [protected]. I tried to talk with a supervisor, but she said that she could only refer me to customer relations.
9:10 am I talked with Lori at Customer Relations. By the way, according to them everyone you talk to at customer relations is a supervisor. None of them have phone extensions, and you can not talk to their boss or anyone higher on the phone. Lori had no resolution, but did have the same run around. She transferred me to “higher” voicemail, to get me off the phone. I left a message. No one ever called back.
10:00 am I called Assurant Solutions (who owns the service contract for Circuit City [protected]). They are closed today.
Press release came out: “Assurant Solutions, which is part of Assurant, Inc. Assures Circuit City Customers That It Stands Behind Extended Service Plans”. They will stand behind it, but you can not talk to anyone from there or contact anyone from there (they only transfer you to Circuit City’s same phone numbers I have called more times then I care to remember at this point). As far as I can see, Assurant is just as much, or more to blame for this since they are the ones ultimately responsible to make sure what you paid them for is getting fixed. At least I know I still have some kind of a warranty.
Electra-sound came to look at the TV. He brought out the same board that Joe had already replaced. I even made a call to them to explain what parts had been replaced. They told me it was not the same parts. I am not sure why they did not have any information on the repairs that were already done, but they had nothing. After an hour or so of looking at the TV, the repairman told me he was not sure what the problem was. He would have to do some research, and possibly order more parts. He told me that the first repairman may have done more damage then good to the TV. He also checked the side inputs, and none of them worked. I asked him how long it would take, but he could not give me any time frame on when it would be looked at again. He said that they would be in touch. They also told me that from now on the TV would have to be on the floor when they come so that they can work on it. How am I supposed to get it down? Not their problem. When I bought the plan they acted as if things would be fixed instantly with no effort or time on my part.
12:05 pm I called Assurant and after explaining my warranty was from Circuit City, they transferred me to a recording. It said to call [protected].
I called and talked with Joe who gave no resolution. He said that they could take as long as they wanted to fix the TV. “It is a service contract, and we are servicing it” he told me. He also explained to me that since they closed out the first ticket, this is a whole new problem. A new problem means my time had started over, and the TV has only been broken for a week now. My blood pressure went though the roof. I was shaking at this point with frustration, and it took me the rest of the day to calm down. Seriously, how can these people treat customers like this?
12:32 pm I called Circuit City Customer relations and talked with Debbie. Same runaround, different day. They have to talk with technician. There is nobody higher to talk with. I can transfer you to a voicemail that nobody answers. My TV failed in October and in another two days it will be February.
So where am I now?
I am pretty much at square one. The original problem still exists. Over 100 days into this nothing has been accomplished except for me being inconvenienced in just about every way. My time, energy, money, strength, and emotions have been used. I have been extremely patient and giving in this whole situation. I have not lost my temper, although I have been stern. I have been lied to, given the run around, transferred, and abused. I can not believe that I paid for this! I spent hundreds of dollars for what Circuit City advertises as “the best possible choice for getting the most out of your new purchase. With the Circuit City Advantage Protection Plan, you can rest assured knowing your purchase is protected beyond the manufacturer’s warranty”.
What do I have now that the Advantage Plan has taken care of me? What is Assurant’s warranty backing worth? I have over three months of wasted cable service, and Netflix that I paid for without even using. I do not have a TV that works at all. According to Circuit City my TV has only been broken for a week. I have an aching back from hauling my TV around. I have 75 plus phone calls on my phone bill. I have hours upon hours of my time and energy wasted on the phone and waiting for repair service that has never fixed my original problem. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. I bought my kids a Nintendo Wii for Christmas. I have no doubt they will not get to play it anytime in the near future. When they ask me why they can’t, I will tell them that it is because of Circuit City’s Advantage Protection Plan. At over a hundred days now, I think that the only thing that I can do to get this fixed is call a lawyer. My hands are tied and there is no one else to contact. It is not a surprise to me that Circuit City filed for bankruptcy in November, and are in the process of liquidating their remaining stores as they are now completely out of business in the US. Their customer service is quite the opposite of a service and more like a nightmare. Hasn’t this gone on long enough? I urge you not buy anything from Circuit City in their liquidation. Believe it or not, they are still offering the third party backed, best coverage Circuit City Advantage Protection Plan on purchases. This is the worst buying experience I have ever endured, and I am afraid that it is far from over.