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Circuit City / Lies + We Have Your Money Get Lost

1 United States Review updated:

Circuit City Managers Lie to Customers + Terrible Service and Attitude

On September 8, 2007, at the Orange, Connecticut, Circuit City outlet shop - or "warehouse store" as they label it, I purchased an open box Toshiba laptop computer ($799.96) and an open box Samsung 27" HD tube TV ($209.96). Practically everything in that store is out of the box, having been a display unit or a previously returned item. I also paid a required $29.99 service fee for Circuit City's technician to reset the laptop computer I bought back to factory settings and fully optimize it to perfect working condition by removing certain extraneous software so that the machine would be as though it had just gotten it in the box from the factory. When I got the laptop home, it did not work. It was a mess. None of the four USB ports worked, no audio card was recognized by the operating system so there was no sound, software would not launch, it got hung up and gave an error message. I was told America Online software was removed from the computer as part of the optimization process, yet I found two AOL folders still on the machine, all of which made it clear that the machine had not been serviced the way I was told it should have been and it was not at all not in perfect working condition *when I bought it*. So essentially, Circuit City had taken an extra $29.99 from me and given nothing they promised in return except a very messed up machine. The computer in no way functioned as if it had come sealed in a box from the factory, the way I was told the technician was going to re-set it.

The next day, September 9, I brought the Toshiba laptop back to Circuit City and was told that the technician was not in on weekends so I'd have to come back the next day. So Monday, after not being able to use the machine all weekend like I had wanted to, I brought the computer back to Circuit City and the technician took a few hours and revamped it and got it working again. I had a legitimate complaint to make with the manager, George, in that I had paid $29.99 to have that computer in perfect working condition *the day I bought it* -- Saturday, 9/8/07 -- and yet I had to wait two days before the technician got the computer to that condition, so I did not get what I paid extra for. George said the $29.99 technician fee was non-refundable. When I pointed out to him that Circuit City promised a customer a machine in perfect working condition at the time the customer buys the machine, but did not come through on their promise, George made a very interesting offer -- one that he himself would later expose as a complete lie – George told me that he could refund me the $29.99 fee but then I would have to re-set the machine to factory settings myself – their technician would not be doing it. This offer was a bluff by George because he knew I did not know enough about the new Microsoft Vista operating system to try to re-set the computer myself. (My previous computer was Windows 98.) I guess George figured he had me in a compromising position where I certainly would not be able to accept his terms of refund, so he would offer it to me just as a means to shut me up, which was a sad sign of the terrible attitude of Circuit City. When I pressed George about my paying for something I didn't get, he repeated that he could give me the $29.99 technician fee back, but then I would have to re-set the machine to factory specs myself, and in a wise-guy manner said to me, "You said you don't know much about computers." I guess he was certain now that he had me shut up. But his offer to refund the fee would come back to haunt him, because when I later talked to him in October after I returned the computer to Circuit City because I was disgusted with their attitude and the games they play with customers, George told me in a condescending tone that Circuit City cannot refund that $29.99 technician fee to a customer, EVER! Really George? Never, EVER? Why then, did you offer to refund that $29.99 technician fee to me, not once, but twice when I first brought the computer back to you? Why did your nasty sales clerk also offer a third time to refund me the $29.99 technician fee when he said to me in a nasty, condescending voice, "Alright. We can give you your $30 back, but then you won't get any technician coverage on the computer!" It’s clear that Circuit City’s position is to slam the customer in a condescending tone with an offer they know the customer is not going to accept, and so now they can finally shut the customer up once and for all, and keep the customer’s money. This is how Circuit City does business. It is an extremely stupid way to conduct business. They lie and deceive. I felt like I was dealing with a bunch of teenagers the whole time. George, the store manager, with his lies and deception to customers, is training the younger sales clerks at Circuit City to carry on with the same lies and deception when they later become managers. Circuit City employees have no incentive to learn their products either. After purchasing an HD tube TV set (not flat-panel) the same day that I bought the computer, when I found out at home by reading the product manual that the sales kid had completely misinformed me about the TV after I had asked him a specific, direct question in the store, I asked the manager, George, "Don't you read your own manuals?" George answered, quite matter-of-factly, "No." -- I was completely taken by surprise. What an uncaring, unprofessional disposition to have. All you'll find at Circuit City is hourly-paid sales clerks who ring up a transaction and carry the product to your car after you buy it. Don't take what they say as truth when you ask them a specific, direct question about their products, as evidenced at the Orange, CT Circuit City "Warehouse" store. From my experience, the attitude of the management there reflects that the store is run more like a rummage sale store.

Also in my interactions with store manager George, when I explained to him how the laptop computer I purchased was a total mess when I bought it, he kept repeating that four days before I bought the computer, it was declared in perfect working condition by the technician - the tag on it said so. But George leaves the computers on the store shelves for people to come in and play with, and sometime before I bought it, the computer got terribly corrupted (or the technician didn’t do his job). George explained that a customer must have come in and messed the computer up. OK, George, so therefore, I the buying customer, should pay $29.99 to Circuit City to let them allow customers come in and corrupt the computer I buy, so I then have to bring home a computer that doesn't work, and I should feel just fine about that? In George's teenager mind, yes, I should be just fine with that after I’ve spent $800.00 on the computer. George kept on sideswiping the point and like a teenager, kept repeating the computer used to be in perfect working condition sometime before I bought it. Dealing with George was dealing like a child. His attitude was, “We’re charging you the $29.99 fee, and we don’t care what we promised, we’re taking the money and you can get lost!”
After I explained to the store director, Chris, how I had been wronged by Circuit City and how I was treated by his manager and sales clerk, he finally offered to give me store credit for the $29.99 technician fee. I thought he was being decent about the whole incident, but he didn’t tell me that he was taking the $29.99 as a lean against my prior TV purchase so that if I were to return the TV, I would not get a full refund for it. The term “store credit” means it’s the store’s money, not a lean against a customer’s prior purchase. You have to be up front with the customer, and Chris wasn’t. When I returned the TV I had purchased, I was refunded the purchase price minus $29.99. I was outraged. The assistant manager, Ed, told me, “I can’t just take money from nowhere.” So take it from a customer’s prior purchase, Ed?! I was furious and I told Ed would be contacting the attorney general’s office. When I later got a hold of Chris, the store director, he refunded the additional $29.99 to me. I told Chris clearly that store credit means it’s the store’s money, and Circuit City cannot place a lean against a customer’s prior purchase while the customer still has full right to return that purchase within 30 days if not satisfied with it.

The employees at Circuit City, managers included, basically behave like they have robot brains where they seem to be ordered by Circuit City to maintain certain policies, and even if they wrong the customer in the process, they still maintain the policy, do-or-die. Well, Circuit City chose to die financially. They blew an $1100.00 deal. After returning the laptop over the nightmare experience I had with George and his employees, I also returned the TV set that I had purchased - for two reasons - the tube picture quality looked very sharp when a DVD was played, but not as sharp through cable TV; but I also just didn't feel good about that purchase because of the attitude and misinformation and lies on the part of Circuit City employees and managers. Circuit City simply has no clue about the meaning of the word respect, and they have no concept of the terms "customer relations" and "customer confidence." They blew an $1100.00 deal over $29.99, and they exposed themselves as deceiving liars, and I will never, ever shop at Circuit City again, anywhere, not even in their regular retail stores where products come sealed from the factory in a box. I’ve now read too many horror stories consistent with my buying experience that reflect Circuit City’s attitude toward customers: “WE HAVE YOUR MONEY. NOW GET LOST!!!”

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  • De
      10th of Jan, 2008
    0 Votes

    I agree that Circuit City has an inept undertrained staff at the stores that I have been to. I went to a store in Salt Lake City, Utah and tried to buy a Sony BDP-S300 blu ray player. The sales people could not answer my questions, got on the in store computer to get answers from the Sony website, and I ended up asking if I could just buy the unit. It took 25 minutes to checkout because no one knew how to take gift card and cash together for my purchase. I was given a coupon to send in for 5 free movies from Sony, and when I got home I found out that the coupon had expired a week earlier. I went back to the store and I was told "sorry, it looks like you missed out". I had asked when I purchased the unit if ther would be more promotions for free blu ray discs coming up and the sales person said "no, this looks like the only one". A month later, Circuit City ran an ad in the local newspaper for the Sony BDP-S300 player that I had purchased for $100.00 less than I paid, with 5 free movies with a mail-in redemption, and 2 movies instantly (Spider-Man 3 & Pirates of the Carribean:At Worlds End). I sent an email to Circuit City and received a response saying that I was unfortunately caught between promotions and that there was nothing that they could do. They said that it looked like it was a Sony problem and that I could contact them. I have purchased sound systems, PC systems, software, media,sound equipment from Circuit City. I will not give them any more business, and will recommend to co-workers, friends and family not to do business with them either. Circuit City is not familiar with the term "customer satisfaction", and will not do anything to remedy a situation where the customer is not happy and has been treated unfairly. If anyone decides to make a major purchase there I would say to them "buyer beware".

  • Di
      4th of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes

    We purchased a Playstation 3 with the 2 year Replacement Warranty Plus. We were told that if anything goes wrong with the Playstation we could take it back to the store and receive a replacement unit of equal or better value. Now a year later, the system broke and we went to the store we purchased it from. There they told us that we had to mail back the system and we would receive a gift card for the purchase value of the system. But they don't build the 40 g system anymore and we will have to eat the difference of purchasing the 80 g on top of having to purchase the replacement at their store again. Also, we found out it will take 5 weeks before we get the gift card. We cannot even get cash from the store for the gift card. All in all they were rude to us in the store and over the phone and we will never buy anything from Circuit City again. No wonder they are going bankrupt.

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