CircuitCity Practices Deceptive Rebate Marketing

It all depends on what your definition of, “is a receipt,” is.

M.B. sends us Ms. Young’s detailed report on Circuit City not honoring its advertised rebates. She ordered a cable modem online with a $40 advertised rebate.

Two months later she got a letter saying her rebate was denied because it was an “Invalid Purchase Location,” a caveat that she and Circuit City agree was not disclosed anywhere.

But that was only the beginning, as she learned after a succession of calls to Circuit City where the customer service reps actually hung up on her mid-call.

“It appears that this practice of rejecting otherwise valid rebate submissions continues to date, and that Circuit City is fulling aware and complacent in the practice. I claim that this problem is systemic, and that Circuit City is intentionally practicing deceptive marketing,” writes Ms. Young.

Read more here.

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  1. Clampants says:

    Awesome. I just (yesterday) bought a home ent. system from Circuit City…online with in-store pickup…and printed out th rebat form. Awesome. I can’t wait to experience this first-hand (though to their credit, when I picked it up, I got a $37 credit because the item was cheaper in-store than what I bought it online at).

  2. Ben Popken says:

    John writes:

    My wife is in the midst of the exact same thing on a stereo purchase. I never received my $15 for a LinkSys network card, but didn’t have the energy to follow up, knowing the crap I’d have to go through. We buy a LOT of electronics, and will NEVER shop at CircuitCity again. Not too smart on their part in the long run.

  3. Josh Cohen says:

    I bought a laptop from Circuit City, and received my rebate check actually FASTER than the 6-8 weeks they said it would take. Maybe it’s just me?

  4. Jesse says:

    The writer did the correct thing here which is to make sure the company spends more than the rebate would have cost them on customer service calls. Make it too expensive for them to fight.

  5. andrew says:

    Staples does rebates right – I just got a great deal on a one gig USB drive this weekend, thanks mostly to the rebate. It only took me about three minutes to fill out the hell of easy online forms and I was done.

    Of course, all this might change if my rebate never shows up but at least the first part was simple.

  6. The Unicorn says:

    That is really, truly, maddening. And a great example of the type of story that this site is perfect for.

  7. hyperboles says:

    I turned in a rebate for a Linksys router that we purchased at Circuit City, but it was direct through Linksys, had to be mailed in, and took about 12 weeks to process. It worked, but it hardly seemed worth the 10 bucks. Wish it had been online.

  8. kalam911 says:

    I found a good offer for a Toshiba laptop on the circuit city webpage. The laptop could only be purchased in-store; when I arrived at the Rego Park (Queens, NY)store, there were vouchers given to customers. I had not been there early enough for the voucher, however, I was told that I may be able to purchase one even without a voucher. I just needed to wait for two hours for the vouchers to expire and then I’d be able to purchase one. I waited on the line along with other customers until 10:00 A.M., at which time the customers with vouchers were still making their purchase and those of us w/o vouchers waited in hope that there were more left to be purchased. The sales associates would not tell us if there was enough of the item in-stock for those who were on the line. Regardless, people waited for over an hour. When the last customer holding a voucher was served, an associate announced that the item that it available now includes installations / has been set-up and we would be charged an additonal $40.00. Most of us agreed to purchase the item. At the time of purchase, I was not informed that the $40.00 charge would not be refundable if the merchandise was returned. When I brought the laptop home, I started to test it and found that the specifications posted online did not match the specifications on the notebook-the actual processor speed was much less than what was posted. I went to the store to return it because I was not happy with what I learned about it after the purchase, the manager for the computer dept. said that I would be able to return the item, however, there was a restocking fee for open box items…I explained that the items were already open at the time of purchase b/c they opened it to set it up…the manager did not argue further; he then said that the $40.oo they charged for the software installation would not be refunded. This software installation policy was not explained to me at the time of purchase, now it appears to have been a gimmick to charge customers an additional $40.00…additionally, the installations they performed were not done properly because upon turning the laptop on. i was getting error messages. The manager was not very cooperative or willing to resolve the matter, I asked to speak to the store manager and this individual (the computer dpt. manager) claimed that he was the only manager available. I contacted the customer service and spent over two hours on the phone in the store and finally returned the laptops for a full refund once I said that the customer service wants to speak to the store manager…the operations manager handled the matter very quickly. Iwould never shop at circuit city again.

  9. toomuchrock says:

    This lady did not get her rebate because she probably filled out her form incorrectly… We garantee our rebates. If she didn’t get it in the mail, and she had done everything right, we are authorized to compensate her in the store.