Circuit City wouldn’t let Larry redeem his $40 digital transition converter box coupon unless he signed a credit slip agreeing to pay $40. Larry refused, and asked to cancel the transaction. Circuit City’s manager responded by calling the police before following Larry into the parking lot to write down his license plate number.
I just attempted to buy, at Circuit City, using my charge card, and one of the $40.00 government-provided coupons, a TV converter box. After swiping both cards, the sales clerk presented me with two printouts to sign. One was for $21.19 and the other was for $40.00. Of course the $21.19 was the one for the difference between the purchase price minus the government coupon (plus the sales tax). Both printouts ended with this statement:
“The cardholder agrees to the credit card amount shown hereon and agrees to perform the obligations set forth in the cardholder agreement with the issuer.”
I refused to sign the one for $40.00. I spoke with the manager, Kim, (whose last name is “the only Kim in the store”) to cancel the transaction. She said she couldn’t and insisted that I sign both printouts. I could see this was going to turn into an issue so I quickly pocketed both unsigned receipts, the government coupon card, and my credit card and left while Kim was threatening to call the police. NOTE: I removed no merchandise from the store.
As I was driving away, Kim was standing outside writing down my license number and talking on her cell.
The government is distributing $40 coupons to subsidize converter boxes that will allow people to watch television over-the-air after February 17, 2009, when all broadcast signals switch from analog to digital.
Retailers are required to accept the coupons, and customers are required to sign a slip so the coupon can be redeemed. For some mindless reason, Circuit City is using a credit card agreement as their signature slip, and making it appear as if the customer is about to pay an extra $40.
Circuit City already called Larry to tell him that his $21 charge would be reversed. As for his $40 coupon, apparently, it will be “refunded to the government.”