Rumors: Circuit City's "Unbeatable Price Guarantee" No Longer Unbeatable?

A tipster tells us that more than a year of hemorrhaging money is finally taking it’s toll on Circuit City. Rumor has it they will no longer be able to adjust items to below cost — even if they’re price matching.

“So much for our Unbeatable Price Guarantee policy… It’s amazing to me how much this company keeps digging itself further into its own hole.”

The Unbeatable Price Guarantee language on their website still claims:

Find a lower advertised price from another local store with the same item in stock, and we’ll gladly beat their price by 10% of the difference. Plus, if you see a lower advertised price within 30 days of your purchase with us, we’ll refund 100% of the difference.

Any truth to this?

Unbeatable Price Guarantee [Circuit City]

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  1. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    I called CC not making it through 2008 about this time last year. We’re now in July, and I can’t believe they are still afloat. Come on CC, stop circling the drain!

  2. EyeHeartPie says:

    I dunno why people want CC to fail so much. I would much rather deal with them than with BB,

  3. mike says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: Well, when CC goes bankrupt, who’s left? Best Buy? At least with CC, there’s some sort of competition.

  4. rellog says:

    I believe that would be considered false advertising and they could wind up in trouble, in one way or another… They are advertising this service and as such are required to fulfill said service. Not doing so would be considered false advertising. Not saying they may not try this, but they definitely would be digging themselves even deeper…

    That reminds me, I need to use that $13 in GC I have left, before they forbid those. I just wish they had something worth buying…

  5. nforcer says:

    My brother got Circuit City to price match a Sam’s Club price on the Guitar Hero: Aerosmith bundle (88.88 vs 99.99) and an extra 10%, so as of Sunday, they’re still doing it. And they price matched a club store, of all places!

  6. seanp says:

    I thought they had been doing this already for years… the managers at the Circuit City I go to will deny the price match for all sorts of weird reasons – “they aren’t our competitor”, “the ad doesn’t list the item number exactly”, etc. My experience came when I was going to return a high-priced item because they wouldn’t price match an online retailer, because the price savings would outweigh the “restocking fee” CC would charge me. They refused to accept the return even within their return window… I went to a different store to return it.

  7. chuckv says:

    @linus: Wal Mart and Target carry most of the same stuff, and Amazon has a good selection if you know what you want.

  8. ryan89 says:

    If Circuit City falls, Best Buy will still have competition. When I stopped working there a couple years ago, they considered Wal-Mart (Walmart?) one of their main competitors.

  9. buckfutt says:

    I had a CC clerk tell me the price-matching policy would be going away in a month… on Christmas Eve of 2006. So far, it’s still an urban myth.

  10. jasezero says:

    @ryan89:

    Walmart sells a LOT of electronics…might not be as good quality…but they make up in volume. They are probably the biggest distributor for Vizio TV’s in the country.

  11. HeartBurnKid says:

    @linus: Newegg.

  12. DarthSensei says:

    This happened to me recently when I bought a 61″ DLP HDTV. Sears had it priced ridiculously low and it was verified, but the Circuit City Manager told me that they don’t price match anymore unless they will still profit from the sale.

    That guarantee isn’t a guarantee at all.

  13. AMetamorphosis says:

    I LOVE CC’s ” Price Match ” as it has saved me literally thousands of dollars over the past 5 years.

    2 Big Screen TV’s
    3 computers
    IPod speakers
    A ton of DVD’s
    A surround sound system
    Various storage mediums
    etc.

    I have found better prices on almost every electronic item I purchase within the 30 day window.
    It has gotten to the point where the manager of our local CC grins when I walk into the store and immediately asks me what I have a price match for today. I honestly think they have lost money on my purchases because I am an informed consumer and I make a note to compare Sunday paper circulars every week.

    Of course, I do the exact same thing with BB although they arn’t as friendly to me :-)

  14. way back in the ’70′s the “price match” was just an offer by the chain to match a sale price, should the chain place the item on sale within 30 days or so.

    I foresee the day when “price matching” becomes much simpler

  15. Myrddraal says:

    So if BB is the only one left and they get split in an anti-trust suit will we get “Reasonable Buy” and “Okay Purchase”?

  16. mike says:

    @HeartBurnKid: Newegg isn’t great for people that absolutely, positivly, has to have something right now (case-in-point: your VGA cable goes bad before an important presentation).

  17. Concerned_Citizen says:

    I’m surprised they were still beating prices by an extra 10%. I assumed they dropped that extra 10% because Best Buy doesn’t do that either.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Concerned_Citizen: Ahhh young Jedi there IS a way to get that extra 10% out of BBY. Read their Price match guarantee, If you purchased at Best Buy THEN find it cheaper, they should give you the 10%, now will the Best Buy manager do that, probably not as they are all about screwing anyone coming through the door as hard as they can, so do it with an AMEX as they are not to be messed with and will go to bat for you. And as always, Blasting horror stories all over the internet, e-mail, rumor mill, etc. will usually get a PR type to try to limit the damage. Just make sure you personally follow to the letter the offer that Best Buy has made with the contract ( the price match guarantee is effectively a contract)

  18. CSUSam says:

    I haven’t heard anything about this, but I missed a store meeting on Sunday. I guess I will find out more tonight…

  19. Bush2008 says:

    @CSUSam: The meeting wasn’t about this. It was about back to school season coming up.

    I think what a lot of people forget is that in order for there to be a “deal”, both sides need to benefit in some way. You save $100, perhaps they still make $100. Everyone wins. It’s not fair if you go into a car dealership and he gouges you by $5,000, nor is it fair if he had to sell $5,000 under cost and lost money. I always thought the return policy and price match was a little too much, personally, but some consumers just want to rape companies for all they’re worth.

  20. Sollus says:

    My local Circuit City has been steadily increasing prices on their DVDs and smaller items such at that. I have been hearing for what seems like years now that they are going under but they are stil chugging along. Is this company crapping the bed or not? THat leads me to another thing. CompUSA is gone and CC seems to be on their way out unless Blockbuster comes in and saves them(or was CC looking to buy them, that doesn’t matter I guess since BB is in a tough situation too). So what’s left for people like me who need electronics? I’m not sure if Office Max is still around or not but my area lost ours. So that leaves Staples(who are decent) and Circuit City for myself right now. Best Buy seems to be in my state sporatically. Neweggs shipping, albeit great, is a little pricey these days.

  21. blackmage439 says:

    @EyeHeartPie:

    Why? Every Circuit City I have been in was understaffed, poorly stocked, and unorganized. Even compared to Geek Squad’s douchebaggery, Firedog takes the cake for the biggest ripoff and crappiest service. Still, Best Buy only gets my business when they have something on sale for a fantastic bargain; they’re even better than Newegg sometimes.

    Not to mention the time I tried to get a job at CC last year. I answered an add for a computer technician. They wanted me to work up FROM SALES first. When I explained that this wasn’t the position I was applying for, the rat bastard of a manager just shrugged and said “after a few months we MIGHT let you work on some things.” Apparently “A+ Certified” means nothing to him. Dumbfuck…

    On that note, I wish CC would just curl up a die already. Hopefully they could make way for more Frys’ stores.

  22. themaskedmarauder says:

    @chuckv: You are so right. Also, if you get one of the red cards, you can earn rewards, including 10% off. Hey, every little bit adds up!

  23. sean77 says:

    @blackmage439: A+ Certified doesn’t mean anything to anyone. Useless cert that any community college dropout can get in an hour.

  24. Yurei says:

    Oh geeze, please don’t go under CC. I don’t want to purchase electronics from Wall*Hell. Every last piece of electronics I have purchased from a Wal*Hell has broken under normal usage or has been defective. My grandfather who used to drive big rigs says their electronics suck because they get the items that have been rejected multiple times on the inspection line as opposed to other stores which have been rejected only 1 time or not at all. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it certainly SEEMS like it. x_x And I can’t stand Worst Buy, every time I go in there they are out of stock on every thing I want, their prices are higher than CC and I can never get help, unless i bend over in a short skirt or something. CC at least has competitive prices, items are in stock, and i can actually get help without asking for it or having to bend over in said skirt.

  25. bobhope2112 says:

    I dunno why people want CC to fail so much. I would much rather deal with them than with BB.

    It’s been quite awhile since I’ve dealt with either one of them, but the commission-based sales at Circuit City made them all the more reprehensible. I’ll take indifference to willful deception any day.

  26. mikelotus says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: CC is making big investments in their IT infrastructure.

  27. alien9542 says:

    Do you know the difference between it’s and its?

  28. RandomHookup says:

    @Bush2008:

    I always thought the return policy and price match was a little too much, personally, but some consumers just want to rape companies for all they’re worth.

    I didn’t realize that taking a company up on a voluntary marketing offer is “rape”. It’s one thing to be fraudulent–e.g., “renting” a TV for the Super Bowl, but no one forced CC to offer the guarantee. They made it because most consumers don’t bother with the homework.

  29. freejazz38 says:

    @EyeHeartPie: Um, because they’re SCUMBAGS??? And their employees are DOUCHEBAGS???? THAT COULD BE IT!

  30. HOP says:

    last time i was in cc it was a sorry place….the help walked around like they lost their best friend….the whole atmosphere said “LOSER”…sad, cause i used to like cc…….

  31. Sanveann says:

    The CC in my city went out of business years ago, and it was no surprise. Every time I went in there, there were just groups of employees standing around socializing, and it was impossible to get any help. They were so bad I even preferred BB.

    I try to avoid BB, but sometimes, if you need something in a hurry, it’s the only option around here.

  32. Pro-Pain says:

    We have a newer CC by us and it’s the nicest friendliest place to shop. Great stock, decently competative prices. I would miss them if they folded. I rufuse to buy anything but a new cd @ Worst Buy.

  33. BB is opening a new store in my town…. at the entrance to the mall that contains CC. I bet CC is just thrilled to death.

    Ooops, maybe I shouldn’t have used that word. Oh well.

  34. wellfleet says:

    **From a very informed source** Circuit is testing this out in some Midwest store where any price override, even on a price match, that is greater than 10% off MSRP needs to be approved by the district manager. This is a measure to cut back on some of the POS margin erosion they’ve been seeing. They can still price match, just have to jump through spiked hoops.

  35. Eryk says:

    @wellfleet: Actually confirmed this thru a friend who works at CC as management. Was gonna post earlier, but didn’t have comment access on this site. : / He works in the midwest as well (Illinois).

    Only thing I heard differently is that they’d need to bring in a quote in writing from the competitor, or it wouldn’t even get that far.

    Can’t imagine getting ahold of the district manager on the spot is gonna be easy for them though.

  36. wwviper says:

    Last month I bought a TV from CC and went back twice after the price dropped $50, then another $50. However, the employees weren’t very accommodating and it did take some work to get the price adjustment.

  37. goodkitty says:

    @blackmage439: +1 on FireDog. FireDog sold me Internet service (hey, it was discounted). They told me to call the provider to set up an install date, and when I did, the provider told me they didn’t service my area. Sweet!

  38. eh_remraf says:

    @wellfleet:

    This article is coming from a southwest Ohio location. Spiked hoops indeed.

  39. eh_remraf says:

    @wellfleet: Source of article is coming from a southwest Ohio location. Spiked hoops indeed.

  40. knightracer says:

    Trying to get a price match and the 10% difference took so much effort the last time I tried. They will do anything and everything to deny it. I even had to bring in a printout from their website saying that they still are supposed to do it.

  41. u1itn0w2day says:

    I found some local repair shops for both computers and TVs so I don’t even contemplate an extended warranty.As long as you know you could go to third party service for something then I’d buy off CC.

    Unless it’s a great deal for new in box I’d be leary about dealing with them.They are in the final stages of no more.The store managers have probably been told to control expenses anyway they can;to some that means offuscating CC advertised policies.Make sure you know the manufacturers warranty and who does authorized service in your area.

    Hasn’t CC gone through several full-time layoffs over the last 5 years or so?

  42. grayskies says:

    I always call out our management at my store when they don’t want to price match computers. I give up on that place. Firedog isn’t a ripoff if the technician has a soul and doesn’t want to overcharge poor people who aren’t computer savvy. At least it’s cheaper and more reliable than geek squad.

  43. unoriginal says:

    I quit shopping at CC when I got bit on a rebate for a price matched item that I had bought. Apparently CC has a minimum price that they figure internally that someone should pay for an item with a rebate. If your purchase price falls below the cutoff point they will deny your rebate and as a customer you have no recourse as I found out. I didnt do this often and luckily the rebate was only for $5, but that soured me enough to not want to shop there anymore.

  44. ajones4 says:

    “I dunno why people want CC to fail so much. I would much rather deal with them than with BB,”

    It astonishes me how few people check the smaller chains. They usually have the exact same prices and policies (oftentimes, though, being much more personable and reasonable) with far better customer service.

    Just because it’s not a corporate mega-chain doesn’t mean it’s not an option.

  45. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Now we know what offering all your deals with mail-in rebates does to a company. Best Buy has probably destroyed them since dropping the mail-in rebates.

  46. Sorshha says:

    Managers can still price match for sure. Just no more amazing deals on things. For instance Open Box has a set price, so don’t try to get anyone to change it…
    But if the store managers in, anythings possible.

  47. jamesuss says:

    @bobhope2112:

    Circuit City employees don’t work on commission. They haven’t in a long time. Hasn’t this myth been thoroughly debunked already?

    @blackmage439:

    You sound bitter. You want them to fold because they wouldn’t give you a job?

  48. djmattymac says:

    policy for a price match..

    it has to be a local competitor. if its 30 minutes or more away, its not considered local in our area, but that differs by location.

    it has to be in stock.. just because sears says they have something for 1399.99 but wont get it in for 3 weeks, and we have it for 1599.99 doesnt mean you are gonna get it at that price. its not being mean or ignorant, its business.

    bringing in documentation speeds up the process because we have to include that paper or written proof somehow of the price and location of the item.

    sams/ walmart are famous for having ” non normal” models, thus we can’t price match it unless it is the same. ie, sony bdps300 blu ray at our store vs son bdps301 at sams.. same technology, different model. sorry not matching it.

    if a customer comes to me and are actually respectful to me, and are on the fence about a purchase, we have the ablility to get a manager involved. i wont do that if the first word out of the customers mouth is ” what kind of deal can you get me?”

    cant go below cost on an item, unless it is a clearence item that has been out of program for over 120 days or an open item tv that has dropped automatically over time. we dont control those prices, they come from our corportate office.

    anything over $400 in total item discounts and our district manager has to give verbal approval. its the same at best buy as i have worked for both. if your buying just the tv and there is nothing else to make up for the money that they would lose on the set then they wont touch it. sorry

    one more thing…NO RETAILER WILL MATCH AN INTERNET RETAILER!!!! including amazon, newegg, etc.

    hope that helps

  49. bodiddlie says:

    I quit shopping at CC recently after having problems with their price guarantee. I bought a Digital SLR camera, which was listed at 649.99 on the CC web site and 699.99 in store. The sales associate said that they probably just hadn’t updated the tag under the camera and rang me up at 649.99. I also had a coupon from AAA for 8% off any purchase over $200. So I got the camera for 597.99 after the coupon.

    Two days later, I was at work and checked the circuit city website because I wanted to check some of the specs on the camera and didn’t have any of the manuals or anything with me, and the price had gone down to 599.99. Same in the store. I went in and spoke with the person at the returns desk and they tried to ring it up, but said that the system wouldn’t let them because I got the camera for 597.99. After telling them that that made no sense because if I would have walked in at that time with my coupon, I would have gotten the camera for 599.99 less 8%. The manager on duty came out and gave me the same spiel. I gave him my spiel about coming in on that date and he asked if I had another coupon then said, “Oh wait…that wouldn’t work because we’d have to do a return and charge you the 15% restocking fee.”

    I contacted the store’s general manager, and he blew me off as well. I contacted circuit city customer service and was told that since I price matched the first item, it couldn’t be done again! I didn’t realize that giving the same price as what is on your own website is price matching.

    Prior to this incident I had bought a HDTV, a PS3, several games for said PS3, surround speakers, and then the camera. And was planning on going back in several weeks to purchase a telephoto lens. The store was right down the street from my house and in a not yet crowded shopping area. Very convenient. But now they’ll never get another dime from me, I guarantee it. CC might not be able to stand behind their guarantees, but I sure can.

  50. thebeaver says:

    I bought a 50″ plasma screen tv in early October 2008 from Circuit City here in Los Angeles and have been in twice to collect $100.00 each time on their price match guarantee! Sweet to get $200.00 back from what I paid less than a month ago.

    Now they are advertising a 60 day price match, so again I will check the Fry’s ad on Fridays for a better price.

    Since the adjustment last Friday to $899.00 for a 50″ plasma (720) I wonder how much lower they can go.