Circuit City's "Free Shipping Day" Promise Turns Out To Be Worthless

Circuit City promised that if you ordered from them on December 18th, you’d get free shipping and a guarantee that your order would arrive before Christmas. It turns out that promise was worthless, at least for Brandon—or rather, it’s worth exactly $5 in company scrip from Circuit City. (We love apologies that force you to shop at the company that screwed up.) Circuit City’s CSR even says that the December 18th offer doesn’t exist, despite the fact that their logo is still up on the freeshippingday.com website as of today.

Brandon writes,

After seeing your post on the Free Shipping Day promotion, and found myself interested, but wary that I would not receive my order in time for Christmas. Ultimately, I decided to give it a shot anyway, comforted by the fact that all orders were guaranteed to be delivered my December 24. So, I waited until 12:01 AM December 18th to place an order with Circuit City, one of the partners for this promotion, and later received a confirmation e-mail stating that my order would arrive on December 24 at the latest.

Unfortunately, this was not the case. While I did receive one item from my order a few days before Christmas, the other three items did not arrive until December 28th. Normally, a delay like this wouldn’t bother me, but seeing as these items were supposed to be gifts for my friends and family, I got to endure the embarrassment of not having gifts for three people, while they got shorted on presents.

After e-mailing Circuit City, I was offered a paltry $5 gift card, which I refused on the basis of being insufficient. Instead, I asked for two $15 gift cards which I could provide to my two young nieces (who were two of the present-less people) on behalf of myself and Circuit City to help us both save face. Circuit City refused.

We’ll leave the negotiations over appropriate compensation between Brandon and Circuit City. What bothers us, and this is why we’re posting this, is that the company failed to honor its shipping guarantee—a guarantee they made in an attempt to lure shoppers to their online store. Here’s what “Daschelle” from Circuit City wrote to Brandon when he pointed out the freeshippingday guarantee:

Thank you for your reply. While we certainly understand how this must have been frustrating for you, the shipping timeframes were listed on our website and in order to receive your items by Christmas you would have needed to order on or before 12/12/08. We can not honor your request for two $15 gift cards. The $5 offer is still available if you would like to take advantage of it.

Brandon also contacted the man behind the freeshippingday.com website to ask for his help, but he said he could do nothing, adding, “There doesn’t seem to be much you can do other than return your item and get your money back. I do know that they were advertising free shipping with delivery by December 24th for orders placed up to December 19.”

Brandon, you might want to try escalating the matter past the frontline CSRs (NB: skip Schoonover’s address) since they don’t seem to be aware of their own freeshippingday guarantee. We also think if they won’t budge on the $5 offer, you should seriously consider asking for a full refund and find another place to buy your gifts if at all possible. Why give your business to a company that doesn’t stand behind its promises?

We also think behavior like this should earn them a big ban from next year’s freeshippingday.com group, but c’mon, it’s Circuit City—does anyone really think they’ll still be here next December anyway?

(Photo: qnr)