CircuitCity.com Reborn As… Circuit City!

CircuitCity.com is back, and it looks eerily familiar. The zombie website is now controlled by Systemax, the same folks who own Tiger Direct. Though the new site may look similar to the old, no doubt part of Systemax’s goal to keep alive a “proud brand that America has grown to count on,” it isn’t nearly as consumer-friendly as we would like…

Consider CircuitCity.com’s new return policy, which looks like something you’d expect to see returning from a Mexican escapade:
Let’s compare the policy to NewEgg’s.

NewEgg generally lets you return an item for either a refund or replacement. Not Systemax. They reserve the right to refuse all returns, and if they do take back your newly orphaned product, “such returns will be for store credit or refund at CircuitCity.com’s sole discretion.”

NewEgg also replaces software and accepts for return unused consumables like printer cartridges. Systemax does neither.

And don’t even think of returning anything from “Compaq, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Toshiba, Epson and others.” Their products are “not returnable to CircuitCity.com FOR ANY REASON.”

Circuit City may be a “proud brand that America has grown to count on,” but this isn’t Circuit City. It’s Systemax. Before buying, shop around and make sure you understand all the new policies.

(And no, you can’t return things from the old CircuitCity.com.)

CircuitCity.com
RETURN PROCEDURE [Circuit City]
NewEgg RMA Procedures [NewEgg]
NewEgg Return Policies [NewEgg] (Thanks to everyone who submitted to the tipline!)

Comments

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  1. NigerianScammer says:

    It’s always shitty at the city.

    • nybiker says:

      @NigerianScammer: Hey, that’s what we call [or more accurately, how we pronounce] our (ok, not really ‘ours’ but the bigshots’) new ball park in Queens, NY.

  2. paulrules says:

    It’s the same as Tigerdirect (Basically) but with a new front-end. I haven’t had problems with Tigerdirect’s return policy, as they haven’t refused things when I had a legit reason to return then. The policy may seem harsh, but they are not going to be total assholes about it.

    Carey is just nit-picking at the return policy. In reality? Systemax is a great company which has pretty competitive prices compared to newegg.

    • wvFrugan says:

      @paulrules:
      ” The policy may seem harsh, but they are not going to be total assholes about it.” And you can guarantee this how? I guess I should stop believing my lieing eyes when I read this?! Sounds like a fair warning to any responsible consumer that values reasonable return policies to stay away. I don’t like to gamble, count me out.

    • twophrasebark says:

      @paulrules:

      Paul, does your paycheck have the words “Systemax” on it?

    • savdavid says:

      Why don’t you sing a Systemax jingle or do a TigerDirect dance? You are so a whore for them. How much did they pay you to write that?

    • bananaboat says:

      @paulrules:

      Not sure of what the big issue is either, same return policy as Tiger Direct.

    • t325 says:

      @paulrules: So, if their prices are the same as Newegg’s, and their return policy is just as good as Newegg’s, then why not just shop at Newegg where you know their prices are about the best you’ll get, they have an extremely liberal return policy and possibly the best customer service in the industry?

      No, I’m not a paid shill for Newegg. Just a loyal customer of theirs.

    • captadam says:

      @paulrules: I had a number of unfortunate experiences buying from the slime at TigerDirect. NEVER NEVER NEVER again. I can’t believe nobody’s yet figured out that they’re a bunch of scammers.

    • fatcop says:

      @paulrules: Speak for yourself. I had a problem with Tiger 15 years ago that was so irritating that I have been driving business away from them ever since whenever I hear their name.

      Good thing AMEX employs bulldogs in their chargeback department.

      • supercereal says:

        @fatcop: TigerDirect in it’s current form has only been around for 13 years — I can’t imaging a rational explanation for refusing to do business with what is essentially a completely different company.

    • Anonymous says:

      @paulrules: I’m happy that you’re happy with TigerDirect’s return policy.

      My experience is rather different. I ordered 2 Shuttle SS-50s, and they were both DOA. I checked the packing list, and it said “DO NOT CONTACT TIGERDIRECT ABOUT RETURNS”. Instead, it gave me contact info for Shuttle – which didn’t respond to phone calls OR emails.

      I ended up salvaging the CPUs and RAM, and chalked the rest of the $600 purchase to experience.

  3. KingPsyz says:

    Circus City not consumer friendly!?!

    I am SHOCKED…

    No really… where’s everyone going…

  4. Siegeman says:

    I’ve heard so many horror stories with TigerDirect over the years that I’m not going to touch CircuitCity.com with a 50ft pole.

    Then again, I’ve also heard a few positive things about TD over the last few years…. hmmmm… better check if their page at the BBB has improved from “epic fail”

    • formatc says:

      @Siegeman: I’ve personally never had anything less than stellar support from them. A few years ago a motherboard/cpu that I bought from them was fried. It broke only a few weeks past their standard warranty period and not only did they still honor the warranty but they replaced them with a newer product since the original was no longer available. I didn’t even need to ask, they just did it. I do most of my purchasing through them for work (currently through the compUSA brand), and we get the same level of service on our corporate account.

    • davere says:

      @Siegeman: I once bought some software from TigerDirect. The CD was loose inside of the plastic packaging and it was scratch beyond repair. I tried the CD on several computers and it just didn’t work.

      I contacted TigerDirect to get a replacement. They told me that they sent me the last copy they had and that they didn’t have any more on order. I asked for a refund, they refused, they would only give me store credit. There was nothing else that I wanted or needed, I wanted a refund so that I could order the software from another company.

      It’s not like I was trying to return the software because I didn’t like it. It was sold to me damaged and they kept my money.

      I haven’t bothered with them since. I recommend others that they stay away from them because of their customer unfriendly return policies.

  5. Moosehawk says:

    And don’t even think of returning anything from “Compaq, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Toshiba, Epson and others.”

    Basically a lazy and vague way of saying “If nothing else denies your return, we’ll just say it’s a brand we don’t allow”

  6. ctate says:

    i got an email also stating linensnthings.com is alive and well. what happened to the good ole days when going out of business meant GOING OUT OF BUSINESS. this just all seems fishy to me. my opinion.

  7. ds143 says:

    is systemax the same company that brought CompUSA back as well?

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @ds143: yes
      i don’t understand why they want to support 3 different brands… we know how well that worked for Wolf Camera/Ritz/whatever else they bought

    • squishyalt says:

      @ds143: That’s right. Now, why any company would want to brand itself with the brands of 2 complete failures is beyond me.

      I understand buying the stock left in these stores at fire sale prices, but you don’t have to wallow in the soot.

  8. billbobbins says:

    “… and others”? That could be any manufacturer they want to make up at the time? Looks like nothing has changed at Tigerdirect and I’ll be avoiding them in the future as I have been avoiding them before.

    I’m sure there will be some tempting rebate offers to tempt me, too.

  9. f3rg says:

    Newegg is basically the bestest electronics store in the known galaxy, and I’d never waste my time with Circuit City for any reason. Just let the brand die already.

    • wardawg says:

      @f3rg: I’m glad Newegg FINALLY opened a .ca store, I’ve wanted to order from newegg for the longest time but they never used to ship to Canada.

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      @f3rg: You, sir, are not lying. NewEgg’s return policy the FEW times I’ve needed to return something in many many orders has been no problem.

      Even avoided the restocking fee on a ‘non-defective’ external HDD that had the ‘defect’ of not working w/Vista.
      It worked with XP, but I needed it to work with a Vista laptop, so they took it back.

  10. Joeb5 says:

    I can return bad parts to tiger direct Naperville, IL very very easy and get a good part same day.

    • twophrasebark says:

      @Joeb5:

      My pacheck sez Tigerderect Napeville. Now geev me cheezburger?

      • dave_coder says:

        @twophrasebark: You play like a broken record. Can’t someone say they like a company and disagree with your rating without you posting the same stupid “oh hey guyz. i bet this guys getting his pay from the place place he likes rofl lolz”.

  11. PLATTWORX says:

    WOW. I was happy to see someone try and fix the CC brand, I have not purchased from Systemax or their divisions before and was not aware of their HORRID return policy. Thank you for pointing this out!

  12. edrebber says:

    If they don’t accept a return for non conforming merchandise, then they will get hammered with a charge back and lose both the item, the money and a charge back fee.

  13. twophrasebark says:

    Systemax = TigerDirect = Horrible

  14. twophrasebark says:

    2028: I am writing this hoping
    someone will receive this message
    from the future. All hope has been
    lost. Most American companies have
    gone bankrupt and been bought by
    Systemax. Their Return Policy is
    now enforceable by law. Returns
    are punishable by death. All items
    are shipped in giant sized boxes.
    Systemax forces us all to wear
    Snuggies. All products come with a
    rebate which is never received
    because Systemax now owns the post
    office too. If you are receiving
    this message don’t let them buy
    Circuit City. That is the beginning
    of the end. I have to run now.
    The resistance leader Ben Popken
    is going to try one more desperate
    gambit to change the timeline…

  15. sprocket79 says:

    I finally got my rebate from the original CircuitCity.com. Just 5 months after they said they mailed it! I’m shocked I got it at all. I still won’t believe it until the check fully clears the bank.

    • Odiase says:

      @sprocket79: Same here! I got mine this Saturday. I had long written it off as a loss. The funny thing is when anyone I knew called their customer service number (just before they disconnected it), they would tell you that the check was in the mail and to be patient.

  16. BillyDee_CT says:

    After reading everything it’s easy to make a decision – I’m just gonna stay with Newegg and stay away from the “Circuit City Rebrand” of Systemax. It’s not the old CC so why bother?

  17. MooseOfReason says:

    The article implies its Systemax’s policy not to accept returns of “IBM, Compaq, Epson, etc.” It’s not. Go to their ‘Return Policy’ page:
    [www.circuitcity.com]

    “Some manufacturers have implemented returns restrictions that prevent CircuitCity.com from being able to accept returns or offer exchanges, replacements or credits on their products. Products from manufacturers such as Compaq, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Toshiba, Epson and others are not returnable to CircuitCity.com FOR ANY REASON. “

    I guess someone didn’t expect any readers would actually read CircuitCity.com’s return policy. That’s offensive.

    • PsiCop says:

      @MooseOfReason:

      Point taken … but there are still two problems here.

      1. If the manufacturers have imposed these restrictions, do they also affect other vendors like Newegg? I’m not aware they have. Systemax may claim it’s the manufacturers imposing these terms on them, but if those terms aren’t imposed on other vendors, the only reasonable conclusion one can draw from it, is that Systemax made up those terms themselves, and are blaming them on the manufacturers, who in reality had nothing to do with it.

      2. Did you notice the “and others” part? How exactly is this specific enough for a buyer to know if the product he buys is affected by this supposedly-manufacturer-imposed policy? If I buy a Western Digital drive or a Logitech mouse, will I be able to return it? The “and others” part doesn’t tell me. But should I decide to return one of them, Systemax could easily tell me that Logitech and WD are part of the “and others” in that policy.

      Interesting to see the Systemax supporters coming on this site, touting how wonderful this deficient return policy is, expecting that people won’t see through it for what it really is … a sham. (And worse than that, an outright lie, if in fact the manufacturers have not imposed a “no returns” restriction on them.)

      I’ll keep buying from Newegg. When you guys get around to offering a return policy that’s even remotely fair to buyers, I’ll reconsider. But not until then … and certainly not until you guys can be honest about it.

      • Anonymous says:

        @PsiCop: You are going to have understand basic corporate level accounting and finance management to answer that question. You view is from a very small and limited and segmented understanding of how companies manage lose allowances. New egg is not always the best electronics dealer and very often they do not follow normal packing procedures for items. Just google that while you are at it and try to make a damage claim and see how that goes for ya.

        New egg itself may have the free cash flow available to eat damaged good or write them off. If system max is purchasing a struggling brand they will enforce Manufacturer return policy to mitigate losses. It isn’t about consumerism it is about basic business dynamics. If he company wanted to survive and be viable in the future for policy shifts it first has to manage the debt it absorbs.

        All in all, this is fairly irrelevant. There are some people on this board that enjoy acting like the nay sayers they aren’t. I have used CDW, TigerDirect, Newegg, Ebay, and about 100 different online suppliers of electronic components. Most of them enforce return restriction but most of them handle returns gracefully. I would put money down that half of you that talk bad about System Max don’t even realize how many brands System max owns or manufactures.

        Honesty ? Really, Have you taken a moment to follow the links that outline the policy clearly stated on the site before your purchase. How honest do want them to be. By your logic the Naked guy with his sack exposed should scream to the world that his sack is exposed. It defies common logic you can already clearly see what is going on.

        • PsiCop says:

          @GardnerXuthus:

          If by pointing out that my “very small and limited and segmented understanding” of these so-very-complicated-matters-that-are-much-too-involved-for-a-plebe-like-you-to-know-about, you’re trying to say that I should just blithely go along with Systemax … heh … you’ve got another thing coming.

          No matter how “very small and limited and segmented” my “understanding” is, I nevertheless have every intention of buying from vendors that suit my wishes. Don’t like it? Make me stop. Go ahead and do it!

          Put another way … your objection is laughable.

          So Newegg and Systemax policies differ because of their accounting method and cash flow? How does that make the slightest difference to me? Why should I not go with the more advantageous vendor?

          You haven’t told me anything other than that Systemax can cook up a rationale for why it’s different from other vendors. That means NOTHING to me. Not one thing. In a free country I get to choose … neither you nor Systemax can snuff that out. (Yet!)

          • PsiCop says:

            @PsiCop:

            Posting glitch: “these so-very-complicated-matters-that-are-muc…” should have been “these so very complicated matters that are much too involved for a peion like me” (the presence of the hyphens, I guess, caused the blog software to truncate it).

      • MooseOfReason says:

        @PsiCop: Systemax supporter?

        Really? I actually read a return policy instead of blindly trusting anything that appears in a Consumerist article and I’m suddenly some evil corporate drone.

        “When you guys [...]“

        Who are you talking to, exactly? And by the way, your first point was conjecture.

        • PsiCop says:

          @MooseOfReason:

          Yes, “Systemax supporter.”

          I read the policy too. To accuse me of not having read it, is just your way of dismissing what I said … which to reiterate was, that this policy CANNOT have been “forced” on Systemax by manufacturers, as Systemax claims, since OTHER vendors do NOT follow the same policy.

          If it truly had been “forced” on them, it would be something ALL vendors do. Not just one.

          Oh, and Systemax’s accounting methods and cashflow might be factors, but neither of them is “forced” on them by manufacturers. Again, this is demonstrated in the fact that other vendors do not (apparently) use the same accounting or have the same cashflow.

          Whatever justification you or they try to cook up for this, the fact is that Systemax’s claim that this policy is “forced” on them by manufacturers, IS A LIE. A flat-out lie.

          As for what you call “speculation,” it is NOT “speculation” that other vendors do not follow the policy that Systemax claims was “forced” on them by manufacturers. You can try to dismiss that as mere “speculation,” if you wish … but you might as well also try to say that the sky is red, not blue … either way you’re obviously and remarkably wrong, and foolish to insist you’re still correct.

    • bonerobo says:

      @MooseOfReason: @MooseOfReason: It is their policy to not accept returns from those brands. They claim the reason is that those manufacturers will not allow it, but the fact remains they will not accept returns from those brands. Other resellers do allow it. If you purchase something from CircuitCity.com, then you should be allowed to return to them. You can’t. You have to return it to the manufacturer, and CircuitCity.com washes their hands of the whole thing. The other thing is, if you purchase something from CircuitCity.com (I had this problem with TigerDirect.com) and buy something else to use with it, and it does not work, the manufacturer will not honor the warranty, and you can not return it. I bought a Compaq computer with extra ram and a video card. The RAM passed a memtest, but would not work with the computer. It was the RAM they recommended, it was the right type, but it would not work in the computer. Compaq would not take it back, and so I paid for a computer that was nearly useless. I sold it for a $150 loss in order to order something from Newegg.com that actually worked.

  18. turkeyspam says:

    It think there was a mis-spelling in the name. It should read ‘Suck It City”.

  19. legwork says:

    Ugh, Tigerdirect/Systemax…

    Watch your fingers & toes. Every now and then they bite. Hard.

    We ordered a notebook from them just last week. Time was short so we paid for express shipping. It was late in the day so that means it was to arrive on the 2nd day.

    The 2nd day arrives. They call and state there’s a problem. “The billing address and shipping address are different.” No kidding. We went through this while ordering by phone. The owner’s card is billed to his home and the card company has both on file. There’s a load of available credit and the card company doesn’t have a problem with the now common scenario. This is entirely a TD delay.

    Really, I don’t have a problem with them adding their own layer of security to credit card orders. I know fraud is a PITA. But waiting two days to call on an order for which we paid a significant shipping premium is completely daft.

    • nybiker says:

      @legwork: I would have hoped that you’d get an email or call fairly quickly after you submit your order. Or for that matter, to not even allow the order to go through. How difficult is it for the ordering system to verify the addresses? It’s not very difficult (see, I could be a good lawyer since I already knew the answer to my question).

      Did they credit you the ‘premium’ express shipping charges?

      • legwork says:

        @nybiker: Nope. Due to all of us being swamped, we ate it, along with our pride. OTOH, it’s highly unlikely they’ll see more business from us for a very long time.

  20. Major-General says:

    I don’t think any company is as friendly as Consumerist would like them to be.

    • PsiCop says:

      @Major-General:

      Possibly not. But that doesn’t mean one has to lower one’s standards.

      Not only that … I suspect that using Newegg’s policy as a counterexample to Systemax’s, strongly suggests that they approve of Newegg’s.

  21. framitz says:

    I grew to count on Circuit City as my LAST RESORT many years ago before they even sold computers. I went there to buy my first computer. Back when Apple, Atari, and Commodore were the main choices. I figured they call themselves Circuit City, and computers are FULL of circuits.

    It just never got any better . . .

  22. Anonymous says:

    The all new circuitcity.com website sucks. It’s nothing like the original. Believe or not, the original circuit city.com was one of the top 20 sites visited during the holiday seasons. There are a couple problems with this new website like they do not have in store pickup option. (Try finding the product a tigerdirect store!!!).
    The old circuit city carried a better line of televisions with middle to higher end models. Unfortunately the “new” circuit city only carries lower end or televisions that are out of production. (exactly like tiger direct) I’m extremely disappointed that systemax did not negotiate with vendors to bring newer and middle to higher end television models. They would be taken more serious by best buy or jr.com and provided stiff competition in the online and big box realm.

    Other than the main page, the rest of the layout is pretty bad. I know most of you folks hated circuit city but you had to admit that the old website was considered one of the best. It was easy and simple and visually looked better(compared to any consumer electronics website look at archive.org).

    Another thing thats sad is the return policy is almost nonexistent. While it is not a surprise for products like big products like televisions purchased from online only retailers but no return policy’s on laptops and many accessories. Whats up with that!? One last thing is the extended warranties that systemax offers is outrageously expesive compared to the old circuit city, best buy, new egg or any other retailer. I know people think it’s a rip off but it’s ridiculous that you would be charging more then your competitors. I use to work at circuit city and knew that our warranties were very expensive but who knew that they can top that.

    Anyways I like tigerdirect and shop in their stores to buy only pc parts. I think systemax could of done a better job in handling the branding rights to circuit city. They should make improvements to exceed the original but they seem to take a step back. The only improvement is pricing but they need to improve on getting better product line and improve return policy’s. Hopefully systemax will listen and treat circuit city as a separate entity. Love or hate circuit city, their website actually made the company money. There website was really the only good thing that kept the company afloat so long. It just their brick and mortar stores are, admittedly poor(blame senior management is the culprit). Systemax needs to do a better job if they want to retain former circuitcity.com customers or bring in new customers. Copy and pasting will not get it done folks!!

  23. t325 says:
  24. FLConsumer says:

    TigerDirect has been a somewhat shady company since they were the mail-order place out of Miami back in the early 90s.

    I personally have had mixed results with them. More not-so-great than good experiences. Not quite horrible, but enough that I’ll pay a little extra and buy elsewhere.

  25. djdanska says:

    I go to the tigerdirect/compusa/whatever it’s called this month in Naperville, IL and have no issue with returns there. I bought an Acer Aspire One a month or so ago and within a few days, the keyboard stopped working. Returned it and they exchanged it on the spot. Took 10 minutes. (And was a refurb! Was like $230. Saved a hundred by getting it refurb one).

    If you live in the chicago suburbs and want something from Tigerdirect, just go to the naperville store with the item number from the website and they can usually get it from the back. Saved on shipping and you get it same day. Can’t beat that!

  26. jpdanzig says:

    Boy, you know a company must be pathetic when they decide to conduct business using the name of a dead company that was itself long considered toxic.

    I doubt any regular readers of this blog will be making any purchases from the reborn CC any time soon…

  27. Derek Bentley says:

    Tiger Direct sold me an external hard drive stating it was brand new. Of course the sticker on the case itself said warranty void if removed. So I opened the casing and it was a refurbished drive. I hate that word…

    I don’t like Tiger Direct and their lies.

  28. fluke11 says:

    Dell is suing Tiger Direct for misleading advertising. I don’t see how the same management can end up improving the Circuit City brand. Further information about Dell’s lawsuit is at: [www.theregister.co.uk]

  29. Sherlock Homo says:

    I don’t get it, what’s the difference?

  30. usa_gatekeeper says:

    Under Terms & Conditions, Processing Time: … “If the item(s) on your order are out of stock, they will not be shipped until we have received and processed the backordered inventory in our warehouse.”

    Honest!

  31. typoink says:

    @captadam: I’ve been shopping with TigerDirect for years, and I’ve only had one significant problem (a $50 printer that never arrived).

    They used to have a sleazy habit of listing a generic product (like “Pentium 4 heatsink”) and picturing a much higher-end product than they’d send. But I haven’t seen that in years.

    I’ve gotten some great deals from them at times, had decent customer service for incorrect orders or returns, and they’re fast as can be. Orders placed before 2 or 3 PM will arrive next day with standard shipping from Tiger (in the Chicago area). That’s a VERY handy thing, since even overnight shipping from NewEgg isn’t as reliable.

    I prefer Newegg to Tiger because they have better policies and a nicer website, but something low prices and fast shipping count for a lot and I’ve rarely regretted using Tiger.

  32. Richie Scanlan says:

    It’s the Invasion of the Brand Snatchers!! Amazing values on pre-plundered name brand laptops with ersatz internal parts!

  33. MightyCow says:

    I hope this is like the board game Acquire, and that my previously-worthless CC stock will now lead me to a late-game victory!

  34. DrRonster says:

    As a result of this article I went onto the website. I was informed that I could transfer the Circuit City data and my account would be active. Upon receiving the Emails from CC.com, terminated accounts. Wont be going to any of those 3 sites.

  35. lasbrisas says:

    I got a great deal on a GPS from the new Circuit City. Website worked fine, order shipped fast, product is in great. I don’t know what you people are griping about!