According to anonymous insider tips, Circuit City is closing 155 stores and withdrawing from 12 markets. This will be officially announced tomorrow at 8am, says our source. A scan we received of a letter distributed to CC employees helps corroborate the story. The tipsters say that store employees were told this morning. No information was provided at that time about severance pay. Employees in certain departments, like car installation, and Firedog, will likely be out of a job within 48 hours. Warranties will still be honored. UPDATE 6: Here’s the complete official list of closing stores.
In response to some of the comments posted on 12 Confessions Of A Home Mortgage Collector, the confessor has sent in a followup letter to answer your questions, and clarify some of his statements.
A former Wells Fargo Home Mortgage home collector has stepped forth from the shadows to tell you what’s really going on. Here’s his confession:
An Apple store insider has leaked to us what they say will be some limitations and barriers on buying the iPhone Apple and AT&T stores will apply to the new iPhone 3g that goes on sale this Friday:
It’s no secret to Consumerist readers that Comcast’s outsourced techs are often late, rude and incompetent, and that calling customer service is more akin to improving dialogue in a Beckett play, but as this exclusively obtained powerpoint made by a Comcast employee shows, it’s no secret to the cable company either. (I know the damn thing wasn’t officially created by Comcast corp. C’mon, give us more credit than that. It’s pretty obvious that it’s too funny to be official. I just meant to describe how it was created by a Comcast employee and passed around to other Comcast employees and came from inside Comcast. I realize now that “internal” makes it sound official, and that wasn’t my intention. I apologize for the confusion.) Watch and/or download the powerpoint, inside…
Billshrink.com is going to bring a never-before-seen level of transparency to consumers looking for the best credit card offer. Think of it as a turbocharged dashboard for navigating the credit card market. The site launched earlier this year as wireless plan comparison service, but with personal debt at record highs and personal savings rates at record lows, the credit card vector is potentially even more important and useful tool. I sat down with CEO Peter Pham yesterday as he showed me the actual website in action.
A testament to the “Series of Tubes” meme’s pervasiveness is its inclusion in an AT&T FastAccess business DSL tech support manual. According to a former employee, her bosses who made the manual were big nerds and read BoingBoing, Gizmodo, and The Consumerist. She also says in one of the the tech support training videos for the new customer Yahoo portal that’s rolling out later this month, it shows how to create a feed for The Consumerist. Note too that the internet is depicted as a giant fluffy cloud.
These internal Verizon emails, sent by the same insider and as a a followup to “LEAKS: Insider Says Verizon Isn’t Fulfilling Advertised Discounts For Tens Of Thousands,” shows why some of our readers have complained about Verizon offering them one price and billing them another, and then being inflexible in offering service credits. It appears to show that Verizon mailed out a half a million “Blitz” promotional rate cards, then decided it was an error and pulled the offer from the computers. Then Verizon let people get the advertised offers, but only if the customer specifically asked for it. Around the same time, on March 3rd, management cuts the discounts reps can give to $150. Two weeks later, it’s $50. Two weeks after that, it’s zero. Even if a customer was overbilled and legitimately deserved a credit, tough titties, Texas, you weren’t going to get it. Verizon insider’s explanation, rebuttal to the response by Verizon PR pointman John Bonomo, and the internal emails, inside…
Citicard Exec On Ending Universal Default: "It's Like Telling People You Stopped Beating Your Wife."
I was talking to a high-up marketing type person from Citicards recently and she wanted to know what Consumerist readers were complaining about with regards to the little plastic devil she pushes. She told me how Citicards had recently stopped doing Universal Default, which is where if you’re late on your payments with one creditor, other creditors get to treat you like you defaulted with them and spike your APR. She said she was personally appalled after finding out that her company had the policy in the first place, but then struggled with how to tell customers about it, because, she said, “It’s like telling people you stopped beating your wife.”
Some shillyshallying office worker came across some papers jammed in the Best Buy shredder that purport to show that Best Buy is going to buy Wal-Mart. Normally I wouldn’t sully the pages of The Conglomerist with such treacherous murk, but, irregardless, the news is just too good to keep to myself. If true, this would be the best thing ever to happen to consumers as two of the most kickass companies in America combine forces. Just thinking of of the cost-saving efficiencies provided by the vertical integration makes pleasure crystals ooze shoot out from my pores and explode all over my cat’s face (don’t worry, he’s ok). Oh, and so he can be fired, this traitor’s name is Ryan Smith
What does the XM-Sirius satellite radio merger mean for XM customers? Well, according to one customer service rep, it means mean prices are going to roughly double in May. Here’s what she said to one of our tipsters:
This is strictly confidential, but all the paperwork is signed and ready to go, and XM has fully acquired Sirius Radio. Come May, there will be a substantial price increase for XM Radio, as it will, in June or so, host all the Sirius channels. It would be best to simply extend your XM plan as we will honor your current contract price per month before we begin hosting the Sirius stations.
The tipster said he believed she said the price was going to double. Perhaps the customer service rep just wanted to score a renewal, but if true, it would certainly at least be ironic considering when the DOJ approved the deal was they said, “the evidence did not show that the merger would enable the parties to profitably increase prices to satellite radio customers.” However, reader comments on this post and this post over at Orbitcast say this customer service rep is full of pure baloney.
A mysterious letter was anonymously faxed to our headquarters by a self-described “disgusted” Verizon customer service rep angry at how he/she says Verizon is screwing over landline customers. Here’s the highlights of his gut-spilling:
- 30,000+ people nationwide have still not received the free HDTVs Verizon promised new FiOS triple-play subscribers
- Verizon totally screwed up the “blitz” promotion, leading some customers signing up and not getting their discounts, others getting too much discount, and others not getting their discount for months
- Employees issued over $1 million in credit in January ’08, double what was given out in Jan ’07
- $250 in discretionary credit has been reduced to $50
- Internally, Verizon refers to customer service reps who give out “too much” credit due are called “offenders.”
Attention Profiled Shoppers: Consumerist is now in possession of an internal training document that teaches Best Buy blue shirts how to stereotype customers. While Best Buy’s use of personas has been known for several years, our exclusively obtained document contains several brand-new Best Buy personas, including “Maria Middle America” and “Empty Nesters” Helen and Charlie.
Ever wonder why gadget store employees push Monster cables like they’re crack? Bitchin’ markups, just like you suspected (or knew) all along. That’s what we found when a Radio Shack employee sent us his store’s entire inventory list, which included the wholesale and retail price of every item in stock.
Countrywide Home Loans was racist and automatically put African-Americans into exotic and expensive sub-prime loans they didn’t want or need, and couldn’t afford, according to a former employee. This employee worked there for two years up until the sub-prime meltdown. They write:
“…a customer would be qualified for a loan because their credit score and other factors based on the written product description, however, when I went in to put their (this only happened to African-Americans) – they were not qualified for the loan product and had to be referred to Countrywide’s subprime mortgage company Full Spectrum. Full Spectrum offered higher rates and fees. I got wise one day and started not inputing the race so the computer could give me “approval.”
A source inside Washington Mutual has sent us the internal company policy on workplace lactation. They say that they found it amusing that the bank regulates employee’s breast-milk. Overall, the policy is mainly about how one needs to go to special lactation rooms to express one’s milk (for the unaware, that’s what it’s really called). Facility specialists are available if the lactation rooms aren’t up to snuff, and company consultants are on call if you have any questions about expressing your breast milk. Elsewhere, a business writer says that, “Workplace lactation programs are inexpensive way to reduce employee absenteeism, lower health insurance costs, and improve employee retention.” Overall, it’s actually a pretty good policy, but it’s interesting to see how they talk about breastfeeding in corp speak. Oh, by the way, if you express your milk at work and store it there, make sure to label it and take it home at the end of the day. Thanks.