Circuit City Is A Douche

Sheridan’s girlfriend hoped to buy him Simpson Season 8 for $19.99 from Circuit City, based off this week’s flyer. She ordered online, only to find herself charged $39.99.

After you read his letter inside, you can tell us whether Circuit Shitty is able to process and ship an order within 19 minutes, or they’re total liars…

Sheridan writes:

    “My girlfriend wanted to get me “The Simpsons Season 8” (WooHoo!) for Christmas. The DVD is currently on sale for 19.99 in this week’s flyer.

    Since she was home, and frankly too lazy to drive the miles to the store, she decides to order the DVD at the online store. She goes through the online flyer and found the DVD at the sale price: 19.99. When she clicked on the DVD it came up at 39.99 but said on the page that the sale price will be displayed at checkout (yes, I know how foolish to believe that!) . Soooooo, she clicks through the ordering pages, name, address, CC, etc. When the final “your order is complete” comes up, the DVD is still at the 39.99 price!.

    Outraged, she calls customer service to find out what went wrong. Here’s where things go really bad. First, the CSR tells her that she ordered from the wrong flyer. She tells them that she saw it not only on the local flyer but also on the website sales flyer (She also keyed on random zip codes for the local flyer and the same sale price was listed on all of them). After 19 minutes of back n forth “is too – is not” the CSR tells her that the DVD on sale in the flyer is a “in-store item” only. Of course, no where is this listed on the flyer or website (you can check for yourself lucky readers). Annoyed that Circuit City is not going to budge, she decided to simply cancel the order, and drive to the store and get it.

    So, she calls back and gets another CSR. She explains what happens (2nd time) and informs the CSR that she is no longer interested in the DVD and could the CSR cancel the order. The CSR tells her that they cannot cancel the order because it has already been processed and shipped. Now mind you the total elapsed time from hitting the “order” button to being told that it has been shipped was a grand total of 19 minutes – confirmed by the email sent to her. When my girlfriend questions how the heck could it possibly be processed and shipped in 19 minutes, the CSR told her once the order is processed, it cannot be canceled.

    So, my girlfriend realizes that she is going nowhere with the CSR drone, she asks to speak to a supervisor. The CSR tells her that there is nothing the supervisor can do that she cannot do herself. My girlfriend insists that she speak to the Supervisor. The CSR finally caves-in and puts her on-hold.

    10 Minutes of on-hold time later, my girlfriend gets “Holly” the supervisor on the phone. Again, everything is explained in full detail (3rd time) and that she wants her order canceled. The Supervisor looked at the order being processed and repeated that once the order is processed, there is nothing that can be done. Sorry.

    Mind you, the elapsed time from the beginning of the second call to now is 25 minutes. My girlfriend, tired of being told no, asks Holly the supervisor, the speak to her supervisor. Once again she is placed on-hold (4 minutes). Now, Nolden answers the phone. Once again, for the 4th time she explains the situation and wants to cancel the DVD. Nolden told my girlfriend that she has no real issue because the DVD in question is an in-store special” only. Again, my girlfriend explains that no where on the sales flyer or the online flyer does it say “in-store only”. So Nolden says he tried to cancel the order but its too late because, according to his computer, it has been “processed and shipped” and there is nothing he can do. Let’s recap the fact we at this time we are talking about a grand total of approx 35 minutes from pressing “order” to right now.

    While my girlfriend is waiting for Nolden who is “looking into it”, I tell her to tell him that if the order is not canceled by tomorrow morning, you will call the Credit Card (VISA) and tell them “chargeback”. When she gets Nolden’s attention, she tells him about the “chargeback” deadline – tomorrow. He tells her that he would research the problem further and that he would call her back. Of course that was 3 hours ago and I’m sure Nolden is going to do everything but call us back – we’ll see.

    Postscript: When my girlfriend looked at her email confirmation; she noticed that the invoice states that the ship date is November 22nd – two days from now. Interesting that her order was processed and shipped probably as soon as she hit the order button. But the invoice tells the real truth. I wonder if Circuit City is so desperate for revenue that they feel the need to cheat their online customers just to make a few bucks.

    Has anyone else had this happen to them ?

    Thanks for listening.”

Nodlen is never going to call back. He’s just getting you off the phone. Get on the phone again and press your case, from supervisor to supervisor, until you get that order canceled. — BEN POPKEN


Edit Your Comment

  1. brew400 says:

    always remember… there is someone higher in the rankings that you can talk to

  2. valkin says:

    Their systems probably updates the order to “shipped” at some point in the process, when changes or cancellations can no longer be communicated either to an internal warehouse or to their drop shipper. It sucks for the customer, but I don’t doubt that the CSR can’t cancel the order.

    The best thing to do is refuse shipment when it arrives. If you’re not at home when the package is delivered, write “refused” on it and you won’t be responsible for shipping.

  3. Chairman-Meow says:

    My first Consumerist Story….WooHoo!

    Anyways, here’s something I forgot to put in the original post.

    Nolden @ Circuit City told my girlfriend that when we get the DVD in the mail (at the full price), simply go to our local Circuit City and return it.

    I happen to stop at our Local Circuit City today (Taunton MA) and asked about the return policy on DVDs.

    Guess what the answer was ?

    In-store credit only. So not only do they screw you but if you call them on it, they still have a way to keep your money.


    Stay tuned for an update on this story….it gets better and involves a favorite villian of the Consumerist. This time they are wearing a white hat.

  4. homerjay says:

    Just process the chargeback. You have a lot of ammo to send over to the CC company and as soon as Circuit City hears that you’ve already processed it they’ll bend over backwards beecause the last thing they want is to have that chargeback completed.
    Chargebacks are BAAAAD news for vendors and easy as pie to do as a customer.

    They should be saved for nasty situations and this is one.

  5. Front_Towards_Enemy:

    You’re in luck. Check out the Circuit City price match guidelines:

    This was posted in an earlier consumerist article and may pertain to you exactly, particularly the part that says “If you’ve seen a lower advertised price from another local store with the same item in stock, we want to know about it. Bring it to our attention, and we’ll gladly beat their price by 10% of the difference. If you see a lower advertised price (including our own sale prices) within 30 days of your purchase, we’ll refund 110% of the difference.”

    I would print up the price match guidelines and take it into the store with you along with a print up of the invoice. Not only will you get the difference back, but 10% as well. Everyone wins. (The only reason you may get static is if they really want to push the issue of “local store” but I would push the issue regardless. Anyone with common sense is going to see your PoV on this one.)

  6. latemodel says:

    The chargeback will cost Circuit City $25 as soon as you request it from your card provider.

  7. smash says:

    sometimes when orders enter the shipping process, a csr can’t do anything from that point. i currently work for a large internet retailer, and when orders hit shipping (sometimes minutes after the order is placed), there’s nothing that can be done to cancel it.

    you could just refuse the package. refusing the package will send it back to circuit city and they should process a refund. you may want to ask if that’s an option.

    as well, you may want to talk to your local circuit city. i worked as a csr for cc a few years ago… if you bring the dvd and the email confirmation and maybe explain to the manager on duty there, you may be able to have them refund your credit card the 20.00 difference in the store. worth a shot.

  8. DF says:

    If your girlfriend has a copy of the flyer, or a printout of the Web site ad, and it doesn’t say “in-store only” anywhere, contest the difference with your credit card company. Your credit card company will likely refund the difference no-questions-asked — and Circuit City will lose not only the difference but the chargeback fee.

  9. SexCpotatoes says:

    Do the chargeback, don’t dick around. As a polar opposite of this story, I recently ordered Two Hauppauge 150s from, then realized, I needed one of those PCI slots in my computer for a sound card, whoops. Called them, had the order cancelled right away, money refunded in 3 business days, yay. Later, I ordered the Hauppauge 500 and windows MCE remote, got them yesterday, and it’s sort of working, all my lower channels are fuzzy, but hey, I now have a kickass PVR/Computer. Newegg rocks for cancelling orders before they ship.

  10. Jesse in Japan says:

    Stop being such a wimp about this. Just do the chargeback. You asked them to cancel the order and they refused. They claimed it was because the order had been shipped, but their own documentation disputes that. You’ll have a better case before the damned thing actually does ship.

    You can try the price difference thing, but it does say ANOTHER local store, so they’ll probably just balk at the suggestion.

  11. Triteon says:

    Question– There’s a screen on the CC website that displays what you are paying and asks for a confirmation before processing the transaction. Why did she confirm the $39.99 total? Discounts would be applied before this.
    It sounds like there’s culpability on both sides. CC should be able to cancel the transaction for an item that obviously hasn’t shipped (but watch out for a restocking fee!), but FTE’s girlfriend never should have confirmed the higher price.

  12. Triteon says:

    (Sorry if this double-posts)
    Question– There’s a screen on the CC website that displays what you are paying and asks for a confirmation before processing the transaction. Why did she confirm the $39.99 total? Discounts would be applied before this.
    It sounds like there’s culpability on both sides. CC should be able to cancel the transaction for an item that obviously hasn’t shipped (but watch out for a restocking fee!), but FTE’s girlfriend never should have confirmed the higher price.

  13. cindel25 says:

    The only place worth buying DVDs on the cheap.

  14. Xkeeper says:

    Guys, I know the whole Ajax/Web 2.0 comment system here is prone to fuckups and errors, but just open a new window and refesh this page. It makes it so much easier to tell.

  15. Christopher says:

    They should most definitely take a return on the DVD for a refund as long as it isn’t opened. If they’re telling you in-store credit only, dispute it. Ask them where in their policy it states this (it doesn’t!). I used to work as a CSA for CCity, and sealed DVD’s are to be refunded using the means by which they were paid for.

  16. edjusted says:

    Last week, I ordered a digital memory card online to be picked up at the store. The next day I went. As I waited in line (there were only 2 people in front of me) I noticed the CSRs frantically running around from terminal to terminal. Apparently they were having computer problems. 15 mins later, I stepped up and faced the “operations supervisor” or some supervisor titled guy. I told him I wanted to pick up my order and gave him my paperwork. I don’t think he said one word to me. He then did some more running around from terminal to terminal. He never once apologized for the wait or told me what was going on. Another 20 mins later, I had to ask him TWICE if there was a problem. He told me they were having computer problems and then promptly continued to ignore me. Finally I was passed off to another guy whose name badge was covered up. He was much friendlier. He punched up my order and told me they’d go get it. Another 10 mins later, he told me they couldn’t find it and they were going to check on “the floor” to see if they had it. Nope, they didn’t have it. At least he gave me a $24 gift card because of their “if we don’t have your order ready within 24 mins of placing it you get $24” program. So basically it took them about an hour to “process” my non-order. Too bad I never want to shop there again.

  17. Triteon says:

    Xkeeper– refreshing is not working. I left the site, surfed for awhile and came back 40 minutes later and my comment still wasn’t there.

  18. Xkeeper– refreshing is not working. I left the site, surfed for awhile and came back 40 minutes later and my comment still wasn’t there.

    Sometimes it seems the only way to make a comment appear is for someone to post another one.

    It is supposed to prevent people from posting the exact same post twice but I think I saw it happen in one of the threads recently.

  19. rbf2000 says:

    Orders that are done as direct shipments cannot be cancelled, the CSAs were not pulling your chain with that. It’s really annoying, but you just have to wait until you get the item in the mail (it’s free shipping, so aside from a few days, you won’t be missing out on much).

    Even if you call the actual website support line (instead of the brick and mortar store) they can’t cancel an order once it has gone through, as a former CSA at Circuit City I know this to be the case, because I’ve tried to get them to do it. In store pick-ups are a completely different matter, however.

    I’m not sure why they didn’t offer to do a price match for you if it was in the ad, but unfortunately, they aren’t all the brightest people in the world. I would suggest asking for the price match as that is something the store can control, unless of course this experience just left such a bad taste in your mouth that you want to wash your hands of them.

    As for being told only store credit on the DVD, that’s ludicrous, you’ll get your entire refund no problem. The only exception would be if it was opened, in which case you could only exchange it for the same title if it was defective, or if it was over 30 days. Also, some stores will give store credit for a movie without a receipt, but this is a practice for the most part they have stopped doing, although they will probably do it more after Christmas when people have gifts to exchange.

  20. devenie says:

    Circuit City does suck all around. I placed an order during Black Friday which was processed and payment taken from my CC. 10 days later they mysteriously cancel it WITHOUT REASON via email notification. After 30 mins on hold and finally getting through to cust service they say that too many people ordered on Black Friday and many orders were cancelled. Do you think this is running a business? They claim not to have stock. I am welcome to place an order again (at twice the price!) Have they ever heard of “backorder”? Of course the product is available for shipping or in-store pickup at the same time they cancel my order. In the end I get a manager and am told I can order again and they will process a price adjustment. I am NOT calling back again and waiting on hold so force the manager to wait while I order and take the order number during the initial call. Still, they get the use of my money twice and put me through cust svc hell?!? Not even sure I want the product now but do want to hold them to the price plus have another party more than happy to buy them off me. Wonder if any recourse to my credit card co given they have my money twice and I have nothing??

  21. arym2580 says:

    Usually, an order gets approved right away making it impossible to cancel though it was placed few minutes ago. CSAs dont have any option but to advise customers to refuse the DVD once it arrives. Another option would be returning the DVD at the store and you’ll get your money back. However, stores would just give you an exchange for the same title if the DVD is already opened, that goes for games and software too. She should have brought the flyer at the store and tried asking for a price match.