Circuit City Rep Offers Refund Of $389, Now Is "No Longer In The Dept" And Won't Help

Josh realized he forgot to click a “web only special” link when ordering something from, so he suspected that his order was not processed correctly. He called customer service as a precaution and sure enough, because he didn’t click the link they said he wouldn’t be getting the the deal and there was nothing they could do about it.

Eventually he escalated his issue up to Crystal, a “Customer Support Coordinator,” who told him that she would cancel his first order, put in the correct order and (since the price had gone up $389) refund the difference in price to Josh’s bank account.

That was 21 days ago. He’s been calling and emailing Crystal ever since, wondering where his $389 dollars is. Her response? She’s “no longer in the dept.”

Josh writes:

On July 16th I purchased my first HDTV from At the time I ordered it, there was a “web only special” going on for a free “home theater in a box” along with the TV. Naturally, I jumped on the offer as it was very competitively price compared to other big box store’s websites. As I was doing this, however, I didn’t click the “web only special” link. Long story short, out of precaution I contacted customer service the next day and was informed that simply because I didn’t click on the correct link (but quite obviously purchased the television within the proper time frame to receive the HTIB) I wouldn’t be getting it and there was nothing they could do to change this.

So after several hours spent on the phone with outsourced CS reps I was transferred to tier 2 support where I spoke to Ms. Crystal [redacted] (her email signature denotes her as a “Customer Support Coordinator” and it reads:

Crystal [redacted]
Customer Support Coordinator
Retail Escalations
Circuit City Corporate

We had to go through a rather complicated procedure to get things resolved, she said. She canceled my original order and re-placed a second one, that would include the HTIB. The catch, though, is that in the 26 hours since I had ordered the TV, the price had gone up $400! (presumably because of the special). “Don’t worry,” she told me, “I’ll price adjust the second order down to the price of the first order and you’ll have that amount (~$389) credited back to your account.”

Here we are, 21 days later and no response from Crystal [redacted] or Circuit City support. I called Ms. [redacted] numerous times and left just as many voicemails over the period of three weeks and never received a return phone call. I also sent, by my count 12 emails, one of which received the following response:

Mr. [redacted],

I do apologize for any inconvience please contact 1-800-251-2665 for further assistance. I am no longer in the dept that can assist you. My notes in your case are clear and any agent will be able to assist.


Crystal [redacted]

Today I contacted CC executive support (on the advice of Alex the intern…thanks Alex) and spoke to someone there. However, they were not particularly willing to help nor did she sound very hopeful. They informed me that my case was still “under investigation” and a “resolution” was pending. I spoke with Cheryl [redacted] at 804.486.3282.

Yes, I’m still within my window of return for the television but the idea that a company would actively try to screw me like this is infuriating. You’d think that, from their viewpoint, it would be easier to refund me my $389 then to have to resell a $1500 television. If it does go back, however, you can be sure I’ll be informing Samsung that there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with the television, just so CC has to resell it open box.



Is the TV heavy? Does it fit into your car? That being said, it might be time to move on to filing a complaint with the BBB. Or maybe try the EECB, or Executive Email Carpet Bomb!



Edit Your Comment

  1. hypnotik_jello says:

    Sounds like she’s been “promoted”

  2. ThyGuy says:

    Do it, take it back and find a better deal. You don’t have to put up with that bullshit from them. If they won’t take it back, get your money back through a charge back, then return the TV on the same day, so they can’t get you for sales theft.

  3. hop says:

    i used to think cc was a step above best buy which ,by the way, sucketh.take the thing back…get your money, then re order it again from the .com…if still possible….

  4. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Yeah, I would either return it, or just cancel the whole order. Deals just get better over time, so the next time you find a similar deal (in a month or three) it will probably be on a better model tv.

  5. Why do they bother offering help in the first place? What did they get out of telling him they’d fix it and then changing their mind?

  6. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    This reminds me of the episode of Seinfeld where he attempts to return a jacket with the reason being “for spite”.

  7. DadCooks says:

    Be prepared for that wonderful 15%+ “restocking/open box fee” that I am sure they will find a reason to charge.

  8. Hoss says:

    The company owes him money because they promised to give him money, further, there is likely an unfair and deceptive advertizing claim here. In the state I’m from (MA), there is something called a (chapter 93a) Demand Letter that anyone can write which the company is required to address the issue within 30 days (or face treble damages). I’ve used Demand Letters a half dozen times and each time have gotten a positive result.

    I suggest that he call his attorney general’s office to see if there is a similar concept in his state. Bringing the TV back is a huge pain and probably will mean he will be no better off than if he kept the TV and did nothing further.

  9. rbf2000 says:

    Go into the store and ask to talk to the Store Director. This is a case where something can be done, even if it is bending the rules slightly. The only reason they would have any problems with this is if the discounted price put it below cost. But if it was a legitimate price, they should do it.

    Just as an aside, I’ve spoken to numerous customers at Circuit City while working in customer service who have demanded ridiculous things (such as, “I bought this camera a year ago and I’d like to return it now without the restocking fee, I only used it once”). Not satisfied with the answer I gave them (no), they would call the “cool line” (800-251-2665), which is some outsourced phone line. On a side note, what a horrible idea, making pissed off customers call people in India with no power….

    Anyway, they would call the cool line and tell them the issue. The cool line would then put the customer on hold and call the store. They would then ask for a manager. I would often take the call despite the fact that I was not a manager, although I was the most senior customer service associate there. The cool line operator would then explain the exact situation that I had just dealt with in the store.

    I would then give the cool line operator the same exact answer I gave to the customer and and they would relay that back to the customer. The moral of the story, don’t waste your time with them.

    Either call the store directly and talk to the store director, or call one of the 804 numbers (804 is a Richmond number, where CC HQ is). Aside from people physically in the store, CC HQ is the only place that can mandate that a store do something.

  10. K-Bo says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: My guess is she approved it, then her boss found out and said no way.

  11. veterandem says:

    Sorry, but I have to go with CC on this one (and I have not shopped there in a number of years because of their policies regarding employee retention, pricing, etc). But it is not CC responsibility to give this guy his free “HTIB” just because HE forgot to click on the link provided (or clicked on the link provided which was not the correct link? Which was it, he did not click the link or he did click the link provided which was not the correct link, I’m confused on that). This is the kind of thing you read about over at “Behind the Counter”. I mean no disrespect, but come on, do you really think they owe you the freebie? And now someone may have lost their job to help you! Take your TV and count yourself lucky you can buy one.

  12. Hoss says:

    @veterandem: Cleary, an agent of Circuit City promised him money. So you side with Circuit City for not following through on the promise? If you’re not “lucky” enough to make purchases like this, don’t snipe at people that do and have a legitimate gripe.

  13. Buran says:

    Cancel the order or return the item if you already have it.

    Tell Circuit City why they lost your business — not for refusing to give you a special you were not eligible for, but for not helping you when they promised they would.

    And buy from someone else, and watch for the correct links this time if applicable.

    Just not from Best Buy. Please.

  14. veterandem says:

    The reasoning behind my comment had nothing to do with any promises made by CC (I do not work for CC), it was, and still is, that he said he did not click on the link (he forgot), then said that he did click on the link, but is was the wrong link (and I assume that was CC’s fault for a bad link). He may have done both, and if so, then I will apologize, however I find implausible that you can’t “not click on a link” then DO click on that link that was incorrect. My opinion is that he dropped the ball, didn’t click the link, then the NEXT day discovered that he was not going to get the HTIB for free, and tried to make CC cough it up, even though to get that HTIB for free, you had to click the link. That’s my beef with this story. And BTW, I have a 61″ Sony WEGA flat screen SXRD LCD TV in my living room, so I was not talking about me, it was more of a general statement.

  15. dix99 says:

    After screwing me over with a restocking fee, on a $1000 video camera that was faulty, I’ve stopped shopping at CC.

  16. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    When are people going to stop giving Circuit City their money?

    I learned my lesson when I bought a TV from them online and while clicking the final confirmation button the price hopped up $200. I called and they refused to do anything about it other than pass me around to other employees. The funny part is that they sounded like they were making fake voices to pretend there were more than 4 people working there. Credit card company came through for me and a nasty letter to corporate got no response.


  17. CumaeanSibyl says:

    I wonder if Crystal got fired.

    Regardless, if she said CC could make that deal for him, they’d better have a much better excuse for not doing it than “um, she isn’t here right now.”

  18. Jschmuck2 says:

    Regardless of whether or not I didn’t click on the stupid link – I obviously purchased the television within the window of the special being offered.

    My intentions were very clear but I missed the stupid link. I’m not trying to shed the blame for that.

  19. jeffeb3 says:

    a) have you even talked to a store manager, or called the 800 number they gave you, or waited for a response? I think that you’ve spent enough time/energy on this problem to keep the TV.

    b) Consumerist, can we filter these a little more? The only reason people send you this stuff is because they hope the company will get scared and do something about it. But in this case, it’s not really that big of a deal, it’s probably going to get fixed anyways, it doesn’t change anyone’s opinion about cc at all and it’s a boring read. You are diluting your power if you post every little complaint on your website. Your posts have power, use a little restraint.

  20. CreativeLinks says:

    Do we not live in a computer age????

    Why is “Crystal” the only one who could help this guy, after she agreed to refund the price. Shouldn’t it be punched into their system–given a case number, etc.

    So even if she was “transferred” the notes/refund still exist?

  21. Jschmuck2 says:

    @jeffeb3: Yes, Jeff, I have done all of those things. If you’d take the time to read my complaint in the first place, you’d see that this all happened three weeks ago. I’ve become so frustrated with the whole process that I decided to contact The Consumerist.

    So save your smarmy crap for someone else – yes, I called the 800 number, yes I spoke to several managers and yes, I’ve been waiting for three weeks for a response. I’ve now moved up the chain to executive support, just like this website told me to.

    If you don’t have anything constructive to say then go back to being an engineer and build something.


  22. WNW says:

    So CC sucks, BB sucks, CompUSA sucks, where the hell am I supposed to get electronics now?

  23. skrom says:

    How about just paying attention to what you’re buying in the first place. Bottom line is you didnt click the box therefore you dont get the deal. Pay more attention next time.Take responsibility for your actions instead of blaming someone else.

  24. WTRickman says:

    Are Crystal [redacted] and Mr. [redacted] related?

    That could explain the problem.

    And what kind of last name is [redacted] anyway?

  25. MommaJ says:

    I’m just dazzled by the fact that Crystal’s department was called “Retail Escalations”.

  26. telepod says:

    If I were you, I would just return it and get my money back, they seem not to want to help so F–K em, lets all not give them any more money and soon they will be out of business!

  27. Esquire99 says:

    @skrom: I agree whole-heartedly. You screwed up when you ordered it, it’s effectively the same as forgetting a coupon when you go to the grocery store. It’s your fault you paid the higher price, grow up and deal with it. That being said, I do believe that once Circuity City agreed to resolve the issue in his favor that they are fully obligated to do so. My guess is when the guy calls, he acts like a complete pr!ck and no one wants to help him. Being polite is the only way to get a positive resolution. Based on the comments here, and the tone of the letter, I’d image he is far from nice, quite, and polite on the phone.

  28. Clobberella says:

    Are you serious? I fail to see the similarity between what happened to Josh and forgetting a coupon for ten cents off orange juice. “Grow up and deal with it?” He didn’t click a stupid link and it cost him almost 400 bucks. If you can spend that much more than you intended and just shrug it off, you must be raking in some serious cash. Anyway, it seems kind of stupid to me that he should have had to click a special link in the first place; if the special’s being advertised online and he’s buying it online then the difference should just be deducted automatically. I can’t recall ever having to do anything to get an online deal except click “add to cart.” Just another reason never to buy from Circuit City, as if I needed one.

    Josh, good luck.

  29. ja010387 says:

    Regardless of whether the consumer made a mistake by not clicking a link, Circuit City had an opportunity to win a loyal, life-time customer by simply making things right immediately. I have no sympathy for CC because treating customers in such a manner, completely aside from right/wrong, is just a terrible business decision. There’s a reason the “customer is always right”.

  30. thewiseman says:

    Usually when you buy something from circuit’s website when its a “web-only special” it automatically puts that price in. And if you get the right manager they will honor the price instore, usually if you are buying a warranty from them.

    If you are still shopping there, check walmart prices first and then print them out. go into Circuit and get the pricematch. Walmart is the biggest reason circuit is losing money, according to my friends working there.

    As a side note, watch in september what happens to Circuit Citys. Friends of mine who still work at Circuit, are saying that is when major changes are coming.

    Circuit City is going to be changed to The City and they are going to adapt the Apple Uniform policy, t-shirts and jeans.

  31. zanhecht says:

    @VETERANDEM, no one ever said he wanted a free HTIB, he just wanted the $389 discount on the $1500 item he purchased. Most states have a law that says that stores must give you the lowest sale price they are currently offering (unless that sale is restricted to members of a “club”), so I think he is justified here.

  32. UntakenUserName says:

    I think the problem with this isn’t the free HTIB. Which is what the promotion was for. If CC refuses to give him the HTIB which he missed the promotion for he would have to accept that. This is similar to the forgotten coupon. The main problem here is that a CSR canceled his original order and submitted a new one at a higher price promising him the HTIB for free. Regardless of whether he gets the HTIB, he should get the original price that he purchased the TV for.

  33. killervibe says:

    Circuit City is notorious for poor customer service. I had an issue once where the store refused to refund me $44 for a cordless phone I purchased (I wont go into the details here). I asked the manager if he was really prepared to lose a valuable customer that had spent thousands of dollars at Circuit City in the past over a measley $44. He said yes.

    About 5 months later I bought a brand new 42 inch LCD television and matching (brand) DvD player… from Best Buy. I took pictures while I was purchasing and after it was installed and sent them along with a copy of my reciept to the Circuit City manager with a quick note asking him if he still thought it was worth it. I did the same thing a few weeks later when I bought a new XBox bundle and several games ($800+ dollars). Never a response, he probably couldnt care less. And even better, he probably has no idea why his revenue is down when there are literally thousands of people with stories just like ours.

  34. Buran says:

    @Jschmuck2: But you are complaining that you didn’t get a discount that you weren’t eligible for! While the “they didn’t help when they said they would” part is a fair complaint, the complaint should not have been filed in the first place. You aren’t entitled to the money. Suck it up and deal.

  35. Buran says:

    @Clobberella: Whether you like it or not, that was the deal. Click the link or no freebie. If you think it’s stupid you are welcome to *GASP* NOT SHOP THERE.

  36. Buran says:

    @telepod: Yeah let’s all boycott a business for standing by its own terms of sale!

  37. Buran says:

    @ja010387: Except when they want something for free that they aren’t eligible to get. Businesses don’t exist to give stuff away for free. Usually.

  38. Buran says:

    @killervibe: And we wonder why the “do you want an extended warranty?” idiots at best buy are still in business … so do we love best buy or hate them this week?

  39. Squadron says:

    I used to work at CCity, and I saw a lot of interesting stuff while I was there… a lot of people bending over backwards (including myself) to make sure that customers got what they needed. While at the same time trying to balance what we were required to offer (never sell, just -offer- mind you…) with how we could help the customer. Obviously, I’ve moved on to bigger and better things now (a Real Job). Anyway, here’s my take on the situations I’ve read above:

    First off, you have to realize how ridiculously low the profit margins on everything in the store is. Most of the stuff that’s in the store is simply there to drive people to come in, where we can hopefully (eventually) get them to buy services. That’s where CCity makes money, and contrary to popular belief making money off of customers isn’t a bad thing. But if you can understand that when you’re buying a “naked” computer (like a $1500 laptop or TV or XBox) that is putting the store in the red… you can start understanding why they react like they do. For instance, when the person above mentioned that they not only didn’t buy stuff from CCity but went to Best Buy, I can understand the manager’s reaction.

    “Good! Instead of us losing money on a sale, they’ll lose money!”

  40. synergy says:

    Cancelling it himself right away would’ve probably been a good idea. Then re-ordering once it was clear the first order wasn’t being charged.

  41. davidjay247 says:

    Something similar happened to me once. I bought a window unit AC and had it shipped with 3-day shipping. Following the online tracker, apparently the package came all the way from california to boston, but then went back to california! After about 9 hours over 2 days speaking with one CSR who claimed that he was as high as I could go with my complaint, and that he had no boss, I managed to get a hold of someone. Unfortunately, the price on the AC went up $200, but they refused to make it right and sell it to me for my original purchase price, claiming that policy simply would not allow it. They did offer to knock $15 off the price for my inconvenience. I have never shopped at Circuit City since.

  42. NotCCFan says:

    I did exactly what everyone here suggested. I bought a TV. Two days later, they lower the price. So I cancelled my first order and rebought it. I thought this must be easier thansactions for them to handle than to adjust the price. The cancellation confirmattion said I should have my refund issued in 2-3 business days. But here I am, 2 weeks later, $2,000 has not been refunded.

    I can understand why they don’t want to issue a discount out of order, but when the product was cancelled 5 days before the supposed delivery day and 2 weeks later still no money back! This is no longer a sell proccess messed up issue. This is a robbery act from Circuit City. You cannot keep $2000 when you don’t have anything in exchange. That’s a robbery!

    Forget about them not making profit. That’s their business problem, not customers’ issue. It’s not reasonable to dumb their problem onto customers. They should be sued for millions of dollars for robbing from customers after customers like this.