Circuit City Excluding Whatever It Feels Like From $15 Coupon

Today I received a coupon in the mail from Circuit City inviting me to “save $15 on my next qualifying purchase of $100 or more*”. I really wanted to pick up Guitar Hero 3 for the Wii and figured this would be a good time to do so. After tallying up a purchase of $110 on their website, when I tried to use the coupon I was told it was invalid. Confused, I called the 800 number to place the order assuming it was just a glitch with the website.

After getting my items added with the sales rep on the phone, when it was time to use the coupon I was again told that it was invalid – this time, however, I was a given a reason. The sales rep told me that the coupon was not good for video games or movies (I was ordering a game and the flight of the conchords DVD). I told the rep that the coupon stated neither video games OR movies as restrictions for use and he got a manager. Three managers and supervisors later, they wouldn’t budge. Needless to say, I didn’t make the purchase through them. I told them that I had previously worked in retail, knew that they had the power to manually take $15 off of my purchase if the coupon wouldn’t go through, and would not be making my purchase unless they honored the coupon as it was stated in their own promotion.

For your records, and hopefully other people are writing about this (my sales rep told me I wasn’t the first person that had called trying to use the coupon), here is the fine print on the back of the coupon in its entirety, I’ve put in bold the text that is applicable to this sale:

“Excludes November 22-24, 2007.

*This offer is good for a $15 discount on a regularly priced purchase of $100 or more. This offer is good for one use only and applies to total qualifying purchase on a single sales receipt dated from 10/15/07 through 12/31/07. Not valid on previous purchases. Offer excludes gaming consoles, notebook and desktop computers, Verizon, Sharper Image, Infinity, Velodyne, Bose, Polk, HP MP3 Players, Apple, Kicker, MTX Thunder, Sony XBR TV’s, LG, KEP, outlet, firedog services and Gift Card purchases. Delivery fees, shipping charges and sales tax not included in total purchase calculation. Coupon code valid online and at 1-800-593-4391. Barcode valid in-store only. Not combinable with select Circuit City offers. Not redeemable for cash. Void where prohibited or restricted. Reproductions/photocopies will not be accepted.”

As you can see, nothing about DVD’s or games.

Instead of their promotional tool shoeing in more business, it’s just lost them a customer for life.

San Diego, CA

All we have to add to this discussion, aside from “Circuit City should know better” is that Guitar Hero III for Wii is very fun.



Edit Your Comment

  1. Bay State Darren says:

    Had the conversation continued:

    “Fine. I’ll used the coupon on this item instead.”

    “um…It’s not good for that thing.”

    “What about this?”

    “It just fell off the eligible list a second ago. Sorry, You just missed out.”

  2. INconsumer says:

    yeah the or should have found out what it is good on. i could understand a wal-mart or k-mart coupon excluding games and such seing how they have a variety of things to buy. but a place called “circut city”? what else would you think to buy besides electronics?

  3. INconsumer says:

    oh ad the back of the coupon after i commented. nice. disreguard previous post.

  4. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    When oh when are people going to stop shopping at Circuit City? Every encounter I hear of with that chain seems to end with an announcer saying “It could happen to YOU, or YOU, or even YOOOUUUUUU”

  5. KingPsyz says:

    He should tell them he’s taking the coupon to Wal*Mart. Lot’s of times they’ll honor competitors coupons and pricing just to win a sale and a customer. Most times they need little to no proof.

    I stood behind someone for 20 minutes at a Wal*Mart at 2am (it happens…) and this guy said to every single item as it was scanned “that was so and so at Target” “that was such and such price at Walgreens” ect. And SHE CHANGED THE PRICES NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

  6. CumaeanSibyl says:

    I got a bunch of those coupons after sending in rebates. Boy, are they ever worthless — what is the average person going to buy at Circuit City that costs over $100 and isn’t a computer, a game console, or something made by the excluded manufacturers? I mean, I guess I could buy myself a motherboard or something if I needed one, but they’ve really gone and excluded all of the things I might be tempted to splurge on with a coupon in hand. No Bose stereo? No iPod? Whatever.

    (Incidentally, I filled out seven separate rebates for a deal I got at CC, and I got a check for every single one. It was mind-boggling.)

  7. mopar_man says:


    I think I’d sooner shop at Circuit City than Wal-Mart. THAT is how much I hate Wal-Mart.

  8. hoyaboyd2005 says:

    Best Buy sends me coupons for 10% off games and DVDs all the time. However, that being said, it clearly stated that the coupons cannot be used for new release games or DVDs. Once again, its clearly labeled. Either way, I am thinking I have no place to buy any games or movies at this point other than Amazon as Best Buy and Circuit City keep getting more shady every day.

  9. bohemian says:

    I recently had a coupon from JCPenney. The list of things you could not use it on was mindboggling and was almost their entire product lineup.

    I think some states have law about sales and coupons or not honoring them. Check with your state consumer protection office, they should know.

  10. ShadowFalls says:

    I am familiar with the coupon myself, as I have used it in-store for video games myself. Circuit City had to “upgrade” their computer system a couple of months ago. I would not call it much of an upgrade though. It seems that the coupons do not work, they have not fixed the issue.

    I do not see why they were giving you such a hard time, call back again and get someone else, it sounds like you got a couple of retards.

    I have never had nothing but good experiences at Circuit City, so I guess it depends on the people at which stores you go to.


    I have never had them not ask for an advertisement before… Walmart tends to be good at price matching though, even to the point of adjusting their prices before people even ask to match them.

  11. babaki says:

    im sure you would have much better luck if you actually went to the retail store instead of trying to order on line. the person at register would read the coupon, clearly see it didnt say video games, and just put it through.

  12. luckybob343 says:

    Generally, these type deals are always full of holes, as individual exclusivity agreements between retailers and manufacturers preclude the retailer from selling the products at a discount. This flared up a few years back when K-B Toys had their class-action-required “sale” for three days. No video games, consoles or Legos were on sale, due to exclusive sales agreements.

    Some manufacturers hold to this HARD. One of the ways Apple portrays its “premium product” image is that they never mark down an item or place them on sale. They require this of retailers as well. This is why Wal*Mart sells an iPod for the same price as Target, when they would normally guarantee the lowest price.

  13. mrmaxmouse says:

    @KingPsyz: Having worked at Walmart briefly, I can say for a fact that this is true. We were told that unless the price difference was more than $10, and sounded vaguely reasonable, to just go ahead an enter it…No questions or verification needed.

    If you brought the circuit city coupon in to walmart, they would probably honor it.

  14. magus_melchior says:

    Sales rep and managers probably failed reading comprehension 101, by lumping software with hardware. They could’ve saved themselves the trouble and said on the coupon, “Good for $15 off a purchase of $100 or more in Monster Cables.”

  15. Athenor says:

    Could they be considering the Wii Guitar Hero to be “hardware” of some sort? I know some other places have been trying to pull that.

  16. greggsemen says:

    As a former Customer Service supervisor (I quit before they fired all the veterans for the second time – the first being a more quiet layoff in feb 2003), i’m not surprised at this customer’s experience. The folks at the 800 number are rarely empowered to do anything more than your typical cashier in store, more often than not the customer is put on hold while the call rep. phones the store and talked to myself or the store manager to plea on the customer’s behalf. My own experience with the online store as an employee was just as frustrating. I guess since no one can show up and scream in your face you don’t have to provide adequate service, even to managers from other stores.

    On the other hand, I can almost assure you that the coupon would have been honored in store, although you might have had to wait for the customer service supervisor or a manager to override the price manually. I can’t imagine a good argument, real or manufactured, that would allow circuit city to reject your coupon.

    But really, i’d suggest you pay 15$ more and shop elsewhere. Every day I worked there I resented myself for enforcing bullshit policies and dicking over honest customers in order to appease my superiors, I haven’t spent a penny there since the day I walked out.

  17. SecureLocation says:

    Circuit City is the dead man walking of retailers. Been in one lately? They don’t carry half the stuff that Best Buy does and the whole experience is depressing. On top of that, their sales staff blows. Bye Bye.

  18. iamme99 says:

    I vowed never to shop at CC after that fiasco some months back when they fired all their experienced sales staff and offered to bring them back on at much lower hourly wages and no commissions. That is not the way to treat people!

    As to coupons, most have so many fine print exclusions that they aren’t worth the time to read them, let alone try to use them.

    Sports Authority is a great one for these type of tricks. Then there is REI who did something like 30% off xxxx but with the fine print saying “applies only to prices ending in $.97. Sheese.

    Are there really that many people in the world who get caught by this stuff at the register (Clerk-“Oh sorry, these items aren’t covered by the coupon”, Customer-“OK, then ring it up at full price anyway”) that it is worth the companies pulling these tricks? Do these coupons with all their restrictions actually draw enough new business in to cover the cost of the advertising? Are there that many stupid consumers out there?

  19. kyleska says:

    I used a Best Buy coupon for 10% off video games to buy Guitar Hero 2 (not a new release when I bought it) and the girl tried to tell me I wasn’t buying a video game. When she called the manager over to explain to me that the coupon was only good for video games, he looked at her and said “uh, this IS a video game”.

  20. PaulMorel says:

    It’s the same thing with Best Buy, as others have pointed out. I joined their silly little club to get like 10% off when I was buying two video iPods as christmas gifts (girlfriend and sister). It saved me like $25, so great.

    Now they send me useless coupons every month. Same thing as above… “$5 your next purchase!”….but when you read the small print, you realize that the coupon basically only applies to accessories. Straps, cases, peripherals maybe … you can’t use it on anything that you actually want.

  21. JayXJ says:

    I guess I’m one of the few that have had really good luck with CC. I generally buy car stereo equipment there and I’ve never had a problem (other than endlessly plugging a warranty).

  22. XTC46 says:

    @iamme99: Yes, these coupons drive a lot of business because by the time you drive to the store, find the stuff you want, deal with the sales people, wait in line, get tot he register you have so much time invested in it that doing it all again isn’t worth the 10 bucks the coupon is for.

    As for certain brands being excluded, that is the manufacturer requiring it, not the store. For instance, Bose will not let us discount their product, ever. Even for business customers, who we discount just about every thing else for, we cant do it. Apple is very similar (although not nearly as strict, they mostly stick to Lowest Advertised Price rules) The way retailers get around this kind of stuff is with add ons. So if you buy a new Bose surround sound set up, we might throw in some 3rd party speaker mounts for free.

  23. Eric1285 says:

    I tried to use the same coupon to order GH3 for the Wii online. Obviously, I ran into the same problem. I just placed my order anyways for in store pickup, and then went to the store where they manually overrode the coupon for me. There was a guy next to me checking out with the same coupon (buying a PS3) and they also had to override it for him. When I tried to use it online, it said the coupon was expired, even though it clearly stated on the coupon that it was still valid. The staff at my local CC is pretty decent though, so I had no problems getting them to give me back my $15.

  24. darkclawsofchaos says:

    use, you get all their deals, and when CC tried to sue them, more people just started abusing their sales and clearances

  25. Omir The Storyteller says:

    I would have to drive way out of my way to shop at Circuit City when there’s a Best Buy in my neighborhood (and neither one has anything I want that I couldn’t get cheaper and with better service at NewEgg). Even if that were reversed and there was a Circuit City next door I would go miles out of my way not to shop there. Between the DivX debacle (“YES! Buy a player that lets you watch a DVD that’s ONLY VIEWABLE THREE TIMES!”) and the way they forced out their experienced sales staff in favor of employees who probably can’t even spell HDTV but got paid less, I can’t think of why I’d ever want to set foot in one.

  26. Bay State Darren says:

    I personally haven’t set foot in a Circuit City since the mid-90’s. When their semi-recent struggles were publicized my reaction genuinely was: “Holy shit! Circuit City still exists?!” Not to advocate for Best Buy, but I seriously think of Circuit City of an an anchronism, the place I might go to buy a Packard-Bell system running Windows 3.1.

  27. Serenefengshui says:

    I just got that coupon in the mail today. Needless to say, I won’t even bother trying to use it. FYI to the person who mentioned the REI coupon, ALL their sale prices end in .97, so it wouldn’t actually be too hard to find a lot of stuff available for the coupon.

  28. seeker1321 says:

    Yeah there is nothing they will do about it, at the 800 number. I was trying to buy a computer monitor a couple of months ago, I wanted the 22 inch Samsung monitor. The coupon wouldn’t take, I tried calling back 3 times and talking to three different CSRs, each had a different reason, one told me the item was excluded from the sale, another told me that because it was on sale it wouldn’t work, after explaining to them that the coupon was working on the 19, and the 24 inch, but not the 22, they basically blew me off, and said sorry we can’t help you. So I went to NewEgg, paid $20 more, and haven’t bought anything there since.

  29. cryrevolution says:

    I think I’ve only set foot in CC once…and that was to turn in an application for a friend of mine. Other than that, I wouldn’t even bother. Best Buy & CC’s are all the same to me, scammy & overpriced.

  30. m4nea says:

    The part i don’t agree with is “i worked in retail and i KNOW you can knock 15 dollars off”
    We get that excuse all the time with customer issues where i work, and it’s BS.
    There is NO MARGIN on most video games (and especially Guitar Hero bundles).

  31. RvLeshrac says:

    Uh, no, you *CAN* knock $15 off. I work in retail, and we do it *all the time* for items with no margin, because the coupon/ad/”instant rebate” *SAYS SO*.

    You can’t refuse to honor a coupon on a purchase that satisfies the terms of the coupon. It isn’t legal.

  32. RvLeshrac says:


    Oh, and the “Apple never offers markdowns” thing is bullshit. They offer employee pricing, and special pricing for partners from time to time. They never offer *retail* markdowns, but that’s a different statement.

    Further, Apple retailers are free to do as we please. *Even* further, if you don’t actually acquire the product from Apple/Bose/Whoever wholesale, you’re free to do whatever you want to the price. There are plenty of electronics chains that have “wholly owned subsidiaries” designed specifically for this purpose – buy the product, sell it to yourself for MSRP, then sell it at retail, mark it down, and make money off the attachments.

  33. Franklin Comes Alive! says:


    Also, Apple seems to let the warehouse stores (i.e. Costco, Sam’s Club) sell their products at less than the ‘magical’ price everyone else has to use.

  34. EricBrian says:

    I actually go to CC…. But, I don’t buy there. I get the price and take that to BB.

    When I bought my flat screen, I told BB that was $200 less and offered to take off another $100. BB then asked for proof and I said that I don’t have that. BB then said sorry they can’t do. I then said ok, I will buy at CC. BB then said, that they will make an exception and give it to me for $300 cheaper.

    I do that every time since then and it works great.

  35. dix99 says:

    Again, after getting screwed by the manager at Auburn Hills, MI. over a faulty Video Camera, I’ve been clean & free of CC for over a year now & haven’t spent a penny with them. So CC, is it my loss or your loss, as you’re manager at the time seemed to think it’ll be mine & I’ll be back… Oh well, it looks like it was yours. Maybe next time you’ll treat the customer better, because we do have plenty of other places to spend our money & we will if we’re not happy.

  36. GreatMoose says:


    HA! My wife had that same coupon! I asked if she had read it, and then told her about all the exclusions on it. She said, “Oh, well maybe I can buy some socks.” I lol’d.