Circuit City Refusing To Honor Advertised Offer For Free Call Of Duty 3?

Reader Adam says:

Today, like many anxious gamers, I went to Circuit City (Store # 3111) to pick up the highly anticipated “Call of Duty 4” for the XBox 360. I chose to pick it up at Circuit City as this week’s circular ad listed a free copy of the previous game “Call of Duty 3” with purchase. When I went to check out, I was told that it was a misprint and that they refused to honor it. Myself, along with about half a dozen co-workers were rightfully angry that we wasted our lunch hour on this Circuit City bait-and-switch, that has become too common with this outlet lately. I would urge other Consumerists to skip out on Circuit City and try for another retailer (Target has a free $5 gift card).


We looked up the weekly circular for Naperville, IL and sure enough. There it is. No mention of a misprint. We think Circuit City should honor this offer. There’s really no reason to believe it was a misprint.

Are other people having this problem?

Circuit City Weekly Ad, Page 12 [Circuit City]


Edit Your Comment

  1. AlexG32 says:

    They typed that it was free twice. How is that a misprint?

  2. DeeJayQueue says:

    A misprint is putting a 9 instead of a 5, or getting the dates wrong, or maybe getting the item descriptions switched for 2 similar products. This is a deliberately typed headline. At least 5 people saw this and signed off on it, including CC staff, before it went to print and got posted online. There is no possible way this is a misprint.

  3. mantari says:

    A misprint is an error in printing. Like $10.99 instead of $100.99. Something as specific as this is not a misprint. It may have been bad coordination or communication inside of the company, but it was not a printing accident.

    Circuit City should have more respect for its customers.

  4. Skiffer says:

    By their logic, the $59.99 credit card charge for Call of Duty 4 is a “misprint”…because I only wanted to pay $5.99…

  5. Asvetic says:

    It’s not a misprint. A fellow gamer from Lansdale, PA just text me that he had success getting the free version of COD3 when purchasing COD4.

    Apparently, the store in Naperville is just a bunch of cheapskates that clearly are going above corporate and refusing to honor.

  6. Scazza says:

    If it was a misprint, why is it STILL advertised on the website (not just on the picture of the flier, but clicking through to the CoD4 page shows that its free).

    Also, isn’t it considered bait and switch if it causes you to ENTER the store (like, if it was a mislabeled price on an item IN the store, its not fine for the company to turn the offer down) therefore they have to honor it if its a reasonable offer (which, a free game from the same series sounds very reasonable, and not done in err.)

  7. jpp123 says:

    Can you say “class action” boy and girls? If there is even a sniff of a pattern of them doing this the lawyers are gonna be on them like white on rice. When will they ever learn – piss off a customer any they tell 2 million of their closest friends.

  8. adamsummers says:

    Just for clarification (I submitted this story), this happened at the Schaumburg, IL store (#3111) which was closer to my office, not the Naperville, IL store, althought I wouldn’t expect better treatment there.

  9. adamsummers says:

    It doesn’t appear that my previous comment went through, so to be clear this was the Schaumburg, IL store, not Naperville.

  10. Geekybiker says:

    Yah, the web page pretty clearly spells out this deal. Its not misprint. However its likely just a local store trying to get out of the deal. Unfortunately there seems little corporate can or is willing to do to force individual stores to honor their ads.

  11. BillyShears says:

    Right. Misprint.


    I’d go to a different Circuit City, and if you get the same response I’d dig into Consumerist’s archive to see if there’s ECS carpet-bombing information.

  12. SaraAB87 says:

    This is one of the main reasons I just don’t bother with CC anymore, its not like I can’t get “it” online at the same price or cheaper. Every time I have gone into their stores in the past there has been at least 5 or 6 signs stating supposed “misprints”. This was happening week after week so eventually I just stopped going, no other store has 5-6 signs up on the ad rack stating misprints every week..

    At least when best buy or another store has a legitmate misprint they do everything in their power to inform the publc, such as pulling it from their website and making a large announcement on the front page of their website, plus putting huge signs up on the doors of the stores, I don’t see CC doing any of this stuff to inform customers of misprints in their ad.

  13. blue_duck says:

    At times like this, you really have to wonder, indeed, how stupid does CC actually think their customers are?

  14. XTC46 says:

    its not bait and switch, its just false advertising. Bait and switch is when you say you will get product X for price y but instead you get product Z as a replacement and its typically inferior than X.

  15. UESC says:

    If you have problems, you could always call Store #533, as I just went there during lunch and picked up COD3 and COD4 for $59.98

    Here’s the address and phone number:
    Circuit City Sotres, Inc.
    5555 Saint Louis Mills Blv.
    Hazelwood, MO 63042
    (314) 227-5350

  16. adamsummers says:

    For whatever reason, my work computer doesn’t seem to want to let me post a comment, so I’ll try from my phone. First off, I sent this story, so I apologize for screwing up the terminology. Also, the store is the Schaumburg, IL location, not Naperville. Regardless, this particular store has become notorious lately for not honoring sales ads. I can’t speak for any of the other stores.

  17. tomok97 says:

    I don’t understand what an individual store gains out of declining this promotion. CC isn’t made up of franchises so why would a store manager care?

  18. Veign says:

    Circuit City website has a bundle with Cod4 and Cod3 for 59.99:

    Not quite a misprint when its clearly setup on their website…

  19. ogman says:

    People still shop at Circuit City? Sorry, but after years of restocking fee madness and purging of trained employees, why would anyone even walk through the door? This shouldn’t surprise anyone; it’s completely in line with their corporate reputation.

  20. credto says:

    @Scazza: @tomok97: #47875830790 is the Cicuit City part number. Heres the website link []

  21. warf0x0r says:

    @tomok97: Because they have to maintain revenue to budget and when everything is added up at the end of the month these transactions will hurt the stores sales because they are counted as a loss.

  22. Benstein says:

    How could that possibly be a misprint? The letters are HUGE. Someone very high up had to have approved this.

  23. l0stn0tfound says:

    It’s not a misprint, it’s not false advertising, it’s a store that doesn’t understand their own promos. They’d have a communication if it was a misprint.

  24. uricmu says:

    It’s online and on the weekly ad across the country. Can’t be a misprint.

  25. Red_Eye says:

    Make sure you contact Activision and let them know they shouldn’t sell product through outlets who falsify promotions on their products. Encourage them to find other outlets or let them know you will consider taking your business to EA or some other game manufacturer.

  26. tomok97 says:

    @warf0x0r: It seems crazy that CC corporate would creat a promotion and then penalize stores for participating. I’m not saying you’re wrong, just that it’s extremely short sighted. Since I don’t play video games the only time I go to a place like this is to buy a TV…which isn’t often.

  27. mbrutsch says:

    Not again. “Dumbass goes to Circuit City/Best Buy, gets screwed”. When will Consumerist implement a preferences mechanism so we don’t have to see this same damn story over and over? We get it. CC/BB == Evil.

  28. Buran says:

    @mbrutsch: The fact that you think it’s old news (it’s not, this is a new event) doesn’t mean it’s not news. Don’t like it? Keep scrolling. It’s not your website.

  29. Faerie says:

    It’s still relevant for those interested in taking advantage of the promotion. Wouldn’t it take less of your time to scroll on by the article than to click on it and spend time posting your complaint? If your time is so valuable, just keep scrolling past this article.

  30. darkened says:

    If CC/BB == Evil
    CC*BB == EVIL^2?

  31. DeeJayQueue says:

    @warf0x0r: It won’t add up as a loss on the P&L because all of the games get written off per corporate, or tracked via a coupon code that gets reconciled at the end under the line that says “promotions” which would have a bump in it that quarter to compensate.

    What this store is trying to do is get ahead by reselling the items that were already accounted for, essentially double dipping.

  32. SOhp101 says:

    Maybe these people should pick up the phone and call corporate while in the store? I think that would solve problems pretty quickly if this is supposed to be a corporate sponsored event.

    @warf0x0r: I highly doubt this is the case. Usually when these types of promotions go on, there’s some ‘deductions’ that corporate absorbs so help offset (or completely cancel out) the losses. Franchises are usually the exception.

  33. @darkened: you are as much of a nerd as I am.

  34. mantari says:

    @darkened: (CC/BB)^2 != CC*BB for most values of CC and BB.

    Or should I say least values?

  35. galupo says:

    I got my copy Today made them get the COD4 from the back and COD3. One manager playfully said he doesn’t think they had it. I then mentioned I talked to ezxecutive services earlier to verify availability and asked if I could get his name and the store number. All of a sudden he went to let me check one more time. After I bought my two copies for me and my friend at work the employees bought the rest.

  36. galupo says:

    I got my copy of COD4 and 3 after mentioning to a manger how I spoke to executive services for avaialbility and asked him if I could get his name and the store number. After I bought my two copies for me and my friend the employees bought the rest.

  37. brendanm14 says:

    Circuit City must be losing it. I went in this weekend for a new HP printer that Fry’s had in their ad for $169. Circuit City’s price = $269. The refused to match Fry’s price because as the sales guy pointed out “they are an outlet that carries only discontinued / open box stuff.” I did not have time to fight with him b/c my 2 year old was getting cranky.

    So, I went to Best Buy with my Frys ad, they matched it no questions asked and I was in and out in 10 minutes. I used to shop CC, but now BB will be earning my $$$ if I ever need to get anything there.

  38. rikkus256 says:

    Those of you who couldn’t get the advertised deal from Circuit City, file complaint to Federal Trade Commission here: []

    With enough complaints, the government will step in (like they did to CompUSA) and give dishonest merchants some lessons.

  39. Craig says:

    CC stands for Crappy Corporation.

  40. jstews_mole says:

    I was able to get my copy of COD3 for free..but it took me 20 minutes of waiting around to get 1 of the 2 available copies…I have no idea what they were going to do for the other 5 people that were waiting behind me. 2 copies of something they are supposed to be giving away for free…and the ad DOES not state that it was “while supplies lasted”, that was only for the poster. Poor choice of a promo if you ask me.

  41. Nytmare says:

    You’d think a promo like this would be offered by the producer rather than a retail chain. Where are they getting all these extra copies of CoD 3, which hasn’t nearly reached bargain-basement pricing yet?

  42. savvy999 says:

    I don’t play video games… so can someone edumacate me… why would you want COD3 if you’re already buying COD4? Wouldn’t you already have played COD3 out?

    Or are you going from COD2->COD4 and taking advantage of getting COD3 for free and planning to take a week off from school/work to conquer two versions in a row?


  43. GearheadGeek says:

    @brendanm14: Why didn’t you just buy the printer at Fry’s?

  44. Critcol says:

    @savvy999: COD3 takes place in World War II like COD1 and COD2 do. COD4 takes place in the modern time.

    And none of the game shared any story line except for the era that the game was taking place in.

  45. XTC46 says:

    @tomok97: they don’t count it against them. Although the “raw” numbers will show it as a loss, it will be counted as an expected loss and not held against them. If the company is really nice, they wont hold it against the sales people either, when I worked on commission we had “margin protection” during events like this, so any instant savings would be credited back to our numbers when calculated otherwise it looks like we are making no money for the company. The company makes money on this because typically they are getting a kick back from the maker of the game

  46. robotprom says:


    Price match plus BB will beat the price by 10%, I suspect.

  47. xamarshahx says:

    bb does not price match freebies

  48. thalia says:

    This happens at our local Hastings all the time. They send out coupons once a month and there will always be at least one really awesome one and when you get to the store and go to check out, there’s a teeny tiny sign saying, “Oh, there was a misprint in our company’s coupon flyer this month, it should say ‘Buy 6 books and get one free (retail $6.99 or less)’, not ‘Buy 1 get 1 free ($12.99 or less)’!”

    The first time I wasn’t upset, but once a month? Definitely bait-and-switch. If you bitch about it, they just say, “Oh, well, you know…Corporate.” :shakes head: Which is why I do all my shopping with Amazon.

  49. tempname says:

    Yep when you go to their site it says right there. Search for Call of Duty 4, and it is on the products page under Special Offer. Misprint my butt.
    “• Free: Call of Duty 3 with purchase”

  50. BigNutty says:

    Regardless what Circuit City may state, consumers should put the pressure on Circuit City stores nationwide with boycotts and reporting this to your local media to try and get as much bad publicity for Circuit City as you can.

    Fight fire with fire. This is just another example of a big company that thinks they are above the law and can do whatever they want.

  51. monkeypox says:

    I’ve grown to expect shady things like this from circuit city, which is why I went there on sunday and hid 3 copies of call of duty 3 (they had at least 12 copies total) in 3 different places, just in case.

    I can’t prove they’re lying about their stock, but it’s the only way to ensure I actually get the game I want, especially with all the ebay hoarders out there.

  52. drinktillsheshot says:

    I experienced a similar CC Bait & Switch situation a few months ago. They advertised “Save $20 with the purchase of any 2 Xbox Live accessories $19.99 & Up,” so I went to the local store to pick up a couple of XBL 1600point cards for $20 each ($20 total after the advertised deal). The mgr said the deal is good ONLY if you buy an XBOX360 Elite system. It did not say this anywhere in the circular, and needless to say myself and several other customers left the store quite angry. I called corporate to complain but did not hear anything back from them.

    CC won’t see another dollar from me and I will badmouth them to anyone who will listen.

  53. Gannoc says:

    I get pissed when people try to insist that a store should honor a CLEARLY incorrect price. (Like a $500 item listed as $5.00, etc). There is a difference between bait and switch and expecting a company to give up tens of thousands of dollars because people take advantage of a loophole.

    BUT: Now, it looks like Circuit City is taking advantage of people like me who give them the benefit of the doubt by lying about a misprint.

    Ok, if it is a misprint, what did it mean to say? That is, if someone typed something in wrong, what was the correct text?

    Clearly BS on their part.

  54. Krossbones says:

    This must have been an isolated incident. The offer started this morning and I’ve already given out a few copies of CoD3

  55. brendanm14 says:

    @GearheadGeek: they were all out and the nearest Fry’s is 20+ miles away but yet I still get their circular in the paper.

  56. swissdietcoke says:

    this is NOT an ad correction!! This is NOT bait and switch. CIRCUIT CITY will honor this ad, with no questions. I don’t know what happened at that single store.

  57. freakinalex says:

    I much prefer Best Buy over Circuit City.

    That’s right, I said it.

  58. uricmu says:

    I went to a CC 15 minutes away in Northern Pittsburgh. It’s a funny one because there’s rarely anyone working there. I was told to go to customer service. They told me that they got a wrong shipment (COD2 instead of COD3), and that I could get a gift card for COD3 (so you could use that for another game…), or ring COD4 for 30$+tax. I went with the 30$+tax.

  59. R3PUBLIC0N says:

    Go Go Gadget Fraud!
    Or false pretense, if you’d care to be old school.

  60. RandomHookup says:

    I find letting the Attorney General’s office know about these instances of false advertising works wonders. Corporate is more than happy to straighten out the offending manager.

  61. joellevand says:

    That’s funny, I went to a CC in NJ today and had no problem getting COD3 for free with my COD4 purchase. Big posters in the store promoting it and everything.

    Sounds like one franchise owner just didn’t want to honor corporate’s promo.

  62. leshrac55 says:

    It’s not available online any more, but it’s still listed there for all to see. It’s most certainly not a misprint or price mistake or offer mistake of any kind:



  63. EtherealStrife says:

    I bet the employees are pocketing the promos

  64. JayDeEm says:

    In the rare case I do ever buy something from the CC/BB’s of the world, I always buy on the site for in-store pickup. This way you’re walking in with a receipt and they can’t try to scam/upsell/extend your warranty. I never make any large purchases at these places, but once in a while they’ll have a decent ‘online only’ deal for a smaller item.

  65. uricmu says:

    @JayDeEm: They didn’t have it available for delivery or in-store pickup. I think they don’t update the site in mid day of release.

  66. HalOfBorg says:

    It’s 10:26PM EST and on CC’s website, when you look up COD4, it lists right there:

    Special offers

    • Free: Call of Duty 3 with purchase

    It ALSO lists COD4 like THIS:

    Out of stock online
    Notify me when available
    Not available for in-store pickup

  67. RipTheJacker says:

    You know what’s funny? I work at Circuit City, and we honored this at my store. I wasn’t around too much, but I sold two copies of the game. Each one had Call of Duty 3 for free included. Sounds like store #3111 has managers who are either cheap, or have no idea what they’re doing. =/

  68. eelmonger says:

    CC runs promotions like this all the time. When I bought Silent Hill 2, i got Silent Hill 1 for free. When I bought Devil May Cry 2, I got Devil May Cry 1 for free. I’m assuming something happened to their COD3 stock and they were just trying to weasel out of things.

  69. Trick says:

    I didn’t have a problem.

    I refuse to shop at Circuit City.


    I won’t take anything from them for free.

    They are as bad as Best Buy.

  70. formated4tv says:

    I’m a manager at Circuit City (until tomorrow, haha), but a lot of people brought this up today as part of the sale, and I just price adjusted CoD4 to take off the price of CoD3. Basically, if anyone wanted, they could return CoD3 and get CoD4 for like 25$.

    It’s the little things in life that make me happy =)

  71. badhatharry says:

    I purchased COD 4 today, and the salesperson threw COD 3 on top of it, and I said, “No, I just want #4.” The guy told me that it comes free with it, so I got it. I didn’t even know that was the deal. Here’s the thing, though, COD 3 sucks. I played it for a couple of hours, and you can’t skip the cut scenes, and the layouts of the levels are stupid. Getting it for free is not much of a treat. But, if they do promise it, they should provide.

  72. Protector says:

    @freakinalex: Get back to work, and make sure you sell those PSPs!

  73. formergr says:

    @Trick: “I didn’t have a problem.

    I refuse to shop at Circuit City.


    I won’t take anything from them for free.”

    Uhhh…if you refuse to buy anything from them, how can you say you didn’t have a problem getting the COD 3 promo for free??

  74. cobra2977 says:

    Just for your information.. All the Columbus, Ohio stores never had Call of duty 3 in stock for November 06, 2007. We never had a chance to buy it, even though the ad said it would be available at 2pm. They did offer to let me buy Call of Duty IV, then get Call of Duty 3 for free if they got it back in stock by Saturday, November 10. What nice people not…. FALSE ADVERTISING.

  75. uricmu says:

    @formated4tv: Don’t you mean you adjusted 25 and gave them COD4 for 35$ ?

    I thought COD3 retailed for 25

  76. MSUHitman says:

    The reason this probably happened is there was a bug in Circuit City’s computers that when the regular or gold editions of Call of Duty 3 (not the Platinum Hits edition) were added to Call of Duty 4 on the register ticket, it not only discounted CoD 3 to free (as it’s normally $30) but it was discounting CoD 4 $30 as well. So you were getting a brand new, top-tier game, as well as its previous version, for a grand total of $30. Here’s the original thread on CAG:


  77. Eleo says:

    Yes that happened to me, and I remember being ecstatic that I got a well-reviewed, newly released game, and an excellent-but-older game for $30 total, which is roughly a $60 discount.

    This guy is reporting what is so far an isolated incident, so I see no reason to get angry at all of Circuit City about it.

  78. ChristopherDavis says:

    @JayDeEm: That doesn’t always work out. You might get a box full of bathroom tile.

  79. magus_melchior says:

    “Boss, they’re lining up at the door.”
    “*&@^%! Okay, tell them it’s a misprint.”

  80. BugMeNot2 says:

    I’m so glad someone finally said something about the bug in the system!! My b/f went last night to get his CoD 3&4, and together, they rang up at about $30+ sales tax. You people have to stop whining over this one incident when soooo many people have gotten their copy…

  81. jaewon223 says:

    I used to work at Circuit City and although during my employment there I haven’t had any experiences like this sort of “misprint” I can testify to the underhanded way departmental managers go about in increasing sales. They were underperforming compared to BestBuy and other electronic retailers so all regional managers had store managers push as much product out the door as possible. Sometimes it led to morally gray area.

    Buy online people! and not these retailer’s websites, online STORES I mean

  82. Phantom_Photon says:

    I would hope the local attorney general would investigate this. This is obviously not a misprint, as it is inconceivable how the printer could have accidentally misprinted the article in this way.

    A “misprint” means that the printer is at fault because of a typographical error (such as offering something for 4.99 when it was supposed to be offered for 54.99). This may be a mistake of Circuit City’s marketing department, but they must honor the ad as it was printed.

    This is at the least Circuit City illegally not honoring it’s own ad, and at the worst Circuit City blatently pulling a “bait and switch” scam.

  83. ttizzles10 says:

    So i was one of the lucky Circuit City shoppers at store # 3175 and I went to pick up my copy of Call of Duty 3 & 4, however when i got there they were all out of the 3rd one. So they were discounting the price of Call of Duty 3 right off the top of the price of Call of Duty 4!!! I was lucky enough to get there before they changed there prices and I picked up my copy for $29.99. I did try going back and they said, well it is what it is now. Things changed, take it up with Corporate. Corporate said sorry, but its out of our hands.

  84. Trick says:


    Uhhh…if you refuse to buy anything from them, how can you say you didn’t have a problem getting the COD 3 promo for free??

    I didn’t get anything for free. Where did I say I did? I won’t buy *anything* from Circuit City. I prefer to buy from companies who don’t wake up first thing in the morning and figure out how they will screw their customers that day…

  85. stormbo says:


    I know this is a old topic but just to let all of you know I am a manager at the Naperville store (3121) and we honored this offer with no prob. In fact this was not an add misprint at all, they just did not update our system with this offer so we were told to manually price adjust the items. I would guess that the person you talked to at 3111 was just a new associate.

  86. jerestarsj says:

    Well first of all, at our store did honor this promotion at our store. However, look at the fine print, it says you can get COD3 WHILE SUPPLIES LAST. So this isn’t bait and switch. Putting on your ad describing that your location will have limited quantities of a certain items isn’t bait and switch. This also isn’t false advertisement because they actually did honor the offer.