Happy Resolution To Very Strange Circuit City iPod Touch Bait And Switch

Circuit City lied to Ian about giving him a discounted iPod Touch, but now he has a satisfactory resolution. He writes:

After writing a number of emails to Circuit City and after a making few more (fruitless) calls, I tried something new and posted my story to their public online customer service forums. The forum manager responded very quickly and promised that someone would call me back to resolve things. I received two calls last Thursday from Circuit City staff who wanted to help fix the situation;

…unfortunately I was on a plane at the time, and had meetings all weekend that prevented me from calling back. But this morning, I got a third call, this time from a supervisor in the Sales department (the same department which had originally called me).

Unlike the customer service people I spoke to last week, the supervisor I spoke to today was incredibly friendly and helpful – after I explained the situation in detail, he apologized, then explained that what happened was NOT how Circuit City usually does business, that I was not the only person who’d experienced trouble last week, and that the issue has now been dealt with.

The supervisor then offered to give me an additional discount on the item, which I was happy to accept – and I picked up my new iPod this evening. It’s charging and syncing as we speak!

It may be time-consuming and rather annoying to have to fight for your rights as a customer, but it’s important to do it… and although it took a few days, Circuit City really did step up in the end, acknowledge the problem and make it right.

And I’m happy to report that they’ve kept a customer today.

Interesting, Ian wasn’t the only one who experienced the bait and switch. But by escalating his issue and posting it in their online public customer service forum, he was able to get a very satisfactory solution. Another technique to remember. They might be able to ignore calls and emails, but dirty laundry up in their base is hung for all to see, and so sometimes they try to clean it quickly.

PREVIOUSLY: Very Strange Circuit City iPod Touch Bait And Switch

(Photo: Dan_H)


Edit Your Comment

  1. mrbiggsndatx says:

    WTG circuit city. Although AT&T and Best Buy are the worst companies in America, I never had a problem buying my 52 inch plasma from CC.

  2. UpsetPanda says:

    So did he pay the price he wanted? Of course, there will be the obligatory “But CC still got their money” post.

  3. NigerianScammer says:

    Sad that he had to go through these lengths in the first place, but good thing CC made it better.

  4. BlondeGrlz says:

    @UpsetPanda: I bet he got a nice discount but agreed not to tell exactly what it was. If he said “They sold it to me for $400!!” CC would be overwhelmed with phone calls demanding the discount.

  5. shadow735 says:

    Sweet, congrats man!!

  6. alhypo says:

    Huh? They don’t just delete negative comments on their discussion boards? Amazing!

  7. Christovir says:

    I’m confused… is it still ok to blame the consumer for the outcome if the outcome was positive?

  8. Tank says:

    but didn’t CC win by making the sale?

  9. Coder4Life says:

    CC makes about 10-12% on apple products just like many retailers. So I am sure CC lost money on the deal..

  10. Tank says:

    oops, /sarcasm

  11. eskimo81 says:

    @Coder4Life: 10-12% on Apple is being generous.

    Most of the computer industry is 10-12%, Apple is 5-8%.

  12. Part-Time-Viking says:

    There is very little markup on Apple Products, CC lost money on this, but they could have lost more if the man was a little sue-happy.

  13. coolsright says:


  14. Trick says:

    One good deed from a company known for not doing anything good? Nope. No where near enough to get me back into a Circuit City.

    I don’t even think is is appropriate to congratulate the company on fixing a problem their scumbag employee created in the first place.

    Its like saying “you’re welcome” to a thief that just said thanks as he ran off with your wallet.

  15. SchecterShredder says:

    I shop @ Circuit City instead of Best Buy. Best Buy flat out stole my laptop @ the Geek Squad counter. I didn’t get a receipt that said I dropped it off (Geek Squad employees knew I forgot this) so they took it and offered nothing but excuses. (I was told I abandoned it and therefore they can keep it, nice…) I even filed a police report to no avail. I have NEVER seen a company that could be capable of this level of fraud. I had to eat the cost though because I couldn’t produce a receipt that said I dropped it off for the dipute with the credit card company. NEVER shop @ Best Buy. They are the worst retail store on the planet bar none.

  16. backbroken says:

    #1. It wasn’t a ‘bait and switch’. It was plain old theft. They sold it for one price then charged another.

    #2. @upsetpanda…I think the obligatory “but CC got their money” post would be appropriate in this case. I have a hard time patting CC on the back for their response when the OP had to pursue several avenues for restitution and ultimately publicly embarrass CC before they responded. That’s not good customer service, but I guess it’s what we’ve come to expect. And since the OP is still going to remain a customer, it’s what we’ve come to deserve.

  17. Part-Time-Viking says:

    @SchecterShredder: I’m going to wave the bullshit flag on this story here.

  18. RapperMC says:

    “And I’m happy to report that they’ve kept a customer today.”

    what a tragic ending.

  19. mgy says:

    @SchecterShredder: How long did you leave it with them? In all of my tech jobs, we have had an agreement listed on the waiver you sign when you agree to get work done that indicated that if after so many calls and so many days, the machine will be donated/destroyed/whatever. If they get to this point, 100% of the time they are just stacked in a closet and never claimed. I can see why they do this, and there very rarely is an attempt to steal the machine – they just have to clear up valuable working space for paying customers.

  20. swalve says:

    And it wasn’t a bait and switch.

  21. prophet_5 says:

    I’ve had similar experiences in GA with CC. When they didn’t have an advertised item in stock, the manager offered to deliver one to me with no delivery charge, plus he gave me 10% off the item for my inconvenience (it was a 40-minute drive to the store each way).

    After the repeated shitty treatment from Best (worst!) Buy, I decided to give CC my business. I often take my receipts to Best Buy just to point out how much business they’ve lost by repeatedly treating me like a bull treats a cow.

  22. BugMeNot2 says:

    “See, here’s another $18.46 which coulda been yours. How’s that make you feel, huh? Betcher real sorry now, Best Buy cashier!”

  23. backbroken says:

    @Part-Time-Viking: I hope you still have that flag ready. Me thinks prophet_5 could use it.

  24. Part-Time-Viking says:

    @backbroken: I always have that flag ready.

  25. PinkBox says:

    I actually had a good experience the last time I shopped at CC. I bought a 52″ HDTV, and they honored their online price with the free extras included.

    Since one of the extras weren’t in stock, they even replaced it with a comparable item (which was worth more), and called in the other item they also did not have to another CC five miles away so we could pick it up easily.

  26. Oracle989 says:

    @Tank: Yes, but it was a Win-Win, CC got to keep a customer, Ian got his discount. Best possible outcome.

  27. Oracle989 says:

    @backbroken: True, True, Ian had best have gotten one hell of a dealon that to make up for his lost time and his trouble. But hey, at least it’s not quite Comcastic!

  28. chrisfromnl says:

    “I often take my receipts to Best Buy just to point out how much business they’ve lost by repeatedly treating me like a bull treats a cow.”

    Who do you point this out to?

  29. ninjatales says:

    I was hoping he’d get it for free.

  30. joeblevins says:

    Ben, please update the headlines on these two stories. As a site geared towards educating consumers, we should at least be able to speak intelligently on the terms of the scams. THIS IS NOT A BAIT AND SWITCH!!!

  31. SchecterShredder says:

    @Part-Time-Viking, it’s 100% true. So kindly go fuck yourself you asshat.

  32. redhelix says:

    @prophet_5: “After the repeated shitty treatment from Best (worst!) Buy, I decided to give CC my business. I often take my receipts to Best Buy just to point out how much business”

    Are you freaking kidding?

  33. arch05 says:

    @redhelix: Some people have all the time in the world.

  34. Canoehead says:

    Glad it worked out but CC is just bad. I needed to buy an Antec MX-1 HDD enclosure a few months ago, and CC had a sale, so there price was about $25 less than Amazon or BB, but it was not availible for delivery. I checked and found that it was in stock at a nearby store, so my wife and I drove there on our way to a state park. I got to the store about an hour after checking the stock. It took a while to find the item – it was the last one on the shelf. When I got to the checkout, they said that the computer whould not process the sale. It took three CC employees working together in mind-meld to figure out that the sale would not go through because someone had already purchased the item online and was presumably on their way to pick it up. Now, I could have done the same thing, but since I was heading straight to the store, I didn’t think it was necessary.

    Anyway, instead of trying to help me, the employees, later joined by their “supervisor” just stood around like mute retards, basically hoping I would go away, which, after a few choice words about their IQs, I did since they had no other suitable product in stock, and didn’t want to do anything else to help. Once in the car, I called the store manager – it only took 5 attemopts to get through – generally they would say I was being transfered and then hang-up on me. The Manager said that if I would go to a computer and purchase the item on line, he would then see if another store could send one to them and then I could pick it up at their store – though perhaps in a day or two. Since I was already in the car headed out of the city for the day, this really did not work for me. To be fair it wasn’t a totally awful attempt at a solution, but after the attitute i got in the store, well my attitude was also showing. I also knew that if I wasted much more time on this fiasco, the wife would be be really pissed.

    The experience taught me to avoid CC whenever possible – to have someone take the product out of your hands at the cashier and refuse to sell it to you, and then act like the customer is the problem – not a store I want to deal with.

  35. DraconWolfX says:


    So let me get this straight…It didn’t occur to you that within that hour it took you to get to the store that they might not have it when you got there? If you didn’t want to buy it online to have them hold, why not call the store and ask how many they had in stock before wasting a trip? Granted the associates in the store didn’t do much to help but I wouldn’t blame CC too much on that one.

  36. Canoehead says:

    I could have, and had there been none on the shelf when I got there, it would have been my tough luck, I agree. Obviously I did not know that they only had one – had I known that I would have paid for it online. But still, if you find a product on the shelf and walk it to the cashier, shouldn’t there be a presumption that you are allowed to purchase it? Anyway, the worst of it was the dumb insolence from the sales staff and the deliberate hang-ups when I tried to contact a manager. I don’t know exactly how they manage their inventory, but shouldn’t they pluck it off the shelf if it has already been purchased.