Very Strange Circuit City iPod Touch Bait And Switch

Ian writes:

Last Thursday 2/14, I ordered a 32GB iPod touch from at $474 + tax for a total of about $514. After thinking about it for a bit, I logged back in and canceled the order – just a bit too steep for an iPod, you know? I figured I’d have to wait a while for the price to drop, and left it at that. Well, believe it or not, I received a call at work today from a Circuit City sales rep at corporate telling me he’d offer me the iPod at a discount, so CC could keep my business. I was baffled – nothing like this has ever happened to me before, but the price he gave me $420 + tax… was too good to pass up.

I wondered if this wasn’t just a bit fishy, except the man did have all my previous order information… only Circuit City could possibly have that. When the man asked for my CC number, I told him I just don’t give it out to random people who called me (hehe), and asked him for a number where I could call him back – he gave me the number, and when I called back, it was very clearly a Circuit City number.

So I gave the rep my credit card number, and he told me the final charge would be about $469.

Seconds after I hung up, I realized that $420 plus tax was $455, NOT $469, so I called the number back so the rep could make an adjustment.

No answer, of course… just voicemail. I tried calling back several times throughout the morning and early afternoon as well, but still… just voicemail.

I started to get the feeling that something was wrong… so I logged on to the Circuit City site to see my order, ready to be picked up later that day in Midtown Manhattan – and was shocked to see that my card was charged for the amount of $550 – full retail plus tax. $100 more than he had quoted me over the phone!!!

I kept calm and called customer service, who escalated the problem to corporate. Corporate told me that they had no record of this gentleman offering me a discount, and all they could do was cancel my order.

There was no one else I could speak to, and due to “policy,” they couldn’t – read, “wouldn’t” honor the price I was given.

I calmly explained that they might as well cancel all of my FUTURE orders as well. What an outrageous business practice to have a rep call me and offer me one price for an item, only to charge my card nearly $100 more. What a great disappointment, as I had been a customer for many, many years. Still, nothing more than a half-hearted apology and a “we’ll look into it.”

I immediately called Amex to cancel my card – clearly, there’s some fraudulent activity going on at the City. Just a warning to other potential Circuit City customers out there. If it sounds too good to be true, it most definitely is.

Buyers beware!

– Ian

Very strange. Do stores do this, try to “retain” your online sale if you cancel it? First I’ve ever heard of it. Maybe the guy needed one last “save” before going home for the night and getting you to redo your order under false pretenses fit the bill.

(Photo: Vince Brown (attila))