Circuit City Tries To Install Navigation System, Causes $12,119 Of Damage To Your Car

Circuit City caused $12,119 worth of damage to VTECnical’s 2007 Honda Civic while trying to install a Pioneer AVIC Z2 navigation system. Honda later declared VTECnical’s car a fire hazard and told him it was unsafe to drive. Despite destroying the car’s heater ducts, stock wiring harness, and dashboard, Circuit City has refunded only $3,190, and insists that VTECnical speak exclusively to their third-party insurer. Hit the jump for Honda’s damning condemnation of Circuit City’s shoddy workmanship and a video of the damage.

The full repair bill is posted on 8thCivic’s forums.

VTECnical’s Circuit City Road Shop installation []


Edit Your Comment

  1. Trai_Dep says:

    On the bright side, they didn’t rifle thru his glove box looking for porn.

  2. JrodNJ says:

    Wow………wow. Just wow. I hope this gets sorted out for the guy. I’m sure he needs a $12,000 headache like another hole in his head.

  3. Nick says:

    Um, I highly, highly doubt that it would cost $12K to repair the car. That is clearly an inflated estimate. New windows? New gauges? New cup holders? That list of parts is very suspicious. CC owes you some repairs, but that is just ridiculous.

  4. MonkeyMonk says:

    For that much money you can nearly buy yourself an entirely new Civic.

  5. Jaysyn was banned for: says:

    It’s $2500 in labor alone.

  6. Jaysyn was banned for: says:


    & that’s @ $50 an hour for labor.

  7. Frostberg says:

    Circuit City installers are not MECP installers

  8. scoobydoo says:

    He makes it sound like the car was ready to explode, when in reality it was just some wire splicing to make connectors compatible. In the worst case the fuses would pop, but it’s hardly something that would go up in flames.

    As for the rest of the “workmanship”, it’s Circuit City, what did he expect? Who brings a brand new car there anyway?

  9. ranwhenparked says:


    The estimate sheet cites substantial damage to interior plastic panels – anything that would be ripped off to access wiring or climbed over/sat on while working could have been scratched or broken. That would explain the cup holders.

    The windshield being scratched and chipped is understandable, if they were fiddling around in the dashboard, the windscreen could get nicked by tools and parts.

    The gauges were probably damaged as a result of the dashboard being carelessly demolished around them.

    What it really amounts to, is this guy is going to almost have his whole car rebuilt. It needs an all new interior, climate control, and electrical system- and the electrical system is the most important, complex, and expensive part of any modern car. $12,000 is probably about right, the car’s essentially totaled.

    Not like you can go to an independent garage either for a cheaper price. That sort of total rewiring of the entire car really would need to be done by a specialist at the dealer. A 1979 Civic could be rewired in the driveway over 1 or 2 weekends, but an ’07 Civic is going to be difficult.

  10. MustyBuckets says:

    I’m glad to see the wave of kindness and not blaming the customer has come to a close. The customer obviously deserved this, and in fact a Honda Civic is a poor choice of cars. I’m sure the color is bad too.

    Get real guys, he took his car back to the dealership. He didn’t inflate the estimate, if it is inflated at all.

    Also, if the fuses blew if they wired the car incorrectly, what’s stopping them from just testing it out and putting in stronger fuses, making it the fire hazard mentioned. I wouldn’t put it past them with that kind of damage.

  11. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    @Frostberg: The problem is, people that take their cars to Circuit City for an install usually aren’t smart enough even know what MECP is. Ignorance is expensive!

  12. blueboxer says:

    Speaking from experience, Stealerships are quick to talk trash about aftermarket accessories causing problems with their cars. It looks like the wiring is very messy, but it’d take a bit more inspection to say if it is indeed a fire hazard.

    The best way to do these installs is to use harnesses to avoid modifying any factory wiring. In cases where that is not possible, wires are to be spliced inline, WITHOUT cutting the original wire. Some wires don’t like that and split, but if they’re reconnected securely its definitely not a fire hazard.

    I’ll definitely be looking at the forum post on this one.

  13. coffee177 says:

    You have to realize that if you use too thin a guage a wire then the wire becomes the fuse not the fuse itself. This is very important and is one of the main reasons why car fires start.

    He doesnt deserve any of this and should actually look into taking CC to court instead of relying on their way of handling it. Plus, Taking them to court make sure to file locally so that any CC suits have to come to your town for the hearings. They might not even show and forfiet the case altogether.

    Personally, I would not let BB or CC or anyone like that screw with my shit. In fact, I dont even buy from them. They are all whacked in the head as far as Im concerned.

  14. blueboxer says:

    Adding to my other comment, its VERY easy to scratch or damage panels if you’re not careful or don’t know how to take the car apart, especially with newer civics. I also second the idea that if the morons replaced fuses with larger one its a catastrophe waiting to happen…

    I’ll also third the MECP comments – its a great program, even though experience is just as important

  15. ideagirl says:

    @MustyBuckets: beautiful sarcasm, thank you : )

  16. Trai_Dep says:

    @MustyBuckets: I’m frankly in awe of your first paragraph. Just wanted you to know that…

  17. Parting says:

    @aaron8301: Installing a navigation system is NOT complicated. It’s just more hassle for someone who never did it. (Same as painting walls, you can do that with instructions, but it’s quicker to hire someone to do it.)

    To be able to screw a simple install like this? I would never guessed that someone is capable of such idiocy. As long as the person could read, I wouldn’t worry about McDonald’s teen installing my navigation system.

    Where Circuit City hired the guy who screw up like this?

    (Stop blaming the consumer, i would never suspect that you could ruin a car by doing navigation install, you just have to follow step by step instructions, nothing genius.)

  18. BigBoat says:

    Would love to see a pic of the work order/contract used between OP and CC. But yes, clearly shoddy work regardless of the total cost of damages or liability owed.

  19. blueboxer says:

    @coffee177: I know where you’re coming from on not wanting anyone from a big box store messing with your car… I was the same way until I became one of them. To be honest I’ve seen just as many terrible installs from large retailers as from the small specialty shops. I’ve also seen beautiful installs from both. I do know that I’d trust any of the guys in my shop to work on my car.

  20. inspiron says:

    I looked up the price for a Honda civic SI sedan and it is from 20-24K This car is almost a complete loss because of some wiring and dash board problems? And 51 hours of labor? holy smokes last time I checked it only takes about 16 hours to build a car.

    -Beware of circuit city
    -Beware of modern cars
    -Beware of dealerships

  21. Trai_Dep says:

    @blueboxer: You realize, of course, that the excellent advice you give in your second paragraph is precisely what CC didn’t do, and was responsible for this mess? Chain-sawed thru a wire harness, shorted together other wiring, cut a hole thru a heating box and more berserker rage-induced damage?
    Wow. Just wow.

  22. timmus says:

    If it is seriously possible to inadvertantly do $12,000 of electrical damage to a car, there is something very, very wrong with automotive design in general. Back to the drawing board, Honda. Your cars in the 1990s rocked, but WTF is up with this?

  23. Buran says:

    @timmus: WTF is up with this is that cars are now equipped with a lot more electronics than they once were. If Honda were to drop that stuff, they’d lose customers to other carmakers that still met customer demand. And some of that stuff is now government-mandated (tire pressure monitoring) or will be in the near future (stability/skid control) and is being installed in anticipation of those requirements.

  24. eskimo81 says:

    I’ve got to agree that it while it does look like Circuit City screwed up, I believe that the dealership is taking advantage and trying to inflate the repair cost too.

    Something tells me that this is going to get worse before it gets better.

  25. Trai_Dep says:

    @timmus: by any chance, does your current car need a crank to start it?

  26. Televiper says:

    @inspiron: We’re talking apples and oranges here. When they build the car at the factory they are wiring an open frame. The cables you see come built and ready to be hooked up and run through frame. The 16-hours it takes to build a car doesn’t include the time it takes to build the harnesses. The 51-hours of labour will include rebuilding the harnesses, and possibly disassembling sections of the body to rerun the harnesses.

    Looking at the shoddy work on those cables, I’d flag it a fire hazard as well.

  27. @timmus:

    It isn’t just electrical wiring as the dashboard and other parts were cut up in order to force the installation. It mentions it in the video.

    Knowing what kind of people some CC stores hire, I’m not surprised at such a shoddy job.

  28. sickofthis says:

    Late-model Civics aren’t really meant to be torn apart and messed with. It’s difficult even to switch out the factory stereo. With most other cars, you can just buy a head unit off the shelf and get a dash kit for it, but the Civic’s radio is so proprietary that doesn’t work. CC never should have been mucking around with it.

  29. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Why is it absurd? It’s the dealer’s listing of everything that was damaged or altered from the botched install. If it is suspicious to you, oh well. The dealer’s estimate is all that matters in a situation like this. They won’t attempt to repair anything, they will replace it all back to the condition it was in. Circuit city should have told them they cannot perform the install. But rather than turning down a sale, they took his money and destroyed his car. It’s absurd to think that they cut the factory wiring. Surely, their own policies should ban that. A wiring harness should ALWAYS be used. They ruined his cars wiring because they weren’t willing to order a 2 dollar plug on a $3,000 job. And to cut the dash up? Just crazy. I am surprised they just didn’t beat a dent in the back of the radio to make it fit.

  30. spinachdip says:

    @tmccartney: I don’t really keep up with the car culture, so this is really surprising to me. Weren’t Civics pretty popular with the tuner crowd in the 90s, precisely because they were structurally simple and easy to customize?

  31. einstoch says:

    Yeah. That’s what you get for going to North Shore Honda. Everybody knows that every dealership in the Glen Cove area absolutely blows repair prices out of sane proportions. I took my 88′ Range Rover to Glen Cove Land Rover and every time they quoted me over $3000 more than the actual repair cost quoted from Land Rover of Smithtown.

    Try taking the car to Huntington or Babylon Honda and see what they say.

    Still, Circuit City should be paying for any damages their retarded techs caused.

  32. SOhp101 says:

    Wow this just sucks. EECB Circuit City and start looking up lawyers.

  33. CaptZ says:

    Autos on an assembly line take about 2 hours from start to finish. That is with mostly all snap together, bolt on here and there parts. Also remember that a car fully assembled is cheaper that the sum of its parts. Where I work we do the complete IP (Instrument Panel) assembly for GM, and from bare dashboard to fully functional, snap in place dashboard, takes about 30 minutes. The IP’s we assemble are for Escalades, Suburbans and Tahoes. There really is only about 40 parts to each dash. Mind you this is American vehicles, not foreign, as there are more electronics in foreign vehicles.

    Repairing something after the fact on a car is ALWAYS more expensive. I don’t doubt CC did an enormous amount of damage, but also going to the dealership will always add about 35%-45% to the actual total in parts alone, not too mention the inflated labor charges.

    Regardless, I would go back the dealership for a job of this magnitude to get OEM parts and more experience and not to an independent, yet more than likely, cheaper, mechanic.

  34. bohemian says:

    The dealer estimate doesn’t seem out of line. Dealership work is expensive. Looking at what they are saying they have to do to the vehicle, I can see someone working on that thing for most of a week. They are rewiring the car and rebuilding the dash.

    I would let any of these big box places touch my car.

  35. spinachdip says:

    Reading this comment thread, I’ve come to the conclusion that if I want GPS installed in a car, it’s going to happen one of two ways:
    1) Factory installed by the car manufacturer
    2) With a suction cup to the windshield and a wire running from the cigarette lighter – not as elegant as a CC install, I’m sure, but infinitely less scary

  36. JrodNJ says:

    Lots of people bring their cars to Circuit City/Best Buy, etc…other stores. Anyone that KNOWS what’s going on knows you avoid them; but 98% of consumers don’t. And they sure do advertise their services so it’s reasonable to expect them not to render a car undriveable after an installation. IMO: It’s not the car owners fault that this happened so it shouldn’t be turned around on him.

  37. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    That looks like a preliminary estimate only, based on the first inspection. I would expect a more official document to be typewritten, itemized, and signed by somebody other than “ERIK.” Before I start screaming about $12,000, I’d want the final estimate that’s been reviewed and signed by the service manager and/or district rep.

    However, that being said, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit that it would at least cost thousands of dollars (at least $5K or more) to put the car back to normal. If the installer cut into wiring harnesses and/or damaged all the computer control modules for the climate control, gauges, air bags, and everything else..yeah, it’ll probably cost that much. They’re going to have to at least completely disassemble ever part of the dashboard (and the underneath as well) to replace the damaged harnesses. If some of the electronic control modules are damaged, that could be another few thousand bucks right there.

    Even if the car isn’t a blatant fire hazard, how’d you like to be screaming down the highway at 65 MPH with a car full of passengers and have your air-bags go off?

    I’ve taken apart car interiors and dashboards, and it’s a royal time-intensive pain in the butt just to get some of the basic panels out, so I don’t think the time estimate is out of line. Sounds like lawyer-time.

  38. ChuckECheese says:

    @Buran: And don’t forget vibrating cup holders–they require advanced electrical wiring too.

  39. @schwnj: They owe him some sort of compensation regardless. That’s some shoddy work if I’ve ever seen it.

  40. jefffromNY says:

    The guys that work at CC and Best Buy aren’t generally car savvy, at least not to the point that they should be.

    However this is quite amazing, in the end, if CC is guilty of the damage, the law is on the consumer’s side.

    The repair cost seems high, but they generally are at car dealerships.

  41. mrjimbo19 says:


    No idea if this website is one to trust but they gave that dealership a really low rating 1.9 on a scale of 1 to 5. Perhaps try taking it in someplace else and getting another estimate? Oddly enough it was the second hit when I typed in “North Shore Honda”

    Regardless though Circuit City should be paying for any damage they caused good luck on getting it taken care of.

  42. Phildawg says:

    Did you know there is an inherent flaw in the design of all Boeing 747 wiring due to poor quality insulation the results in the plane blowing up?

    TWA Flight 800 is one of 4 or 5 known explosions caused by this issue. Did the airlines fix it? nope it’s to expensive, right now they are trying to limit partially filled planes idling to long on runways to create fumes which will cause the explosion shortly after take off.

    The cost is so high, that it is actually cheaper to replace the planes than repair the million miles of electrical wire at the cost of a couple hundred million dollars. This is why there is a lot of focus on the new 787 and airbus a380. They are going to replace the entire fleet in 10-20 years but they expect 5-10 more 747s to explode.

    Now you understand how bad wiring can be???

  43. FrankReality says:

    If I were the owner, I’d contact my auto insurance carrier. It would be covered under the comprehensive coverage. At least in my state, most likely the insurance company would have the car repaired and collect the damages from Circuit City – in court if they have to. It won’t be small claims court either.

    Since it’s new Civic, Circuit City can’t claim any of the damage was pre-existing, eliminating one way they could weasel out of paying the whole cost.

    Now to fix the car properly, they will likely have to pull the dash, replace the wiring harnesses, interior panels, windows if scratched or chipped. Don’t forget that Honda parts are extremely expensive.

  44. OsiUmenyiora says:

    I once made the mistake of having Circuit City install four new speakers in a 1992 Corolla (installation came free when I bought the speakers from them, so I figured what the heck). The asshole “technician” left my fog lights disconnected and I later found the fog light wires neatly coiled and taped under the dash. The dummy probably took them out and then didn’t know what to do with them, do he just put them back and hoped I wouldn’t notice — which I didn’t until I tried to use them a week later.

  45. OsiUmenyiora says:

    Can I just add one thing? The dealer estimate says 44 hours for labor and 5 hours for diagnostics, so how does the total come out to 51 hours?

  46. juri squared says:

    Mmm, blaming the customer. Spring is in the air and riling up the commenters!

    If you look at the documents in the link, there’s $6,000 in parts alone. Keep in mind they destroyed this guy’s dashboard ventilation system. This isn’t a matter of replacing some body panels, it’s crawling into the dashboard and replacing the whole thing.

  47. rsg2003 says:

    Man, when I used to work at Circuit (something like 6+ years ago) they used to make sure they hired installers who knew what they were doing. Shortly after I left, they fired their higher-paid installers and decided to ‘cross-train’ many Roadshop sales floor people to do installs and to have the installers that stuck around for a low wage begin to sell products themselves. Sad do say that they ain’t what they used to be.

  48. blueboxer says:

    Check out the comments near the end ([] ) – some of the parts quoted more than likely don’t need to be replaced, hence the inflated figure. Apparently he is getting a second dealership to look at it as he should.

  49. enine says:


    A dealership is never going to rebuild a wiring harness, they won’t rebuild an alternator, starter, even the engine, they swap whole assemblies and send anything out to a rebuild shop that is rebuildable. a dealer would pull the dash and replace the whole wiring harness with a complete new one.

    Sounds like Honda may have some issues if it takes that much labor. I’ve pulled wiring harnesses out myself and added in extra wires and put them back in. Makes a very stealthy install for an alarm system, you can’t tell it wasn’t factory when I take the time to do that.

  50. mmmmna says:

    Rushed by corporate time limit standards, given insufficient information for brand new models, working against a lack of universality for both the electrical connectors and physical openings used by automakers, and I’d have to guess why anyone was rooting around with the heater ducts…

  51. inspiron says:


    Thats true things are streamlined at the factory (I hear a car factory can cost tens of thousands of dollars an hour to operate so I suppose they have to be)

    But I doubt they have to go further than completely removing the dash to fix the mutilated wires, there should be documents about wire colors and locations to keep a person from having to completely rewire the car.

    I had to almost entirely remove the dash on my 87 mercury trying to replace a heater core and that only took about 20 hours at the most and I had next to no auto repair experience,no manuals, no guides and I was working without help. 51 hours is unreal, with all of the advances in auto technology they should have spent some time trying to make cars more serviceable. or maybe the dealership is at fault which brings me to another problem.

    It cost $80 to have the heater core problem looked at but when my car went on fire in the bay they did not look at it and I was not given a refund, the same dealer ship was asking $1300 for a tune up, these places are dam expensive and the $12k that they are asking definatly seems like too much,

    This guy needs to have the car towed elsewhere and should sue CC and automakers need to make more serviceable cars.

  52. Buran says:

    @ChuckECheese: Cup holders? Huh?

  53. vision4bg says:

    So nobody else noticed that 44 + 5 hours labour doesn’t add up to 51 hours?

    Also how on earth could it take 51 hours to do all that? Seems absolutely ridiculous. As per inspiron’s comments, I also have done a lot of personal repair work on my own cars, and it does *not* take that long to completely take something apart and replace parts. Crazy.

  54. Buran says:

    @spinachdip: Please don’t. That’s a potential missile in an accident. If you get an aftermarket nav system, look into permanently mounting it in a safe fashion — I think Garmin etc. make mounts that permanently attach to the dash.

  55. greenpepper says:

    Note this:

    There is an error in the math totaling the hours, as pointed out in post above. And to have faith in someone expert enough to to spell verify as varify (first word in second paragraph) diminishes my confidence in their estimate.

    The person writing this estimate doesn’t know how to add or spell!!

    I’d question other abilities….

  56. WraithSama says:

    I used the information on his invoice and did a little research. The fair market value of his car is about $14,000. The repair invoice is for $12,000. A new car, and Circuit City nearly totaled it trying to install a navigation system? That is supremely inept.

  57. WraithSama says:

    Perhaps you missed the notation that they “removed all aftermarket accessory’s”

  58. Alright, so he got a quote, the insurer should have a few days to respond, presumably they’ll pay for the repairs. No worries yet.

    And then maybe he’ll pay the $7k or whatever to get a OEM navigation system.

  59. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @inspiron: There’s a big difference between removing the dash on an ’87 Mercury and a 2007 Civic. I had the dash partially disassembled on my ’97 GMC truck…it took the shop about 8 hours. But…there’s no integrated climate control, body lighting computer, or intergrated CANN bus. Some of the luxury cars even have fiber-optics under the dash. Plus, to replace the heater core, they didn’t have to remove a whole harness (or two, or three) remove everything that’s connected to and unsnake it around just about everything under the dashboard. Replacing a heater core on an ’87 anything (or a 97 anything) and replacing wiring harnesses on a 2007 anything else is comparing apples to oranges.

    It’s also one thing prying the dash apart to get at the heater core, it’s another trying to position yourself upside down with your head in the footwells, trying to get your hand up through spaces meant only for Japanese hands.

    I would be interested in seeing a quote from another dealer because it does look like this one did a preliminary estimate and went “worst case scenario” on everything because they probably figured it’s a nice big juicy insurance job. The actual job might be thousands less, but I think it’s still going to be at least $5K.

    I dug deeper into the Civic forums and there is a typed, itemized parts list there and it comes to $6528 just for the parts (modules, glass, panels, wiring harnesses, etc). The price for dealer-supplied auto-parts is insane. I once read that it would cost $50,000 to build a $25,000 car if you had to order each piece at dealer cost.


    @vision4bg: Obviously “ERIK” doesn’t know how to type OR add..or maybe he’s including the two hours it took him to write that all out.

  60. psyop63b says:

    It’s not worth dealing with aftermarket. This is why you just spring for the premium sound option on the car when you buy it new.

  61. psyop63b says:

    Oh wait, I forgot this is a GPS we’re talking about. Get a windshield-mounted unit instead! You can take it from car-to-car easy-peasey!

  62. Squeegoth says:

    Guys, just a question. Maybe it’s the slimeball in me, but what advantage does the OP have in looking for a different quote on the repairs of his car? ESPECIALLY if he’s about to take them to court?

  63. @Squeegoth: what advantage does the OP have in looking for a different quote on the repairs of his car?

    The claims adjuster might require it. There’s no reason to go to court yet. This story is why Circuit City has insurance.

  64. rolla says:

    should have just ordered thru crutchfield and done the install himself.

  65. OsiUmenyiora says:

    Just to be a pain, let me point out that my 10:55 post is the first to question the “44 + 5 + 51 mathmatics.”

  66. @coffee177: He doesnt deserve any of this and should actually look into taking CC to court instead of relying on their way of handling it.

    It’s not “their” way of handling it. He’s dealing with standard industry procedure here:

    – If you get in an accident, do you sue the other driver before talking to their insurance company? No. You talk to the insurance company.

    – Do you keep talking to the other driver and ask them to pay instead of working with their insurance company? No. You talk to the insurance company.

    If they don’t have enough insurance or insurance refuses to cover it, then it’s time to start talking about court.

  67. Hangemhi says:

    First off, I am an MECP Basic certified installer with Best Buy. Since we’ve moved under the Geek Squad banner for branding purposes, Best Buy requires that we gain MECP certification. Not all BBY installers are certified currently, but many, many are. We also have quite a few MECP Advanced and MECP Master certified installers. That being said, I hope that CC’s blunder doesn’t steer tons of customers away from us. Say what you will about Best Buy, but it pays my bills, so obviously, I’m going to be biased. Anyway….. on to the install.

    1. Like the guy in the video said, the factory wires shouldn’t NOT have been cut. There are times when interface harnesses are NOT available, but the wires should not have been cut. Spliced/soldered and fused would have been the way to go if another harness was unavailable.

    2. There is NO excuse for the speakers not being mounted in the dash, that’s just laziness. I’m sure they could have found a way to make it work.

    3. There is also NO excuse for cutting the ac/heat duct. Sure, aftermarket radios often take up more room behind the dash, but you can’t just go at the dash with an air saw to make things fit.

    4. I’m not really sure what he meant by the speaker harness being cut to make the speakers fit. Seems more like he may have meant speaker bracket/enclosure/etc… That DOES happen quite often especially in “Factory Premium” systems. However, the customer should have been informed PRIOR to modification. Maybe he was, who knows.

    5. The wiring looks hacked up, but not $12,000 worth of hacked up. Definitely seems like excessive labor.

    I really do hope that everything works out for this guy, If it was BBY we’d more than likely cut a check. Circuit isn’t doing so well these days though, so I hope the guy gets a good lawyer.

    Next time come to my shop! :)

    (YAY, now I don’t feel like such a damn lurker anymore :)

  68. thatlukeguy says:

    Dealerships actually use alot of aftermarket items / service-shops themselves. My shop installs most of the spoilers and tint for customers that come to all the local dealerships. The customers bring their car to the dealership, the dealership brings it to us. Our shop stands by the quality of our work: if there’s a problem we fix it ASAP at no extra charge (obviously). This makes it financialy attractive to the dealerships since our prices are usually half of theirs (they pocket the difference). This is how this business goes. You’d be suprised how many times you goto a “dealer” for that “dealer” service and your car is being worked on by a shop that does aftermarket stuff.

    Where I’m going with this:

    If you bring your vehicle to a dealership you should expect higher prices. That’s just what they charge compared to local shops (honest ones anyways). From their point of view, why should they cut their margins for a Circuit City screwup just to bail them out. The costs for the damages are high because that’s what the dealerships charge, end of story. In any other case I’d say he’s better off going to local shops for service (many will offer a high level of quality at much lower prices) but in this case it’s Circuit City that is liable for the damage and needs to pay up, so why should the OP care how high the estimate is? I’d do the same thing and get the estimate done at the dealership.

    Whacky analogy: You buy a complete audio system from my shop with installation. Then you go someplace else and have them take apart the system to, oh i don’t know, paint all the pieces a matching color so your ride is “pimped out” or something like that. After they are done the system doesn’t work or works like crap in some way. You come back to me to get it fixed and are not happy with the price I charge to fix the problem (maybe I want to replace certain parts because they will be a nightmare to fix or I can’t be sure then can be fixed without problems creeping up again for 100%, whatever my reasons). You yell at me “how dare you charge me regular prices for this! It’s too much! This mess isn’t my fault!” Ok sure. But it isn’t my fault either. Those are the prices I charge everyone, take it or leave it.

    That’s the attitude of the dealership in this case. Again since Circuit City should pay the damages anyways, the OP shouldn’t be that concerned how much, but IF they are gonna pay him at all.

  69. spinachdip says:

    @Buran: Worry not.
    1) I don’t have a car.
    2) When I wrote “suction cup”, what I really meant was those mounts that lock onto the windshield, and as far as I can tell, they’re pretty secure.

  70. seth1066 says:

    Looks like CC “techs” have been watching too many episodes of Unique Whips.

  71. MrEvil says:

    If I were in the OP’s posistion, odds are I’d have comprehensive insurance and collision coverage on my car. I’d just make a claim with my insurance, pay the Deductible ($500 is less than $12,000 and having to go without a car for a while), let my insurance duke it out with Circuit Shitty.

    However, I have no doubt that Circuit City carries a massive amount of liability insurance for just this sort of thing.

  72. FrankM says:

    So this person takes a brand new car, has circuit city add a $3,000 stereo/nav system?

    Why not just buy the higher trim level car to begin with? The cost difference is about the same if not less. DX -> LX -> EX -> EX w/Nav+XM. The cost difference between the EX and the EX w/Nav+XM is ~$1800.

    Sure, you don’t get that “premium” sound system with the pioneer name on it, but the sound system in the car was designed to be powerful enough (and still be safe). And can you really get better sound with the after-market pioneer? You still have to contend with road noise.

  73. rellog says:

    For those of you saying that the price is overinflated… very possibly. But the OP deserves to have his car returned to the same state as it was previously, not just repaired. A poster in the other thread made a very valid point; that warranties could be voided without this work being completed, and that parts aren’t always available in “segments” which means entire segments may need to be replaced. We’ll find out tomorrow since he’s getting another dealer to look at it. Since the car has A LOT of warranty left, they’d be the only people touching my car if it were me in this situation.

  74. forgottenpassword says:

    I can totally believe this story. There are just way too many places out there who have installers that dont know what they are doing or just cut corners.

    I had a car audio/alarm place install a car alarm in my old bronco years ago. They used GIANT THICK speaker wire (typically used in showy car audio installations)to hook it all up, they wedged the alarm’s main unit up under the dash & didnt bolt it in (it later slipped down behind my gas pedal linkage & prevented me from being able to let off the gas… I was putting all my weight on the brakes to keep it from moving & rearending another car while at stoplight… I managed to turn off the ignition, find the problem & move the alarm’s main unit out of the way), the alarm wiring somehow made my bronco’s pushbutton fourwheel drive malfunction to where I couldnt turn it off & on reliably (I figure they tapped into the wiring for something). It was a complete mess. And some dipshit who didnt know what he was doing was at fault. Miserable sobs! I found out they later went out of business… wonder why.

    I install my own stereos, but dont really want to tackle alarms so i dont have one on my current vehicle.

  75. Maymar says:

    @inspiron: As far as I know, all repair shops charge labour as per the book time – there’s a standardized time for every possible job, on every car. Given the number of parts that are going to have to be replaced on top of rewiring most of the car, it’s not such a stretch to see how it can end up at 51 hours. Rewiring the car may only be 15 hours by the book time (as an example), but then say there’s another 5 hours to remove and replace the dashboard, 5 hours for replacing the ventilation system, an hour for replacing each door panel, 0.3 hours for each cupholder, etc. – that’s how you end up with 51 hours.

  76. thatguy01 says:

    This is a case where the car owner’s own insurance would apply. The fact that an allegedly competent repair shop, hired by the covered party, did the damage isn’t relevant. Comprehensive coverage is about the value of the vehicle as an object; the cause of the damage is only relevant as it affects the owner’s future insurance rates and the ability of the insurance company to recover the expense from a third party.

  77. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    I find it odd that the Circuit City installers spliced and diced this guy’s car. The Civic Si sedan has been on the market for a while, and I’m fairly positive that there are installation kits and wiring harnesses specifically for this vehicle, from Scosche and Metra. A $30 installation kit could have saved this guy from a $12K repair bill.

    Modern cars have a scary amount of wiring and electronics. And they are very expensive to repair. I don’t think I’d let some kid at Circuit City cut wires and mangle body panels in my car. At the very least, I would have stuck around the installation bay to keep a close eye on what they were doing.

    Not trying to blame the victim here, but I think he should have done some more research. I’m pretty sure he could have installed the head unit himself with an installation kit.

  78. sled_dog says:


    Did you know there is an inherent flaw in the design of all Boeing 747 wiring due to poor quality insulation the results in the plane blowing up? TWA Flight 800 is one of 4 or 5 known explosions caused by this issue….

    “As of May 2007, a total of 45 hull-loss accidents involving 747s had occurred,[165] and these had caused 3,707 fatalities.[166]

    Very few crashes have been attributed to design flaws of the 747. The Tenerife disaster resulted from pilot error, air traffic control (ATC) error and communications failure, while the Japan Airlines Flight 123 crash stemmed from improper aircraft repair. United Airlines Flight 811, which suffered an explosive decompression mid-flight on 24 February 1989, led the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to issue a recommendation that 747-200 cargo doors similar to those on the Flight 811 aircraft be modified. TWA Flight 800, a 747-100 that exploded in midair on 17 July 1996, led the Federal Aviation Administration to propose a rule requiring installation of an inerting system in the center fuel tank of most large aircraft.”

    One crash does not a wiring problem make. Stop trying to scare people.

    Source: []

  79. dazzlezak says:

    Don’t fear Circuit City employees.

    When you get fired there’s still room for you at Geek Squad or Fry’s

  80. dazzlezak says:

    Sled dog: How about ehr sink in the 777 that overflowed and shorted out the ENTIRE plane’s electrical system.

  81. EtherealStrife says:

    Uh wow that is completely ridiculous. Take it somewhere else for an estimate. And someone please check my math here: 44 + 5 = 49, not 51 (for their labor estimate). :)
    Dealer != best

    @Jaysyn: It’s $4845 @$95/hr. Or are you saying $2500 is what it *should* be? In either case the dealership should clearly be disregarded.

  82. zebtron says:

    Does this feel like BS to anyone else?
    $12K? Did they melt his whole car with a laser? Really?
    I don’t doubt that people would cause damage, but $12k?

  83. cashmerewhore says:


    Labor is $95/hr. ($4845/51.0 hrs)

  84. rellog says:

    @thatguy01: Except that if he goes through HIS insurance, he may see rate hikes or even policy drops because of it…. my parents had American Family back in the day and were dropped for a single claim (a 50/50% fault.) And should he need to make a claim in the future, god forbid, then he’s WILL get dropped and/or see massive rate increases.

    BTW… Circuit City is only getting what they deserve in this… low ball wages and hiring people that are incompetent that work for those wages is what you get. Reap what you sow Circuity City…

  85. rellog says:

    @cashmerewhore: That’s standard for many shops, especially dealers.

  86. badgeman46 says:

    I’m in no way blaming the victim, but I think the dealer is inflating the costs. Surely the wiring system doesn’t make up 3/4 of the cars value! When my Corolla was wrecked in an accident, it only cost 4,000 to fix it, and it was royally, f’ed up!

  87. topgun says:

    My navigation system plugs into the cigarette lighter and then is stuck to the windshield. Less than $200 and I installed it myself.

  88. IrisMR says:

    I think there’s a cost inflation but hey, let’s suck as much money as you can from these CC idiots.

    …On the other hand, one civic less on the streets is always a good thing

  89. Gev says:

    @zebtron: Yeah, there’s a bit of BS here.

    Circuit City completely and utterly botched the job installing it and did indeed do a ton of damage to the guy’s car.

    The Honda dealership smelling a third party potentially paying for the damages went to town on the estimate inflating the cost by quite a bit.

    Is there thousands of dollars of damage here that’s the results of Circuit City’s sheer incompetence? Yeah. Is there $12,000? Probably not.

  90. Uncle Bo says:

    There’s no question CC damaged the Honda during the install. What’s at question is the repair estimate. It’s clear to me this is an attempt to rip off CC more than it’s a desire to fix the car. $12,000 for repairs? Bull. Read the parts list – new windshield, new sunroof, all new interior trim pieces…. lots of stuff that was just thrown on the estimate for the hell of it.

    And why was the estimate done in NY when the car was damaged in IL? This story stinks of fraud and collusion. If I were CC I’d get my corporate counsel on this case ASAP.

  91. cgarison says:

    Not the first time I have seen something like this. Circuit City in Philly shorted out the computer on a friends Grand Prix GT which caused the computer to be replaced and the odometer to be reset to 0 with 30K on the clock.

  92. nadmonk says:

    At least he’s only paying about $50 in labor. When I took my Honda in it was $75/Hr in labor. But it was worth it, the repair was flawless and never had anymore issues with it.

    CC can barely handling customer service, why would they be able to handle a standard stereo installation?

    As far as cost inflation, in my experience with Honda dealerships, they may have exensive labor, but they are honest and good at what they do. Maybe we just had good dealers? It say on the estimate that this would be to get it back to original condition. The cost to get it back into safe, working condition would most likely be much less. I WOULD be curious to see a full breakdown of the parts they thought needed to be relaced.

    Could also be that the dealership, thinking that CC will reemburse this guy for the damages they caused, could help him get some other things fixed on CC’s dime. “Oh yeah, I totally swear that part was fine before CC got to it.”

  93. NoWin says:

    I did 2 separate harness pulls / reinstalls on several ’98 Neon’s and after that experience I’d PAY 12k to have some else do it. I would never want to touch any electrical harnesses on a newer car.

    Buuut, to be fair, the labor estimated is probably all factory manual “burden labor” rates where the full “rate” is charged for each individual procedure, not allowing for overlap of removal/install of related parts.

    Potentially, a “real-time” estimate of this would maybe lower the labor by 10-20%. i.e. Say the manual lists it takes 1 hour to swap a windshield, and your shop can do it in 3/4 hour, you still charge the full hour rate, or “swapping the dash” takes place the same time as the harness physical re-channel or re-install. There is a bit of “commonality” of some different procedures when done at the same time, but the quoted rate may reflect each as an “individual” process towards the total.

    The dealership (if they do the repairs) will not let it out without full repair “per their opinion of level of repair needed”, simply as a liability concern, as a 3rd party did the damage. But if CC (or their ins rider) pays, thats a moot-point. (But yeah, there is a bit of inflation in that quote, none the less…)

  94. NoWin says:

    …and that labor rate is average for dealerships. We have a local BMW dealer that hits just under $300.00 per hour or labor.

    My local garage-guy is now up to $65.00 an hour.

  95. Serious Mopar Jones- Incurable says:

    I have yet to suffer any vehicular damage attributable to a Road Atlas.

  96. radarbeam says:

    I don’t know what’s the standard for labour charges by a dealership in the US but $4845.00 / 51 Hrs = $95/hr!!!. My Toyota dealership charges $60 CAN/hr. I get a feeling you’re getting hosed on the # of hrs of labour as well. I also find hard to believe that there’s $6000 worth of damaged parts in there. I think you’re getting hosed by both CC and the dealership.

    I’d suggest you get a second opinion from another honda dealership. Since you’re not too far from both NJ and CT why not see which one has the lower sale taxes and have your car fixed there.

    I would definitely look for a second opinion especially when you look at your dealerships rating…


  97. Looks like I may be the only one to say something GOOD about CC’s Roadshop.

    I had them install an XM receiver a couple years back because I have absolutely no confidence in opening up my dash and mucking about in there. Worked fine for a couple of years, but then my XM started getting a little finicky. Sometimes I’d have to turn off my car and turn it back on to get the XM to “connect” to my head unit. After a while of that, it just stopped connecting completely, so I went to a CC Roadshop to have them check it out. About an hour later, I get a call that everything’s done, tech tosses my keys to me and tells me I’m good to go, no charge. I don’t know if there was no charge because CC had initially installed the unit or what, but I haven’t had a problem with my XM since.

    And obviously, no car fires or anything either.

  98. cmdrsass says:

    Wow, you pay tax on auto repairs, including labor? What a scam.

  99. Wormfather says:

    I have to admit that I’m not very car savvy and that I’d be tempted to have it my stereo equipment(?) installed where I purchased it. I’d expect there to be proffesionals who would do a good job taking care of my car while installing the equipment. Anything short of that wouldnt be a cause of ignorance on my part but negligence on there’s. I’m sure a jury will side with the complaintenton this one.

  100. cashmerewhore says:


    I know. Mine charges $89/hr. They commented it was $50/hr, which is not the case.

  101. MissTic says:

    According to, a 2007 Civic si runs about 18k. I realize the labor and complexity of the problem makes this repair bill high, but he could practically get a new one for the 12k quoted. YIKES!

  102. jasonwco says:

    Circuit City did a significant amount of damage to a brand new car (that I had just spent $30,000 on) that I brought in for an alarm installation. They did this after upping the price from the initial quote several times. They also messed around with wiring around side impact airbags, which raised a safety concern. When I complained about it I was told “it is what it is.” I had to contact corporate and play phone tag with the store director who eventually agreed to pay for an inspection, and a manager did what he could to cover up some of the damage. They gave me a $20 gift card to make up for the experience, but weren’t really willing to do anything else.
    Never again will I set foot into another Circuit City.

  103. whanghpo says:

    i like the 900 dollars for tax…that’s really brutal

  104. Riddler says:

    He makes it sound like the car was ready to explode, when in reality it was just some wire splicing to make connectors compatible. In the worst case the fuses would pop, but it’s hardly something that would go up in flames.

    As a lawyer, I have defended property damage / fire cases on behalf of a major U.S. auto manufacturer. I’d say at least half of the 100+ cases I worked on involved fires caused by after-market modifications such as new stereos, roof-top lights, sirens (for a volunteer firefighter), speakers, etc. Trust me: the worst-case scenario does not involve a mere popping of a fuse. Worse case scenarios involve a fire sparking while the car is parked in a family garage and the fire spreads to the rest of the house. Word of advice to anyone who has work performed by someone like Best Buy or Circuit City: if anything electrical goes wrong after the work is done on the car, the manufacturer will point to the after-market work as a probable cause of the problem.

  105. strife1012 says:

    This is not 12k worth of Damage, Trough SIL, they will replace the Harness.

    Understand people that those Double DIN Headunits rarely ever fit. I agree with him that they should have ordered the Metra 80 Series Honda Harness, then modified the harness, because the Video Headunit harnesses are different than standard headunits, I bet he is freaked out about how the VSS wire had to go to the Tachometer, like it says in the Manual, or the Video Brake Wire went to the brake, required by law.

    speakers are not a problem, thats how they are done, minus the tweeters, those should have been glued in.

    2k damage tops ….. maybe

  106. sfbmx88 says:

    Labor: 44 hours
    Diagnostic: 5 hours


  107. carterbeauford says:

    something doesn’t add up here, would not be surprised if the “victim” is trying to scam CC and the installers are in on it.

  108. Boter says:

    A friend of mine had a stereo put in by Circuit City… she was twenty minutes away when it erupted and gouts of flame came out of the heating vents at her. It’s be awesome in a film, but damned if it wasn’t a traumatic thing to deal with, especially since it was a new (used) car she’d just gotten *maybe* a month previously.

  109. hpgilmore says:

    long ago…in a far away land… i used to install stuff at circuit city…. i got hired with no experience… didn’t know squat about what i was doing… and while most work was done decently by the staff and a few staff members where really good at what they did… I have seen a 30k disaster before…. lets just say that not only was the sound system done wrong, including alarm, multiple screens and a 6 15″ set up, some how a heater fan plate cover from the ceiling came of and did some serious damage to the vehicle… oh and some one used screws to long to drill speakers in and the guy had screws sticking out of his car….but hey its circuit city, so this isn’t surprising…Oh and I didn’t install it… it was the manager.

  110. mytdawg says:

    That’s too bad but it was an amateur job. It took a Honda dealer to do that much damage to my Honda and you expect that from professionals.

  111. rustyni says:

    The original CC I worked at, had a good installation crew. Always got their stuff done, and the installers new the ins and outs of everything. Go 0450!

    The second CC I worked at, was full of incompetent college kids, whom only succeeded in drilling a hole into a customer’s gas tank, and then denied any wrong-doing. Geniuses, I tell you.

  112. Orv says:

    @carterbeauford: I think this is standard operating procedure when dealing with insurance companies. The dealers all know the insurance companies aren’t going to be happy unless they bargain them down, so they start with an inflated estimate. It’s sort of like how you always overprice stuff a little at a garage sale because everyone wants to haggle and feel like they got a deal.

  113. BugMeNot2 says:

    @Frostberg: And you think Circuit City really cares? lol
    I work for Circuit City and I’ve seen some of the stuff that goes on. However, the installers at Firedog Car (which is now the new name of Road Shop) at my Circuit City are very knownledgable on how to install units into cars and they verify every needed material or equipment by taking a look at the customer’s car BEFOREHAND, to avoid such problems later on.

    Sorry to hear about the damages to your car VTECnical, but I hope this problem gets stored out quick. I’m a member on 8th Gen and I’m glad Consumerist wrote up about your problem. I have brought up this problem to the managers at my Circuit City, and I will be informing my district manager as well, so that managers can avoid their Firedog Car installer’s problems such as this.

    Good luck to you bro!

  114. UNSTOPPABLE says:

    @schwnj: Um they kind of destroyed the dash. Do you have any idea what a replacement dash, all the wiring, plus labor is worth? Try putting a small ding in your car and take it to the dealership for your four figure surprise. I can PROMISE you that the dash alone is probably several thousand dollars from the dealership and most of the front end of that car is going to have to come apart to replace that wiring harness. This is a HUGE job.

  115. Holy shit…

  116. rochec says:

    Why the hell would you go to a place like Circuit City for something like this?

    Other than buying a product from them and taking it home in my own car, I wouldn’t trust anything they offer.

  117. Phildawg says:

    @sled_dog: This information has only been discovered recently. It took the awhile but they finally linked all the pieces together when they noticed the 747’s wire insulation is cracking throughout the airplane.

  118. cerbie says:

    @spinachdip: whether they are or not (I don’t know—I like my non-performance Volvo brick), we’re dealing with power tools used to cut up things inside the car. Wholly different thing from performance tuning, or even working on the interior with caution and respect for the vehicle.

  119. cerbie says:

    @Buran: they’ll mount to the dash, but not safely enough to stay there in a wreck that will cause it to fly off with a suction-cup mount. My garmin has been through one wreck. The suction cup stayed on, and the GPS came off the mount. Sample size of 1, but I doubt the dash mount is any safer. Also, it’s a little 5oz piece of plastic 4x or more the size of my cell phone.

    I’ll worry about many things in a wreck. Whether anyone got hurt by my Nuvi will not be among them.

  120. greensmurf says:

    I will never ever let CC install anything, I paid $300 bucks to have them re-install my old stereo and amp and 12″ sub into the my new-Used civic, crappy install, dash cover kept coming out, various holes that were not there before suddenly were there after the install. 80% of the clips were busted so the bottom panel of my dash (its a panle that removes) hangs now.

    Crappy, crappy, crappy never again. I will install it myself if I have to because at least I know I wont screw up my car. Though it will take me longer to install it.

  121. uberbucket says:

    Ouch. That’s why I’m never getting rid of my 42-year-old VW. Less stuff to go wrong and if it does I can fix it myself.

    I’d kill for an Audi R8 though, to be honest.

  122. Orv says:

    @uberbucket: Yeah, but if you had an R8 there’s no way you’d let a grease monkey at Circuit City touch it. ;)

  123. toohot06 says:

    @MustyBuckets, @timmus:

    I think all of you who are bashing the dealership and vtecnical are absolutely ridiculous. He’s dumb for letting a supposedly reputable company install a nav system via there trained “professionals”? Sure it isn’t brain surgery, but it is a brand new car, why risk damaging something you may not know about? I’ve done dozens of installs, but when it came to my new commander i left it to the pros. I’d much rather see them at fault then me. Secondly, you honestly think the dealership is inflating the price? It doesn’t matter if it takes 16 hours to build it, it has to be gutted just to replace the harness. You clearly don’t understand the type of work that entails, ie breaking spot welds and removing permanent fixtures etc to remove the harness. That car is going to be completely torn apart in the process. The new civic is digital everything and completely computer controlled, so bashing honda for building an exceptional product is out of line as well. vtecnical posted this to warn you fellow “educated” consumers about the shoddy work CC did to a trusting customer, not open up a bashing ground for him and those trying to repair the damage sustained to his vehicle. Go bash shit on your little blogs, not where people look for advice.

  124. Public_AenimA says:

    I am the shop manager for a small box store. We specialize in aftermarket accessories and we do a LOT of dealer work. Many vehicles are ordered in lots by dealerships based on what the sales manager thinks might be popular options and than the dealership will simply have the features the customers require/desire added. This is one reason why simply ordering the car with Nav is not always an option. Especially with desirable cars like Civics (I don’t like them but I know they are popular).
    It wouldn’t matter if your new vehicle came with a sound system designed by EAW or Crest. Someone would want something different. That is why Circuit City and its varied competitors like myself exist.
    Vehicles get more complicated because of this industry. Manufacturers produce a car that is popular, people buy the car, they add stuff to it then they sell it and when they go buy the next one they say hey I had this item installed in my last car can I just get it from the factory that way, the salesman says let me check, he makes some calls and somewhere along the lines the information get to someone in corportae marketing who passes the Idea off to an engineer. the following year… somebody else buys it and says this system is cool but can you make it do this… I am sure you see where this is going.
    Of course this design cycle is fine if you don’t mind waiting for the latest creature comforts and are willing to pay (in many cases) several times what the aftermarket equivalent would cost you.
    Documentation for new vehicles often does not become available for six months to one year from when they hit the market. In some cases this will be right at the beginning of the year as companies like Chrysler will release the next model year of vehicles as dealer demos as early as January of the previous year. IE I worked on a ’07 Jeep in Feb of ’06 (I Sh*t you not).
    There are many cases where an installation requires cutting a harness (and usually splicing in something like a diode) to prevent back feeding or high quiescent draw. Also there are still other cases where plugs simply are not available.
    Aftermarket shops are getting a bad reputation and not all of it is undeserved, the trade of auto electric is not terribly profitable, to do the job well you actually have to understand how electronics work. And most people who do have degrees and don’t work on cars. I don’t care if you go to a big box store or a small box store (or even a dealership for that matter) there is always a chance that you will end up with an idiot working on your car. Circuit City does pay it’s people next to nothing but… so does everybody else. This industry is a very small pie divided into a LOT of very small pieces. Everyone wants to do the work, everyone thinks they know what they are doing and everyone thinks they can do it for less.
    Most dealership technicians went to some sort of tech college or at the very least some company sponsored training that teaches them the basics of electrical trouble-shooting. After this they use programs like AllData which uses step by step procedures to diagnose and fix the problem reported. This is a lot like when you use the Microsoft help problem solver to fix a printer problem (only this works). You don’t really have to know anything to use these procedures and in many cases they will fix the problem. When you don’t use a skill set you lose it. It is not that they are being userous or even that they are incompetent, the system is set up in such a way that understanding and rational thought is not required. I troubleshoot many problems for my local dealerships, many of those problems are with factory integration of aftermarket components and repairs of just this sort.
    The dealerships is there to make money, they are almost certainly a corporation and corporations are bound by their charter to be as profitable as possible. The dealership pays their technicians on commission (usually) and the more labor items they can generate the more their technicians make. The service writer will in many cases get a sales commission on the labor dollars he bills out for his technicians. They wont generally replace something that isn’t broken or at least suspect but sometimes replacing one thing necessitates replacing other things and some things are actually cheaper as assemblies.
    Now if I were a service writer and this job came my way there is one of two ways to handle this…
    I could do the bare minimum and replace the harness (or sublet a repair if it is simply a wire diked out of a connector) and any other broken or non repairable Items such as heater controls and vents and bill straight time (the actual time required to do the job). I might have the scratches polished out of the glass (yes, you can do this). Also sublet the panel scratches to a paint-less dent guy who can probably repair them (I have been very impressed). This is most likely what I would do if the work was being done directly for the customer.
    I could also nit pick what is broken and scratched Itemize it and bill book time for what is to be replaced. This is what I would do if it is a warranty job. It is more profitable and the warranty company won’t balk at the price. My guess is this is what happened.
    In some cases a dealership will use justifiable labor Items that they would normally wave to inflate a bill to a specific number like 10’000$ because this will change which insurance company processes the claim (an umbrella policy insurer instead of a general warranty company). They will also do this if they feel that there is a defective part that they cant really justify replacing like the casing of a transmission or a sub-dash assembly. If a dealership feels the vehicle may come back for something else in the future relating to the repair they may also use this technique to walk the job so they don’t incur liability for the problem.
    As for spelling, grammar and arithmetic… very few of the tech savvy people I know can spell or understand proper grammar. Still not terribly reassuring that they cant add.
    Factory parts are expensive because no-one wants them. Yes… no-one except the warranty company, who doesn’t question price. Most things like alternators and brakes are very quickly offered by a third party manufacturer insuring that there will not be a high demand for these factory Items which are usually manufactured at the same time as all the other components which comprise a new vehicle they and then stored someplace for an indefinite period of time, where as the aftermarket parts are made in lots in a sort of quasi on-demand sort of fashion or they are simply remanufactured (possibly being substituted for another *cheaper/more available* part as a retrofit kit).
    Considdering that it is the ‘right’ parts and a dealership technician… 12K$ I don’t find this figure surprising or even unreasonable. It is probably a bit userous but I don’t think it is as bad as everyone is making it out to be.

  125. awesomerobot says:

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the money they already refunded him would cover the repairs. Circuit City messed up, but there’s some major BS going on here.

  126. iin10ded says:

    i have not ONE IOTA of remorse for anyone who takes their car to a box store with an illiterate 17 year old to go monkeying about in their dashboard. it serves you right cheapskate. too bad CC won’t come correct and pay for the damage they caused.

    caveat emptor. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

  127. bsdman says:

    I’m not even arguing about the cost of the car or the cost of the damages, but you can’t charge tax on the labor.
    So assuming 6009.75 for parts, Glen Head has a tax rate of 8.625. Tax then is 518.34. Labor is 49 hours X 95 (standard rate) an hour for 4655.00. I’m not sure what that 300 dollar charge is for, but without that it should be 11183.09.

    That all being said – CC will not cover for scratched moon roofs or scratched windshields. That’s probably his own fault anyway.

  128. ElJefe says:

    It’s painfully obvious that most of the people leaving comments here don’t know much about car stereo installation.

    Is it a bit half-assed? Yep. Should they have ordered a wiring harness adapter? Sure. However, if you don’t have one on hand and your customer wants the instant gratification, what are you going to do? You’re going to do what we did for years and years before they even started making harness adapters: splice.

    There’s absolutely no obvious reason to think that’s a fire hazard. Could it be? Sure, if it’s blatantly mis-wired and had the fuse replaced with something substantially bigger (like a foil gum wrapper, MacGuyver…). Otherwise, it just sounds like the dealer is wildly overstating the issue.

    Why would a dealer overstate things? 1) To scare the customer into using the dealer’s services now and in the future, 2) To get an assload of money out of it via the customer suing Circuit City, and 3) To give themselves an ‘out’ if *anything* crops up under warranty.

    As for the supposedly ruined heating duct. That was another low-quality job, but what are you going to tell the customer? “Sorry, it just don’t fit.” Nope, you’re going to make it fit, and patch it up so that it’s functional. They could have fiberglassed it, but I suspect he wouldn’t be happy with the labor charges involved.

    Finally, regarding the door panels, it’s *completely* normal to cut off the stock, proprietary door speaker connectors and use some quick connectors to connect to the aftermarket speakers. Claiming that this damages a car is just plain silly and blatantly inflammatory. And it’s pretty inevitable that you’ll break a few tabs when removing all the interior body work. If you don’t believe me, try doing it yourself.

    This really sounds like a dealer that’s happy to overstate things to make a buck, a wholly uninformed and inflammatory costumer, and an installer who did an imperfect, but functional job.

  129. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    Apologies if it’s already been posted….

    Can’t the OP call the police and file charges against Circuit City for vandalism?

    Or call a lawyer…Circuit City did NOT fulfill their contractual obligations…didn’t install the unit.

    Finally…who is in charge of auto garages? File a complaint with whatever board or industry regulates or licenses people to work in that field. Worth a shot.

  130. TruPhan says:

    @ElJefe: Sounds to me like you just described a shitty installation, sir.

  131. TruPhan says:

    @ElJefe: Also, your point about “Well, the customer would’ve been mad if we had taken the time to do the job properly with the tools that should’ve been available in the first place” just makes you sound like an overall dick.

    Could the dealership also be exacerbating the situation. Yeah, that’s what dealerships do. But don’t think that annuls CC’s crappy job.

    Blame the victim more.

  132. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @Riddler: As a former installer of mobile radios, police sirens, emergency lights and that kind of thing, I assure you I’ve seen some really scary things…like unfused 10 gauge wires running right to the battery through jagged metal holes cut in the firewall. It’s a wonder that half the nation’s emergency vehicles don’t spontaneously erupt in flames.

    The only connections I’d ever make to the vehicle electrical system were to a switched 12 volt point in the fuse box using a piggyback fuse tap at the electrical panel (and possibly to the headlamp system for cruiser headlamp flashers.

    In ever single case, if there was an electrical malfunction, the dealer would instantly point the finger at the aftermarket equipment.

    I work for a municipality now and I’m still having a hell of a time convincing the installer to fuse the equipment right at the battery terminal, NOT under the carpet. Nothing scares me like 5 feet of unfused wire fed directly to the battery AND having it run under the passenger’s side carpet.

    Remember the Ford recall? The cruise control switch would short out, sparking a fire which (if I recall) took several houses with it because the truck had been parked in the garage.

  133. Rusted says:

    Whatever possessed this guy to take leave of his senses and have such damage done to his car? Whoa. 12K is a bit much, need at least two more estimates and what after-market stuff did the owner put in and what damage pre-existed?

    @blueboxer: Usually an adapter harness can be found that plugs right into the original harness. I can see the damage happening as most modern cars interiors were designed to be put together once, not taken apart, especially by unskilled labor. It is why I live with my left speakers not working. It’s just not worth it to tear it apart.

    @carterbeauford: I get that too, smell an inflated estimate.

  134. wishboneattack says:

    First off, that is far from a fire hazard. This guy drove around for months with this in his car. Now he goes to the dealer to have it checked. Where was his complaint over the past couple of months about the interior having scratches? That part is bogus on the repair order. This guy is trying to rebuild his car. As for that harness, give my a new pigtail and I would solder that dude to the other harness with some shrink tube and it would be good as new. The only expensive thing in there is the heater box that got cut.

    This guy must have forgot the repair order he signed. Most install shops have a disclaimer on it that states you agree to any modifications of the vehicle for the equipment you ask to be installed.

    I think Circuit is being generous in giving him $3500. The dealers tech is a douch for asking for 5 hours diagnostics when you can clearly see he has about 30 minutes in it. And the repairs would take about 6-8 hours at the most. Glad that dealer is listed on that repair order so I know where not take my car.

    And yes, find someone MECP certified to do any electronic installations in your car.

  135. bkraus says:

    You are really going to want to update this story. Turns out the guy agreed to everything that was done, and its been a while since it happened. He is just trying to get some help now that the ebay M3 guy got some.

  136. mecpman says:

    I am one of the installers who did the work on this car. I am MECP certified and have been installing for 10 years now. During the entire installation, the customer was either in the vehicle or standing right beside it. After my other installer removed the dash, we noticed the AVIC-Z2 would not fit due to its depth. I informed the customer, who was watching us work, that the airvents would have to be cut and moved back in order for it to fit. He said to go ahead with it, and was marked on invoice. The vehicle being a 2007, required a new style Honda radio harness that Cirucit City did not carry in stock. We informed the customer that it would have to be ordered, usually taking about a week. The customer told us that he was going on a trip, to St. Louis if I remember correctly, and did not have time to wait. So we told him we would hardwire onto the harness, which is a very standard procedure when the harness is not available. Every wire spliced into is fused just as it was from factory, infact Pioneer has additional fuses inline, so the wires were fused at the fuse boxe, and inline before they went into the radio. Replacing a radio plug in no way makes it a fire hazard. I spoke with the installer who installed the speakers; the front door speakers were screwed in just as any other car, and the tweeters were glued in to the tweeter pods. That installer has been installing for over 5 years and I would trust to work on any of my own cars.
    I can go on and on about how redicoulous this entire situation is, but it’s not worth my time. Most of you have already made up your mind about it. I’m just asking that if you choose to believe the dealer (who profitted over $10k from this), and you think I and these other installers do not know what we are doing, please do categorize all Circuit City installers by what one Honda mechanic says about one install.

  137. InstallerDC says:

    There have been several comments about Circuit City and MECP certification. I am an installer at Circuit City and have been for more than three years. I have and Advanced MECP certification (thats level 2 of 3 for those of you who dont know) and I will be taking my master exam this year.

    Do not assume that all the installers of a particular company have the same training and experience. As the supervisor I would never let horrible work like that leave my shop.

    Its unfortunate that my reputation as an installer will go down becuase I work for a company who employs an installer who caused this level of damage.

    Why is it that when someone is looking for a mechanic they ask questions about experience, training and previous customer experiences, but when someone needs an accessory installed they just drop it off and hope for the best?

  138. mariospants says:

    I would hesitate to let a true auto customizer cut holes in my dash let alone Circuit City. Was the guy blinded by the bright lights in the deceptively hightech install garage bay?

  139. j3s says:


  140. caramelycute says:

    You need to sue Curcuit City if they are not going to handle it. They say it’s not their problem anymore??!! Huh, I’d make it their damn problem.