Circuit City Will Not Refund Your $169 Even If The Local News Calls On Your Behalf

Tiffany Byrd hired Circuit City’s Firedog to install her 40-inch Samsung TV over her (fake) fireplace. When she told the Firedog rep that she wanted the TV above a “fireplace,” Firedog told her it would cost an extra $169 because fireplaces were often made of brick and other substances that make it difficult to attach TVs. Tiffany told them that her fireplace was fake and the wall above it was normal drywall. Firedog said that if the tech got to her house and found that the fireplace was indeed fake, her extra $169 would be refunded. The tech installed the TV with no problems and noted on her receipt “Basic wall installation. Waive Charge.” Now Circuit City is refusing to refund the money and not even a call from her local TV news station could compel Circuit City to change its mind.

From WRAL:

When 5 on Your Side called Circuit City, a representative called Byrd, but did not offer a refund. When 5 On Your Side called again, Circuit City Spokeswoman Jackie Foreman continued to say, “It’s resolved,” no matter what question was asked.

“If you do the work, fine, I don’t mind paying you, but if you didn’t do the work that you’re trying to charge me for, no,” Byrd said.

Five on Your Side also called the Circuit City store where Byrd bought her television.

The store manager agreed to look into it and escalate it to the people he works with at Firedog.

The situation remains unresolved.

You know what, Jackie? It’s not resolved. Tiffany isn’t a reader, but if she was we’d tell her to take this news report, her receipt and picture of her fake fireplace and do a chargeback. If that doesn’t work, or she didn’t pay with a credit card, there’s always small claims court.

Firedog Extra Fee Leaves Wake Woman Seeing Red [WRAL] (Thanks, Cheryl!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. hegemonyhog says:

    This is standard Circuit City practice – come up with a conditional statement/guarantee and proceed to interpret it in the most ridiculous and nonsensical manner possible.

    This is the home of the “available Wednesday by 2PM or you get a $20 gift card” guarantee, where all they have to do is have one copy available at 2PM, and even if they’re sold out the rest of the day, you get nothing despite an in-stock guarantee. This is the home of the “ready in 24 minutes or you get a $24 gift card” guarantee, where I had to fight with Circuit City for a week-plus to give me a card for an item that I had ordered the day before and waited 20 minutes for when I came to pick it up. (Their contention, which was a flat-out lie, said that the 24 minutes began when you gave them your pick up slip at the counter.)

    Circuit City will always screw you over. Always. If they can’t find a way to jack up the price, they’ll probably rub raw chicken all over whatever you’re purchasing just to spite you.

  2. thirdbase says:

    Headline should read. Circuit City striving to be the next Best Buy

  3. Ninja Tree says:

    that’s a stupid reason considering it’s not even a real fireplace.

  4. MrGrimes says:

    This would seem like an easy refund to get processed, there is no debate – it was a basic install.

  5. Maybe Circuit City is growing deaf to media vigilantes.

  6. HalOfBorg says:

    She was just TOO honest – telling them that there was a fireplace there.

    It’s just nice to see CC/FD shoot themselves in the foot again.

  7. dragonfire81 says:

    Wow someone at Circuit City must either be smoking some really good stuff or not give a rat’s ass about bad PR.

    I hope this poor woman gets her money back. Even the tech who intsalled the damned thing said no fee, surely there must be a copy of that report somewhere to support this woman’s case?

  8. mavrick67 says:

    Whoh, hold the phone. According to the screenprint, the “regular” price for this service is $399.99? . . . and that doesn’t include the TV mount?
    This woman got twice screwed.

  9. azntg says:

    Maybe it’ll take the AG or a legal authority for them to move their pens?

  10. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @mavrick67: Three times when she pays for the neck injury from looking up all the time to watch television.

  11. meadandale says:

    Firedog~=Geek Squad~=Useless

    I’m not sure why people continue to shop at places like Best Buy and Circuit City (or god forbid, invite them into their homes to do their crappy installation work) and then go on the Internet and complain about it when it doesn’t turn out right.

    Well Duh!

  12. AnderBobo says:

    I would start filing in small claims b/c they are basically stealing money.

    But I don’t understand did she pay for the installation before they actually installed it?

  13. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    The waive charge on the work order seems like it would be enough for the charge back.

    As for the reasons on the fee, I can understand. I have drywall above my fireplace, but it has NO STUDS!. Just 2 2×4’s, turned SIDEWAYS, on either side. I had to use a large piece of plywood to hold the TV mount and bolt it to the “studs”. Seems quite sturdy. I’m glad I didn’t pay someone else to do it, they probably would have told me it couldn’t be done.

  14. Well, geez, this world has gone to hell. The economy is going down the drain, but lets just piss off the customers we have.

  15. Falconfire says:

    This has got to be the dumbest thing I have ever read. Even if it WAS above a fireplace, there is NO WAY they could justify 169 dollars more.

    Even if they did it the RIGHT WAY, its maybe 15-20 more minutes of work and 5 bucks extra in parts. And I doubt the brain surgeons at Firedog are doing it the right way.

  16. It sounds like it is time for small claims court

  17. $400? Holy crap, I’m in the wrong business.

  18. failurate says:

    @Diet-Orange-Soda: Maybe she is watching it from a loft… all balcony opera style?

  19. heavylee-again says:

    Tiffany should dispute that portion of the charge on the credit card she used to pay for it.

  20. @hegemonyhog:

    “Their contention, which was a flat-out lie, said that the 24 minutes began when you gave them your pick up slip at the counter.”

    They told me exactly the same thing… word for word. I got my gift card that day, though, by speaking to the manager.

  21. lilkeith7 says:

    I hate to say it but I saw something like this coming. If people keep going to the media then companies are going to stop caring about every tv station or newspaper or radio calling them, same thing with charge backs eventually credit card companies will stop issuing them for every little thing.

    Im not against the consumer here, she got screwed and theres no doubt about it, but companies are just going to stop caring.

  22. Parting says:

    @Diet-Orange-Soda: Depends on your chair/sofa. If it’s a recliner, than no neck injury.

    Plus it’s a -FAKE fireplace. Usually these under 4 foot high. So the TV is not that far from normal position.

  23. Tom Servo says:

    Heh, I was actually going to buy something at Circuit City today because they had a good price on it and it’s right down the street from me.

    Not after reading this. Circuit City just lost a sale today.

  24. Parting says:

    @AustinTXProgrammer: They would charge you around 1K to do it anyway. So you saved yourself a lot of money.

  25. hegemonyhog says:

    @Dr. Chim Richolds:

    I ended up getting it by speaking to a manager as well. The odd part was that I was told that it was a one-time favor for me, at which point I started another argument about how it was their actual posted policy.

    After spending that gift card, I haven’t shopped there since.

  26. Buran says:

    @Diet-Orange-Soda: My TV is over my fireplace, and does not cause neck cricks. It depends a lot on the size of the fireplace and where/how you sit to watch TV.

  27. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @Dr. Chim Richolds: Right on the email they send you it says “24 minutes from this timestamp.” How do they even contest it?

  28. orielbean says:

    the fireplace install could definitely be more difficult – drilling into brick and using concrete/rock anchors are not easy at all – especially compared to drilling into drywall or using toggle bolts on wall lathes. They don’t support as much weight because they are usually just compress plastic shoved into the drill hole.

  29. orielbean says:

    Now, I DO understand that she has a fake fireplace. I’m only defending the extra install charge as being legit and probably requiring a different wall mount than the one they price you for a regular install. She needs her money back, though.

  30. arsbadmojo says:

    AnderBobo has it spot-on; if this isn’t a case for small claims court I don’t know what is.

  31. louiedog says:

    My dad has a custom woodworking business and deals with lots of wealthy customers. I’m talking kitchens worth $100,000+k in areas where the average home is less than $200,000k. He designed a really nice entertainment unit for a customer and it was specially made to mount the (very expensive) plasma TV the customer was planning on buying. Unfortunately they bought it from Circuit City and had Firedog install. Big mistake. They refused to listen to the customer and ignored the pre-drilled installation holes and instead made a big mess of the thing.

  32. Buran says:

    @science_diet: Be sure to tell them why — right after you buy from a local store or someone else who you can trust.

  33. Tom Servo says:

    @Buran: Will do.

  34. Devidence says:

    “No. You can add the 169 if they get there and its a REAL fireplace.”

    I don’t like dealing with promised refunds, for this reason. I would not have paid it upfront, there’s too much competition in that industry to put up with that.

  35. Snarkysnake says:

    Another reason why you should use American Express or another brand name credit card. The sale is not final until they say it is. They have the juice to tell these asshats that they are holding the funds hostage because of a dispute. Pay first,make THEM ask questions later.

    CC, I’m gonna miss you when you’re gone.

  36. Extended-Warranty says:

    What’s their reason for not refunding it?

  37. Buran says:
  38. FightOnTrojans says:

    @Snarkysnake: I’m sure we’ll all *miss* them when they’re gone: Just one less company to point and laugh at.

  39. CSUSam says:

    That sucks. They have no reason to not refund it except to make their store numbers look better. I hope CC resolves this, even though it is too late now to not look like jack asses.

    Jack asses.

  40. Chargeback! If your credit card company ask for evidence, turn on the TV.

  41. b612markt says:

    I sure hope CC enjoys that huge sum of $169. I am certain that they’ll lose much more than that amount in PR damages. Buffoons.

  42. JustaConsumer says:

    People shop there after what they did to their employees? For shame!

  43. Lambasted says:

    @meadandale: Well said. I can understand some people who don’t know of sites like this one and who haven’t heard it through the grapevine about companies like CC and Best Buy. But if she knew enough to write to Consumerist to complain, she knew enough to know what she was getting into dealing with CC installation services. If not, CC charging $400 to hang a TV should have been enough to send her heading for the hills. I can’t see why anyone in their right mind would pay that much.

    And seriously, if it is just a fake fireplace why did she pay the fee in the first place? For that matter, why did she even bring it up.

    But regardless of the above missteps, CC are criminals for stealing her money like they did.

  44. SecureLocation says:

    Circuit City is toast. better get her refund before they file Chapter 11

  45. hegemonyhog says:


    Have you ever had someone come up to you and blatantly lie to you about something that was directly in front of your face?

    It’s like that, but snottier.

  46. @hegemonyhog: Recent exchange at McDonald’s:

    Me: Could I have some mayonnaise?
    Casher: We don’t have any.
    Me: You’re out?
    Casher: No, we don’t have packets or anything like that.
    Me: You normally do.
    Casher: Well, I mean not somewhere that I know where they are.
    Me: Isn’t that them right there?
    Cashier: Is one enough?
    Me: Two. Thanks.

  47. hejustlaughs says:

    $400 for mounting a TV on a wall? For labor only. You supply mount and cables. Seriously? Way to be a smart consumer.

  48. puddintank says:


  49. csmpez says:

    $400 is nothing to have the peace of mind of having the plasma or LCD TV installed correctly on the wall. In addition, the installers are licensed, insured and the installation is warrantied for a year. If anything happens, the liability is on them, not you. Many AV professional installers charge considerably more for this service, so $400 is not that much money. The $169.00 charge is for the additional insurance, labor and materials. With fireplace installs, the installers have to deal with brick veneer or other type of fireplace masonry use different screws and since the wires have to be ran through additional studs rather then straight down this costs more. I agree that the $169.00 should be refunded back to Byrd since the installer noted it was a basic install.

    Compared to Best Buy, Circuit City is far better when it comes to customer service and attention to detail. I would view this as an isolated incident. The Circuit City near me is so much better then the Best Buy… better prices, everyone is extremely helpful and there are no questions when you need to return something, including Firedog istallation.