Insiders: Circuit City's In-Home TV Calibration Is A Total Scam

According to a Circuit City employee, their in-home tv calibration service is a complete ripoff. Basically they give the employees glasses like you might get at a 3D movie and they’re then supposed adjust the balance and contrast and brightness with the remote control. When he complained to his manager, his boss said to just, “make believe you’re changing some settings. When you’re done, tell them how much better their TV looks. Besides, once you perform the calibration, they can’t get a refund.” Will we soon see Circuit City in-home calibration kits being hawked in the back pages of Boy’s Life? Full letter, inside…

I’ve worked for Circuit City’s Firedog for the last 11 months. Since the day I started performing in-home installations I knew that the company was not truly concerned with the service their customer received, but only with the money the customer has in his/her wallet. The point: Purchasing a TV calibration from Circuit City Firedog is a complete waste of money.

I knew a lot about installation and repair when I started Firedog, but one of the things I had never done was calibrate a TV. When I checked my appointments for the day and saw that I had to go perform a calibration, I approached one of the managers and said “How do we perform calibrations? Do we have a calibration unit or something?” The manager replied “Come over here and I’ll show you.” So I followed him to the TV department and he handed me an old Circuit City Advantage TV Care Kit. (These are the pamphlets/packets we USED TO hand out to customers when they purchase an extended warranty.) He pulls out a DVD and “calibration glasses” which were nothing more than those cardboard 3-D glasses you get at the movie theater except there’s blue film for both eyes instead of red for one and blue for the other. He says “Put this DVD in their DVD player and follow the instructions.” At this point I was bothered by the fact that I had to go to someone’s house to perform a task that I’m not even trained to do. Unlike these “bonus-driven” managers, I actually have a conscience. I told the manager that I didn’t feel comfortable going to do the job and that he should reschedule it to another installer. His response was “It’s not hard, just goto their house, pop in the DVD, look at the test patterns with the glasses, and make believe you’re changing some settings. When you’re done, tell them how much better their TV looks. Besides, once you perform the calibration, they can’t get a refund.”

At this point I straight out refused to do that, and my manager threatened my job. I was told that if I didn’t goto the customer’s house and perform a service that I did not know how to perform, that I would be terminated. For fear of losing my job, I went to the customer’s home to calibrate his TV. I put in the disc and skipped to the calibration “test patterns”. While the patterns were displayed I looked through the glorified 3-D glasses I was given, and made small adjustments to the brightness, tint, sharpness, etc. By the time I was done, I noticed that the levels I ended up with were no different from the levels that were set from the factory. After I was done, the TV looked no better than when I had started, but in following my managers instructions I told the customer how much of a difference I saw in the TV. I left the house after about 10 minutes, and had a horrible feeling in my stomach.

Since then I’ve been arguing with store management about calibrations, and how we should stop selling this service unless we use an actual professional calibration unit. I always get the same answer though, and end up going to the customer’s home and playing with their remote control for a few minutes, and then lie to them about how much better I made their TV look. I’m writing this because I can’t refuse to perform the job once you pay for it…hopefully you’ll read this and think twice before you purchase the service.

PREVIOUSLY: Circuit City Will Access A Secret Panel In Your TV For $104.74