Circuit City Sells Employee Busted Floor Model TV, Refuses To Accept Return

Anthony paid Circuit City $1,271 for a new 40″ Samsung LN40A550, but what he received was a “scratched up, dinged to hell, beaten and abused FLOOR MODEL OPEN BOX” LN40A330. As a Circuit City employee, Anthony thought exchanging the TV or receiving a refund would be a cinch. Boy, was he wrong.

We make it back to the Duluth store (Store 3220) and the floor manager Mike Jones starts giving Anthony crap about returning the TV, saying that “we wont take that TV, sorry but I have a store to run. You can take it back to Athens.”

How about we just get our money back? I mean, we got the wrong TV, we should at LEAST get a refund. We had the receipt and everything.

Nope. No refund. Mike tells us that we can “leave the TV on the curb for all he cares, he’s not taking the TV back and not refunding the money.”

Anthony is (rightfully) livid, and calls his manager, his manager’s manager, anyone he can to get this thing resolved and us leaving with either the correct TV or a refund.

No dice.

Upper management decrees that Anthony must take this busted ass floor model with him to Athens so that his district manager can sort the whole sordid affair out. It appears that Mike Jones is under the impression that Anthony is trying to pull a fast one on the Duluth store, by walking out of there with the correct TV and attempting to return a busted floor model as if that was the one he received when he was there eariler.

So what does that mean for Anthony? He’s currently out $1200, he’s being accused of lying, and has a busted ass floor model of a TV to show for it.

Doesn’t seem all that new. How’d Anthony pay?Had Anthony charged the entire balance to his credit card, he would have been able to end the situation by filing a chargeback, or, if the television wasn’t a piece of busted junk, possibly doubled the manufacturer’s warranty.

Circuit City appears to have resolved the situation. His friend says only, “The whole fiasco is over. Anthony has the TV. Case closed. gg Circuit City.” Yes, gg, Circuit City.

F*ck Circuit City [The Hansen Family Website]


Edit Your Comment

  1. radio1 says:

    Wow! All those problems and not even an employeee discount…

    This is truly absurd. You would they’d take care of their employess at least, since one of their other employees screwed him over.

    Man, do we really have to start opening up every single electronics package at the store to prove the item is in there??

    Good luck Anthony and BOO Circuit City!

  2. buzzybee says:

    @radio1: I think the buyer has the responsibility to check things like this before leaving the store. I don’t really know of any better solution. It only takes a few seconds to look inside the box.

  3. socritic says:

    Boy, do circuit city realize that every time their name shows up here negatively, another unicorn dies? seriously, circuit city, if it wasn’t for all the bad rap from your shenanigans i would have gone into your store more than once a year. Even then i limit myself to considering items with no moving or electronic parts, and EVEN THEN your enlightened employees turn me off on that as quick as lightning. You sure know how to show a guy a good time! not.

  4. macfoo says:

    Would have loved to have seen the box that TV came out of. I’m curious if it was for the model that needed returning or if CC had repackaged the TV in the box of a new model.

    Only reason I’m curious is I will NOT buy big ticket items from CC due to a fiasco I experienced with a Panasonic TAU flat screen. Bought the TV, brought it home and it died within the first 30 days. Despite buying the extended warranty (yes I KNOW better now), Circuit City wouldn’t service the TV (i.e. come get said TV and fix the damn thing) because I hadn’t paid MD state sales tax (TV was purchased in DE and carried home). I called Panasonic and they had no problem sending a repair guy. They took the TV, fixed it and had it back to me in a few days.

    I then spent three weeks fighting with CC to get them to refund the cost of the extended warranty. Won that battle after being told that yes, I could utilize my warranty if I paid sales tax (which was not anywhere written on any agreement that I signed off on).

    TV still works (without the extended warranty), Panasonic WILL get my money again if at all possible and CC can still blow it out their wazoo since I haven’t stepped foot back in one of their stores since that lovely incident!

  5. macfoo says:

    @buzzybee: Many people don’t think to check the actual contents of the “big budget” items and go for trusting the retailer. We’ve all seen the horror stores on Consumerist regarding this.

    The only reason I check now is because of Consumerist, otherwise I’d probably sign off, load it up and walk away without thinking twice that I ended up with less then what I purchased.

  6. buzzybee says:

    @macfoo: Sounds like you’re a bit more savvy than most. I can’t have much sympathy for those who don’t take the time to check and you’d think shelling out almost $1300 would be an incentive to check before blindly “trusting the retailer.” He wasted an entire few days negotiating his refund when it would have taken at most five minutes to check. All I can say is “caveat emptor.”

    Plus, if you were Circuit City, wouldn’t you be a little weary of someone expecting to exchange a beat up TV for a cash refund? Smells a lot like some sort of return scam.

  7. bravo369 says:

    I just bought a 46 inch tv from circuit city. when they were bringing it out from the back room, they told me they have to open it up so that we can both inspect it before leaving the store. I figured that’s a great idea since i don’t want to get home and find out it has a cracked screen or something. they even had a book for me and the manager to sign to show we both inspected it. They said this was store policy but i guess it was only that branch. Perhaps they all should adopt this.

  8. oldwiz says:

    I stopped going to Circuit City years ago. The store was dirty, salespeople were all out on break, the extended warranty was worthless. I had a DVD recorder that broke and CC “fixed” it, but it was still dead. Finally took it to independent repair shop which fixed it for $ 50. Sheesh.

  9. edrebber says:

    If you pay with a credit card you only need to try to reslolve the issue one time. Once the first manager refused to take the TV back, then dispute the charge with your credit card company. The credit card company won’t require you to return the item since you already tried and the store refused the return. Additionally, the store will get hit with an additional charge back fee of about $30. The manager would have been in big trouble, because they lost the TV, the money plus the charge back fee.

  10. gregcuc says:

    An important part of the story is missing from that post. The original post says “We had to leave the box behind because the TV wouldn’t fit into my car with it still in the box.” He had them unbox it and bubble wrap it up to fit into his car. He left the box and packing materials at the store. Though i hate siding with CC, returning a product beaten up and with no box is kind of sketchy.

  11. PinkBox says:

    I bought a 42″ TV from CC last year myself, but honestly didn’t think to check the box.

    Why? Because it was obviously still factory sealed/stapled shut, and getting it out of the box at home was even a PITA.

    I live close enough to the store to complain if I had to, I guess… and someone in my family works there, which helps.

  12. edrebber says:

    @bravo369: You’re under no obligation to inspect the item or sign a statement. Depending on how the statement is worded, you could be forfeiting your right to return the item.

    At a minimum, I would refuse to sign the document.

  13. edrebber says:

    @gregcuc: CC was responsible for the condition of the TV since they repacked the item for the customer. The store should have refused to touch the TV.

  14. hellinmyeyes says:

    Never, ever buy floor models unless you’re buying for pennies on the dollar. You really don’t know what the merchandise has been through.

  15. Soldier_CLE says that Hideo Kojima has to make MGS till the day he dies! says:

    Interestingly enough, this isn’t the only case I’ve heard of Circuit City performing REALLY SHITTY returns/customer service. (Then again, same with all the other Consumerist readers.)

    A couple of my friends made the ill-advised trek to different Circuit Citys and bought high-priced items that were questionably dinged or scratched. (One was open-box, but different from the open-box offered.), and the other was supposed to be brand new, yet also strangely “open-box.)

    Luckilly, both were chargebacks, with the latter being an open scene, allowing customers to hear in on the incident.

    Is it any wonder why people STILL shop at Circuit City?

  16. WraithSama says:

    That is an important piece of information that was omitted. I didn’t follow the link to the original story, but if your statement is true, that does indeed change the whole nature of the article. An employee trying to return a beat-up floor model without a box after purchasing a new TV would strike me as shady as well, were I the manager. Without the packaging, I would have probably denied the return as well. That’s some critical information to leave out of the post.

  17. bohemian says:

    The problem is that so many people try to pull return scams these days that someone with an honest situation gets automatically treated like a criminal.

  18. tehronin says:

    The problem is that “open box item” is not noted anywhere on his reciept. Whoever processed his transaction did so uncorrectly if that was indeed an “open item” from the start.

  19. edrebber says:

    @WraithSama: The store agreed to repackage the TV so it would fit in the customer’s car. It was easier to package a beat up floor model, then to open a brand new TV and repackage it.

  20. mizmoose says:

    @NameGoesHere If you dont’ believe that you can reseal “factory sealed” and make it look like it was never opened, you’re not paranoid enough.

    Join the parnoia. Do Not Believe.

  21. Scatter says:

    Who in their right mind, especially an employee of the store purchases an open box television for $1200 without even looking to see what condition it was in first? People need to realize that there ARE scammers out there. I’m not saying that this person was one of them but companies need to take actions to protect themselves just as honest customers do. Examining the item before paying for it would have prevented this entire mess.

  22. rellog says:

    @buzzybee: Opening a 42″ LCD at the store is unreasonable. It is not only difficult to open and inspect, but once unpacked, is very difficult to repack and be safe for transport. It isn’t like this is some 20lb item, it’s a 42″ LCD weighing a considerable amount…

  23. LAGirl says:

    what i want to know is:

    *if he was an employee, why did they give him such a hard time? also, don’t employees get an employee discount?

    *if they saw CC take it out of the box and bubble-wrap it, wouldn’t they have noticed the condition at that time?

    *wouldn’t you keep the box for a big-ticket item for at least 30 days?

    *what was the reason CC denied the return?

  24. HOP says:

    i haven’t been to cc for awhile, but in the past i’ve bought several high priced items,one of wich proved to be defective…i had no trouble return ing the object(a desktop computer)…they were nice about the whole thing…..i also bought a camcorder which,after using a oouple of times,i wasn’t satisfied with it….the took it back with no problem….they asked me if the unit was broke, and i told them that i just didn’t care for it…this store is the salisbury md.location…..but ,as i said, i haven’t been there for awhile

  25. HOP says:


  26. azntg says:

    All bona fide options are exhausted… it’s full justification for a CHARGEBACK!

  27. Anonymous says:


  28. PabloPablo says:

    Nothing about this article makes sense… If this is an employee and he knows he was buying a FLOOR MODEL why didn’t he check it out before he bought it? And who cares if the back of the TV is scratched up, does it work, does the picture look good?

    This just doesn’t sound right, something is fishy.

  29. ianmac47 says:

    Why in the world anyone doesn’t use a credit card for every purchase over $20 is beyond me.

  30. MrSoprano says:

    First and foremost…

    I did not buy a floor model. I got employee pricing on a NEW LNA550 40 inch LCD.


    I took the tv in my sedan, and i watched them unbox it in front of me and put bubble wrap around it. However, the TV still had a sheet of plastic/styrofoam over it which was never removed to inspect the tv before it was loaded. This was my biggest mistake. ALWAYS CHECK YOUR PRODUCT IS ALRIGHT BEFORE LEAVING THE STORE.
    As is customary, the box was left behind.

    The TV was NOT the model of the TV i bought. It was a dinged up abused model from last year’s samsung collection. The serial number sticker had been replaced with the serial sticker of the TV model i had wanted to buy.

    I am well aware of how shady it looked to the manager. I fully understand his skepticism. But his flat out refusal to help or at least INVESTIGATE really pissed me off.
    I work for this company and I deserve the benefit of the doubt.
    In the end I had to go through multiple channels of upper management, and they found that the same exact model was purchased earlier in the month and returned two hours later. Straps were on the box and it was treated as net sellable and thrown back in the warehouse shelves for resale.
    It was here when they probably got duped by a con artist who pulled the switcheroo.
    I ended up paying for it.

    In the end I got my TV. But this could have been avoided.

  31. chrylis says:

    @buzzybee: No, the buyer doesn’t. It may prevent hassle later on, but when a sale is made, the seller is ethically, morally, and legally obligated to provide the goods as described.

  32. hegemonyhog says:


    If you read the article, he bought a brand-new TV. They just gave him a repackaged floor model instead.

    Circuit City is a horrific enterprise.


    Almost every time I’ve ever purchased a physically large piece of electronics, I’ve had to take out of the packaging (but still keep it wrapped in the internal packaging), and every single time I’ve been told that I just need the receipt if anything goes wrong. It’s very standard.

  33. Lambasted says:

    Dang it! Notwithstanding this person’s experience with a floor model TV, what I gather from the comments is that it’s the consumer’s fault if they purchase a brand new item from a major national store and don’t unpackage everything in store to inspect it. I have NEVER seen anyone move to the side with their newly purchased item in the megaton box to begin a full inspection right there in the store.

    Who does that?! I mean we’re not talking about an item you purchased off the back of a truck somewhere. If a store is that shady that you cannot even trust a brand new item to be brand new, you have no business shopping there.

    However, if the item is a floor model likely being sold “As-Is” and you don’t inspect it, you are a fool. Although, I don’t see myself paying $1,000+ for a floor model. That is a lot of money for a TV that has been running all day every day for god knows how long. Electronics are not the sturdy, hardy products they used to be.

  34. How would you inspect a big ticket item?

    Open the box right at the pickup window and plug it in where? So do you guys also check fridges and washing machines?

    I’d rather not waste my time at the store. I’ve never seen anyone opening an item at the store to make sure it works.

  35. agb2000 says:

    @edrebber: You wrote:

    The credit card company won’t require you to return the item since you already tried and the store refused the return.

    I’m pretty sure this is wrong. I think with all chargebacks you have to return the item.

  36. P41 says:

    It’s not clear from the article if CC repackaged a floor model (and the whole part about taking it out of the box is to say they didn’t notice and that’s how they didn’t have the box to return it in) or if the CC employees taking it out of the box to put in the car did a switch on him. Either way he should have filed a theft report with the police.

    With fake returns being such a big problem, it seems like the stores should just track every major item’s serial number being sold or returns. If the serial number was a floor model sold to one of the box-helpers the same day, it seems like the get-tough manager would be thrilled to charge that employee with theft.

  37. Ben Clayton says:


    I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that not everyone has enough credit to do so. And that to get credit, you need to have credit, which is a vicious circle in itself.

  38. Televiper says:

    @buzzybee: I have to disagree. To properly check the context of a box you have to take everything out. When I bring home a large ticket item I typically clear a large space in my living room and spread everything out on the floor. There’s no place to do so at a store.

    Stores should be honest and not sell repackaged goods as new.

  39. washanddry says:

    Anthony had absolutely no reason to believe that his brand new TV was going to be unboxed, set aside, and a floor model TV was going to take it’s bubble wrapped place.

    And what was he supposed to do. “Oh, I see you guys bubble wrapped the TV I got. Do me a favor and open it back up so I can make sure it’s still the same TV out of the box.”

    That’s ridiculous. No one should have to do that. As a former employee of Circuit City (forgive me, I needed a summer job) I’ll say that generally, most of the people that work there will go out of their way to help you. However, managers (at least in my experience) when called upon were the biggest assholes in the store.

  40. dweebster says:

    Circuit City is on my sh*tlist mostly because of their ever changing interpretation of that “ready in 24 minutes” scam. The local cashiers here (in defiance of their manager) say with a straight face that the 24 minutes start AFTER you’ve gone through the (first) line! Sometimes I bother pressing it to the manager and getting my card, but I mostly just buy online and have it shipped to avoid these asshats. Service is MUCH better than “Best” Buy, so guess they gotta be kept around.

    This TV thing makes NO sense.. I’d NEVER transport a 40″ >$1,000 TV without the original box. Even if I did – I’d fold up the original box and take it with me. Seems to me a CC employee would know that he would face stiff opposition to returning an electronic item without the box – and dead pixels and other problems aren’t unheard of.

    This just seems quite sketchy, if I were a manager I’d be extremely suspicious. The everpresent security cameras can probably be called on to watch you leave the store and determine the shape of what you left with (or possibly what they packed). But IMHO the OP did not do much due diligence with this (what’s to me a) major purchase. On Circuit City wages, I’m guessing this took more than a few days work for you to buy….

  41. mac-phisto says:

    @MrSoprano: well, that cleared up my questions. on point #3 – there’s obviously some fraud issue at this particular store. maybe a call to loss prevention is in order (if for nothing else than to give the manager an assload of grief for the next month).
    check/don’t check – it’s your choice. having worked in electronics, i absolutely do not leave an electronics store with an item w/o checking the contents (unless it’s in one of those indestructible blister packs). to me, buying a tv (or a receiver or even a camera) w/o checking it is like buying a car w/o “kicking the tires”.

    & on that note – does anyone else find it funny that they pack $20 items in plastic that you can only open with c4 charges (& certainly couldn’t repack to look new), but all the expensive shit is packed in boxes that could be opened & reassembled to look like new by a 4 year old?

  42. SayAhh says:

    Go to Costco, not that they don’t have their own share of bad-return stories, but at least I’ve heard that they were all resolved. Of course, you WON’T get the layaway or 0%-interest for one-year deals, but beats having to deal with bad return policies.

  43. SayAhh says:

    Forgot to add one thing. In fact, this should be made into a Consumerist “sticky,” like in the bulletin boards: PLEASE JUST STOP SHOPPING AT CIRCUIT CITY! (or Wal-Mart, or Kohls, or Home Depot, et al, ad nauseum, ad infinitum…) If you do, PLEASE STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT IT!

  44. Dobernala says:

    @agb2000: What is the point of a chargeback if the store refuses to accept a return?

  45. Astos says:

    This is a classic human resource case of how not to treat employees. I can’t see Anthony being a particularly motivated or loyal employee after this.

    Astos Green lasers rulz

  46. ogman says:

    1. He works at Circuit City.
    2. He shopped at Circuit City.
    3. Circuit City tried to screw him.

    His problem is obvious, but the Karma is kind of sweet.

  47. radio1 says:

    @buzzybee: I know… But it is a sad commentary on CC and their consumers.

  48. kristy34c says:

    the employee did get a discount the set sells for $1599 so the $1199 must be the employee price.

    employees have to be very careful in these situations -vs- regular customers. when I worked at best buy it wasn’t uncommon for other stores to refuse my return and demand that I return it to my own store (even if it was purchased at thier store) because they didn’t want to take the margin hit. or employees being required to get the service plan.

    it wouldn’t surprise me if next month this employee’s hours are cut, they usually never fire anyone just schedule you for 4hrs a week.

  49. MrEvil says:

    @rellog: I haven’t encountered too many LCD televisions that can be easily re-packed. Dell is the only company I know of that designs their boxes for re-packing, mainly due to the fact that they don’t service TVs on-site. They exchange the whole set.

  50. highmodulus says:

    Time to nuke the BugMeNot2 log in.

  51. chrisjames says:

    @rellog: Yeah, it’s tough, but it’s important to make sure that what you’re paying for is what you’re getting.

    More and more I’m opening boxes before checking out. I haven’t done this with anything large, like a TV, yet. I do it all the time at Target, because they sell two types of things: the cheap-ass Target brand stuff which is all right, and the expensive and worthless brand name shit that someone’s paying to put on the shelves, and the two are hidden in different sections. I open the boxes and packaging and take a good look at the item to see exactly what I’m getting. I repack it all as well as possible if I don’t intend to buy it and I stick religiously to the “you break it you bought it” motto (unless it’s a Christmas ornament–I hate those glass balls).

    I’m doing it at Best Buy and Circuit City now when I get computer parts, and I’d do it on any purchase over $500 whether it’s taboo practice (as my wife thinks) or not, regardless of size. That’s just too much money to risk on the chance of some asshole manager’s idea of dodging liability.

  52. Vejadu says:

    I bought a similar floor model TV from Circuit City, a 40″ Sony Bravia, and my experience was fantastic. The TV had been out of the box for less than one day and didn’t have a single speck or scratch on it anywhere. It’s worked flawlessly since we bought it, and we saved about $600 over the price of the brand new model.

    Circuit City has usually offered pretty good customer service at my store. I was really impressed with how they handled Black Friday — an organized line formed and flowed parallel to the store. About 15 minutes before opening, late arrivers started to gather near the front of the line so they could force their way in front of the hundreds of people who were already standing in line. Circuit City employees formed a wall between the rushers and the line so order was maintained. I was very impressed with how well they handled the rush.

  53. t0fu says:

    Must have missed the “no returns on floor models” signage

  54. MrSoprano says:

    hey smart guy, read all the info before making cool, snarky comments.


    read all the info. Im well aware of how sketchy it looked, but I guess me being an employee caused me to give them the benefit of the doubt on my TV.
    And it is customary to leave your box at the store unless requested. The box meant nothing. Serials were not checked, and even if they were, this tv had the LN550A sticker slapped on it. The sticker and the box matched up, but the tv did not.

    If I hadnt worked for CC, I would have been up dookie creek. Thats my point of this whole fiasco.

  55. jinjin1080 says:

    Yeah because most circuit cities, have big open areas where you can just unpack a 40″ TV and inspect it.

    Seriously, your argument would work if he was buying a toaster but he bought a 40″ TV!

  56. mariospants says:

    Somethin’ wacky about this story. The guy who bought the TV is actually a Circuit City employee (presumably at the place he bought the TV?). Why did they go all the way over to an out-of-reach Circuit City (Athens) instead of the closer one (Duluth) that refused him? No explanation given. Why did the store he bought it at open the box, remove and re-wrap the TV in bubblewrap? and why are there two receipts from different cashiers and cashes (the first one identifying the purchaser as an employee)?

    Sounds like Anthony here knowingly bought an demo-off-the-floor unit and tried to pass it off as the store’s evil doings in order to replace it with a brand new one.

    Funny how the web site says the issue is resolved but they don’t indicate what actually happened. Maybe something to the tune of “we have a video of you knowningly buying a demo TV, want to change your answer?”

  57. Lambasted says:

    @mariospants: I also wondered why he didn’t go back to his own store to return the TV. But since I don’t know the area I wasn’t sure if the Athens store was just closer than the one he worked at.

    I certainly hope he isn’t dumb enough to try pull a fast one on CC and then write to Consumerist when they didn’t fall for it.

  58. iaintgoingthere says:

    Playing peekaboo in the store in a good idea.

  59. Gailers says:

    I’ve known Anthony for a lot of years, and he is the farthest from a ‘con man’ as you’ll find. So for everyone doubting his story, you’re all wrong. No one should HAVE to inspect their purchase regardless of price, because it should go without saying that their purchase is in pristine condition. So it shouldn’t be an issue as to wether the box was opened or not. He was screwed over, bottom line. I’m just happy it was resolved and Anthony got the TV he purchased, in the condition that it should have been in, in the first place.

  60. Breach says:

    This is why I dont buy anything from these street electronics stores, they all seem more than eager to stab you in the back should anything go wrong.

  61. MrSoprano says:


    although I appreciate your enthusiasm, you are dead wrong. Here is why…

    I bought the TV near my parents house in Duluth, due to a multitude of reasons (none of which are any of your business). I was in the area. I had help bringing it home.
    The store took it out of the box and wrapped it in bubblewrap in order to get it to fit inside my sedan. I dont own a truck.
    And finally, the first receipt is the actual receipt, and the second is called a “pick ticket” that the warehouse uses to retrieve the TV.

    The issue was resolved by me getting my TV. GG NOOB.

    and folks, for the last time, I bought a NEW TV, and was given a beat up floor model. I didnt buy a floor model, and never will.

  62. andrew261982 says:

    Ok first off the employee works at CC in Athens he purchased it from CC in Duluth I personally opened his NEW IN A BOX TV and Bubble Wrapped it for him as per his request and garentee that it was Factory sealed prior to my opening it. The TV was without a scratch or mark upon it. I am willing to put my 10 years of Warehouse experiance behind the fact that this guy was trying to pull a fast one over on CC. It is plain and simple what happened…HE GOT CAUGHT. upon his return of the tv I was the one who inspected the TV Brand and model IT DID NOT MATCH. As well as it should be known that Mike Jones is an honest man who does not “screw people over”he has a dedication and work ethic that is admirable. I will also say that I am no longer employeed there as to personal reasons and have moved on to better things, there is no love lost between myself and CC. and I do encourage any one to “shop arround” but CC is usually the best deal. As to why Im speaking up, some of my friends will ask, I was always taught that at the end of the day all a man has is his good name and personal integrety and I cannot sit quietly while Mikes is being falsly tarnished.