Man Finally Gets His $130 Back From Circuit City

In an update and conclusion, reader Sean let us know he finally got satisfaction regarding his story that we posted, “Circuit City Credits Wrong Card For $130 Return, Sends You Away With Nothing.”

Sean writes:

1) The e-mail I sent to customer service did nothing. They replied that they could do nothing.

2) The store manager called me back the next day to tell me the district manager had given approval to have the store contact the original purchaser, explain the mistake, and ask if they could recharge his card. Once this was completed, they would issue me a gift card for the original amount. She did “apologize for all he craziness” at the store the night of the incident.

3) About a week later I received a call from the district manager asking if everything had been resolved. I said I hadn’t heard any updates. He told me that everything had been taken care of (the original purchaser’s card had been re-charged) and that my gift card was waiting at the store. I could either pick it up, or they could mail it to me. I asked him to mail it to me.

4) A few days later I received the gift card in the mail. I called the number on the card to check the balance, and it said it couldn’t because the card wasn’t active. This concerned me, but I thought it could be due to the circumstances it was issued, etc.

5) A few days later, I went to the store to use my gift card. I first stopped at the customer service desk to have them check the balance on the card. They said it wasn’t active, and asked if I’d already used it. I said no and that it was a long story, and they went to get the manager. She came out a few moments later (it was the same manager from the night of the original incident) and issued me a new card, which I used immediately.

So, in the end, it all turned out. I was a bit surprised that they didn’t offer me anything for the trouble or at least a more sincere apology. But, I guess I should just be happy that they took responsibility and corrected the mistake.

In the future, I’ll be much more explicit when making exchanges or returns as to what I want before I hand over the product. And, even though I don’t think I should have to, I’ll no longer assume the clerk will understand that I’m not the original purchaser if I’m using a gift receipt.

PREVIOUSLY: Circuit City Credits Wrong Card For $130 Return, Sends You Away With Nothing
(Photo: qnr – Gone for a while)


Edit Your Comment

  1. egoods says:

    Don’t expect a failing company to offer you ANYTHING for your time, at this point they have bigger things to worry about, like how the CEO is going to be able to get away with a 100million dollar severance pay.

    • Preyfar says:

      @egoods: No, but at the same time I imagine Circuit City would be desperate for good press. A slight gesture of kindness could go a long way.

  2. tmed says:

    It’s this sort of waste that is running CC out of business. Refunds?!? You’ll never see Best Buy creating such expenses.

    • frari489 says:


      Well it wasn’t really a refund, it was store credit so they saved their profit.

      Plus they probably resold the defective item anyway to some smuck that will to lazy to return it.

  3. Canino says:

    So they’re so desparate for $130 that they contacted the other party to ask permission to recharge his credit card. Good grief that’s sad.

    • LucyTuzy says:

      @Canino: Not to mention tacky. I would have been horrified if they contacted the original purchaser. I mean…isn’t that the point of a gift receipt? So we can exchange crappy gifts with discretion?

    • SomeoneGNU says:



      Party A spends $130. Either by mistake or on purpose Party A gets $130 refunded. Party B was supposed to get the refund. Should the store pay out $130?

      • shepd says:


        Depends whose fault the refund is. Did Party A somehow force the store to refund the money? If so, you make lots of sense. If not, and Party A voluntarily made a mistake, then it is Party A’s responsibility to fix the issue.

        Fixing the issue does not involve making Party B liable for any mistakes. Making Party B wait for their money until Party A gives it back is making them liable.

        Just my 2 cents..

        • Jthmeffy says:

          Actually, not quite how it happened.

          Party A buys a present at CC for Party B. Party B receives a gift receipt (which is designed for Party B to be able to return the present discretely in return for money for himself) with said present.

          Party B returns the present to CC. CC, in their infinite idiocy, fucks up the transaction and gives the money so Party A – someone who the money doesn’t belong to anymore.

          It was CC’s fuckup – they should have bucked up and at the $130. It’s terrible that Party A had to know that his present was returned, but worse that he had to be asked to the money back also.

          • coren says:

            @Jthmeffy: You don’t give a gift receipt if you don’t have some expectation that said gift might be returned.

            • Canino says:

              @coren: I always give a gift receipt in case the item is defective. That doesn’t mean I have any expectation of a return.

            • Jthmeffy says:

              @coren: Of course, we always want to think that when we give a gift, it will be exactly something this person would love to have. Most of us would like to continue thinking that, even if the person takes it back… So yes, we give the gift receipt knowing that they might return it, but you would still like to think that they kept the item…

  4. tmlfan81 says:

    It’s amazing how much common sense escapes people:

    You received a gift from a friend or a family member totaling $130; you either didn’t want the gift or it was the wrong item. The person who purchased the gift also included a gift receipt should a situation like this arise.

    That’s the whole point of a gift receipt – to leave the original purchaser out of it. The mistake was Circuit City’s, and not the original purchaser or the recipient of the gift. It would have been so much nicer if Circuit City had gone ahead and taken the $130 loss and educated the employee that made the mistake, and the employees that continued to make the situation much more difficult than it had to be.

    By the time you factor in the cost of each employee’s hourly wages that were either directly or indirectly involved, they likely spent the $130 in administrative overhead. A higher level manager with the mentality of “it is easier to ask for forgiveness” that would have gone ahead and issued the customer a $130 gift card would have saved a lot of time, headaches, and bad PR.

  5. calquist says:

    I would still be mortified that the gift-giver knew that I returned their gift. And if I gave a gift and had to have my card debited, credited, and then debited again, I would pissed plus feel bad that they did not like the gift. I try to put a lot of thought into what I give.

    • Elcheecho says:

      @calquist: i don’t know, if i disliked the gift enough to take it back, they probably should have picked better or just given me a gift card in the first place.

      I’ve very very very seldom given electronics as gifts because you just don’t know.

  6. mbd says:

    I hope he uses his gift card quickly, before they file bankruptcy and it becomes worthless…

    • HalOfBorg says:

      “She came out a few moments later (it was the same manager from the night of the original incident) and issued me a new card, which I used immediately.”@mbd:

  7. BluePlastic says:

    That wouldn’t satisfy me because, as others have pointed out, now the original gift giver knows for sure that the original gift wasn’t appreciated! CC still screwed up. I wouldn’t be happy unless they could give me the gift card without the gift giver having to know.

  8. ElleDriver says:

    I’m confused. Where I live (Canada) we MUST present the original credit card to the retailer, in order to get a refund issued BACK to the card. This is to protect the card holder, so that unnecessary refunds or charge-backs aren’t issued.

    How is it possible that Circuit City was able to issue a full refund WITHOUT the card, while only possessing a gift receipt? Are things this really f-cked up with State-side retailers?

    • coren says:

      @ElleDriver: Yep!

      Many places I shop occasionally (Sears – SHUT UP, I KNOW, it was for an item only they carried; Gamestop; a few others) will give me cash back on a purchase made with my debit card. For me, not a big deal – money’s money and if I didn’t get it as cash I’d probably take it out eventually anyway. But it always strikes me as strange when it happens.

  9. Psychosocial says:

    They are going out of business, why would they offer him any additional compensation? I thought that part was kinda funny.

  10. coren says:

    Good job, getting it spent right then and there. No more chance for fuckups, no chance to become an unsecured creditor (that’s the term for all those people who get fucked when they’ve got leftover giftcards right?)

    I always find it odd when I get a cash refund on a debit purchase – I guess this is just one more step in that chian.

  11. jp7570 says:

    I had a similar problem with CC 2 years ago where the resolution was a gift card equal to the amount they incorrectly charged me. When I got the card in the mail, I tried to use it that day but found out during check-out that it was also a non-activated card!

    Maybe this is a last-ditch effort on the part of CC executives to make sure they extract every last cent from unsuspecting customers. Of course, I complained to corporate HQ and got the card activated, and spent it as quickly as possible.

    DON’T BELIEVE ANYTHING YOU READ ABOUT THE ECONOMY CAUSING CIRCUIT CITY’S HARDSHIPS. This is simply a poorly run company that has zero regard for customers. Their impending demise is their own doing. CC would fail in a booming economy.

  12. KitHoeseph says:

    I have a long history with CC, and have no love for them after laying me off after 18 years of service, but I do need to stick up for the manager in question. She is actually the Operations manager, not the store manager as the customer seems to think, and she is a great friend of mine. For as long as I worked with her, she has always had the customers’ best interests in mind, doing whatever she could to make sure they are taken care of.

  13. rellog says:

    That they had to check with the original purchaser to recharge the card, before issuing a giftcard is ridiculoous. The store should have simply issued the GC and then tried to recoup the $130. Can’t say that I’ll miss Circuit City. I just wish Worst Buy would go done in flames as well…