Mr. Dealio tracked the prices of electronics from Best Buy and Circuit City to find out who drives the competition for better deals:
In the online retail world, few competitors are as fierce as Best Buy and Circuit City. When asked, most people have a preference toward one -- or avoid them all together. We thought it would be interesting to study the historic price performance of these two heavyweights across several products to find out who really gives consumers a better deal.
October 5, 2006
Our Church purchased a Hitachi 42 inch plasma TV, Model 42HDS52, from Circuit City and paid $2849.99 on 8/26/2005. The Television never worked correctly.
The left speaker often buzzed, and the picture didn't seem to be any better than a very cheap TV. The store was called, and we were told that since we hadn't reported the problems within 60 days we'd have to deal directly with Hitachi. Hitachi told us to contact Alex Audio Video and informed us that they were the ONLY authorized service center for our area.
Alex Audio Video, said theyâ€™d pick it up, do the repair at their facility, and return it promptly. We told them we'd like it back for the 4th of July because we had something we'd like to watch at that time. They said, "That should be no problem". They finally sent someone to pick it up in late June 2006, well within the warranty period. The Forth of July Holiday passed, and the TV was not returned.
The service center informed us that there were no speakers available for the TV, and they would have to be ordered. When weeks elapsed, and weâ€™d heard nothing, they were again contacted. We were now informed that the speakers had come in but that there was an additional problem. It seems that there had never been a â€œhigh definition digital signalâ€ because of a problem in the manufacture of the digital circuit board (thus the poor picture quality). They said they'd have to order one. Weeks elapsed with no word. When we again contacted them, they said there was not a â€œdigital circuit boardâ€ available anywhere in the United States, and that it would have to be ordered directly from Hitachi.
Finally, by mid September we had expended all our patience in dealing with Alex Audio Video, Circuit City Store 3624, Circuit City Corporate Headquarters, and Hitachi. We had paid $2849.99 for a new plasma television, and had nothing to show for it.
We had the expectation when we initiated the purchase from Circuit City that we would receive a television that worked properly.
We also had the expectation that Circuit City would deal ethically with us, and that should anything should fail to function correctly, that Circuit City would promptly "make it right".
Neither of those expectations was met.
The television for which we paid $2849.99 has been under the control of Circuit City, or their authorized service center for one fourth of a year. Circuit City (along with their authorized service center) had our money, and our television.
Out of frustration, we contacted Circuit City and told them, that since we were making little if any progress in getting the television repaired, we no longer wanted the television. We explained that we had purchased the television to watch, and that it wasn't doing us any good, since it had been in their service center for 3 months.
Circuit City told us that they were not going to do anything about our problems. They claimed no responsibility for selling us a faulty television, and were very "curt" with us, and were told that they had no responsibility (even though their store had sold us an improperly manufactured television). They told us to go ahead and file a lawsuit against them if we wanted to.
At that point, we asked store #3624 for Circuit City Corporate address for "Service of Legal Papers" (we were in the process of preparing documents for the filing of a law suit). They claimed not to know the address. Another time that we asked, they would not give us the address, but told us to have our lawyer contact them for the address. We finally went in to the store and demanded the address of Circuit City Corporate from Mike Arndt, Sales Manager. Very reluctantly he gave it to us.
We also contacted Hitachi and asked for their legal address. Hitachi acted very concerned with the way we had been treated by Circuit City, and asked if we'd give them some time to try to work this out. We did so.
Hitachi said they would issue a "Merchandise Return Authorization" to Circuit City, giving them full credit for the television. They told us that we could then go into the store and use that credit toward the purchase of another television.
Mike Arndt, Sales Manager for Circuit City Store 3624, called us on September 29, 2006 and insisted that we go to Alex Audio Video and pick up the television and return it to his store. We returned the TV to the store on on September 30, 2006. Circuit City has possession of both our $2849.99 and the television.
Mike Arndt called us on Tuesday, October 3, 2006 and told us that Circuit City was issuing us a credit for only $1750 toward the purchase of another television., when weâ€™d paid them $2849.99.
Circuit City plans to confiscate $1099.99 of our money, after selling us an improperly manufactured television and dragging their feet for over 3 months to settle the matter, while we're without a television. (And now, they want to allow us only 61% of what we paid them.)
After discussing this with only two other people, I was shocked to learn that both had experienced similar horror stories in dealing with Circuit City, and had vowed to never enter another Circuit City store.
This could happen to any consumer. Circuit City apparently is only interested in getting the consumer's money, and apparently has no intention of serving the customer, or rectifying any wrong that has occurred.
Unfortunately, Circuit City has just thumbed their nose at us, and insulted us with an offer of 61% of what they charged us for the television ... after having it in their authorized service center for 1/4 of a year.
Every potential customer should ask himself or herself, "Since there are so many reputable companies that sell high end electronics, is it worth taking a risk to deal with Circuit City? Am I willing to just hope and pray that everything works correctly, and that I won't need any help â€¦ once Circuit City has my money? Am I willing to give Circuit City my money, wait for a fourth of a year for the item to be repaired, and then be insulted by Circuit City offering me 61% of what I just paid them?"
In a discussion with Hitachi on October 4, 2006, we were informed that Hitachi had credited Circuit City with the full amount of their purchase, and that the insulting 61% offer was from Circuit City ... and not from Hitachi.
We just wish we'd heard those other horror stories before we did business with Circuit City; maybe it would have saved us from this experience.
Oh well ... maybe our sounding the alarm, will cause others to check out Circuit City's reputation before laying down their hard earned cash ... and losing it.
Maybe we can turn our sorry experience with Circuit City into a positive. If making our experience known to others, saves them from falling into the same trap as others and ourselves... then some good will have come from this terrible situation.
Meanwhile, we will do everything in our power to recover our attorney fees, court costs, the $2849.99 we paid Circuit City for a properly operating TV, and reasonable compensation for the months of phone calls, time, and loss of our television.