- Circuit City sucks and they don't care.
- Circuit City would rather "win" the argument with the customer than make the customer happy.
- Circuit City encourages their customers to lie.
- Circuit City doesn't care about the customer's experience.
- Circuit City doesn't care about Word of Mouth consequences for poor customer service.
- Circuit City is a worthless company and deserves to go bankrupt before year end.
My Circuit City Experience
I bought a Lenovo Y430 Ideapad exactly 15 days ago (Saturday, October 11, 2008). So far its a great machine (I'll blog more about the laptop at another time). I used it for a week while on vacation in Maui. It worked great on the plane, in the hotel and at a recent Board Meeting in Boston.
About seven days ago, though, I noticed that one of the pixels in the monitor "went out." In other words, it stopped working. This really isn't that big of a deal, its a micro-dot on my screen and doesn't interfere with my ability to work or watch DVDs on the laptop - but - it is a brand new machine and I expect it to be in 100% working order for at least six months before pixels start going out.
So, on day 15 (today, Sunday October 26, 2008) I decided to take it back to Circuit City and exchange it for a 100% working machine. Before I drove to CC, I decided to call them and ask them about their return/exchange policy. I spoke to a nice young lady on the phone, I explained the issue but noted that I was on day 15 and that their policy for full returns and exchanges is only for 14 days. She reassurred me that "oh, its okay, just bring it in...the managers will probably make an exception, they always do." So, I removed all of my personal files, assembled all of the original packaging and drove to Circuit City.
Well, to make a long story short, the manager stuck to his guns and said that since it outside of the 14 day period that they couldn't issue an exchange. I asked him if I had come yesterday if he would have exchanged it and he replied "yes." So, 1 day makes the difference? He replied, "Yes, it is our strict policy. Besides, you should have bought the Extended Warranty."
I replied, "C'mon, this broken pixel broke days ago.....and you are going to punish me for 1 day? " He said, "Yes - that is our policy. If you had bought the warranty then it would be no problem."
He then said, "If you had told me that the sales rep that you purchased the laptop from didn't mention the extended warranty to you as an option than I would have made an exception and made the exchange."
I replied, "Well, I'm not a dishonest person......I wouldn't lie to get my way. The sales rep did tell me about the warranties and I opted against it."
The manager replied, "Well, if he hadn't told you I could make an exception."
SO, EVERYONE READING THIS BLOG! NEXT TIME YOU WANT TO RETURN OR EXCHANGE SOMETHING TO CIRCUIT CITY JUST LIE AND CRY FOUL THAT THE SALES REP DIDN'T TALK TO YOU ABOUT THE EXTENDED WARRANTY AND THEY WILL ACCOMMODATE YOU. IN OTHER WORDS, JUST LIE TO THEM.....ITS WHAT THEY WANT.
Or, to put it another way, Circuit City claims that the only way they give good customer service is if you lie to them - in fact, they encourage it.
So, I'm stuck with a brand new machine that has broken pixels in the LCD just two weeks after the purchase. Now, you might be saying, "Well, you should really be complaining to the manufacturer Lenovo for poor quality." And, I'd agree with you - but the reseller/retailer should stand behind the products and services that it represents and should focus on the customer experience to provide value-add rather than just pushing everything back onto the manufacturer. Otherwise, what is the point of buying a product from a retailer/reseller? I could have just bought the product direct from Lenovo at their website.
What irks me about the entire situation is that the manager had an opportunity to win a customer for life. I should say, he had an opportunity to win-back a customer for life. I've always hated Circuit City. My wife and I refer to the sales reps as "sharks" circling you as soon as you walk in the door. Everyone knows hates the place and they havn't done much of anything to change their reputation.
I've always hated Circuit City and have always chosen BestBuy and Costco (because of their STELLAR and UNSURPASSED Customer Service!) over Circuit City. But, I made an exception this time. I thought to myself, "I'll give them another chance and I bought the laptop from them against my gut feelings about them."
Note: ALWAYS go with your gut!!! ALWAYS! The older I get the MORE I realize how RIGHT my gut feelings are!
This manager could have said, "Look, you are just 1 day outside of our policy but I can make an exception." I would have told everyone I know that "Circuit City is different - they've changed - they are better than they used to be." I run a small business myself and I, personally, make exceptions to my own policies all of the time in the interest of my customers. A negative customer experience is FAR worse (ten-fold worse) than a positive experience - and this time its going to be more than ten-fold worse).
Instead, I'm writing this blog and I will NEVER, EVER buy from them again and I'm going to make sure that everyone I know knows about their lack of service and I'm going to tell all of my employees and my customers and family to never buy from Circuit City.
It was such a minor issue. It was such an easy issue for them to resolve. Simply exchange the laptop - send it back to Lenovo and press THEM for shoddy worksmanship. Afterall, as a reseller, they should have the interest of their customers (and their reputation) at the forefront of their business.
Instead, Circuit City (this manager (his red, tired, bored-with-life-so-I'm-going-to=make-all-of-my-customers-lives-worthless-too-eyes)) took an opportunity to give an extraordinary experience to a customer and they squandered it because of "their policy." What a worthless company. Devoid of human empthay, understanding or care.
The Reality & the Facts
Circuit City is one horrible company and is about to go bankrupt. Good! Good riddance!
Circuit City stock (NYSE: CC) is trading at .24 cents. Meanwhile, BestBuy is trading at $22 dollars. Just look at this chart that compares the stock performance between BestBuy and Circuit City, it pretty much says it all:
Also, a quick glance at the headlines for this company (on Yahoo) are: