Circuit City Complaint - poor customer services
CITRUS HEIGHTS, CALIFORNIA -- My sister, who’s Asian and does not speak English well, went to this store with a coupon (being a regular customer of Circuit City, she always received coupons). She purchased a few items including a camera. At the checkout line, there was a guy standing behind her (he was also Asian, BUT MY SISTER DID NOT KNOW HIM) and also bought the same camera. He asked my sister if he could share her coupon. My sister was not sure. Then the guy asked the cashier if it was okay for my sister to share the coupon, the cashier said it would be okay if my sister "did not mind". My sister then let the guy share her coupon. The cashier, knowing the situation, split the purchases up: he rang up my sister’s items first, added tax and then wrote the amount on a piece of paper. Then he rang up the other’s items. The other customer paid his due by his credit card while my sister paid hers by cash (And both of them paid to the cashier). All of this information was put on the receipt. The cashier then provided my sister and the other customer each with a receipt.
2 weeks later, my sister returned to the store to return a couple of the items. The cashier returned the money to the credit card, which belonged to a stranger, on the receipt and then told my sister. That was when my sister remembered about the other customer. When she tried to explain to him that the credit card was not hers and why it was on there to begin with, the cashier said it was too late and refused to do anything. My sister then asked to speak to the manager. The manager told my sister the same thing.
Since my sister's English was not good, she could not argue and went home to ask me to call the store. I called and talked to the same manager. He said that refunds were returned automatically to the credit card on the receipt. I asked him if this was the store's policy, he said "no." Then he claimed that it was my sister's fault because she let the other customer use her coupon without the cashier's knowledge. Then he went on to say that my sister had "used" the man's credit card to make the purchase and she was not supposed to do that. When I asked him, "Do you mean to tell me Circuit City let my sister use someone else's credit card without its knowledge?" he said, "I know where you're going with this and I'm not returning money to you."
I then called Customer Service. The person that answered said the office was closed and I needed to send an email before someone could answer to my complaint. I went on the Internet and wrote this letter explaining about the whole thing from beginning to end, including my conversation with the manager. In 2 days, I received a response saying that my letter had been forwarded to this store, which was not the same store I'd specified in my letter. Then I wrote another letter saying the name of the store and its location again and how I needed to speak to someone else since the manager refused to help me. I received another letter in 2 days with the request, "please give us the phone number of the store so that we can forward your letter to them" (?)
I got frustrated and called Customer Service again. This time I was transferred to somebody. I told her the situation. At fist she refused to talk to me, insisting that she must speak to my sister. I told her my sister did not speak English well enough and if she could provide a translator, I'd be happy to have my sister talk to her, since it already took too much of my time. She then asked me how the cashier was supposed to know if my sister had paid in cash. I told her my sister did not think about it at all, plus this information was on the receipt. The representative said, "no it was not." And yes, it was. And she did not go on to argue after I told her. When I told her I was mad at my sister for causing this problem, the rep said, "No, your sister was only being nice. It was not her fault. And I don't know why the cashier would let that happen. Normally Circuit City doesn't allow customers to do this."
Then she said she needed to contact the store's manger. She put me on hold while she talked to him. And when she returned, she told me that my sister had given the other customer money and that there was only one receipt. When I asked her to explain what she said, she refused, saying according to the manager, my sister spoke good English and I could not speak for my sister.
Later in the day, I had my sister call so that this rep could hear my sister speak English. She called and was told that the case had been closed and this had been explained to her sister, which was me.
Then I called and spoke with another rep. This person assured me that she would do some investigation and call me the following day since it was already late. I waited for the whole day and still did not hear anything. When I called Customer Service, I was told that since I'd been told to wait, I just needed to continue to wait. However, I asked the operator to let this rep know I called her and needed to hear from her. The operator took my message. I kept waiting and still never heard anything. Then I called back and this time I was transferred to... her voicemail. I left a message for her and asked her to call me back.
In the meantime, I wrote a letter to the headquarters office. I quoted their return policy which I found on the Internet. It says that "refunds will be returned in the same payment method." I pointed out in the letter that since my sister had paid by cash, and this information was clear on the receipt, the store failed to do that for her and she was entitled to receive her money back.
I also sent a complaint to the BBB.
About 2 weeks later, the person who'd promised me she would call me sent me an email. (She probably got my email address from the BBB and I don't know why she would not call me). All she said was, "I'm sorry for your inconvenience but we will not return your sister's money because of the way the purchase was made." She did not explain how the purchase was made that was a problem.
Then a few days ago, a person from the headquarters office left me a message with the same content, with one addition: "your sister did not pay Circuit City; she paid the other customer to pay Circuit City and therefore, we can only return the money to the other customer. I would suggest that hopefully you got the other customer's phone number and contact him". He did not leave a phone number for me to call back.
Now if you've read my review thoroughly, you will realize why I spent my time to do all the things I've done. Circuit City only came up with excuse after excuse. And in this process, it did not hesitate to make false accusations about the way my sister made her purchase, including that she used someone else's credit card, she spoke English well (so that it did not have to deal with me, someone who can speak English), and when it ran out of excuses - my sister did not pay Circuit City directly, which is really ridiculous and stupid for such a big company to say.
Many people who have heard this story are surprised why Circuit City would give my sister such a hard time. My sister would have even settled with store's credits. Yet in my opinion, the store owes her money. Circuit City probably believes, based on whatever the first cashier said, that my sister set the whole thing up so that she could get some free money.
And if that's the case, which I strongly believe it is, I really feel sorry for the company and the people who run it. My sister paid at least $200 for her items. The items that she returned totaled $31.00. (Yes, it was only $31.00 that created the whole thing.) If this was a setup, she could have returned everything. She was so desperate that she even asked the cashier to give her the other customer's phone number or credit card company so that she could contact the guy and ask him to give her money back. After all, she'd done him a favor. But of course she could not get that information. But most importantly, I spent many, many hours writing letters, contacting people, making phone calls and waiting on line. I have a job and I make much more than $31.00/hour.
Circuit City did not have the professional judgment to come up with the best resolution - for my sister and also for the company itself. Throughout its arguments, Circuit City only conflicted itself with its excuses - first it was because my sister did not notify the cashier, then because she was not allowed to share the coupon and she did it anyway, then she used the man's credit card, then the refund was returned automatically, then she did not pay, etc. It did not even bother apologizing for the poor customer service its employees did. But if losing many customers over $31.00 was not a big deal, why would it care about good customer service?
My sister was a regular at Circuit City. She's not anymore. And the same goes for my whole family and our friends. Hopefully for you too.