Circuit City Complaint - "Warranty" is not worth the paper it's printed on
My husband and I bought a new Sony notebook from Circuit City in March 2006 and were offered their Advantage Protection Plan extended warranty. In trying to determine the “advantage” to purchasing additional coverage, we asked specifically about drops and spills, as we have young children, and were told in no uncertain terms that both would be covered. When my husband’s old laptop started having power issues a few months later, we purchased a second Vaio notebook and Advantage Protection Plan.
Fast forward to April of 2007, when my notebook power adapter stopped working. We contacted City Assure, the department (subsidiary?) concerned with warranty repairs and were told that we would be sent a return box and label to send the notebook to an authorized repair center, as Sony demands their notebooks be repaired in a “clean room”, thus making in-store repair impossible. The computer was sent to the repair center and returned to us filthy, but working.
In July, my husband’s developed a problem with a sticking key, or a keyboard that “thought” it had a sticking key. Again, we were sent a box and return label. My husband described the problem in lengthy detail, including steps taken to correct it. A week later, the notebook was returned “repaired”. However, when he turned it on, there was no operating system; they had replaced a “defective” hard drive and are, evidently, not responsible for software, including operating systems. Since notebooks are no longer packaged with OS disks, we contacted Sony, who sent us the necessary software. Once the OS was loaded, it became quite apparent that the repair center (Nexcor) had never addressed the keyboard problem for which we had sent the computer for repair. Whether they bothered to read the description of the problem at all is a question unto itself. The notebook was once again sent to Nexcor and returned this time with a new keyboard.
On September 28th, I left home for the morning and returned to find that my notebook would not power on at all. In attempting to find a cause for this – as it was left in an empty house, on a solid, flat surface, plugged into a surge protector – we made the secondary discovery that the power adapter (the one that had been replaced in April) appeared to be broken. I contacted City Assure once more and explained the problem. The rep immediately seized upon the “accidental/incidental damage” I was describing with the broken piece, claiming that such damage is NOT covered under the warranty. He then told me that I need to back my data up. Since the notebook will not power on, I inquired as to how he thought I should go about that and the answer was to bring the laptop to a Circuit City store and they would open it, remove the hard drive and back it up (for a fee). When I inquired as to whether this would void the warranty, I was told to take it to a “third party” to have it opened. When I inquired about he warranty again, I was told that data was my responsibility.
My notebook left my home ten days ago, with explicit instructions as to what could and could not be “repaired” (because they are “unable” to return parts removed) and today I received a call explaining that my notebook cannot be repaired because there is “evidence of liquid spill” inside. It has NEVER been spilled on/in. Further, on the CityAssure.com FAQs, there is a whole paragraph about spills/accidents being covered under the City Advantage Protection Plus plan. We have been instructed that we did not purchase the “plus” plan, only the regular plan. There was one plan offered, questioned and purchased. There is no detailed information in the warranty folder we were given, just phone numbers and ads for additional software/services available.
As far as I am concerned, we were not only lied to at the beginning, but the service companies contracted by Circuit City are given carte blanche to do and claim anything they want and consumers are placed in a position of having to prove a negative after the fact to dispute their claims. Given the volumes of horrible reviews, dreadful BBB ratings and the downright surly attitude of their “professional” staff, I doubt Circuit City even notices complaints like this. Unfortunately, all we have left is small claims court or class action suits to get any relief at all.