New Year’s Resolution #1 – AVOID CIRCUIT CITY

This has absolutely nothing to do with LOUIE LOUIE, but merely the frustrations of another consumer.

Back in November, I decided I would switch over my phone plan to Vonage. I loved the idea of paying a flat fee, and being able to make unlimited phone calls to anywhere in the USA and parts of Europe. It sounded like a great idea. Circuit City had a good deal on the Vonage phone adaptor-WiFi router combo, so I figured I’d try it out. I was told I would be able to return everything within 30 days for a complete refund if things didn’t work out.

Well, things didn’t work out. I couldn’t figure out how to make the WiFi router work with the rest of my broadband network, and I was getting phone calls from people I didn’t know. I received personal phone calls for some guy named “Daryl,” who I don’t know. So I decided to return the device within the 30 day period, fully expecting to get the full refund. Circuit City prides itself on “hassle free returns,” which is a message you’ll hear whenever you call their toll-free customer service line. I shouldn’t have a problem, right?

If only things were that easy. After I returned the hardware, I called Vonage to confirm that I was canceling the service. The folks at Vonage told me that if I were to cancel the service, Circuit City would be charging me a $200 cancellation fee, which would be deducted from my credit card. I was never told anything about a cancellation fee when I signed up. I decided I would wait to cancel this service until this matter was resolved. I went back to Circuit City, and was told I had to call a toll-free number to resolve this issue. I called the number, and nobody seemed to have a clue how to deal with my problem. After 20 minutes of nonsense, talking with clueless idiots, I was put on hold, and then cut off.

As this situation happened one week before Christmas, I decided I would wait until after Christmas when I could talk to folks without the chaos of the holidays. On Friday, I called Circuit City, and had a 20 minute phone call, listening to a tape loop of their “hassle-free returns” propaganda before the representative from India (or wherever he’s from) told me that he would have to take it up with their supervisor. I also called Vonage, and after yet another 20 minute phone call, they confirmed that I were to cancel their service, then Circuit City would indeed charge $200 for disconnecting.

I intend to register a complaint with the California Attorney General about this extremely deceptive practice being conducted by Circuit City. I was never told about any disconnection fee, and I was assured I could return everything within 30 days for a complete refund. This is not good policy.

In the meantime, there is no product cheap enough for me to ever want to shop at this place again. I would encourage all of my friends to avoid this place unless they enjoy headaches and dealing with less-than-honest corporations.

This problem may be have been resolved. Read the update by viewing the January 13 posting for more information about my situation.

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