Circuit City liquidation: A cautionary tale

If you're looking for a great deal at your local closing Circuit City, it's buyer beware, and check your purchases.

Years ago I worked at a Circuit City-like big-box retailer in Washington state called Future Shop. I was there through the bitter end when they shuttered the U.S. stores, and I worked through the liquidation. Toward the end there wasn't much left. Employees would hide things they wanted so they could get the larger discounts later in the sale, but for the most part we treated the customers well.

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Apparently not so at some Circuit Citys, like one near Boston. According to a local news channel, Gina Reis thought she was getting a good deal on a large-screen Samsung HDTV at $1,100. Signs posted at the store advised buyers not to open the merchandise, so she didn't. Signs also said all sales are final.

When Gina got home she was shocked to find the screen shattered. Returning to the Circuit City , she was told the store wouldn't take the HDTV back but that it included a full manufacturer's warranty.

Warranties on Samsung HDTVs, of course, don't cover shattered screens.

There are state laws in Massachusetts that protect consumers against such purchases, but they're superseded by federal liquidation and bankruptcy laws that actually say all sales are final.

Thankfully, Reis' local TV station contacted her credit card company, Citizens Bank, which agreed to drop the charges. The moral of the story is that if you're looking for a great deal at your local closing Circuit City, it's buyer beware, and check your purchases.

Related story:

Last days of Circuit City: Lousy bargains, rumpled salespeople

About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.


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