To make a long story short (well as short as possible!), I purchased a Compaq Laptop computer along with a CityAdvantage Extended Warranty Plan about two years ago. I loved the laptop, so choosing it was a "no-brainer". On the other hand, the extended warranty was presented to me as a "no-hassle" solution to protect me from possible hardware failures in the future.
So on December 22, I reported my laptop was malfunctioning, It was overheating. Long story short again. They got the laptop, found a faulty cooling fan and replaced it. The only problem was that the overheating caused the case to crack at two points above the hinges. I explained this to them when I sent off the laptop for repair. They assured me that it would be repaired. By the way, just as a little tidbit of info, the laptop has not one scratch on it anywhere. ANYWHERE! It is in the same pristine condition as it was when I bought it new. It has never been dropped, mistreated, exposed to sun, or any other misuse/abuse the might have caused this.
When the laptop overheated, I raised the screen to see what was going on and the cracks appeared. They are hairline cracks, but they are through the case, leaving the internal components potentially exposed. So when I got the computer back exactly 14 days from the date it was sent off, I expected it to be repaired completely.
I immediately called CityAdvantage and their representative coldly explained to me that the warranty explicitly states that cases are not a covered item. I was in shock!
So, I opened my CityAdvantage Warranty Book and read the following to him and I quote:
"6. Service Limitations - This Contract does not cover:
a. maintenance, repair or replacement necessitated by loss or damage resulting from any EXTERNAL causes such as, but not limited to, theft, environmental conditions, negligence, misuse, abuse, improper electrical/power supply, unauthorized repairs by third parties, improper installation, attachments, transportation damage (except damage incurred by authorized shipment of Product(s) to and from an authorized servicer), damage to cabinetry, lack of manufacturer-specified maintenance, equipment modifications, vandalism, animal or insect infestation, rust, dust, corrosion, leaking batteries, burned phosphor in CRTs, computer viruses, software defects, software generated problems or acts of nature."
Upon reading this to him, he stated to me, "See, according to the warranty; "This contract does not cover damage to cabinetry."" I then told him that was not what was stated in the manual. Upon explaining to him that one cannot pick and choose words out of a legal document I told him that (to paraphrase the manual) it stated that "Maintenance, repair, or replacement necessitated by loss or damage resulting from EXTERNAL (and I stressed EXTERNAL DAMGAGE)causes such as damage to cabinetry.".
In laymans terms this says that the warranty will not fix problems resulting from ANY TYPE OF EXTERNAL FORCE ACTING UPON THE WARRANTED UNIT (IE water damage, dropping the unit, dropping something on the unit, etc.).I then stated that the damage had occured because of an "INTERNAL" malfunction of said hardware and therefore should be covered under warranty.
At this point he is pretty bumfuzzled and puts me through to his supervisor, same story as above. It is as if they are trained to avoid admitting any responsibility in the coverage of your unit under warranty. Same thing, he read the first part of the paragraph and then the "cabinetry" part and told me I had no further recourse. Rudely I might add.
I asked for his supervisor. Well, the President of the United States is more accessible than these people are. I got the first response of "you can't speak to anyone above me". I then asked for a telephone number and was told they were not reachable by telephone. WOW! OK.
Well, I can't get a reasonable response from you, I can't speak to anyone with a HIGHER AUTHORITY, and I can't call anyone. "What's my next step in this bizarre process you claim to be "no hassle"", I asked. My only choice given was to fax a letter to their customer service department! Do what?! FAX A LETTER? They would respond within 24 to 48 hours, I was told.
Well, I faxed a letter and then 24, 48, 72, 96, 120 hours passed, no response. I called twice on the weekend and was told both times by two seperate persons that they had changed their position and it looked as if they were going to fix my computer after all.
Then I received the call. You know, the rude one. The one where he told me that this was indeed caused by some external force and therefore they were not responsible in any way. Even though he admitted that the computer had overheated because of a failed cooling fan. IN OTHER WORDS THIS GENTLEMAN WAS CALLING ME LIAR!
So I emailed Circuit City Corporate Headquarters. They assured me that someone would contact me by phone shortly and were awestruck by my treatment during this process. That was four days ago.
I decided weeks ago that I would not relent in my pursuit of what is legally obligated to me under this contract. I will take this as far as necessary...even if it takes a congressional act.
I noticed in some of the rebuttals to CityAdvantage complaints, there were statements of it being the consumers' responsibilty to read the contract before purchase. Agreed. But what is a consumers' recourse if the writer of said contract does not follow it as written? I read the contract.
I've had some lawyer friends read the contract. The paragraph simply states that a unit will not be covered if an external force acts upon the cabinetry, thereby causing damage to the unit. It says nothing about not covering damage caused by an internal malfunction. That would be like a new automobile catching on fire because of a faulty fuel line, and then the manufacturer of that car only replacing the fuel line and leaving the rest of the automobile damaged. I don't think so.
So, if Circuit City and CityAdvantage want a fight, then a fight they shall have. Because I will pursue this to the Nth degree. I have already contacted the Kentucky State Attorney Generals' Office, the Better Business Bureau, and am presently checking with the U.S. Attorney Generals' Office to see what my options are and what can be done to prevent this from happening to anyone else.
My advice to you is to stay away from Circuit City altogether. And if you are foolish enough to buy something from them, please don't waste your money on the CityAdvantage Extended Warranty Plan. It is a lie. A bold faced lie. They will not fix your item. It is not "no hassle". It is definitely not a good deal. You would be better off to give your money to some charity or I don't know, maybe you can just give it to me! I'd be more likely to fix something than they would!
Good Luck and God Bless!
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Circuit City STOP! ..before you think about using the Better Business Bureau (BBB)... CLICK HERE to see how other consumers were victimized by the BBB's false or misleading information. Don't be fooled! It has been reported, when there are thousands of complaints and other investigations underway by authorities, the BBB has no choice but to finally give an UNsatisfactory rating to a BBB member business that is paying the BBB big membership fees every year. When a business is reported that is NOT a BBB member, BBB files WILL more likely show an UNsatisfactory rating, then reportedly shake down that company to become a member of the BBB. One positive thing about the BBB is, either way, if a business has an unsatisfactory rating with the BBB, you can be sure, the business is bad. But what about all those BBB member businesses that had complaints filed against them? Consumers never get to hear about them. What about the BBB advertising to the public? Is this a false and misleading perception they are giving about consumer confidence when dealing with a business? Click here to understand more of what consumers and business alike are saying about the BBB. You decide. ..Remember. The BBB membership is not earned, it's paid for!