Did you ever shop at Circuit City stores back in the day? Have you shopped at the circuitcity.com web site recently? You know that they’re completely different companies now, right? The folks over at HD Guru have put together some warnings about other home theater-related brand names that aren’t quite what they claim to be.
A while back, I wrote about how the Philips electronics you buy in North America aren’t really Philips products at all. The real, original Philips still exists, but has abandoned the American market. The company sold its branding in this market to Funai. Any Philips TVs, Blu-ray players, or other gear you buy here are really just rebranded Funai equipment. Meanwhile, the true Philips continues to develop its own products (like those swanky Cinema 21:9 TVs) that will never see release here.
As far as Circuit City goes, I pretty much gave up on that store during the days of the DIVX fiasco of 1998 and rarely went back. Admittedly, I did pick up a few heavily-discounted Blu-rays in the throes of the company’s going-out-of-business sale, but that was about it for me. After pulling the plug (yes, pun intended) on its retail operations, the Circuit City brand name was later bought up by a company called Systemax, which revived it as an online-only operation, and has done likewise for CompUSA. However, the name is the only thing that these two incarnations of Circuit City have in common. Everything else behind the scenes is completely different. And, according to HD Guru, the new version isn’t particularly well-regarded for the quality of its service.
The article looks at Amazon customer feedback (circuitcity.com was recently made an authorized merchant at Amazon) and finds a number of complaints about the company’s slow shipping, lack of communication, and poor customer service.
HD Guru likewise calls out the Westinghouse and Polaroid brands as misrepresenting themselves and manufacturing TVs and other products of questionable reliability.
These are some issues worth keeping in mind as you do your last-minute Christmas shopping for the home theater nut (or wannabe home theater nut) in your life.