Revamped Has Tough Return Policy

May 26, 2009 (12:05 PM EDT)

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The Circuit City brand is back on the Web, but the new site has a tough return policy that makes it very different from the original electronics retailer that went belly-up in March.

The new e-commerce site was launched this month by Systemax, which purchased the online operation. Systemax also owns Tiger Direct.

While Systemax has kept the same look and feel as the original Circuit City site, its return policies are being criticized on the Web as being too severe. Indeed, the company's policies give Systemax full discretion as to how returns are handled.

For returns of defective merchandise, " shall have sole discretion as to the credit method," the policy says. "We may issue a credit, ship a replacement product, exchange, or we may repair the item and return it to you."

For nondefective items, has "sole discretion" as to whether it will accept the return. If accepted, the site will charge a 15% "restocking fee" and "such returns will be for store credit or refund at's sole discretion." doesn't accept returns at all for software or consumables, such as toner cartridges, ink cartridges, and digital media, and it doesn't accept returns "for any reason" for products from IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, or Epson. All returns must be done within 30 days.

The Consumerist compared with Newegg and found that the latter generally takes returns for either refund or replacement. It also replaces software and takes back unused consumables.

It would be wise for people looking at the new to compare return policies with competing sites.

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