DirectBuy Closed Members’ Local Showroom: Now What?

mbdirectbuyLongtime Consumerist readers might remember that we aren’t huge fans of the advertising or sales tactics that shopping club DirectBuy uses. But if someone does spend thousands of dollars to join, then they should be treated fairly by the company, right? Not when the nearest showroom closes down, and the company doesn’t understand why their new members can’t make an easy two-hour trip to the nearest one that remains open.

That’s what happened to a California couple who were in the middle of building their dream home. They decided that discounts through DirectBuy worked for them, and paid $5,351.78 for a two-year membership. They were happy with that arrangement…until their local showroom abruptly closed.

“Just when we’re ready to buy a bunch of stuff from them, they’re no longer there,” one member of the couple told CBS Sacramento consumer reporter Kurtis Ming. They weren’t interested in shopping online or through the company’s catalog: they wanted to browse in person at a showroom. CBS Sacramento consulted a consumer attorney, who said that closing down the local showroom is “a pretty clear breach of contract.”

DirectBuy counters that the couple only had four months left on their two-year membership, and hadn’t made a purchase to date when their local showroom closed. They wouldn’t tell reporters how many other members used that Sacramento-area showroom, but did offer the couple a $1,000 refund. That’s roughly the pro-rated amount based on the time left on their contract.

The customers don’t think that’s enough, and plan to pursue arbitration. Not because they love arbitration, but because that’s the only recourse that the DirectBuy contract gives them.

Call Kurtis: My Direct Buy Showroom Closed. Should I Get a Refund? [CBS Sacramento]

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  1. KyMann says:

    The fact that they didn’t buy anything is meaningless — for high-end items, most people do extensive comparisons before deciding which to purchase. Also, you don’t buy things like cabinets one at a time because you never know when a particular model/style is going to be dropped.

    A more realistic look would be how many times they visited the showroom, accumulating information so they could make comparisons and learn of the features unique to the items.

    I’m not incredibly perceptive (what can I say? I’m a man), but there was just something about their ads which screamed: “Scam!”

    I did look at them when I needed to refurb a kitchen, but the fact that I couldn’t find prices without becoming a member (and the membership price was hidden) just didn’t fly with me.

  2. CommonC3nts says:

    There are no discounts at directbuy. These people were tricked into signing up for a scam.
    Direct Buy is a scam.

  3. craftman1 says:

    If this situation happened to most people it would not be a story. Just pick a weekend and drive to the other store. Is this really news?

    “I’m building my DREAM HOME but I can’t be bothered to drive more than two hours to find the furnishings to fill it, so I’ll just sue the store for breach of contract.”

    Living the American dream for sure!