We wanted to rescind our membership contract due to the business engaging in "unfair practices" and "unconscionable acts". They would not return our calls. After researching consumer complaints on the internet we feel the membership would not meet our expectations.
We sent a written letter to cancel the membership. We wanted a refund for the initial $500 deposit plus cancel the credit installment plans on the remaining balance of $4000. A total of $4500 for the membership. The owner informed us that we had 24 hours to cancel with a refund.
We left a voice messages and spoke to Ana, office manager and were given negative feedback. We contacted Consumer Affairs and discovered two complaints were filed in January 2005 and April 2004. We submitted a complaint to Consumer Affairs and are awaiting the outcome.
Notes taken from the visitor appointment:
We were given 24 hour cancellation by Elvis Kendricks, General Manager. However, since it was verbal it was not legal.
We were told about the high quality of Starwood and other kitchen cabinet brands but none are listed in their website.
We could not log on to the website in their showroom, in order to see how prices are listed in the web for members only.
We were told Little Falls, NJ has the complete kitchen cabinets showroom but none is listed on the Directbuy website for such location.
We were told Introductory and Discontinued products are offered in their magazine. So it appears these items are no longer offered to the public because of quality issues or low demand.
Delivery of large item goods to Eatontown showroom would mean paying extra fee for home delivery. This appears to be extra shipping costs to the consumer. We could not understand why packages were already opened in the warehouse prior to consumer receiving the goods. We were told that items cannot be refunded once purchased (discontinued items). No product warranties were given. All these factors make it difficult to recoup costs on old discontinued items that are outdated.
They claim that 88% of members have renewed their contract.
We could prove that was a true statement because we could not see the membership roster or ask for a referral from the member list. We wanted to know about the experiences of existing members with DirectBuy but were not given the opportunity.
The contract says delivery times cannot be guaranteed. It appears that maybe manufacturer's incentive not to deliver goods on time if items were at lowest cost.
We were told that kitchen cabinets are solid wood as opposed to press board. Same scenario told by Lowes, Home Depot and others selling cabinets.
We were not given temporary login to the website after the initial membership deposit.
We were not given access to their product catalogs in the showrooms as they were closed on Sunday and Monday.
We were told that 95% of online data is outdated because of updates.
We were not given time to think over the contract or to see actual prices of a cabinet we wished to purchase.
Other individuals that came to the appointment were told that had a chance to win something with a winning key. Others were contacted by telemarketing phone call. We saw the ad in APPress newspaper that we could purchase products up to 85% of retail price.
We were told that the business was there for 18 years - checked with Chamber of Commerce and they only signed up with them last year. Previous name of business was UCC
Total Home Improvement.
Directbuy was listed as UCC in Eatontown and at a different location in Eatontown. The name on the contract was also different, SavvyBuyer Inc.
We found out later that two refunds and complaints were given in May 2004 and Jan 2005.
Their website is deceptive because of following reasons:
no list of name brands
no list of prices
no list of other costs like shipping, tax, delivery
Kitchen cabinet website does not offer much info:
It defines "Great savings" by member's opinion and not actual prices.
Kitchen website has only information on Kitchen Design, Kitchen Finishes, Everything Kitchen, Great Savings but no real information about the actual product and price list.
The claim to offer best prices on granite,silestone and
corian. We saw an ad for granite at the same price they offered, $49/sq. feet.
We saw a catalog for Armstrong windows in the showroom but were not given the opportunity to review the catalog.
Salesperson said Senior citizens would not benefit because they have less purchases to recoup cost. This would be considered age discrimination because some of their visitors were senior citizens.
We were told to purchase the membership not only for the kitchen cabinets but for the whole package. For example, claims of 10-15% discount from car purchases but no list was given of actual prices. Many places already offer the same discount.
At any time the company can sale our contract to another business. Transfer of business would mean transfering the business to another owner which they have done in the past through business name changes - UCC Total Home Improvement, DirectBuy and now SavvyBuyer, Inc.
Their website was incomplete because it did not acknowledge the web company that created the website. They offered general information about creating a kitchen but no specific information on costs.
We were totally wrong in purchasing a membership with them and would like some recourse. Hopefully, this will educate others and avoid them from having the same experience.
eatontown, New Jersey