• Report: #168833

Complaint Review: Family Savers

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  • Submitted: Wed, December 21, 2005
  • Updated: Wed, October 15, 2008

  • Reported By:Tucson Arizona
Family Savers
7340 Peppermill Pkwy N Charleston, South Carolina U.S.A.

Family Savers RIPOFF BAIT & SWITCH, FRAUD, UNETHICAL BUSINESS PRACTICES N Charleston South Carolina

*Consumer Comment: I know exactly how you feel

*Author of original report: Glad you had no problems, but doesn't excuse the treatment WE received!

*Consumer Comment: I am a Member and love Family Savers!

*Author of original report: To Karen in Rochester, MN

*Consumer Comment: Kimberly---Please explain!

*Author of original report: apologized for the entire mix up and admitted her fault

*Consumer Comment: Don't break your contract w/ them! We made that mistake!

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In June of 2002 my husband and myself visited the Family Savers office at it's then location of 3262 Landmark Drive in North Charleston. After we listened to the sales pitch we decided that since we'd recently purchased our first home, we'd need to acquire furnishings for it and wanted to save money doing so. We paid them $1599.00 to join and become Platinum members.

We attempted to order some living room furniture in May of the following year from Julie. The order was placed and we were told it would be in within 8 to 12 weeks. By December we STILL did not have our furniture and kept being told by Julie it would be a few more weeks each time we inquired about it. We requested a refund and they kept coming up with excuses why we couldn't get our money back and were very hateful to us. It wasn't until we contacted our credit card company that a refund was finally issued to us through the credit card company.
Thinking it was a one time mistake and giving them the benefit of the doubt, we decided to try to save some money by ordering furniture a short while before we left the state of SC for AZ. We visited their showroom in May 2005 and spoke with Adam in the catalog room. We told him we would be moving and wanted to order our furniture so it would be in before we left. He asked us where we were moving to and we told him AZ. He told us we could have it delivered to us in AZ at no additional cost and wouldn't have to worry about whether the furniture came in on time for the movers or not. He told us we would pay no taxes and no additional shipping to have it come to us in AZ. We decided not to risk having it come in after the movers had picked up our things and wait until we arrived in AZ.

After moving to AZ, in June of 2005, I went online to their website and viewed the links to various furniture manufacturer's and requested pricing on many different items. Their practice is to not give the customer any price quotes in writing and do it all verbally over the phone. You email them a price request and they send you back an email telling them to call them with the pricing info at a certain day and time. The prices are given to you with no breakdown of costs. I was unaware until my second order that I was actually going to have to pick up the furniture I ordered in SC, or pay an exorbitant amount to have it delivered to me in AZ. I spoke with Regina King about what Adam had told me and she said he was away on vacation at the time. She was very disappointed in him for telling me I wouldn't pay anything more in shipping to have it come to me in AZ and said she would speak to him as soon as he returned. I told her I didn't want him to get into trouble, that it could have been an honest mistake. I spoke with my husband and we decided since he was TDY in GA at the time that when the furniture came in he'd pick it up with a rental truck and drive it home himself. This ended up costing us over $1200 in truck rental and gas expenses. A cost we were told we wouldn't have to pay.
It was at this time that I was preparing to place the last order of furniture for my daughter's bed and spoke with Regina King again. I explained to her what I was looking for (a canopy bed) and she referred me to a Wesley Allen website. They are not listed on Family Savers website and I was unaware until speaking to her that the company even existed. I looked over the website with her on the phone while she recommended several different styles. I mentioned to Regina that it was a canopy bed I wanted and she advised me to click on a link that opened up another screen showing the canopy attachments. These were not visible from the main screen. I told her I would look them over more closely and get a model number for pricing and email it to her. I looked over the website very closely with my daughter and we requested pricing on a few different models.
Later, my daughter told me she'd decided on a different one altogether. So I sent another price request to Family Savers regarding that specific model number CBCRP1027 from Wesley Allen. I received an email back from them stating the price with the wrong model name mentioned. I then phoned Regina and told her of the mistake and she advised me that it was her mistake, she'd typed the wrong model name but assured me the price for the bed I wanted was indeed the same as she sent me. I placed the order for the model # CBCRP1027 (Interlude bed with canopy). This last item was not going to be in before my husband was to pick up the other furniture ordered so they agreed to have it ship directly to us from the manufacturer in CA.

The bed arrived on August 24th, and there were problems with the driver. He told us the freight hadn't been paid and we'd have to pay it to him. I told him I had my receipt where I'd paid Family Savers for the delivery cost and he said they hadn't issued payment to him. I called Family Savers and told them what was happening and they spoke with Wesley Allen who had shipped the bed and called back saying it had been handled. The driver left the bed (2 boxes) and then drove away. Two days later in the mail I received my receipt for the purchase from Family Savers for the bed purchase. I noticed that the receipt just said fullsize Interlude complete bed and the price was what I was quoted.

A short time later, we had finally purchased my daughters mattress and box spring and were attempting to set up her bed. It was at this time that we realized the canopy was missing from it. We went ahead and assembled it and contacted Family Savers by email stating part of the bed was missing and asking them to check into it. It took them several days to respond to me and then they only told me they were checking on it and would get back to me.

Not hearing anything for a week at this point I sent another email and told them my daughter was very unhappy due to the wrong bed being sent. Regina called me on December 15th to discuss what they would do about the bed. She told me that I got what I paid for. I said I had not received what I ordered and was given the pricing for. It seems that whomever placed the order for the bed, and priced it out for my request did not use the model number I gave them and instead quoted and ordered the wrong bed. She told me that if I wanted the bed I originally ordered it would cost me more money. Another $600 or so. I told her I had been given a price quote and ordered what they'd told me was the bed I wanted and the mistake was theirs to fix. She got very hateful with me and told me that I was just looking to get a bed for free. I was most insulted at this considering how agreeable I had been to the added expense of $1200 for having to bring the furniture from their store in SC to us in AZ. And I wasn't looking for anything for free. As far as I'm concerned I had already paid for it.
The mistake was that they quoted and ordered something that was NOT what I requested. Fortunately, I do have the emails saved where I requested the bed price and her reply to it with the pricing. It is very rare that they put any prices in writing until the order has been placed. Regina told me that she would have to speak to her boss, the owner, John Barbour about this and get back to me.

I heard nothing until yesterday December 20th when Mr. Barbour called me. He was extremely hateful and wouldn't allow me to get a word in edgewise. His first words out of his mouth was that he'd spoken to his attorney and this is what they would do for me. His offer was to pick up my daughter's bed and issue a refund for it. I told him I didn't want that, that I wanted the bed I had ordered and paid for delivered to me at no additional cost. The mistake was clearly theirs and only theirs. He said it was an honest mistake and I said, but it's one I have to pay for and it's not the first mistake because Adam had told me the shipping would be free and that already cost us an additional $1200. He then called me a liar. I said, "Excuse me? I am NOT lying ask Regina about this". He told me she was standing right next to him, that I was on speakerphone and she just said I was a liar. I informed him that I had even told her I hoped Adam didn't get in trouble over telling me that the shipping would be free and he said to me "You're just lying now, that never happened". He continued to tell me that I had gotten what I paid for. I said but it wasn't what I requested pricing for and ordered. He then told me again his attorney said they were under no obligation to make this right. I said I didn't agree with that and that I would be fighting this. He continued to angrily yell at me calling me a liar and I advised him that I couldn't talk anymore and that he would be hearing from me soon.

Apparently, you can request a price on an item and they can give you one. You can even order the item, and whatever they send you (even if it's not what you ordered), you have to keep it or pay more money to get what you originally wanted.

I have copies of emails and receipts and freight bills to back up my story. This sounds like fraud to me, or bait and switch. If this was truly an honest mistake they need to be professional about this and get us the bed we ordered and paid for and pick up this other bed all at no additional cost to us!

We also would like the cost of our membership reimbursed to us since we won't ever be doing business with them again due to their unethical business practices. No other result is acceptable to us.

Kimberly
Tucson, Arizona
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/21/2005 11:28 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Family-Savers/N-Charleston-South-Carolina-29418/Family-Savers-RIPOFF-BAIT-SWITCH-FRAUD-UNETHICAL-BUSINESS-PRACTICES-N-Charleston-South-168833. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

I know exactly how you feel

AUTHOR: Chad - (U.S.A.)

Way back in January of 2003, my wife and I attended a presentation by Family Savers of SC. In this presentation we were told of the numerous great savings opportunities by purchasing through Family Savers. Of the many savings they offered, one was great savings on grocery items. For this reason, my wife and I decided to purchase a membership that we would pay via monthly installments of $65.00 per month. Now, in the contract agreement it stated that we could cancel the membership w/in three days if we werent satisfied. The next day, we got online to check out the many "grocery savings" in which they'd so passionately described. On the web site it said they would be sending us "savings certificates" which were only available through our "exclusive" Family Savers Membership. Ten days later we received an envelope full of coupons that someone had clipped out of the local newspaper. Obviously by this time our three day window for cancellation had passed. When I called to inquire about why I had received coupons in the mail, I was told that they had'nt misrepresented anything and that coupons were (by definition) in fact "Savings Certificates". I then told them that I was not happy about this and that I felt Family Savers had severely misrepresented the services they offered. I was then rudely informed that my membership was uncancelable after three days.

Afterwards I tried numerous times to dispute the membership. The last time I spoke with them I informed them that I refused to pay for something that was not what it was advertised to be...Not long after, I discovered that they had placed my account for collections and had reported the debt to all three credit reporting agencies. Here it is 2008 and I've disputed the validity of this debt several more times and yet it remains on my credit report, and I am still receiving demand letters from a collection agency.

To anyone who may receive an invite from Family Savers....
STAY AWAY FROM THEM....They are liars, thieves, and con artists!!!!!
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#2 Author of original report

Glad you had no problems, but doesn't excuse the treatment WE received!

AUTHOR: Kimberly - (U.S.A.)

James,
I'm sure they have many customers like you that never have problems and love being a member with them. When you have been treated like we have, because of THEIR mistake, and then lied to repeatedly and told nothing would be done for you, talk to me then.

Up until they treated us this way, we loved them too. Hope that you don't ever experience what we did, but if you do, consider yourself warned of how you will be dealt with by them.
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#3 Consumer Comment

I am a Member and love Family Savers!

AUTHOR: James - (U.S.A.)

We have been Members of Family Savers for many years and have saved thousands of Dollars .I was shocked to read this letter .It sounds as if there was a mistake in what you ordered .You do have to make sure you have your model numbers are correct when you make a purchase .We have always loved the Customer Service as well .The manager Regina you mentioned has always treated us very well and seems to really care .We just saved a thousand dollars on a mattress just a few months ago !Basically our entire house of furniture was purchased through Family Savers at a savings of about half of the retail price!I would definitely encourage you to give them another shot and would reccomend this service to anyone .
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#4 Author of original report

To Karen in Rochester, MN

AUTHOR: Kimberly - (U.S.A.)

I'm not sure what website you went to and found the price listed as $19.95 a month. Family Savers doesn't offer a monthly payment. You can pay yearly for the regular membership, but they don't even offer the Platinum memberships anymore. It was a one time payment that gave you the advantage of not paying an additional processing fee with each order. We paid such a high premium for it because they told us that virtually anything we would need to buy we could purchase through them for big discounts (electronics, flooring, appliances, automobiles, you name it). We weren't only joining for the sole purpose of buying furniture. They are a discount club that offer wholesale prices to the public through brand name manufacturers. For an example say you like a particular make of television and can only find it around town for $3,000. You call them for a price and they will quote you a price about $1,800. Which would you rather pay? This is why we joined.
We told them we were military when we signed up and they told us they were a nationwide company. We thought no matter where we get stationed we can order and save money at that local office. They lied, they are only in the Charleston, SC area. Had we known this before we certainly wouldn't have paid $1,549 for our membership.
Since you're in Minnesota I'm not sure why you would be interested in joining them, or even how you heard of them unless you were looking around online at ripoffreport.com for their name. They have no other offices anywhere but in SC. Also, we didn't buy furniture over the internet. We bought furniture from a club we joined and used the internet to see which manufacturers they contracted with for discounted prices. It is merely a way to view the merchandise they can sell.
We chose to order from them instead of locally because we were told before we left SC that we wouldn't have to pay freight costs to get it to us out in Tucson. So the shipping wasn't a concern, the fact that we were expecting to save a ton of money on the furniture was though. Also, we were told we wouldn't have to pay sales tax on it. On an order as large as ours, the sales tax would have been pretty hefty. We incorrectly assumed we were saving all around going this route.
And to answer your last point, we have had Walmart quality furniture since we have been married and wanted something that would last longer than it does. Yes moving a lot can risk damage to the more expensive furniture, but it stands up a lot better against frequent moving than does anything that we were buying before. Since we HAVE to move, why buy cheap stuff that you know is going to fall apart?
Word of advice to you about joining clubs like this, DON'T! According to the Attorney General's office in SC, this particular company has had over 12 complaints filed against them. That's just the people that took the time and effort to do something about it. Many others just let it go and do nothing, suffering in silence. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Thank you for your well wishes! If I can prevent someone else from suffering this same fate, I'll consider my time well spent!
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#5 Consumer Comment

Kimberly---Please explain!

AUTHOR: Karen - (U.S.A.)

I am unfamiliar with these types of clubs, so please excuse my ignorance!

Why did you spend so much money to join this club? I checked their website, & it said it was $19.95 a month. Is it because a Platinum member saves a lot more than a regular member? I would sure have to buy an awful lot of things to SAVE $1599.oo! I have not read the other complaints about this company, so maybe that's why I don't understand why it costs so much for a membership. Is it a lifetime thing?

You sound like a very intelligent lady. Your letter was very well written. You said you & your family move a lot, so why would you buy such expensive furniture, when it could be damaged during your next move? I guess I (again!) don't understand why when you were moving to a city the size of Tucson, you would buy furniture over the internet! I'm sure there are many furniture stores where you are now, where you could get what you'd like, without going through all this hassle.

Believe me, I am not criticizing you in any way!! If you come back to this site, I hope you will answer my questions. That sure has turned into some expensive bed!

I recently found Rip-Off Reports, & am amazed at the scams that are out there.

I wish you luck Kimberly! Mr. Barbour's behavior says a lot for this company. To treat people like that is inexcusable. When I encounter people who act like that, I just say to myself, "Thank God I don't have to live with them." I wonder if he treats his family & friends like that. If he has any, that is. I hope you get something back from all this. And again, I wish you a lot of luck!
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#6 Author of original report

apologized for the entire mix up and admitted her fault

AUTHOR: Kimberly - (U.S.A.)

On January 27, 2005, Regina King @ Family Savers called me to advise me that she was going to be paying for the bed that I ordered and pay for shipping it to me. She apologized for the entire mix up and admitted her fault. She told me that she'd felt bad about it since it happened and would be calling me back on Tuesday to give me the details of the arrival of the correct bed. On Wednesday, January 25, 2005, I received a message left on my answering machine from Regina that her boss, Mr. John Barbour, would be calling me to talk to me about this. @ approximately 3:30 pm, Mr. John Barbour of Family Savers contacted me to ask me questions about this dispute. His tone was rude and hateful just like the previous call when he insulted me and called me a liar. At no time did he apologize to me for calling me a liar and asked me questions such as, "So, you think Family Savers should buy you an $1100 bed and you not have to pay a penny for it"? I told him that I was told by Regina on Friday that it was taken care of and I was waiting to hear from her when it would arrive. He then told me that his attorney told him he was under NO obligation to do anything for me because I had signed the freight bill releasing them from responsibility. I told him that I signed a freight bill stating only that I received a bed. Which I did. It wasn't until we unboxed the bed that we realized it wasn't what we ordered and that I wouldn't know that until I unboxed it to see it.

As I stated in my original complaint with you I contacted Family Savers immediately to tell them of the mix up. Assuming they would correct it, I was then told that I would have to keep the wrong bed because it was what I paid for. This is the entire reason for my complaint with the BBB. I requested a price quote for a specific model number (documents have been submitted proving this to you) and I was given a price. Assuming it was the price for what I'd asked for I placed the order for the bed. The mistake was clearly theirs, as was admitted by Regina King on Friday's phone call. Apparently, Mr. Barbour called me today wanting me to either pay the difference in the cost of the bed I got from what I was supposed to get, or to pay shipping to have the wrong bed sent to him since it can't be returned now because it had been assembled and used for 3 months.

Family Savers knew from the beginning that we had assembled the bed since I initially told Regina King that parts were missing for the canopy, thinking that it was a box left on a truck somewhere, or that it needed to still arrive. We were then told no canopy piece could attach to that bed since it was the wrong one. The headboard and footboard are designed differently to accomodate the canopy. We were then told that to get the other bed that we originally ordered we would have to pay for it. I told them I was quoted and ordered a bed, and that was the bed I wanted, not what they sent me. It was at that point that Mr. Barbour began insulting me and calling me a liar and said his attorney told him he didn't have to do anything legally for me. My husband and I then decided we were just going to be stuck with the wrong bed and let my daughter sleep in it and I immediately contacted the BBB and the Attorney General's office.

Mr. Barbour's phone call today was to get me to pay a portion of the expense he's out due to their own error, or to pay for the use of the wrong bed we've had all this time. I told him that the bed wouldn't have been used and would have been reboxed instantly had we been told they would correct this when they were first notified, rather than do nothing for us and insult me. He also keeps insisting to me that I can always take this to small claims court and that I would be out the expense of coming all the way back there to SC to handle this since we're now stationed in AZ. He seems to think that I would be unwilling to pay to travel back to settle this, but he is sadly mistaken. He is banking on the fact that I will either pay him more money, or be willing to settle for whatever he'll offer to avoid having to come back to SC to get this resolved. He called me again shortly after the 3:30 pm phone call to ask if I had the boxes that the wrong bed was shipped in. I had told him I THOUGHT I did but would check. When I looked I didn't have both of them only one. He then restated that I wanted him to send me an $1100 bed and he couldn't return the other one for credit to the manufacturer so he'd be out that money too. The fact is though, I paid for the bed we have now, so he wouldn't be out any money on that one. Only the cost of the bed that we ordered and the shipping to us. He is hoping to return the bed they mistakenly ordered and get a refund for it, but if he is unable to, he is not OUT that money, he simply can't get a refund for it to defray the cost of correcting their mistake. He also inquired about my request for a refund of my Platinum membership fee I paid when we signed up. He asked me if I wanted him to get me an $1100 bed AND refund my membership fee? I said,"Yes. But don't use that excuse that I insisted on getting both to release you from responsibility of getting the bed I ordered and paid for". I said, "I want a refund on the money we paid for our membership, but I INSIST on getting the bed we ordered and paid for". I told him I had no desire to EVER do business with them again after how I'd been treated and that refunding the cost of my membership is only fair. He laughed at me and told me his attorney told him (again) that he legally didn't have to do anything for me. I said, "If you had resolved this with me back when I first told you about the mistake it wouldn't have ever come to this, but instead you called me a liar and refused to do one thing to help me other than ask for more of my money to fix YOUR mistake. The result of which was me having to contact the BBB and the AG office and waiting 3 months for a response from you".

They posted a reply on the BBB website that they had contacted me and was trying to resolve this. However, since the phone calls referenced above, I've not heard ONE word from any of them and I still have the wrong bed at my house!

In response to the other victim's message... Yes we are military and no the base legal office can't help us. We paid up front for the fee to join so we don't owe them any money. I highly doubt I will ever get a refund of our membership fee or the correct bed for my daughter. I'm convinced they're just making it appear like they are trying to resolve this to save face.

A note of interest... if anyone is considering joining them, and you move a lot like we do, don't believe the lies that they are nationwide. It's just a local company there with NO affiliations to any other Family Savers companies. Also, they will tell you that they have nationwide accounts, but that's not true either. It's only with the businesses in the local SC area... i.e. ProSource, Mattfirm, Tire Kingdom, etc. The companies they purchase from out of the local area they will charge you an arm and a leg for the shipping to get it to their office, and then you still have to pay to have your items come to your house.
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#7 Consumer Comment

Don't break your contract w/ them! We made that mistake!

AUTHOR: Kathy - (U.S.A.)

I'm sorry you had to endure all the mallarchy from Family Savers. I personally would have ended it after the first screw up. However, you did sign a contract. We signed up with Family Savers about 5 years ago then realized we had no need for it. It was too late to back out and our account went to collections. THAT was (and is) a nightmare! It's still on our credit report, and we still have it listed as being disputed. I notice you mentioned your husband was TDY? Military? We are too. Have you checked with your base legal? I suggest you write down everything that gets said, when it's said and who said it. This kind of business may be legal ( barely) but it sure isn't ethical. I wish you luck. Just please don't let your account get sent to their collection company. I was crying after getting chewed out by a collection officer there.
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