DirectBuy offers over 700 Manufactures products to its members.DirectBuy offers over 1 million products to its members.
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This firm is a private buying club that allows members to purchase directly from the manufacturers. Members of this club purchase items at the price that the manufacture or authorized distributor sells the item for without retail markup. Savings to the member of the club will range from as low as 10% to as high as 50% as compared to retail sale prices. This club specializes in furniture, carpeting and area rugs, window coverings, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, and general remodeling.
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A BBB Accredited Business since
BBB has determined that Direct Buy of Pittsburgh North meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.
BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.
Reason for Rating
BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.
Factors that raised the rating for Direct Buy of Pittsburgh North include:
- Length of time business has been operating.
- Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
- Response to 4 complaint(s) filed against business.
- Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
- BBB has sufficient background information on this business.
Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details
|Complaint Type||Total Closed Complaints|
|Problems with Product/Service||4|
|Total Closed Complaints||4|
This business is in an industry that may require professional licensing, bonding
or registration. BBB encourages you to check with the appropriate agency to be certain
any requirements are currently being met.
These agencies may include:
Pennsylvania Attorney General List of Registered Contractors
16th Floor, Strawberry Square, Harrisburg PA 17120
Phone Number: (888) 520-6680
Fax Number: 717-787-8242
Type of Entity
Business ManagementMr. Doug Barrante, Manager Mr. Paul Barrante, Manager
BUYING CLUBS & GROUP PURCHASING SERVICE APPLIANCES-MAJOR-WHOLESALE & MANUFACTURERS FURNITURE-WHOLESALE PLUMBING FIXTURES, PARTS, SUPPLIES-WHLS/MFG FLOORING RETAIL OUTDOOR KITCHENS HOME ELECTRONICS OVERHEAD GARAGE DOORS COUNTER TOPS DOORS FURNITURE-OUTDOOR FURNITURE-RETAIL KITCHEN CABINETS & EQUIPMENT-HOUSEHOLD SHOPPING CENTERS & MALLS WINDOWS
Products & Services
Direct Buy of Pittsburgh North sells the following brand(s): DirectBuy offers over 700 Manufactures products to its members.
Direct Buy of Pittsburgh North offers the following product(s): DirectBuy offers over 1 million products to its members.
Method(s) of PaymentThe local club accepts most major credit cards, and checks.
Refund and Exchange PolicyAll the products that members of this club purchase are covered by the manufacturer's warranties and return policies. The club's members also have access to extended warranties through third party providers. Check with the manufacturer's refund policy prior to ordering.
Alternate Business NamesInflation Breakers
Industry TipsCondensation on Windows Home Improvements - Windows Pennsylvania Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act
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Complaint Trends - Last 3 Years
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Problems with Product/Service
Read Complaint Details
Complaint: New cabinets and crown molding (totaling about $12,900) were delivered to my house with terrible finish around mid April, 2013. I did not want to install them, but was told by Direct Buy rep **** ****** and ********* cabinet rep **** **** to go ahead and install them and new cabinet faces would be ordered for all cabinets. I asked to speak with the owner of Direct Buy,**** ********, and was put off by Mr. ****** for weeks, as I was told he was the "face" of Direct Buy Cranberry and would handle the problems himself. I was told to expect new faces by 1 June. I contacted Mr. ****** and met with him on 27 June to find out where my new cabinet faces were and was told the new faces were never ordered, without further explanation. Mr. ****** knew for weeks the faces were never coming and failed to notify us until I demanded the meeting on 27 June. During this time I had granite countertops (from Direct Buy Cranberry) installed to match the cabinets. Finally, on 5 July, at my insistence again, Mr ********, came to my house for a look at the installed cabinets and he basically stated he did not find any real issues with the cabinet finishes. I had a cabinet builder, with over 40 years experience, inspect my cabinets who stated to me that my cabinets were not sanded and prepped properly for the stain/glaze and that is why there is an inconsistent finish and that my cabinets were among the worst he has seen, given the wood, stain and glaze used. The finish is indicative of much cheaper cabinets. Mr. ****** continual stalling and failure to notify me of no new cabinet face order, caused my dispute of charges on my credit card, to be disallowed because of the time elapsed! Buyers beware -this is a classic case of bait and switch and I have found that Direct Buy will use your contract against you, saying they are not responsible for finishes to cabinets and then delay, delay, delay. I suggest people google Direct Buy lawsuits and see for yourselves their tactics, I wish I had done more homework.
Desired Settlement: I desire a full refund of approximately $12,900 due to the fact that Direct Buy took the money and failed to act in good faith. I also will have to reface or remove all of the cabinets and start over.They seem to be more interested in "protecting" their supplier, than providing customer service to me as a paying member of Direct Buy. I also have no confidence in the Brookwood brand as it appears to be a Direct Buy brand and I was "steered" to this brand by Mr. ******.
Business Response: To Whom it may concern,
I have visited the homeowner's home to inspect the cabinets. I found that the cabinets are all very high quality, the finish is above industry standards, and indicative of high quality cabinetry. There are some doors that have characteristics that, in some opinions, could be undesirable. In situations where a few doors are either not up to standards, or the homeowner finds natural characteristics unacceptable, this and most quality manufacturers are willing to replace the parts, at no cost to the homeowner.
The homeowner selected a glazed finish to be applied on top of the stain. When ordering a glaze finish, since it is hand applied by an artisan, as with all custom hand applied finishes the color will vary from door to door. The homeowner signed a waiver stating that the finish will vary from door to door, and that the product would not be replaced if dissatisfied with the color. As with most all manufactures, the agreement that they signed also stated that if there were any replacement parts that the homeowner is responsible for the cost to remove and install the new product.
In this situation the homeowner is claiming that they are unhappy with every door and are demanding that every door be replaced. Additionally, they are demanding that they not be responsible for the cost to remove the existing doors nor replace the new doors. In an effort to support the homeowner's request we asked that the manufacture support the homeowner and grant their request. As it can be imagined, this is atypical and required several approvals from the manufacture.
The manufacture has agreed to replace all of the doors, and between the local franchisee, franchisor, and the cabinet manufacture we are also paying for all the labor that is involved in this process. Once the manufacture agreed to the homeowner's terms, the homeowner requested that he be able to keep the existing doors so that he may select the product that he finds most desirable from the two sets of product. Once the best parts are selected the homeowner would like to return the others. Again the manufacture granted this request.
The replacement doors are now in production and a ship date should be established shortly.
All involved have tried to accommodate the homeowner as much as possible during this challenging process. Please let us know if you feel that there is more that we can do in this situation.
Better Business Bureau:
I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and have determined that this does not resolve my complaint. For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.
I reject Direct Buy of Pittsburgh North’s response (“Direct Buy North”). In his response, **** ******** attempts to paint a picture of a problem customer and the vendor and manufacturer whom are working tirelessly to appease the customer. However, this is not the case, and could not be farther from the truth. This complaint focuses on two main areas: a defective product that fails to meet its manufacturer’s warranty and any and all express and implied warranties; and the business practices and so-called customer service of Direct Buy North.
In his response, **** ******** stated, “I found that the cabinets are all very high quality, the finish is above industry standards, and indicative of high quality cabinetry.” This is just not true. I have had two independent analyses done of the cabinets by experienced cabinet makers. The first cabinet maker, who came to my home and viewed the cabinets in person, wrote in an email: “I was surprised at the inconsistencies in the finish I found on your new high-quality cabinetry. The blotchiness is primarily due to inconsistent sanding and pre-stain preparation. One might expect this in lower priced mass-produced and/or imported cabinetry. In over 40 years in this industry, yours is some of the most drastic variation in quality of finish that I've seen." When asked to rate the overall appearance and finish of the cabinets on a scale of one (worst) to ten (best), he stated, “a one, maybe a two,” and further stated the doors would need to be re-made, not refinished.
After viewing the cabinets, the second cabinet maker made the following observations: poor and substandard wood selection for sections of the cabinetry; the cabinets should have been thrown out before they were stained; once the stain and glaze were applied and the defects and imperfections were revealed, the cabinets again should have been thrown out; the “blotchiness” shown throughout cabinetry is indicative of lower quality cabinetry and is due to inconsistent sanding and pre-stain preparation; finally, the current cabinets have been shorted at least one topcoat of finish when compared to the sample door prepared by *********, which results in a “dry” look. Again, he stated the cabinets could not be refinished and would have to be replaced. Even my cabinet installation contractor commented when the cabinets came out the boxes that “they look like they are 50 years old." Based on the overall appearance of these cabinets and confirmation of those facts by two independent analyses, these cabinets are neither high quality nor above industry standards, but are rather poor quality, defective cabinets.
**** ******** also attempts to pass the buck back onto the customer, blaming my dissatisfaction with the cabinets on the variation in color due to the stain and glaze choice, stating: “The homeowner selected a glazed finish to be applied on top of the stain. When ordering a glaze finish, since it is hand applied by an artisan, as with all custom hand applied finishes the color will vary from door to door. The homeowner signed a waiver stating that the finish will vary from door to door, and that the product would not be replaced if dissatisfied with the color.” Again, this is hardly the case.
I ordered butterscotch stain and paid extra for a chocolate glaze. However, based on the original order, I received numerous cabinet faces, panels, kick plates, and crown molding that either had missing stain, mineral deposits, “tiger striping,” or were defective for one reason or another. The island counter flat front face and all of the kick plates had no chocolate glaze at all, only the butterscotch stain. Upon re-order of the island counter flat front face, it had both the stain and glaze but it did not match the rest of the island, and it will now require a cover-up with 2 raised panels that will hopefully match the rest of the island. The flat side panels for the upper corner cabinet arrived without chocolate glaze (only the butterscotch stain) and the entire corner cabinet had to be re-ordered. However, the second corner cabinet arrived with a poor and uneven finish, and upon review by Direct Buy North representative **** *****, another replacement had to be ordered. Additionally, ten pieces of eight foot long crown molding were ordered for the cabinets. Just about all ten pieces were defective for one reason or another, including: "tiger striping,” uneven application of the stain and glaze resulting in a poor finish, numerous excess mineral deposits running horizontally for several inches along the molding. **** ****, the ********* Regional Representative, only re-ordered four pieces of crown molding, which were also unacceptable. Subsequently, **** ***** ordered another eight pieces which are questionable. One piece has stain and glaze missing from the bottom edge (about eight inches) where it looks like the wood had been leaned on paper during drying process, and when moved the stain and glaze was removed from the bottom edge of the wood. In all, twenty-two pieces of eight foot crown molding have been ordered in the hopes of finding ten “acceptable” pieces. Three corner cabinets have been produced, and the island counter’s front face has been remade—all of which are just as poor and defective as the first attempt.
The other astonishing fact is Direct Buy North’s ability to conveniently forget its own opinions expressed about the cabinets in an attempt to vehemently protect its supplier, ******** who produces ********* exclusively for Direct Buy. When the cabinets were first delivered on or around April 18th, I inspected the cabinets and they appeared “blotchy.” I had **** ***** come to the house to inspect them, and he was also dissatisfied with the quality. He called in ********* representative **** **** to inspect as well, and the decision was made to re-order the cabinets. In mid-June, **** ***** delivered the second corner cabinet to my house and stated to the effect that he was embarrassed by the look of the cabinets and was disappointed with the actions of *********. **** ***** followed this conversation with an email stating that, “I haven’t been happy with the quality of the finish and the consistency of the finished product.” Further, in a phone call dated June 29th, **** ******** stated, in reference to pieces of wood with “striping issues” which he had seen pictures of, that he did not understand how those pieces were able to leave the factory. However, on July 5th **** did an about face as he stood in my kitchen, with my legal counsel present, stating that the finish is normal and natural for this type of wood, that some people even like the look, and that the cabinets are of the highest quality.
These contradictions continue. In a conversation in June with **** *****, he stated that he would not recommend the butterscotch stain and chocolate glaze combination, which I ordered, to future clients. This statement is enlightened by the fact that **** ****, the ********* representative, came to my house shortly after installation of cabinets and took two doors for “re-training purposes.” However, **** flatly told me on July 5th that Direct Buy and ********* continue to offer this stain and glaze combination.
Additionally, I obtained a copy of the re-order form for my cabinet faces, dated July 6th, from **** *****, and the reason for warranty reads: “721921 - Poor Finish on Doors.” Based on all of these comments and actions, it is unclear why Direct Buy North is in denial about the quality of these cabinets, and it is my opinion that these contradictory statements show some hidden agenda to protect ********* at the cost of villainizing the customer who has received a totally sub-par and defective product. These actions call into question Direct Buy North’s customer service and their business practices as a whole.
Customer Service/Business Practices:
Direct Buy of Pittsburgh North, along with its franchisor Direct Buy and its manufacturers, specifically *********, operate under a veil of secrecy. As a paying member, I am expected to, and in fact have been required to, contract away all of my rights. In return I have received zero respect and honesty, and am continually treated as a second class citizen and a “problem customer.” Direct Buy North refers only to me as “member,” as if I am some commodity they must be burdened with. Through this entire process, Direct Buy North does not reveal any names, phone numbers, or emails. If they do reveal a name, it is only a first name. They allow you only one contact to speak with, in my case **** *****, who has referred to himself as the “face” and “voice” of Direct Buy North. From the moment the cabinets were first delivered I requested to speak and meet with **** ********, the owner. At the time I knew him only as “****,” and all of my requests were continually rebuffed by the “face” of Direct Buy North. It was not until I retained legal counsel, and my counsel was able to track down a last name and email for ********, that “****” finally contacted me and agreed to meet with me at my house—nearly two months after I first requested to speak with him.
I have been told by the franchisor, Direct Buy’s Member Services Department, that this issue will require us to “think outside the box.” However, I was excluded from such call as they were discussing the solution for the nearly $13,000 worth of cabinetry I ordered. Additionally, I was told by **** ******** that the ********* Production Manager would be in contact with me to discuss my re-order. I was never contacted by any such person, and it was not until I requested the re-order form from Direct Buy North and called the ********* “800” number on it that I was able to speak with such a person—for whom I only had a first name. My entire dealings with Direct Buy North have been nothing but false promises and delay tactics.
These delay tactics are continual and have cost me thousands of dollars. I initially ordered the cabinets on February 28, 2013, and they arrived for installation on April 17, 2013. This is the time when the defects were discovered, and both **** ***** and **** **** came to inspect the cabinets. On approximately May 6, 2013, the decision to re-order the cabinets was made and I was told it would take approximately three and a half weeks for them to be ready. As the arrival date came and passed, I continually asked **** ***** for updates. In an email dated June 18, 2013 he stated, “No word yet.” It was not until I requested a meeting with **** ***** at the Direct Buy North showroom on June 27, 2013 that he informed me the cabinets had never been ordered. It took nearly seven weeks for them to finally inform us that the cabinets had not been ordered, and during that time Direct Buy North allowed me to order $4,500 worth of granite counter tops and a sink from them, full well knowing my cabinets had never been ordered. Had I not continually requested information on the order, I am fully confident I would still be waiting under the assumption that my cabinets had been ordered.
Because of these lies and delay tactics, I have now been without a kitchen since before April 17, 2013—nearly three months. My wife and I have been without a central room in our home for nearly three months, and were forced to eat out nearly every night for two months. Additionally, the re-order time for any piece takes the better part of four weeks, which is an eternity when trying to complete a kitchen re-model, and it increases the overall costs by constantly having to bring back a contractor to finish the work piecemeal. Most of all, Direct Buy North’s delay tactics cost me the opportunity to pursue action against them through my credit card company. These are only several of the points that are indicative of their “customer service” and their overall business tactics.
Most astonishing, and most frustrating, is that Direct Buy North violated my rights under the contract and is now using that contract to hold me hostage, essentially forcing me to buy a new kitchen entirely through Direct Buy North. When the cabinets first arrived and I refused to install them because they were defective, both **** ***** and **** **** told me install them anyway. I likened this decision to jumping from the frying pan into the fire, and was uneasy about installing them. I specifically asked **** ***** if Direct Buy North would "take care of this" if anything went wrong and he indicated “yes.” Although **** ******** assured me that installing the cabinets has not limited my ability to have new faces remanufactured, I have almost entirely lost my ability to get my money back for these cabinets. My requests for a refund have been consistently rebuked because of my “contract” with Direct Buy North, and I am now locked into second re-order with cabinets I dislike and a manufacturer I have no faith in yet has been continually pushed upon me as “the highest of quality.” Without the ability to get my money back and re-order new cabinets from a different manufacturer, I am locked into a kitchen scheme completely based off those cabinets. Worst of all, Direct Buy North stands to profit mightily at my expense. If this project does not turn out as desired, my entire home will lose value and all because Direct Buy North and ********* pushed me, against my wishes, in to installing these cabinets—which I was completely and wholly dissatisfied with. This is their idea of customer service and “taking care of me.”
And finally, **** ******** has the audacity to act like some knight in shining armor, riding in to save the day by working with the manufacturer to appease the difficult customer. **** ******** is nothing but used car salesmen peddling second-hand goods and sloppy seconds. ******** did nothing but delay this process and offered no goodwill until I retained legal counsel. It is my firm belief that Direct Buy and ********* are one in the same, and that is the reason why Direct Buy North pushed ********* on me, why they have been so reluctant to help me with these issues, and why they have continually delayed this process, costing me thousands of dollars, all while Direct Buy North and ********* continue to profit at my expense. Though I have no direct evidence of this relationship or their intent, I feel that all of their actions, as discussed above, and the actions I did not even have time to get into, are evidence of this fraudulent relationship. The evidence of the facts discussed above are in the cabinets themselves, presently sitting half installed in my home and being re-manufactured as we speak. Additionally, most of the phone and personal conversations I have had with these people have been witnessed by others or memorialized in emails.
My issues with Direct Buy North are no longer focused on getting a full monetary refund. It states in my contract with Direct Buy North: “When you purchase cabinets through DirectBuy you are buying them as a Dealer…and DirectBuy realizes no profit from this purchase.” As I have come to learn in recent days, Direct Buy retains approximately an 8% handling fee from these transactions. This “handling fee” is supposed to cover an inspection of the goods before it is delivered to the “member.” However, as I and numerous other “members” can tell you, Direct Buy does not inspect the goods before they are delivered. In fact, the contract specifically states that the responsibility of inspecting all the goods falls onto the “member.” As such, this “handling fee” is nothing but a fraudulent kickback, further evidence that Direct Buy North has a direct interest in protecting the manufacturer and avoiding getting their paying member a full refund when these cabinets are clearly defective. I believe this fraudulent kickback should be investigated immediately by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General’s Office.
Based on the foregoing, I reject Direct Buy North’s response, and am seeking a full refund of my purchase price because I do not believe, with 100 attempts, that ********* could manufacture quality cabinetry worth $13,000. Additionally, I want to see Direct Buy North’s BBB rating reduced based on the deceitful delay tactics and non-existent customer service I have discussed above. Finally, I would like to see all of Direct Buy North’s business practices, especially the fraudulent “handling fee,” investigated by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.
Business Response: All the doors, drawer fronts, and molding that is unacceptable to the homeowner has been reorder according to the agreement prepared by the homeowner's lawyer. ********* is one of many suppliers used at DirectBuy and has no other affiliation with or to DirectBuy. The request to replace 100% of the doors, drawer fronts, and much of the molding is highly unusual.
Given the cost to the manufacture they were very reluctant to remake such a large portion of the project, but have agreed to remake the product in an attempt to satisfy the homeowner. This request did require several approvals at the manufacture's end and took some time to complete.
The homeowner requested that they not be responsible for the cost to remove and replace the products, even though they agreed in writing, when they ordered the cabinets, that in the event product needed to be reordered that they, the homeowner, would be responsible for all labor cost. Between the manufacture, the franchisor, and the franchisee we are going to pay for the cost of the labor for the services required.
All parties involved are attempting to do whatever possible to satisfy the homeowner and complete their kitchen remodel. The replacement parts are due to be delivered within the next 7 to 10 days.
I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and have determined that this does not resolve my complaint. For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.
I have presented ample evidence that the cabinets were not merely “unacceptable,” but that they were in fact defective and did not meet the manufacturer’s warranties and any and all express or implied warranties of merchantability. I just viewed the replacement cabinet faces which arrived nearly two weeks past their supposed arrival date. Again, the cabinets fail to meet all standards of quality and are blotchy, uneven, and “consistently inconsistent.” It has now been three months since DirectBuy stated they would correct this problem, and I do not believe with one hundred attempts ********* could manufacture a quality cabinet face.
Today, DirectBuy’s representative **** showed me a cabinet face produced by ********* that was in his office. The cabinet face was not one of*********** sample/showroom faces, and it had the same poor finish and poor quality craftsmanship all of my cabinets have. If I had been shown this cabinet face prior to ordering, I would never have ordered these sub-standard doors. I feel DirectBuy completely and dishonestly misrepresented these cabinets and that I was pushed into purchasing cabinets that DirectBuy knew could never meet the supposed quality standards that are displayed in their samples and showroom.
Further, DirectBuy states that ********* is one of their many suppliers and has no other affiliation with DirectBuy. However, ********* is ********** line of cabinets offered exclusively through DirectBuy. When DirectBuy states they are giving you below market price on these “quality cabinets” it is a lie because there is no market for these supposed “quality cabinets.” At the end of the day DirectBuy is ********* and ********* is DirectBuy. All of their below market pricing and the 8% handling fee DirectBuy charges is nothing but a scam and fraudulent misrepresentation. I will be seeking a full refund of the purchase price of the cabinets based on the defective cabinets not meeting their warranties and DirectBuy’s fraudulent misrepresentation.
BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable offer to resolve the complaint. However the consumer did not accept the offer.
|4/11/2013||Problems with Product/Service|
|7/24/2012||Problems with Product/Service|
|4/26/2011||Problems with Product/Service|