By Kurtis Ming

RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) — Tim and Bela Kriner spent more than $5,000 for their membership to Direct Buy, but the company closed its showroom before they bought anything.

When they couldn’t get any of their money back they called Kurtis.

DirectBuy has showrooms across the country. For your thousands of dollars, you get a membership that grants you access to wholesale prices on their furnishings and materials.

So what should happen when the only showroom in our area closes?

The walls of the Kriners’ dream home are going up — a new home with a beautiful view.

They spent $5351.78 for a two-year membership to the DirectBuy showroom in Rocklin.

“There’s a large amount of money upfront, but the goal was to save money,” he said.

Flooring, cabinets and window coverings at wholesale prices would save them a lot of money, the couple said.

But in August the showroom suddenly closed.

“Just when we’re ready to buy a bunch of stuff from them, they’re no longer there,” Bela said.

The couple said DirectBuy corporate refused to refund their membership fee, telling them to visit the Mountain View showroom more than two hours away.

They said that’s too far, and they don’t want to buy online or through DirectBuy’s catalogue without seeing items in person.

“If that showroom wasn’t there, there’s no way we would have bought that,” Tim said. “The whole purpose of buying that was that showroom.”

Consumer attorney Wendy York reviewed the Kriner’s two-year contract and thinks it’s unreasonable to expect them to drive to Mountain View.

“There’s a total breach of contract,” York said.

But York said DirectBuy only owes the couple a partial refund for not having access to the Rocklin showroom for the full two years.

“They need to honor the agreement and reimburse the pro-rata amount back to the consumer,” she said.

We reached out to DirectBuy which wouldn’t reveal how many other Sacramento area customers are affected.

The company confirmed the Kriners “had not made a single purchase using their membership”, but said they only had four months left on their membership.

The Kriners said after we got involved, DirectBuy offered a partial refund of $1,000 dollars which would be roughly the pro-rated amount left on the contract.

Bela doesn’t think that’s enough.

“I wouldn’t recommend them to anybody,” he said.

The Kriners’ contract says any disputes must go through arbitration. The couple said that’s their next step.

DirectBuy said it has a team of home shopping experts able to help members who can’t visit showrooms.


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