FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Basic Information

  1. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE NOTICE?

    If you received a Notice, it is because you purchased a DirectBuy membership in the United States or Canada that was in force between October 11, 2002 and March 22, 2013. Class action lawsuits have been filed regarding DirectBuy. The Court in charge of those lawsuits has given its preliminary approval to a Settlement of these lawsuits. The Court has ordered that a Notice be sent to all Class Members because you have a right to know about a proposed Settlement of the lawsuits before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement.

  2. WHAT IS THIS CASE ABOUT?

    Plaintiffs claim that DirectBuy’s marketing materials, financing, and membership sales practices fail to disclose material information and are otherwise improper, that DirectBuy receives payments from vendors, manufacturers, and suppliers that DirectBuy improperly fails to pass along to consumers, that DirectBuy’s charges to consumers are inappropriate, and that all of these practices violate the law in various ways.

    DirectBuy and other Defendants deny that they did anything wrong or that they are liable for damages to anyone. DirectBuy and other Defendants contend that their marketing, membership sales, and financing practices are proper and lawful and that there is nothing misleading or improper about DirectBuy’s practices.

    The Court has not found that Defendants did anything wrong and has not made any rulings on the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims.

  3. WHO IS IN THE SETTLEMENT?

    The following three groups of people are part of the Class, meaning they are affected by the Settlement.

    1. Current DirectBuy Members:
      You are a Current DirectBuy Member if you purchased a DirectBuy membership in the United States or Canada and were a DirectBuy member as of March 22, 2013.
    2. Former DirectBuy Members (not including Defaulted DirectBuy Members, defined below):
      You are a Former DirectBuy Member if you were not a DirectBuy member as of March 22, 2013, but you purchased a DirectBuy membership in the United States or Canada, and you were a DirectBuy Member at any point between October 11, 2002 and March 22, 2013. This does not include Defaulted DirectBuy Members.
    3. Defaulted DirectBuy Members:
      You are a Defaulted DirectBuy Member if you purchased a DirectBuy membership in the United States or Canada, you were a DirectBuy Member at any point between October 11, 2002 and March 22, 2013, you financed the purchase of the membership through Beta Finance Company, Inc., and if your membership was cancelled for failure to make financing payments.
  4. WHAT DOES THE SETTLEMENT PROVIDE AND WHAT DO CLASS MEMBERS GIVE UP?

    The Settlement benefits available to you depend on which of three categories you fall into:

    1. Current DirectBuy Members:
      If you are a Current DirectBuy Member, and if you submit a timely and valid claim form, then once the Court approves this Settlement, you will get the benefit you selected on the claim form. That benefit will either be a cash payment from the settlement fund or a $10 discount on a future order of $20 or more (in US or Canadian dollars, whichever is applicable) through DirectBuy’s online ordering service. The calculation of the amount of the cash payment is explained in Question 5 below.
    2. Former DirectBuy Members (not including Defaulted DirectBuy Members, defined below):
      If you are a Former DirectBuy Member, and if you submit a timely and valid claim form, then once the Court approves this Settlement, you will receive a cash payment. The amount of this payment will be calculated as explained in Question 5 below. This does not include Defaulted DirectBuy Members.
    3. Defaulted DirectBuy Members:
      If you are a Defaulted DirectBuy Member , then once the Court approves this Settlement, Beta will agree not to collect any charged and unpaid late fees you incurred and owe to Beta for failure to make financing payments to Beta. You do not need to submit a claim form to receive this benefit.

      Only one application for benefits will be honored per DirectBuy membership.
  5. HOW WILL THE PAYMENTS BE CALCULATED?

    Defendants will create a fund of $1,900,000 as part of the Settlement. Class Counsel will apply for an award of attorneys’ fees of no more than $900,000 from this fund and the Plaintiffs will apply for an award of no more than $500 each from this fund. Certain other expenses will also be deducted from the fund. After the Court determines these amounts, those amounts will be subtracted from the settlement fund. The cash payment made to each Current and Former DirectBuy Member who submits a claim seeking a cash payment will be equal to the cash remaining in the Settlement fund divided by the number of eligible class members who submit valid and timely claim forms requesting a cash payment.

  6. HOW DO I GET A SETTLEMENT BENEFIT?

    If you are a Defaulted DirectBuy Member, you do not need to do anything to receive the non-collection of charged and unpaid late fees described above. You will receive that benefit if the Court approves this Settlement and if you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement.

    If you are a Current DirectBuy Member or a non-defaulted Former DirectBuy Member, you must file a timely and valid Claim Form with the information requested in the Claim Form in order to receive a settlement benefit. The information requested includes:

    • Your current address and contact information;
    • Your DirectBuy Membership Number, which is included with the Notice you received; and
    • You must affirm under penalty of perjury that you have not previously released Defendants from liability concerning the claims in this case between October 11, 2002 and March 22, 2013.

    You can access the Claim Form by clicking here. If you choose to complete the Claim Form, it must be returned by June 11, 2013. You may instead submit a Claim Form electronically by clicking here, which must also be completed by June 11, 2013. Read the instructions carefully and fill out the form completely.

  7. WHEN WILL I GET MY SETTLEMENT BENEFITS?

    Current and Former DirectBuy Members: Benefits will be distributed only after the Court approves the Settlement. If the Settlement is approved and becomes final, and if you submitted a timely and valid claim form, your cash payment, or if you are eligible, your discount certificate, will be sent within 60 days of the Settlement approval becoming final.

    Defaulted DirectBuy Members: Once the settlement is approved and becomes final, the non-collection of your charged and unpaid late fees will automatically take effect.

  8. DO I HAVE A LAWYER IN THIS CASE?

    The Court ordered that the law firms of Cohen & Malad, LLP, and Brager, Eagel & Squire, P.C., will represent you and all Class Members. These law firms are called Settlement Class Counsel. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

  9. HOW WILL CLASS COUNSEL BE PAID?

    Class Counsel will ask the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of expenses in an amount not to exceed $900,000. Defendants have agreed to take no position on any request up to this amount. A copy of the request, after it is filed, will be available on the Important Documents Page. The Court may consider the request at the fairness hearing on September 10, 2013. The amount of fees and expenses awarded to Class Counsel by the Court will be paid from the $1,900,000 fund that Defendants have agreed to provide as part of the Settlement.

  10. WHAT ARE MY OTHER OPTIONS?
    • You can exclude yourself from the Class and the Settlement. If you choose this option you will not be a member of the Class and will not receive any benefits of the Settlement. The procedure for excluding yourself is explained below in Question 11.
    • You may object to the Settlement. The procedure for objecting is explained below in Question 12.
  11. HOW DO I EXCLUDE MYSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT?

    To exclude yourself from the Class, you must send a letter by first class mail saying that you want to be excluded from the Jamila Swift v. DirectBuy, Inc. Settlement. Send the letter to:

    Swift v. Direct Buy Settlement Administrator
    PO Box 3719
    Portland, OR 97208-3719

    Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. Your exclusion request must be postmarked on or before June 11, 2013. You cannot exclude yourself by telephone or by e-mail.

  12. HOW DO I OBJECT TO THE SETTLEMENT?

    If you’re a Class Member, you can object to the Settlement, the Class Representative Awards, the motion for an award of attorneys’ fees, or the motion for certain other expenses to be paid from the Settlement fund, if you wish. You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve the Settlement, the Class Representative Awards, the attorneys’ fees, or the other expenses requested. The Court will consider your views.

    To object, you must send a letter saying that you object to the proposed Settlement in the Jamila Swift v. DirectBuy, Inc. litigation. You must include your name, address, telephone number, and signature. You must also state the reasons why you object. A full explanation of what information you should include in your objection is contained in the Court’s Order Preliminarily Approving the Settlement, which is available on the Important Documents page of this website. Mail copies of the objection to each of the following addresses, so that they are received no later than August 13, 2013:

    COURTCLASS COUNSELDEFENSE COUNSEL
    Clerk of the Court
    United States District Court
    5400 Federal Plaza
    Hammond, IN 46320
    Richard E. Shevitz
    Cohen & Malad, LLP
    One Indiana Square, Suite 1400
    Indianapolis, IN 46204

    Larry Eagel
    Bragar Eagel & Square PC
    885 Third Avenue, Suite 3040
    New York, NY 10022

    John W. Davis
    Attorney at Law
    501 W. Broadway, Suite 800
    San Diego, CA 92101

    David Marcus
    Graves Bartle Marcus & Garrett, LLC
    1100 Main Street, Suite 2700
    Kansas City, MO 64105
    P. Russell Perdew
    Locke Lord LLP
    111 South Wacker Drive
    Chicago, IL 60606
  13. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OBJECTING AND EXCLUDING MYSELF?

    Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you cannot object because the Settlement no longer affects you.

  14. WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T EXCLUDE MYSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT?

    If the Settlement is approved, you will give up the right to sue Defendants and other Released Parties on your own (or to be a part of any other lawsuit against Defendants and other Released Parties) concerning the claims that this Settlement resolves. The only way to keep this right is to exclude yourself from the Settlement as described below.

    If you have a pending lawsuit bringing claims that this Settlement resolves, speak to a lawyer about that case immediately. You must exclude yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit. Remember the exclusion deadline is June 11, 2013

    If you are a Defaulted DirectBuy Member, you preserve your defenses if certain collection attempts are made against you. For a full explanation of this provision and for the complete details regarding the Released Claims and Released Parties, please refer to the Settlement Agreement located on the Important Documents page of this website. You may also contact Class Counsel directly. Class Counsel’s contact information is located in Question 12.

  15. WHAT HAPPENS IF I EXCLUDE MYSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT?

    If you exclude yourself from the Class, you will keep the right to sue the Defendants, but you will not receive any benefits from this Settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit. If you exclude yourself, do not send in a Claim Form to ask for any of the Settlement Benefits. You cannot exclude yourself and also receive any Settlement Benefits.

  16. WHEN AND WHERE WILL THE COURT DECIDE WHETHER TO APPROVE THE SETTLEMENT?

    The Court will hold a Settlement Fairness Hearing at 10:00 am on September 10, 2013 at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in Fort Wayne, Indiana. At that hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court will decide whether to allow people who have asked to speak at the hearing to do so. The Court will also decide how much to pay Class Counsel and the Plaintiffs. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. Class Counsel and Defense Counsel will attend the hearing and answer any questions the Court may have. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but you are permitted to attend without an attorney.

  17. MAY I SPEAK AT THE HEARING?

    If you object to the Settlement, you may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must send a written notice of your intent to appear that includes the statement, "I give notice that I intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing in Jamila Swift v. DirectBuy, Inc." Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. If you intend to have any witnesses testify or to introduce any evidence at the Fairness Hearing, you must list the witnesses and evidence in your written notice of intention to appear.

    Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be sent to the Court, Class Counsel, and Defense Counsel, at the addresses located in Question 12, postmarked no later than twenty-eight (28) days prior to the Fairness Hearing.

    You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the Settlement.

  18. HOW CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

    The Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement available on the Important Documents Page. You may also call the following toll free number if you have questions: 1-866-855-9790.

    Please do not write or call the Court or the Clerk’s office for information.