Hey there @ErnieB,
Sorry you had that experience! It sounds like you may have misunderstood what the service was. It's clearly explained, both here and here, what the service entails. It's always good to do research on services you're planning on buying so that you can avoid the disappointment of it not doing what you want.
I do agree that trying to do it yourself is a much cheaper option but that would be hard to do if the domain owner has domain protection to hide their contact details. It's a useful service if used correctly.
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If you're interested in a Premium Domain worth possibly hundreds or thousands of dollars Domain Buy Service is a small price to pay to have someone to facilitate the transaction. I'd always recommend using a third party to verify it goes smooth, be it GoDaddy or another provider the cost is about the same. Even if you negotiate a deal on your own you should have that middleman to make sure the domain is actually transferred to your account. Below I'll copy&paste a previous post I made about the benefits and drawbacks of this service...
I have never purchased the Domain Buy service as a buyer, but they have contacted me as a potential seller. It has the benefits of being seen as a serious offer and if an agreement is made you have a 3rd party making sure the transaction between the buyer and seller is on the up and up.
The drawbacks for the buyer are they may not be able to get into contact with the current owner or they may respond back there's no interest in selling. But if a potential seller does indicate interest in selling there is negotiation on the price. They can accept an offer, counter offer, decline... but keep in mind there is no obligation for a given domain owner to participate unless they make a deal and they aren't required to give a reason.
So it is a great service if a deal is made, but not so good if it doesn't happen. C'est la vie.