There are essentially two different USB "super classes", USB device and USB host.I have the most experience with using PIC micrcontroller.
There are numerous ARM development boards available with an ARM which offers a USB peripheral module.Related to this question would be, what is a good board to get introduction to ARM class devices?
I would tend to agree as I've had similar experiences as well.I once bought a PIC board from China/Hong Kong, it was a terrible experience. The board did not work and a lot of documentation was not even in English to begin with. I just thought, well, never again.