Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Direct Buy - Scam or Consumerism at its finest?


Speaking of consumerism, let me tell you about our experience this weekend. Dena has been bugging me to go to this Direct Buy open house. You've seen the ads on TV? They'll save you money buy allowing you to buy direct! Yeah, right. I knew I was in trouble when I found out that it's an invite only, "open house" to a membership club. Sounded sort of time sharey to me.

But, in true supportive spouse fashion and a little "I'll do anything to make my girlfriend happy" thrown in for good measure, I went. I was a skeptic when I watched the ad on TV and turned more sceptical the moment we were greeted at the front door. We were immediately assigned a "greeter or guide" who takes us to a table, chats us up, feeds us donuts and coffee and tries to make us at ease. Mr. Slick #1 we'll call him. Then at the appointed hour we are ushered along with other "families" to the presentation room. Mr. Slick #2 gives a little spiel and we watch some truly horrible presentation. The presentation was so repetitious I thought I would knife myself. It was definitely written to the lowest common denominator but really points towards brain washing. Join and we will save you money on all your large purchases. After all, you're going to buy it anyways, right?

Also during the presentation Mr. Slick #2 engages the audience in direct participation, a very basic tactic in direct pushy sales. Near the end of the presentation the bomb is dropped. $6,000 to join for the first two years and $ 200 per year thereafter. You'll save that right, because after all, you "consume" ~ $ 15,000 in consumer large goods every year, so imagine what buying power you'll have now! Who are they kidding? In this economy? They tried to tell me that you buy a fridge every 8 - 10 years. Are you kidding??? I make that son of a bitch last til it leaks all over the kitchen!

After the presentation we are ushered out into the showroom (a big room with tons of manufacturer's catalogs) and our "guide" meets us. We're back to Mr. Slick #1. Dena wanted to find out about their kitchen cabinets. She wanted to know if they were green. I wanted to know their price on bamboo flooring because I thought it was my chance to find out inside info because G-D knows I'm not joining! I'll give you that six grand over my dead body. So we met their very inexperienced kitchen designer and during that process we are suddenly surrounded by 4 people. Seriously, surrounded. my mind immediately shifted to the flight or fight philosophy. Neither won and instead I gave an excellent barb into Mr. Slick #2. In his effort to "get to know me" he admitted he was Microsoft Certified. I replied, "If you're a propeller head then what the hell are you doing here selling memberships?" I left him speechless and the circle of sales terror was broken. hehe

I did however, find out the price of bamboo "hand shaved" flooring, $ 3.99 per square foot. It varies from $ 2.99 to $3.99 manufacturer's cost. I'll let you know if that's really a bargain when I go to the flooring store. You MUST join right then and there, no thinking about it. You wil never be invited back. That's some high pressure. Oh, by the way, if you join, you can never use the pricing info to bargain with retailers, an 8% "handling fee" is added to all orders except some electronics, all purchases must be picked up at the Direct Buy warehouse and there is like a five week delivery on just basic normally in stock stuff. Run I say, RUN!!! If you are susceptible at all to high pressure sales, do not even enter the building.

Search the web if you don't believe me, use direct buy opinions as a starting search.

77 comments:

Anonymous said...

You were closed minded throughout the entire presentation process, thus not absorbing anything. Now you're the expert in this way of buying telling the world. I've been a member for 3 years and saved $25K. A 37 year track record of DirectBuy must mean it's a scam. Plus I'm certain that hundreds of brandname manufacturers would place their catalog on their shelves and run their own name through the mud in honor of a "scam" Quit fearing what you don't understand and try making an educated decision on the things you encounter in the future.

Dawn said...

As you can imagine, I had to answer this comment. I chuckle at your words and wonder how long you've been employed by Direct Buy or employed by a web surfing company (with a contract to Direct Buy) for just this purpose. Are you in India by any chance...hehe.
DirectBuy is quite a scam and in order for you to save $ 25,000 you would have had to spend a minimum of $ 100,000. This is exactly the wild consumerism that has driven this country in the recession it is in today. I fear your stupidity and the stupidity of all those who have joined and felt obligated to consume and consume to get their money's worth. The only time Direct Buy would make any sense is if you were a contractor selling houses, fully furnished....

Anonymous said...

Amen to that sister! Direct Buy wants 1/3 of your discretionary income to join, then when you read the small print, you basically don't have any rights when it comes to the products you purchase. Smarten up Direct Buy groupee! Are you buying things you need or just trying to justify the price of joining?

Anonymous said...

Just came from a direct buy open house. What a waste of time. First they told us that if we make $60,000 a year, that we have $20,000 "discretionary income"...ok we make around that amount per year but do we have $20,000 a year to spend on furniture, appliances, and electronics???? NO!!!! I think they must consider food, gas and clothing expenses to be "discretionary". Secondly I asked about how a manufacturer's warranty would work - the muddled answer, apparently, is that you have to deal directly with the manufacturer! So if your refrigerator breaks a month after you buy it, that means YOU are responsible for sending it back to the manufacturer (I wonder how much THAT costs!) I walked in thinking it was a scam and walked out KNOWING it IS a scam. And to top it all off, we're now "banned" from joining for 7 years. I can only hope that means they won't call us for a second chance!!

demillicent said...

Direct buy is a scam. I think it would be great for someone who is building a home and need lots of products. But for the average person it's simply a ripoff. If you don't have lots of money to spend, you won't save much.


Another problem with them is that they have products that You don't get much of a deal with. I was unable to find any really good furniture to compare their prices with. They have Ashley furniture. But you can go to Ashley Fruniture and get the stuff in many cases for less than they are selling it for. Ashley Furniture is not considered top of the line furniture of course.

I wish I hadn't joined because it has been a total waste of money for me.

Anonymous said...

We joined Direct Buy 2 years ago and immediately regretted spending the money. We went in thinking we could swing $1000 membership but that was as high as we would go. Are they pushy? Yes, but then my husband is in retail so we understand pushy and figured we could deal with it, as it was expected. However, within 4 months, our diswasher passed on to a new life, so we figured what the heck! We saved almost $100 alone on that item, and when we needed someone to look at it (because I couldn't read the directions right)the repair cost nothing, warrenty covered. Now, as expected we would, we are remodeling the kitchen. The cabinets alone have saved us $16,000 (yea, we went big!). Refridgerator, Oven, cooktop another $2000. So buyer beware. Go in there with an open mind, and if you have major renovations on the mind, it is a great deal.

Anonymous said...

This Company should be investigated by the FBI. It is a Scam at is finest. I joined and the same day I jioned I wanted to cancel my check and was threatened to be sued. Everything is "Suggested" Retail price...Have you ever looked at the suggested retail price of a car compared to what you actually pay.
I can suggest what ever price I want then come off the regular price and tell you you saved thousands when you just payed the normal price. plus the aggravation of going to pick it up and waiting forever to get your items and you had better inspect it good before you leave because there are
NO RETURNS..This is the biggest scam I ever saw I'm usually smarter than this..PLEASE Do not fall for this.

Juliana said...

I like you Dawn and I like your fun honesty with the person who's a3 year member & saved $25K. I will be building my home from the ground up here in south Mississippi in April of next year. I was thinking of going to DirectBuy ...but Not Now!! Thank you for your help & guidance. Juliana

Anonymous said...

I am immediately suspicious of any offer that is only good for a "limited time". It's a textbook high-pressure sales tactic and guarantees that the average consumer can't do any homework before plunking down several thousands of dollars.

If anyone ever tells you that this excellent offer they're trying to sell you on is only good for a short time, you should IMMEDIATELY walk away.

Businesses who are honest want their consumers to do their homework and make an informed choice.

Anonymous said...

I just came from a Direct Buy Open House and it was a total waste of my 2 hours which I could have spent working. Noted that their showroom was located at an out of the way and hard to find location. They must be hiding something. From all the hoopla regarding the savings from hundreds of manufacturers, they best price they could come up for my wood flooring was $4.45 per square ft. They can't even beat the price of the wood flooring company I went to at $3.39 per square ft. It's just ironic considering that their sales pitch is "saving." If their products and services are really that great they would not "force" us into joining and paying $5000+++ on the day of the presentation with a "threat" to ban us for 7 years. I say ban me! Only desperate and unethical companies "force" its customers to decide to buy their product and/or service there and then. If this is the case, hey I'd rather pay retail. At least I'll be helping the U.S. economy that way.

Brian said...

I agree that this is a scam, I have been a member since March 09 and I have only been able to make one purchase. Every time I want to buy something it is a hassle. The website is totally unusable, so you are forced to go into the store and use the catalogs in the showroom where you will find people with little to no product knowledge. So each time I had a question about a product, it would take two weeks to get an answer. Then when it was all said and done I ended up buying my furniture at a retailer, who got me exactly what I wanted for less money and they through in delivery to my house, and gave me a 30 day money back guarantee all things Direct Buy cant do! So I have a question, I financed the fee from their Beta Finance Company, does anyone know how to get out of it?

Thanks,
Brian

Anonymous said...

My fiancee and I visited on Friday at the Richmond, VA location. As we drove up the owner was infront of us driving his $80K crossover. We were early and he sat down to get to know us.

Every thing brought me memories of the sales cycle from timeshares. Half way thought the video presentation I woke up and started stretching in case I needed to kick the closer's A$$ for questioning my decisions and values. After the forth time of saying no my fiancee calmly said the right words to get us out the door. No brass knuckles,EMTs or SWAT.

Save your money unless you have a ton of cash going into a new house.

Judie said...

I just received a call from Direct Buy inviting my husband and I to an open house. My husband is deployed and I am handicapped in a wheelchair. My parents are with me now until mmy husband returns from Iraq. I told the person from Direct Buy that and she said that only my husband could accompany me, not my parents who I need to push the wheelchair. I was told "NO" that is not possible. I have never been treated with such disrespect. I have written to the attorney general, department off justice and the ADA.
Will blog again when I get an answer. Judie

Anonymous said...

We joined Direct Buy several years ago, and the high pressure tactics were obvious. (What has been stated previously is accurate.)

I can honestly say that with certain items they are HUGELY less expensive. (Even with the delivery fee and extraneous charges.)

What made pause was when our local branch stopped accepting American Express. (There has to be a reason for it, and that reason is likely that Amex REQUIRES retail purchases to adhere to certain rules. ...and that tells me that Direct Buy doesn't want to stand by it's clients.)

So we've opted to cancel our membership for the time being.

If you are buying cabinets and counter tops all the time... it pays.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be lawsuits from coast to coast against Directbuy:

Phil Ganezer et al. v. DirectBuy, Inc et al
Case No. CV-08-8666 GAF
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

Ponzi et al v. DirectBuy Inc et al
Case Number: 3:2008cv01274
Court: Connecticut District Court

Randall et al v. DirectBuy, Inc. et al
Case Number: 4:2009cv00243
Missouri Eastern District Court

Wilson et al v. DirectBuy Inc et al
Case Number 3:2009cv00590
Connecticut District Court



http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/18151130/detail.html

http://blogs.courant.com/george_gombossy/2008/05/directbuy-enter-with-eyes-wide.html


http://edumacation.com/DirectBuy
has been documenting this DirectBuy Scam for a long time


And a court in British Columbia has a thing or two to say about DirectBuy:
http://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/judgments/pc/2002/01/p02_0197.htm

Anonymous said...

Thanks for saving me the time of stopping by there Dawn! I'll stick with IKEA or home Depot's home store, (or Ebay!!)!!!! (No, I don't work for IKEA, ha ha, I'm just a biological consultant furnishing a new home). Again, thanks for saving me the time to avoid a "time share hard sell"!

Rangerider said...

I just wanted to say thanks to the person who took the time to create this blog and thanks to everyone who contributed. I was just moments from going to my Direct Buy appointment when I read this. I probably would have ended up with my ass in jail. I don't take kindly to high pressure salemen, especially when I find out they running a scam.

Anonymous said...

If this was a good program builders and contractors would be buying from them. I bought GE appliances cheaper than buying direct through GE. Yes, I was actually able to but directly from GE. I purchased my GE appliances at Brands Mart and got them cheaper (not by much, just a little). But i did get better value in shipping and purchasing power. Contractors buy through authorized distributors for appliances, kitchen cabinets, etc. They generally get favorable pricing since they buy often, but you can buy from the distributor directly too. Maybe a little more, but not that much.

I outfitted my new home by dealing directly (through a distributor) and purchased my Kraft Maid cabinets for about $12,000, which included by bathroom vanities (3 baths). My kitchen is a good size 20 x 12 with a large island. Some companies inflate ther "retail" prices and people think they saved $25,000.

It's just like going to a furniture store and you see the couch on sale for 50% off with a crossed out list price of $6,000 and you buy it for $3,000. So did you really save $3,000? NOT! Same model applies here folks.

What consumers don't end up doing is comparing prices with other distributors, or retail thus thinking they are getting a good deal (based on the above example). How often does one buy kitchen cabinets? Huh, maybe once in a life time.

You also get better service when working with the distributor and or retailer. Did you ever buy a leather couch and it was delivered scratched? Most retailers exchange it with no problem and you get it delivered free and typically pretty quick.

Direct Buy is a buying network and they want a monthly fee from you to access their listed manufacturers. The internet is my buying network with many more channels to choose from.

Anonymous said...

I DO UNDERSTAND THE TACTICS OF DIRECT BUY MAY LEAVE U FEELING FORCED INTO SOMETHING THAT YOUR NOT SURE YOU WANT TO DO. BUT THE THING ABOUT IT IS THAT MY MEMBERSHIP WAS $3000. AND $190 A YEAR THEREAFTER. MYSELF AND MY HUSBAND PRICED EVERYTHING WE PLANNED TO PURCHASE PRIOR TO OUR APPT WITH DIRECT BUY. WE PLANNED TO REMODEL, HARDWOOD FLOORS, DINING ROOM, 3 BEDROOMS SETS, LIVING ROOM AND FAMILY ROOM. AFTER TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION THE PRICE OF RETAIL ONCE WE WENT TO DIRECT BUY WE SAW THE SAVINGS. WE WERE OFFRD A MEMBERSHIP FOR $6000 WITH $1000 DISCOUNT. WE SAW IT WAS A GREAT DEAL TO BE ABL TO BUY DIRECT SO MY HUSBAND NEGOTIATED VERY WELL I MIGHT ADD TO GET THE MEMBERSHIP FOR $3000. WE SAVED THAT ON OUR KING SIZE BEDROOM SET AND THE HARDWOOD FLOORS ALONE... PEOPLE NEED TO OPEN THEIR HORIZONS AND NOT ALWAYS THINK EVERYTHING IS A SCAM. DONT GET ME WRONG ITS NOT FOR EVERYONE BUT ITS NOT A SCAM EITHER. I HAVE HAD NO PROBLEMS THUS FAR....

southern05rose said...

Debbie

I did not know anything about this place until I went in. High pressure sales, is totally correct. I told them NO I wasn't interested and I couldn't afford it. And said NO again. They had 2 people after me. Between the 2 people changing shifts I tried to walk out and they stopped me. I was a fool and signed. They gave me a catalog and after research I found that I had a few items that were in their catalog & their suggested retail is a lie. I am like the other gentleman....HOW DO YOU GET OUT OF THE CONTRACT????

Anonymous said...

Well this doesn't sound like the place for me, however I would like some feedback.

My wife and I are in the process of buying a large house. We will need new furnishings (only top quality) throughout as well as some appliances. With a large purchase like this, would it benefit our particular situation?

Would like to hear from others
Ed

Anonymous said...

Just join Costco - high quality stuff with a great return policy. Even the membership is refundable if you're not happy.

Anonymous said...

Direct Buy is a huge scam. The internet is LOADED with positive reviews that are actually just the company itself posing as customers. They have an entire unit of people dedicated to cleaning up the internet sites that out them for a scam. They will probably sue you, too, be forwarned. They are scum.

Anonymous said...

Jinnay
Scam, scam, scam. High pressure tacticts. I'm not surprised they are being sued. They have you sign for other people and say it's just a membership then they get a bil for 6k and they hadn't put their signature and can prove they weren't even there. Where's the satisfaction guarantee? Who can ever find anything in any of those binders??? even the product specialist couldn't find what I wanted out of shelves and shelves and shelves of binders. Binders and more binders=scam scam scam. Don't do it.

Anonymous said...

Before they shut it down there were 611 complaints about DirectBuy on Informercialscams.com. Thankfully, and I'm talking to you DirectBuy people, you CANNOT shut down the internet entirely. To read those 611 complaints, even though the actual site has been cleaned up by DirectBuy, please, please go to:

http://web.archive.org/web/20080516052223/www.infomercialscams.com/scams/direct_buy_scams

Thank God for web.archive.org.

Steven said...

Directybuy isn't a scam because they are giving you what they tell you. Its however, not the greatest deal in the world.

If you aren't going to gut your house, and are just looking for small purchases, they aren't going to save you on those few purchases.

I am a custom home builder in New Jersey. I met my wife who was an interior decorator, she now works for me and on the side. Let me first say if you are going to buy tens of thousands of dollars, then a $5000 fee to have a one stop shop certainly isn't a large percentage of your cost. And lets face it, that amount of money to join probably isn't as significant to you as someone making 50k a year.

But if you are truly a deal hunter, I'll give you my advice. First, check mom and pop style stores that sell blinds/carpets/fixtures or furniture stores. If you go in and tell them you have tens of thousands in your budget and are shopping around, they will certainly cut you a deal. The dealers I deal with are always happy to take care of my customer's future needs at great discount. They will treat you like a small contractor, more than a homeowner, if you are spending a lot of money, because you are probably buying a lot more than the small contractors out there.

As far as furniture, I deal with a lot of custom builders in PA and NJ who really aren't that expensive. These are truly "direct manufactuers". Directbuy is paying salaries of those in the franchise showroom, plus their corporate headquarters. And they are certainly adding margins on top of the manufacturer's price to pay these people. In these times of recession, having 10 people working just to land a deal, goes to show they are wasting money on payroll. Take a drive to Amish country if you are in the northeast. Take a vacation and stop into these shops. Not only will you see prices are in the ballpark, they'll also do custom colors, knobs, etc for you. And they will install and repair without questions. You will get a direct contract with them stating they will guarentee their work. And if you are someone who can SAVE 15k on cabinetry, you are definantly able to pay that little more there may be, to have your dream cabinets over a stock (even if its well made) set.

My grandparents joined Directbuy as they live hours from me. Their experience was that they placed an order and were told 2 to 4 weeks for the table and chairs. After 5 weeks and no product they were told the manufacter didn't get enough orders, so they would have to continue to wait until the demand was there. Ashley Furniture does a similar wait and see approach, but I think they are better at actually getting you what they want because they seem to have more locations, thus more demand. This is from my wife's experience.

Steven 2 said...

My wife had a lot of customer's dropping Directbuy to her when she was quoted jobs. So we decided the $4500 would be a good investment for us, because in our lines of works we would at least know what they were offering and could go to her customer's with knowledge and know how to quote. Also, if we were truly going to save, we'd jump on it. We haven't seen that deal to justify a purchase yet. Sure, with my business, which was my father's, we have years of contacts. But maybe, you know someone in the industry who could work with you, or again, go to the places and let them know what you are going to spend and see if they move on price.

I also want to note the quality issue. Its well known that some companies cheapen products for some places, esp box stores. A pella floor at Home Depot is not the same quality as one a proper flooring store will sell you. I have talked to reps in flooring, cabinets, and even accessories (paint/ladders/tools/appliances) who all have told me this is the case. This I cannot verify as true to Directbuy, but I would reccomend you certainly look into it. Take a piece at Directbuy, get product code, and check with other dealers. Unfortunately, at this point, to see these prices, you would have joined.

Furniture quality wise, most people aren't buying because of name, they are purchasing based on price. That's why comanies are glad to get into Directbuy. Because even a cheap couch will probably last you ten years. And people with money, will probably be sick of the design and change it before then. So the company is glad to get one sell from you.

When I showed up they would only show you select prices in the showroom, which are the best deals. So, yes, one piece may save you 50%, but thats not really true of the entire selection. To be fair, this is what most retailers do. Put the big deals up front.

In my business, I am always happy to give references. I want my customers to be educated. For Directbuy to hide this, and go after people who blog about it, is quite scary. I have very high customer satisfaction, and when people aren't I fix it. That doesn't seem to be the case with them. Again, they are pretty up front about the return policy. So its all your call.

And if you don't want to shop around, go for it. I have people who I know aren't "rich" tell me they joined and feel bad for them. But some are happy, because they can save and not have to drive around. What your time and money are worth to you is your business.

Larry said...

My Husband and I were weak last night and tired. We have 3 days to cancel I am cancelling with a return receipt request and hand delivering another with receipt signature. AHH Don't know what we were thinking. What high pressure.

Anonymous said...

I Agree with most of you that scam is at its finest. What a waste of time! All the things they showed in the presentation as a regular price were inflated and directbuy price that they claimed to be the lowest was a complete lie too. A movado watch they showed and claimed that directbuy has the lowest $778 price, I checked on my blackberry (internet) right away and found that almost everyone out there was selling that exact model for $748. When I asked the presenter that question, they tried not to answer and took me to a room and said "directbuy is not for you". I just can't believe how these people are fooling many out there.

Anonymous said...

I am not a Direct Buy member nor have I "officially" gone through a tour. I am one of the vendors that works at one in AZ. Once a week I sit in a Direct Buy store and help customers with my particualr product, (window coverings). So I hear the DB sales staff take the people through the tours and I hear their sales pitch. I can't tell you about other vendors but with my company we have dropped our profit margin as low as it can go. We are 20%-30% less in price than our competitive retail price we sell to our regular customers. An average "normal" sale would be about $2000 and so you'd save about $400 - $600 with DB. A typical "DB" sale would be about $10,000 for a savings of $2000 - $3000. DIRECT BUY IS GEARED TOWARDS CUSTOMERS WHO LIKE HIGHER QUALITY PRODUCTS AND ARE BUILDING OR REMODELING A HOME. It's not a scam but it's not made for everyone. But most vendors in there are giving you a good deal or they'll get kicked out. Basically if you're going to buy cabinets, flooring, window coverings, electrical and lighting, it is meant for you. If you just occassionally buy high end appliances, furniture or electronics it's probably not for you. But I've talked with HUNDREDS of my customers who have bought from here and they say it was well worth the investment.

Anonymous said...

Only a complete fool would fork out cash in advance regardless of what it is...I am 100% sure now with all there is online that somewhere out there you can find if you search hard enough a company, a legit one that can offer you the same thinmg as direct buy without the small print scams...buyer beware

Anonymous said...

I'm sure glad I found this blog. My appointment was for 10:00 today, and I found it at 9:00. I am not going. I wonder when I will be called to reschedule.

Anonymous said...

I have been a member for 10 years. If you don't have major purchases coming up or remodeling your home don't join.

If the membership fee is too espensive for you, don't join.

If you don't make at least $100k a year, don't joing. the stuff your going to want to buy doesn't have that much mark up anyways.

If you can't wait 6 to 8 weeks (sometimes more) for your purchase, don't join.

If you don't like looking through catalogs, which I hate, don't join.

If however you like nice stuff and would spend $30k on kitchen cabinets or $25k for your living room furniture then join. A purchase like this one time will pay for your membership compared to the greatest discounts you could possible find in retail.


This is the facts of Direct Buy, like it, hate it, up to you.
Anyone that tells you this is a scam or you won't save anything is a liar. There are significant savings to be had on certain items and certain market segments.

Meg said...

Are you sure this isn't some kind of a cult? It sure sounds like it.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading about the 3 day limit to cancel the membership. Where is this limit specified? Is it a state statute? Does that include the days the club is closed? I joined on Saturday and would like to cancel today (Monday) when the club is closed. So I will be going in tomorrow to cancel. I live in the state of NJ. Please respond soon. I have been stupid in joining the club and I have very little time to claim my refund.
I priced a dining set delivered to my home on Sunday and was able to find the same set for less at a retail outlet - also delivered to my home!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading about the 3 day limit to cancel the membership. Where is this limit specified? Is it a state statute? Does that include the days the club is closed? I joined on Saturday and would like to cancel today (Monday) when the club is closed. So I will be going in tomorrow to cancel. I live in the state of NJ. Please respond soon. I have been stupid in joining the club and I have very little time to claim my refund.
I priced a dining set delivered to my home on Sunday and was able to find the same set for less at a retail outlet - also delivered to my home!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the all the info, I have an appointment tonight 03.04.10 at 7pm and it is an hour away for me. Reading all these posts I have changed my mind and will not be going after all. Life is way too short to be wasting time going to places such as this. Doesn't sound like this "club" is for me. Heck I don't even belong to Sam's Club or BJ's because you have to pay to be a member. I'll stick with Ikea, Home Depot, Lowes and any other store that does not require a membership.

Thanks again for all the useful information.

Tray

Anonymous said...

I am a member and personnally, I wouldn't recommend it to the average homeowner buying things here and there. I work in construction and have just done a complete remodel on the 1st flr. of my home. I saved thousands on tile, lighting,furniture etc. I make sure to go to Nextag or other sites to compare prices before making a purchase at direct buy. Being an educated consumer is your best defense. If you really want good deals you should expect to spend time researching products. Definately not a scam, just not for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Im am a current member. Although direct buy works for me, I would not recommend the membership to the average homeowner who buys pieces here and there. I recently completed a full remodel on my 1st floor. Some items I purchased thru Direct Buy, some I did not. But I did save thousands on the items I did. Being an educated consumer and comparison shopping is your best defense before buying anywhere. Even places like Sam's Club the deals aren't always deals when you do the math. I recommend if you go to a direct buy meeting, try sites like Nextag to find the lowest price before comparing. In this economy we all need to be smart with our money, unfortunately sometimes it will take your time and research to do so. Direct buy is not a scam, just not for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, I'm not "employed by Direct Buy or employed by a web surfing company (with a contract to Direct Buy)". We joined over 17 years ago and it has been more than worth it for us. Of course, we do more upscale remodeling and decorating than you might. I would agree that it is not a good choice for people who decorate at the lower end of the product spectrum, so it may appear to be a rip off if you tend to buy cheap (ans by "cheap" I do not mean inexpensive...I mean cheap,low-end quality) If you like quality and can afford to decorate well, it is definitely worth considering. As a
savvy internet shopper; I find that Direct Buy total always ends up 15 to 40 percent cheaper than the best web price on these higher quality goods.
As for complained and lawsuits, it is a franchised business, and like any such business has had some issues over the years, but in our experience Direct Buy has been reputable; unlike many of the low prices internet scam sites.

Keith said...

DirectBuy has changed many of their policies since this blog was first written. For more information visit http://directbuy-membership.info

Frank Benjamin said...

Dawn:

You are absolutely right. I have been doing home remodeling and thought DB might be a good source. But after ten minutes with one of their phone solicitors, I was furious. He kept dropping little hints as part of other answers and asked for personal information that is inappropriate. The whole operation is a scam. As for saving money, if you comparison shop and look to other sources you can save money. I bought 3600 feet of bamboo flooring from Lumber Liquidators for $1.32 SQ Ft. With installation and delivery, I saved a ton over every other source I tried. So deals are out there but Direct Buy is nothing more than a marketing scam. I would bet that they sell your personal information, track items you have bought, build solicitation list and basically violate every tenet of trust one would hope for from a business. I would never buy anything from them or participate in any promotion. I am telling all my clients and others I know that the whole operation is a scam.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I attended a Direct Buy Open House yesterday. We initially went just so we could turn our key that was possibly worth $50,000. We figured the presentation was worth it for a chance to win a prize. I was immediately sold on the concept of the company. I wanted to join, but wanted to discuss it with my husband first. We listened to Mitch's speil and entertained the thought. After explaining to him numerous times that I need to talk with my husband, he kept pushing. I asked if there was anyway we could meet with him the next week, and he told me no. At the thought he might lose us, he decided to "scare" us. He went on to tell us that if we didn't make a decision right then, we would be banned for 7 years. He then explained that Direct Buy "doesn't need our business," and "we can do more for you than you can for us." I was fuming by this time. (Anyone trying to make a sale should never talk to people like that.) After asking Mitch to excuse us THREE times, he finally walked away. My husband and I stepped outside talked and prayed about it. We decided that we were going to pass based on Mitch's "customer service" tactics alone.

Even though Direct Buy may help you with major rennovations, their customer service said it all. I would rather pay retail price than give them a penny of our hard earned money.

Consumer beware! If you don't have the money on the second they want it, you will not be allowed back. Direct Buy can kiss my "non-important" heiny goodbye!

Anonymous said...

I went to their sales presentation, they mentioned about this dining set with suggested retail price of 15k, and directbuy price is 5k. I actually seen that dining set online before the schedule of my visit at directbuy open house. Guess what how much the price online?? $2560 with free shipping, no sales tax, and free return. Obviously, they lie about the price.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Directbuy for several years...I gave presentations and tried to talk people into joining...Yes it is a scam! I felt horrible for talking people into joining..Especially the ones that really couldn't afford it...What I didn't understand was why would people come in without going online to check it out...They would see several blogs on it being a scam...I don't know why people are still walking into Directbuy buying memberships...People be smart before you go into a place you know are going to try to sell you something....Check it out first!

Anonymous said...

In the matter of: United Consumers Club v. Prime Time Mktg. Mgmt., Case No. 2:07 cv 358,Case No. 3:08 cv 60, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA, HAMMOND DIVISION, 2010:

“The defendant, Prime Time Marketing Management, Inc., was a franchisee of DirectBuy, Inc. from 1986 through 2007. Prime Time was owned and operated by Dell Craaybeek. On May 11, 2007, DirectBuy’s General Counsel, C. Joseph Yast, sent Craaybeek a letter terminating Prime Time’s franchise with DirectBuy allegedly for violating its Franchise Agreement. DirectBuy alleges that an audit conducted by Integrity Assurance in 2007 demonstrated … that Prime Time was using another business owned by Craaybeek, Home Improvement Wholesale Distributors, Inc., as a supplier without prior approval by DirectBuy and was overcharging DirectBuy members through the use of impermissible handling fees and price mark-ups in violation of the Franchise Agreement. DirectBuy brought this suit to recover damages incurred by Prime Time’s alleged violations of the Franchise Agreement.”

Plantiff, Directbuy, represented by C. Joseph Yast (General Counsel for Directbuy), might have a tough time proving this one, especially since Directbuy seems to hide the fact that not all savings are passed on directly to members. This is accomplished by the franchisEE agreeing in the franchise agreement (the terms of which are unknown to the victim member) that the franchisOR (Directbuy) can keep all discounts and rebates and not pass them on to the member. It is only by reviewing the 260-plus page agreement with the franchisOR that the victim would every learn that the franchisOR reserves “the right to keep rebates, discounts and other payments from manufacturers and suppliers.” Directbuy also keep early-pay disccounts and all members’ purchases are paid by the member at the time of ordering. All of this messing around is designed to part the victim from his money and this marketing scheme is now the subject of a number of class action lawsuits around the country.

So it seems as though they are now suing a franchisEE for these discounts and rebates: greed, that’s all it is.

What’s so ironic about this is that according to a recent filing on November 16, 2010 by Andrew P. Rodovich, United States Magistrate Judge, Directbuy is being evasive in court (imagine how that might be a surprise):

“Yast provided evasive and incomplete responses or avoided answering by claiming he did not understand the questions posed.”

“…Yast continued to avoid answering questions by stating he did not understand the questions being posed or the time period for which the question were covering, despite the fact that Prime Time clearly had established the relevant time period in question…”

“…Yast continued to evade any questions through a series of evasive responses:…”

“Yast provided vague answers to the questions regarding audit procedures by arguing the difference between policies and “customs and practices.”

“DirectBuy has continued to withhold relevant information .. Therefore, Prime Time’s request for attorney fees is GRANTED.”

“Because Prime Time’s motion to compel Yast to submit to another deposition is granted and it is clear that Yast’s and DirectBuy’s intentionally evasive conduct necessitated this motion, DirectBuy is ORDERED to pay Prime Time’s reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees incurred by this motion as well.”

Why the evasion?

Aaron said...

Comment threads to DirectBuy always read about the same way... People with no verifiable identity and no history of posting come in with claims of absurdly high "savings" or to lecture you that they saved money by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars through DirectBuy and "it's not meant for other people". But if it's not meant for people with incomes less than six figures who are also building or renovating their houses, why is it marketed to the masses?

One of the consistent complaints I read about DirectBuy is that they have limited brands and for some of their brands they only carry partial lines - that is, you could have a particular line of cabinets in mind, join DirectBuy because they carry the brand and find that they don't carry that line. And sorry, the idea that I could save $16,000 on my kitchen cabinets at DirectBuy isn't plausible. I can find a vendor who will come close to cost, particularly with a sale that large, and (unlike DirectBuy) will have the cabinets delivered to my home. Further, I'm not going to be buying stock cabinets if I'm doing a $100,000+ remodel of my kitchen, even assuming I were spending on that scale and still wanted to go with a DIY installation.

As for the idea that I have to get a pass, go to DirectBuy and sit through a sales pitch to even find out what brands they offer? No thanks. Besides, from what they depict on their site, I'm not expecting that they sell Hancock & Moore, Councill, Harden, or other brands that would interest me, let alone artisanal work like Stephen Plaud or J.L. Treharn. Their pictures look like what I would find at Costco or Overstock.com. Why won't they lift a finger to correct my impressions - according to what their defenders have written, I'm their key demographic.

Anonymous said...

If I can save one family from joining this scam and losing their money I will feel less disgusted about losing mine. Please beware. Keep reading complaints and don't fall it!

Anonymous said...

As far as receiving a refund, you can only get a refund of any costs if you request it within 3 days of your initial membership join in. I would recommend you get everything postmarked, stamped, certified, etc... So when they say they did not get it, you can show them that you did mail it and they should have it. This is what I had to do when the pressure was off and could acvtually go home and read the very, very fine print.

Anonymous said...

Thank you everyone for very useful info on these scammers!

Anonymous said...

As a member of almost 7 years, I can totally see how DB maybe isn't right for everyone. For my family, it has been a blessing more than once. When it comes down to it I wanted to save money and when it has really counted, we have. Has service always been perfect, no. Have we bought every little thing over the last 7 yrs there? Of course not! They don't have everything and I'll admit, sometimes I am lazy or impulsive. I was skeptical, apprehensive and a little annoyed when we were deciding to join but the logic of it made sense and my husband is a logical man. I actually tried to talk my husband out of going because of some stuff I read online. His response to that changed my outlook for ever. He said "Honey, nobody's perfect, therefore no company is perfect. Look at all the complaints against Walmart and people walk in and out of that place every day." Needless to say... 7 years later, I am maybe trying to say the same thing. If you are thinking about going in, then go and see for yourself. It frustrates me to read some of these complaints because some of these people never even went in!! What if they could have saved tens of thousands of dollars and because they didn't get answers right away or read a complaints from 10 or 20 people who had a "bad" experience they made a decision that potential cost them. What about the hundreds of thousands of people who have used it and it worked? Shouldn't our stories far outweigh the bad ones. So anyone who is thinking about going, if your buying a blender, don't waste your time,(lol) but if you really would like to save money long term then go check it out just with the chance that for you it might actually work. sincerely TX Mom of 4:)

Anonymous said...

I, like many, thought their ads looked interesting. Sure, I would like to try it for 30 days--in other words, go there sometime when it was convenient for my husband and me and look around. I started to fill out the online request for a free trial offer and stopped when I got to the part about "must visit showroom with spouse by appointment for 90 minutes", and thought, No, I don't want to do it on their schedule. Still, I got a phone call and a brochure in the mail. After reading it, it sure doesn't seem quite right--something is ominous here. Especially the P.S. after the Congratulations letter inside the front cover. It says "In order to provide current members with the highest level of comfort, non-members are given limited access to the club during specific Open House times." So, I guess that means that current members would be so negatively affected by seeing newbies on a tour, like we have Leprosy or something! Wow--no thanks DirectBuy, I think I am doing fine on my own and being treated much nicer at my local businesses.

Anonymous said...

Having a good laugh now

Re: "Club’s assets seized," July 9.

http://www.gazette.com/articles/colorado-121188-directbuy-springs.html

I don’t remember how long ago it was, but I received a phone call from DirectBuy. They wanted us to come and visit their warehouse on some promotion they were having. One of the questions they asked was our financial status. Well, I was a bit flabbergasted they would ask such a personal question. I frankly said that basically it was none of their business what we earned. Then they said that we couldn’t join the club and hung up. I thought how snobbish.

Now I read their assets are going to be auctioned off because they haven’t paid sales or employee withholding taxes. I’m having a good laugh right now.

Val Tenhaeff, Colorado Springs

Read more: http://www.gazette.com/articles/colorado-121411-crime-hate.html


http://www.kktv.com/news/headlines/Springs_Store_Owes_Thousands_Seized_By_Department_Of_Revenue_125218869.htm

Adam said...

HA! Thanks! Im in rochester ny & got a postcard saying i won a free google tablet. Wow! figured Google sent it to me. I call the number and its direct buy of rochester whom offers a free tablet or pc if I take a tour. So I will take your words & not go. This is nothing but a SCAM from the start. And the ones that say good or defend direct buy are employees or just to doumb to know there wasting money. Not for nothing we all can save by shopping online first. I got a great deal on my kitchen through www.cabinetgiant.com Saved $8000 compaired to home depot! And one door had a crack in it, they sent one the next day! So thank You everyone! shop around and never pay a member fee to spend your money! God bless these scamers when it's judgement day!

Anonymous said...

So did anyone get the "free" item that they used to lured you into the presentation with. They have promised my husband and me 2 free round trip tickets...I'll sit through a 90 minute presentation for plan tickets....I don't have much else to do on a rainy day!

Anonymous said...

OK directbuy, seems to work like this. They pressure you into an 2year expensive agreement, and never show you prices of anything until you join. They if you do join you have to keep buying or refurnish your whole house. Also how they get away with it and also talk people into is by saying "We Buy Direct", Well if you think about most big stores buy direct. Bestbuy, Sears, and etc usually don't have it in stock and have to order it(Same Way Direct Buy Does)from the company, most big stores have contracts just like DirectBuy. Only its free to walk around the mall or stores and you see how much it cost.

K.Ellis said...

I just left my direct buy open house in please please tell me there is a legal and binding way to get out of this! To be perfectl honest I really cannot afford it is I just eent with it because the guy was nice but still yeah high pressuring and I really do have plans on remodeling what is the world am I going to do help please!

Phil B said...

I noted that one "Anonymous" poster questioned Direct Buy being a scam because they've been on business for 37 years. Amway has been in business for over 52 year, and if THAT company isn't a scam, I'll eat my hat! Don't let surviving the storm define legitimacy! The shell game dates back at LEAST to ancient Greece. That doesn't mean it's not a scam!

KEYIAHG said...

They call me everyday claiming I'm a semi finalist in some contest and that all I have to do is show up to get my two three day vacation tickets or sum crap n that I could win a Cadillac excalade ...... It just seemed like a scam so I never showed
up but they keep calling

Trisha said...

Does anyone have a comment on the prizes offered: airline tickets, $100 gift card for dinner, $50,000 sweepstakes drawing?

Anonymous said...

Ok I just got a call from Direct Buy 10 min ago. I have no idea how they got my number and a women with Indian accent was trying to congradulate me for the offer i recieved from Direct Buy just for showing up in their open house near where i live. She tried to get my information to prepare my two way air fair and $100.00 gift card. I know i am wasn't born in the US but at list i am a college graduated student and i am not stupid to belive some company offering you money with out a profit in this crazy time where the country's economy upside down. It might work for some but i am a recent graduate student with lots of college debt. It might work for some rich people since they have no clue about spending their money but for i would rather waste 10 min of search and really save my trip and waste my time at Direct Buy and you never know if you don't understand a retail philosophy language you are IN with regrate down on the road. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

My cell phone is on the do not call list but Direct Buy has called me twice to get me to go to a presentation at their Signal Hill Store in CA. The phone # used was 213-789-3652 and it Googles as having complaints about other people getting unwanted calls. I reported them to donotcall.gov
Their call center is in the Philippines, what a piece of crap company!




jasi said...

It's not for everyone. Really, only people who are planning to purchase a lot for their homes will benefit from this club. But the truth is this- Retail is the real scam. When you look at a bedroom set one company sells for 2k and the mark up from the retailer is around 400%, that's the real crime.

What I'm saying is DO NOT buy a membership with Direct Buy if you have an IKEA budget. But if you're doing high end upgrades and buying quality furniture then you will save a small fortune very quickly through Direct Buy.

Ray said...

You gotta love how otherwise level-headed people knuckle under at their "if you don't join now, you'll be banned from joining for 7 years."

Really, do you honestly think I'm going to think your exorbitant "membership fee" is going to be any less of a ripoff 7 years from now???!!!???!!! I may have been born at night, but it wasn't LAST night!!!

Anonymous said...

If you think they used deceptive or misleading sales practices to get you to join and your state doesn't have a 3 day cancellation law, the only thing you can do is report
it to the attorney general's office. If enough people complain they will investigate and can file lawsuit to get us our money back.

Anonymous said...

We joined this past Saturday 11/16/13 and were feeling pretty good until we got home to look through the website. I didn't see very many good deals at all, so it got me thinking to look up this company online... OMG I was so shocked.. Review after review after review was negative! Thank God we have 3 days to cancel, cause that's what we will be doing on Tuesday when they open!

Anonymous said...

I went to Direct by yesterday when I received an invitation in the mail. It said you get an Android tablet if you go to the orientation. I went there and it was as they said in the blog, lots of obvious sales pitches a lot like car dealers. It was really weird too. Lots of kids sitting at computers. Very comical. How does paying $6000 to join and having little kids at computer some how not seem to go together? They were 10-12 year olds. When I came in two children were at the front desk. I had no idea at the time what the cost would be to join, but I thought it would be like a Costco.

The salesmen came over and gave me a Diet Pepsi, nice enough. He told me you had to join that day or you could not join. How odd. Any legit company would give you time to come back. Right there, I got an uneasy feeling.

When I was waiting at the desk I had seen pizza boxes in the cafe area. After glancing down at the salesman's fingers I saw red sauce on his finger nails. Yuck.

He showed me around to the stations and how they would offer deep discounts with the post it note thing over the prices and then revealing. All the stuff had Home Depot Labeling on price comparing. I wonder if Home Depot allows this?

After my one and a half hour tour and hard sell ending with a video and all sorts of money saving talk I was happy to be leaving. The same salesman bought me over to the table trying to get me to join. All sorts of not taking no for an answer. I finally said, I am not joining ".". Then I gave him my Android coupon. After making the appointment the night before and the customer service person telling me I would get one that day... he told me they were back ordered and I would have to get it when they were in stock again. I drove a half hour and went through about $3.00 in tolls. I asked to speak to the owner who was there. Then they backed off and gave me one that had someone elses name on it. They said. I was not about to call this place back for anything. I did get the Android and am happy about that.

The best thing about this company is that since you have to join that day, I will never have to get any phone calls or hear from them again.

Anonymous said...

SCAM, Where is the FBI AND BBB are they sleeping?
They don't seem to take any action against the entire corp and the CEO

Anonymous said...

We should all get together and take some action to bring down this company.

Juana C said...

The appointment for the visit was March9 at 11am at Direct Buy in Davie FL.My Husband and I got there at 1104 , they made us fill a form with our personal info and how much income we make. After that they told us that our tour have to be reschedule!!! What arrogance and disrespect for a potential customer. Make us drive and wait, and fill form to tell us to come back!!!What about the door prices, that we are going to get just for showing up? what a joke!!What a waste of time!!! I guess they do me a favor, I will spend my money remodeling my place anywhere else!!! I recommend you to stay away from this company

Anonymous said...

I got a call from one of Direct Buy's reps. First he told me that I would definetly win one of 3 prizes. Then he made sure I had the address. Now comes the invitation. I decided to google the business while he was talking to me. I went down the list and saw Dawn's scary thoughts and started reading it. When I got to the part where you said RUN, I say run. I told him I wasn't interested. Thank you sooooo much for that advice. You are so funny, are you a comedian?

Anonymous said...

I just went to one of the open house things. The guy was nice and nobody else was there to watch the video but I got a sense this wasn't as good as they said. I did guess the membership was around 1k a year which isn't that bad but only if you're doing a lot of buying. The "join today or never" threat didn't get explicitly used but they did sort of mention it. I know people who'd actually benefit from this but I'm not one of them. I did get my free gift, though the tablet will probably never come out of the box. Nice way to spend an hour or so. I asked specific questions to see how they'd answer and I wasn't interested in their response just their reaction to it. That told me all I needed to know.

Tracy Peterson said...

I was called today and told that if I would come and listen to the presentation, they would give us two airline tickets and a key to a possible $50,000 house remodeling. I was going to go, not sign on the dotted line, and take my plane tickets. Is THAT part a scam too? If you listen to what they say, will they give you the tickets?

Anonymous said...

I called after getting a letter, promising me an "Android touchpad tablet computer" and a $100 resturant coupon. The woman on the phone said all I have to do is visit the place for an open house. I asked about the prizes, she cold not give me the brand of the computer, and said the gift card was "good at ALL restaurants." I expressed my disbelief, as, unless it's a VISA giftcard, there's no way. She insisted.
No - it's a restaurant.com card, which is good a very few places in my area - and most of them not very good.
Also - she needed to know my income, and, then said I could not attend without my husband. I said I can buy a car, house, appliance, etc, without my husband, I can certainly join a club - no, the policy is for this promotion, you MUST come as a couple.
Further research online led me to one report that the "tablet computer" is a COUPON for the computer - all you have to do is pay the shipping of $40. another person said they got it, it has no brand, and no directions, no drivers, and is unusable.
person on the phone really seemed to have no idea that this is a scam.

Anonymous said...

I worked at DB and hate the company . Just to let you guys know... they definitely post fake positive reviews!! Lol they are posting them on this very page.

Stan D. said...

We joined one day, then cancelled the following day after reading all the online comments (should have done that first!)No problem or high pressure about cancelling though.
Did receive the tablet as a gift, but I have a problem: the AC adapter isn't working and the polarity of the plug is not shown on it or on the tablet. It's an odd little plug, but I can use it attached to a new adapter if I can find out the proper polarity. Can anyone help??

Anonymous said...

We joined 3 years ago and have barely used it. You just can't find the things you buy in day to day life plus you have to wait 8 weeks or more for somethings (we did for our night stands), then you have to go pick it up from their location or they start charging you storage. I recently found a dresser that I wanted to buy from them cheaper elsewhere online. It is a very well crafted scam. The guy who sold it to us told us he was a Christian just because he saw us praying about our decision to join. He joined us in prayer right there and then......I really wonder how some people sleep at night. Don't join this unless you are remodelling or building a house and have the time to wait weeks in advance for the products. Remember, no returns, no fixes for broken things.....