I recently joined DirectBuy after reading all the warnings about joining. I thought I could beat the odds because I recently purchased an old house that I am totally renovating. I have saved but nowhere near the level promised or expected.
Here's the deal with DirectBuy. The only real savings you will see is on appliances. I recently bought 7 appliances - all GE profile. Fridge (PGS1PJXSS), wall oven (PCT916SMSS), microwave with trim kit (JEB186SCNSS), Electric cook top (JCP346SMSS), dishwasher (GLD8312PSS), warming drawer (PTD915SMSS)....Total price $7066 taxes included. Retail, these might be around $14000... but you might decrease this to about $9K if you catch the sales or go to a store like TASCO or Appliance Canada.
So at least on paper, I got the membership fee back, but I spent days on end going back and forth between DirectBuy and retail stores. I am a bargain hunter so I didn't mind this so much, but if you value your time this is costly. In fact, if I were to put a cost to my time, I spent retail.
I originally purchased JENN-AIR appliances and a week later found out that 3 of them were not in stock or discontinued. So even though my kitchen was designed around JENN-AIR products I had to literally sit there and select new products all the while checking to make sure that they fit with the specs for the kitchen (this took me about 6 hours). Here's another significant problem; although they deal with appliance manufacturers like Kitchen Aid or Jenn-Air, they never have access to the full line of products. So you won't be able to get a wall oven from KitchenAid or a black fridge from Jenn-Air, even though you see it in retail stores.
If you are not buying appliances, don't even bother joining. The best you could hope for is to pay the same money for a slightly better product or a larger variety of products. The one good thing I will say is that if you like upper-end products at the prices you will pay normally, this is the place for you. In many cases, on the products you might really want, you will never see the savings they promise in their advertising. Plus in most cases they slap on an 8% handling fee that brings you right back to retail.
This is a business that is NOT ONLY based on your hard earned $5000.00 but the handling fee. Part of their pitch is to knock retail stores or the big box stores, suggesting that they are ripping you off with their 30 to 60% mark up, but they are a retailer too and a very inefficient one at that.
When I joined, they promised a 63% saving off retail (not a specific brand) on my kitchen. I got 3 quotes prior to joining ($19K, $19K, $25K). Two were from custom cabinet makers, the other from LOWE'S. At Direct Buy they carry 3 brands Cabico, Kitchen Kraft, and Kraft Maid. Cabico was equivalent to the cabinets I wanted. After the kitchen was designed the cost came to $15,700 +designer fee of $1350 + a handling fee of $1200 +installation of $2500 = $20750.
Because I had already paid for the membership and the designer fee....I decided cut back on the kitchen and take out some components and proceeded with the order $12, 700 +designer fee of $1350 + a handling fee of $1000 +installation of $2500 = $17, 550. For all the trouble, the unavailability of the designer, and the delay in the delivery of the kitchen, I should have just gone with one of the other 2 companies.
After complaining about the cost and delays in delivery time and the unfulfilled promises of Direct Buy, the manager and the operations manager started giving me the cold shoulder. I even went in to talk to the operations manager about the delivery time on the cabinets and the recent changes to my appliances, and got a total brush off (she told her customer service representative she has nothing to do with kitchens and that I should speak to the designer).
It's a really small shop so they gossip like nobody's business. So once you make a stink, everyone knows about it or hears you while you do it. At least at Home Depot you complain to a manager they have to listen and they take you seriously. After Direct Buy gets your membership fee you are on your own.
When you pay $5000.00 for a membership you expect superior service…..NOT AT DIRECTBUY. If you complain, they totally just side with one another….they don't even listen to a legitimate concern. They have a price match guarantee, but you will never see it because they carry brands that you rarely see anywhere else. I bought pot lights....the customer service representative misread the order....so I missed her oversight and waited 4 weeks only to find out I got 5 pot lights instead of 30.
When I ran out to Home Depot they had a different brand at a much lower price $8.00 lower. They would not do the price match because the price match has to be done when you submit the order. I wanted hardwood...but found a better deal outside. It's not so much that they didn't have a wide selection of hardwood, but they don't carry all brands and the cost is sometime more than you will get with a sale. Right now I am ahead about $4000.00 and in a better position than most. Nevertheless, I would not recommend going down this road if you are a bargain hunter.
DirectBuy has some of the poorest customer service I have ever experienced. Home Depot may be cheap and common but they assist you and they treat you nicely. Furthermore, the ability to see a product in real life and time, point to it, order it, and have it delivered or picked up the same day is PRICELESS. Make your own minds up.....but consider all I have said in the e-mail.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA -- This complaint is about the violation of basic consumer right at DirectBuy. I and my wife saw an advertisement inviting us to visit the showroom at DirectBuy. When we got there, we were treated like prisoners. The basic right of a consumer to walk around a showroom to look at displays was denied us. When challenged, the store manager resorted to brute force in an attempt to kick us out. The incident occurred at the DirectBuy store in Mountain View, California on 12/6/08.
We are in the middle of adding a second story to our house. We saw an advertisement of DirectBuy on TV and decided to visit their showroom to gather ideas on how to decorate our house and to find out what DirectBuy has to offer for our project. We arrived at DirectBuy and were greeted by a host and the store manager. Then we were shown to a desk by the host for a short interview and to wait for the start of the infomercial presentation. As our host talked, both I and my wife noticed the hardwood-floor display behind him and imagined how it might look in our house.
The infomercial was long and boring, but we found out how much the membership would cost. I was almost ready to pay that, if we find the right merchandises in the showroom. After the infomercial, we were walked to the showroom for more presentation on how low prices were at DirectBuy. Surrounded by interesting furniture displays, my wife started walking around to examine them. She did that also to escape the never ending presentations. She was bluntly told by the store manager that she is not allowed to walk around.
We were offended by his action. We are not used to being told what to do and what not to do within what we considered our right. Most would agree that a consumer has the right to walk around a showroom to look at displays.
After the presentation, we were told to fill out a survey. I began to feel that we were being herded around like animals. So I told the host and the store manager that we were not going to comply. The manager asked us to leave. We asked if we can visit the showroom to see the merchandises. He said we cannot because there is confidential pricing information there. I told him that I was only interested in looking at the merchandises and will not look up the pricing information in the catalogs which are kept in a separate library. He said no and quickly showed us out of the store.
While at the parking lot, I had a second thought. We spent money and time to arrange for a babysitter, drove the distances to get to the store, and set aside time from our busy schedule, why should we leave without seeing the showroom? I have a free visitor's pass to DirectBuy's showroom. I can challenge the store manager. I asked my wife if she wants to go back to see the showroom. She declined. So I went back in by myself and asked to see the showroom as part of the activities DirectBuy invited me to do. He was visibly annoyed by my challenge to his authority as the store manager (I later found that he is also the owner of the store).
Without even reasoning with me, he called his security team to throw me out. Two heavy fellows and the head of security came. The heavy fellows grabbed my arms and started removing me from the store. I resisted. Sensing that the manager's order was inappropriate, the head of security disobeyed him and stopped the forced eviction. He started reasoning with me.
I gave my reason and he appeared to have understood it. He seems to be a more reasonable person than the store manager, who appears to be more concern about exerting his absolute power like a dictator. I also sense that he is so concern about his big ego that he is willing to drag down the corporate image of DirectBuy with it.
I told the head of security that he has to call the police to get me out. I ignored their order and walked around the showroom. But needless to say, by that point, I was in no mood to examine any merchandise. I did that just to make a point that a consumer has rights. I don't know if he called the police or not. I am not a lawyer. I don't know what the limit of my right is within their store, and I don't really want to go to court to find that out. So I left after I proved my point.
Most stores treat customers with respect and trust. We can freely walk around almost any stores because the stores trust that we would not do anything inappropriate. All DirectBuy needs to do is to inform visitors that it is not appropriate to look at the confidential pricing information during the visit, and almost all of us would have complied. For the few who do not, a case can be made to kick them out. At DirectBuy, my wife and I were treated like thieves even before we have done anything they considered inappropriate. The so called “confidential pricing information” is just a poor excuse for a brute business practice.
I frankly do not see what benefit DirectBuy could derive out of such a practice. That is why I was dumbfounded by DirectBuy's insistence that they had acted properly when I complained about this instance to the corporate headquarters.
I filed a complaint to the Better Business Bureau and ask for an apology as a settlement. Not only did the store manager refused, he accused me of “trespassing “and “walking around the areas of the building that are off limit to guests”. When DirectBuy invited us to visit its facility and we agreed, we assumed that both parties agreed to be abided by commonly accepted societal rules of conduct. For example, both parties would have understood that private offices are off limit to guest, and bathrooms are not.
I continue to challenge DirectBuy's right to impose a new rule that its showroom is off limit to guests without clear notification in its advertisement that it has unusual requirements beyond standard accepted practices. Also, if the showroom is off limit, then it would be unethical to use it as an advertising tool to entice unsuspecting consumers to visit DirectBuy.
The charge of “trespassing” is another bad excuse for the belligerent conduct. I have not yet left its parking lot and went back to challenge the terms of the visit, all within a period of 3 minutes. Again, common societal rules of conduct would not call this “trespassing”. Instead of trying reason with me, he used “trespassing” as an excuse and ordered my removal by force. Both I and my wife have engaged in many debates, disputes and contests through our career.
Challenges and counterchallenges are ways our society uses to settle differences. We have won some disputes and lost many others; but we have not yet met an opponent who would resort to violence to settle differences. An apology from DirectBuy would be a respectable way to end a bad business practice.
N/A -- This company is truly a fraud!!!! They live off the terms and conditions that states that they will not honor "preexisting" conditions but in no way have no true way of confirming whether or not a condition is/was preexisting-despite the complaints found online and on several sites, (always listen to your inner voice) I purchased a warranty from them anyway. My car is 6 years old and only has 71777 miles on it which is in line with the allotted annual miles.
I have kept my car in pristine condition since it was purchased in 2010 and always had "on time" check ups that are documented from the dealership, plus the car was still under factory warranty when I purchased the car because of the low miles. My car was 210 miles passed its next oil change when I noticed that it was leaking anti freeze. I scheduled an oil change & tire rotation and asked that the dealership check the leak. Found out that the leak was needing a water pump and some other (covered under warranty) maintenance that added up to about 1200.00. The dealership called DirectBuy and "surprise" they said it was a "pre-existing" condition.
The same line they seem to give every customer when they don't want to honor a warranty. I asked did they request any documentation from the dealership to come to that perception from a non-tech call center representative and of course they did not because it didn't matter! They also stated that it was only 6 days or so that my warranty was active, which is irrelevant when you have deemed yourselves as honorable! I find that this company is a scam and I am not surprise that they are not even sometimes correct the BBB. I caution anyone wanting to purchase a extended warranty outside of the dealership.
I have gladly paid the dealership 1200.00 plus to fix my car and would gladly pay any repair amount than pay a company not worthy of anyone's business!!! I immediately cancelled my contract and they can keep the 330.00 plus dollars I paid toward the deposit and prorated 1st month, apparently that is how they make their money is by your deposits!!!!
In addition, if the contract or insurance tells you that they decline any pre-existing conditions "do not purchase" unless they send someone to check out your car or even your health. They will deny you when they think you need them. But surprise to them I don't need you! I am better than bless!
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE -- Went to a showroom knowing full well the scam- for giggles one afternoon with a friend, just to experience the fun firsthand. We had to pretend to be a couple to get in- that should be a tipoff to anyone right there who is questioning the legitimacy of DirectBuy. Why do they make you bring your spouse, and refuse to allow kids? Simple, they want to eliminate any excuse you may have for leaving the presentation without dropping 6k- you can't say "we have to leave, little ** here is tired" or "I have to run this by my husband"- brilliant actually, in its scumminess.
I'm surprised they allow people to bring cell phones to the presentation, as you could be texting someone while the con is being laid out. Even timeshares and new car sellers, the previous kings of scumminess, allow you to come in alone, or with kids, or to think about it overnight, but not here. Costco and Sam's Club are a similar type clubs, but why don't they have the same hard sell? Easy, they are legit, DirectBuy is not.
The first tipoff to the scam were the obvious plants in the presentation who were clearly there to make us think it was legit, which was laughable. Obvious store employees or friends milling about, looking enthused at the "savings". The other two couples eagerly wrote their checks in front of us, I guess to put the "everyone else is doing it, so should I" thought in your head- whatever.
The showroom was also a joke- it looked like props from a cable access cooking show. The catalogs were few and showed no prices. The con that you have to become a member on the spot or risk seven years of banishment "to protect their sellers" is also a joke - who would go to a retail store, with middlemen, and demand prices from an alleged wholesaler, without middlemen? Doesn't make sense, apples and oranges. But that's just the cover to keep you from going home and coming to your senses.
Sat through the standard high pressure sell that I had heard so much about, and yes they can apply the pressure. Told them I had to think about it, got the seven year spiel and said OK and left. I would bet my life if I show up tomorrow with 6k in hand and beg them to lift the seven year ban that they would not turn down my $$.
No mention was made of the 8-10% handling fee, no mention made that you have to pick up items at DirectBuy, no mention that you would have to be planning a six figure remodel to come out even or slightly ahead. A fun afternoon for someone with odd tastes in fun like myself, but also infuriating when you think of all the people who don't know any better and fall for the ruse, especially in these trying times.
PENNSYLVANIA -- I contacted DirectBuy for more information. What a mistake. They repeatedly called me worse than a credit card collection dept. Big sales pitch but no usable information. I took the bait and scheduled an appointment to find out more. They subject you to a grueling 90 minute sales presentation and force you to watch a video. They refuse to answer any questions until they complete their sales pitch. These people make a used car salesman look good. Here's the bottom line. It's not pretty.
Membership fee is $5000 to $6000 good for 3 years depending on the franchise. An additional $190 fee for the next 7 years. They will be happy to finance this for you at 18% interest. You must make a decision NOW or you can't apply again for the next 7 years. Pressure tactic. They charge a 6% fee when you order. Plus shipping, handling, freight and taxes. Merchandise may NOT be returned. The club disclaims all warranties regarding the merchandise.
Only the supplier has the right to cancel an order. Repairs & Service is the members responsibility.
Do the math. You would have to spend $20,000 just to break even with the membership and fees. Above that there is a possible cost saving with restrictions. Do you really want to take a chance with all of this fine print? I don't. Here's a better way. Do a Google search for what you want to buy. Shop and compare. It's time consuming but you're not paying the huge fees that DirectBuy wants to charge you. These people are a ripoff and want your money. Be smart, do your homework on pricing and you will come out ahead.
Follow-Up: 1/18/10. I received a sales call from DirectBuy inviting me to one of their showrooms for a membership. I repeated to the agent what you have just read. The high membership fee, the sales pitch where you are not allowed to ask questions while forced to watch a video. The additional fees and requirements. The caller was stunned with my product knowledge. He kept asking me "How do you know this?" I explained that I went to a sales presentation and wasn't buying his slick **. He was speechless and hung up on me. BUYER BEWARE. They want uninformed people who they can rip off.
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- Stupid is as Stupid does! I just returned from the Local Houston DirectBuy where I had scheduled on-line an "Open House". After about 30 minutes into my visit I was asked to leave because I was not paying attention to the boring mandatory video in which I had no interest but it was being thrust down my throat like a child gagging on medicine!
Now then, I consider myself an intelligent person. I own my own business and hold a patent (Just like the nice man who was assigned to me for my tour...at first I felt like we had some common ground.) But now I feel like a complete idiot because I failed to google "DirectBuy Scams" before I went.
You see, I only want ONE thing and one thing only. I am looking for a very compact shower with a small tub that I saw online from a Chinese manufacturer. I don't expect to spend more than $1500.00 on my entire project of pulling out an old plastic shower/tub and installing this shower in its place.
Now then...I had 2 separate telephone conversations with a guy who set up my appointment and had a lengthy discussion regarding my very specific need for this one product only. Nowhere in their ad or in these discussions was a Membership fee mentioned MUCH less a caution that perhaps this might not be the avenue for me to pursue since I wasn't planning a big remodel or spending much money at all as I was just looking for this ONE item. When I called the location in advance to see if I could just "see" if they had this product I was told that they could not discuss this unless I was a member. That's when the red flag first went up.
When I arrived this morning for my tour I arrived 30 minutes early as the appointment guy asked me to do. I sat for 30 minutes doing nothing until my assigned agent came to start the process. Now he was very nice and likable as he filled out an interview profile on my needs and reasons for being there. When he first said that it would take 90 minutes, I politely said that I needed to cut that short and showed him the picture of the ONE item I was looking for.
He looked at me and politely informed me that he had to "do his job" and was required to see me through the entire 90 minute presentation and would I be patient with him. He then asked if I wanted to reschedule for another time to which I begrudgingly said no...I was here now.
What he SHOULD HAVE SAID after looking at my picture (and knowing full well that I would not be spending gobs of money there) is to have been honest and tell me right then and there that this does not sound like the right place for me to be. But as honest as this man looked, I know now that he had to be a shyster. When I came home I immediately did what I should have done before...looked up "DIRECTBUY Scams".
Now having said all of that, I am making no claims as to the validity of their promises. I had heard through a friend about a couple who are members and did a complete remodel of their home. I am sure they spent a lot of money as they live in a neighborhood of wealthy homes. And overall I am confident that they probably did save a lot of money.
My complaint is of the company's basic honesty in disclosing exactly what they are all about right up front. To demand 90 minutes of a person's time in this shroud of secrecy only reeks of "Scam".
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA -- On Thursday July 16, 2015 my husband (Gerald) and I went to DirectBuy at 9454 Philips Hwy Ste 1, Jacksonville, FL 32256 at 6:00 P.M. to listen to **'s sales speech. After talking with another salesperson name ** we decided to buy one of their packages with the understanding that we could use some vacation credits towards our cruise that we were using at the end of the year. We gave a deposit (check #**) for $1,375.00 (cleared on Monday July 20, 2015) and finance the other $3,615.00.
After we got home and had a chance to talk with Benny on Saturday July 18, 2015 from the travel agency with DirectBuy we found out we could not use the vacation credits. We realize the package was not for us. I looked over our contract and noticed that we had 3 business days to cancel for a full refund and you would receive a full refund within 10 days. We could either deliver or certified mail a written notice.
On Sunday July 19, 2015 we hand delivered a handwritten letter and our contract to DirectBuy at 9454 Philips Hwy Ste. 1, Jacksonville, Fl. 32256 at 11:00 A.M. and handed it to ** the receptionist at the front desk. At the time we asked for ** or ** but she said neither were available. On Friday 24, 2015 I received a letter from Beta Finance – Welcome Letter. I called them and they confirmed that my contract was canceled on Thursday July 23, 2015. My 10 days for my full refund was up back on Tuesday July 28, 2015.
My husband (Gerald) called on Wednesday July 29, 2015. ** was very rude to him and ask him what made him think he was getting a refund. And again ** and ** was not available and she would have them call him. Still waiting. On Thursday July 30, 2015, both my husband and I called and only ** would talk to us. Friday July 31, 2015 my husband finally got thru to ** and he apologize and said the check was processed and we should receive it by Tuesday August 4, 2015 and he will call just to make sure we have received it. No call. No Check.
Monday August 3, 2015 I called DirectBuy's corporate headquarters and they have tried to get the owner of the franchise to resolve this matter. But all they have done is responded their email is with an email apologizing to them and saying it's being processed. My problem is nobody will call us. And they are not honoring their contract. It has been one lie after another. Starting from the first phone stating that we were getting at least a free 2 night vacation. That was not true because you have to pay $12.00 just to be able to get the paper to make the reservation and then another $30.00 - $50.00 when you make reservations.
BLOOMINGTON, MINNESOTA -- They sell memberships that supposedly allow you to buy items directly from the manufacturer. But when you go to buy items the selection is small and the prices are either no better or higher than what you could get if you look around. Most items have a long lead time and are not able to be returned. The long lead time is due to the fact that there is no distribution center. Remember that they do not sell anything they are just taking your money and allowing you to contact their group of manufacturers.
I went to their group sales presentation and we were promised a $100 dining card. And a vacation package. Both of these really have no value. The dining club card lets you use the $100 to buy discounts at different restaurants, but you can get the same or better deals by just finding a coupon. Some of the deal that you buy with the card are the same that are available for just going to the restaurant. The vacation card is also a scam. You must pay fees up front to even start the arrangement process. Don't waste your money, just go online and buy from someone that you can get a refund from if things don't work out.
Anyway. I bought a very overpriced membership. Knowing that I have 3 days to cancel the contract. I charged it on my credit card, knowing that I could dispute it if need be. I went home and started to look at things I could buy through their club website. Most things I looked at were cheaper and available immediately somewhere else. Remember that some of their items you must pay shipping for. I can do better that that on my own.
The next day I canceled my membership in person. I was uncomfortable with the way they had no forms to cancel, just write on this blank paper that you wish to cancel your membership. This sounded too easy for them to say that they never got any paperwork from me. So I had the employee write void across my contract and sign and date it and give me a copy. 13 days later I'm still waiting for the refund on my credit card. The owner tells me that their credit card machine is broken and they are waiting for a new one. I just put a hold on the charge with my credit card company. Don't even waste your time at this place.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA -- I've noted a large number of complaints against DirectBuy, as well as a few people claiming they benefited. I recently attended the same Mountain View, CA DirectBuy that another person wrote about in another section. We did not have the problems they had as far as rudeness, or lack of freedom to move about. Maybe the owner got the word from that person's complaints? Regardless, my wife and I came away with a certain amount of leeriness.
The pressure tactics they use are distasteful, to say the least. Any reputable company will not bar you from joining at a later time. Their excuses were, to say the least, thin and flimsy. This is what threw both my wife and I off. I did manage to get some information regarding 3 items that I did have exact model numbers for. One a refrigerator/freezer.
Priced at $1,048 at Lowe's, with free delivery and setup. Same identical model at DirectBuy was $968, delivered to your doorstep. No unpacking or setup. So, for my $6,990, I can save a whopping $80 and no place to turn to if I have any problems or complaints later. Lowe's will back their merchandise, as should any reputable merchant.
I checked on sample flooring. Had a model and brand name. $4.86 per sq ft at Home Depot. Direct Buy was $4.80 per sq ft. Not much of a savings (8 cents per sq ft? Give me a break) Then, finally, a China hutch at Costco was $929. The same identical one at DirectBuy was $949. Higher cost AND no satisfaction if you have a problem. At least with Costco, if I have a problem with anything I buy, I can just return it and receive a full refund...even up to several months later. Again, Costco is another company that knows how to treat their customers.
So, for the couple that joined DirectBuy, got scared and then backed out. Then you comment that you hope you didn't make a mistake. I can only say you did NOT make a mistake. There is more to a transaction than saving money. The whole customer satisfaction, which Home Depot, Lowe's, and Costco subscribe to, is way more important than saving a few dollars.
DirectBuy's whole high pressure push of 'join now or forever lose out', is just WRONG! Plus, DirectBuy doesn't have access to all manufacturers. There were a few items that I was interested in but was informed by DirectBuy that they didn't carry that manufacturer. Makes you wonder, since they were very high quality manufacturers. We did not join, nor do we regret it.
KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE -- Our personal experience with a DirectBuy Open House in Knoxville, TN. My wife and I went to a DirectBuy warehouse tonight after being invited to attend an open house. The center manager was a really friendly and personable guy from Missouri (the show-me state). We both signed in, received a name badge and were introduced to our "host" who was the center manager's son-in-law. He interviewed us and we shared with him that we were remodeling and would be purchasing carpet, tile, windows, kitchen and bath appliances. He said DirectBuy would be able to save us money and seated us in a room with a TV monitor.
There were two other couples in the room and the meeting started out with a seven minute informercial on what DirectBuy does - in short, they claim to save money by bypassing the local retailer and purchasing direct from manufacturer - the proposition sounds cool (emphasis on the word "sounds").
The center manager speaks for a while, shows us another video and then walks over to a wall of consumer product print-outs covered with post-it notes. Each product has two post-it notes with a suggested retail price shown and the DirectBuy price underneath. They showed us furniture, washing machines, pots and pans, vacuums, mattresses etc. The DirectBuy price offered averaged 20-50% less according to the center manager.
BUT, I wrote down a few prices and the magic ended when I researched the first item when I got home, a 46" Sony Bravia - the manufacturer's retail price matched DirectBuy's example - MRP $2799 but the actual DirectBuy price of $2251 was still more than my local Circuit City's price, $2099. The second item was a 21.8 cu. ft. refrigerator - the manufacturer's retail price matched DirectBuy's example - MRP $2299 but the DirectBuy claimed price of $1419 was lower than the $1900 retail price shown on the internet.
The third item was a Jacuzzi - we were particularly interested in that one since we had priced them two days ago at all the local retailers. DirectBuy's price of $1131 was blown away by Lowe's price of $974. [Note that we didn't know the prices on the TV and refrigerator at the time we were at DirectBuy's office but when we we did know the price of the Jacuzzi] Needless to say, the Jacuzzi sowed some seeds of doubt in the process. And it got worse from there...
After the price game, the TV was switched on again and we were treated with a list of DirectBuy member rules (if we were to join). "Be nice to retailers, don't leverage DirectBuy prices against retailers, blah blah blah and then we got to rule #6. Rule #6 is a slick sales tactic that says, "You can only decide to join DirectBuy right now. If you said no today, then it was no forever." DirectBuy said it was to protect their retailers... you decide. Not good. But not the end of the world. Maybe they are committed to making me happy.
So I asked, about their written Customer Satisfaction Policy - "What happens if I am unhappy with my DirectBuy membership". The answer was that they don't have a satisfaction policy as to your membership. However, they will replace a defective product (well, so will Sam's Club). In my mind, I am thinking - they want me to decide RIGHT NOW and they won't guarantee my happiness. Bummer, could it get any worse? The answer is yes because they finally revealed their membership fee - $4500 for two years. And guess what, they want the $4500 today. In DirectBuy's defense, they did offer 10% down and they would finance the rest with no satisfaction guarantee.
Additional fees revealed by DirectBuy in their example was a $110 delivery fee (based on $70-90 per hour delivery rates) and a "handling fee" which worked out to a little under 9% in their example. The concept of buying at cost is a compelling one - I really would like to buy at cost, but I also don't want to be taken advantage of. So, I figured out a win-win for this bad situation which I offered up to the DirectBuy sales team (the center manager and the son-in-law) I would generate a list of what I wanted to buy with dimensions, stock numbers etc. and they could give me an aggregate price (so they would not have to disclose confidential manufacturer prices).
If their aggregate price justified the membership fee, I would join. Not only did they turn me down, but they started getting smartass and asked where I had priced out my Jacuzzi - I told them Lowe's and Home Depot and the son-in-law said, "that explains it - we can't compete against the big box home improvement retailer". Well that's my experience - The handshake was good as was the soft drink (did I mention they had free soft drinks). And they started out by being very nice. I would recommend checking them out for yourself ... maybe you will have as much fun as I did.