Direct Buy Membership Cost
I recently joined Direct Buy 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 no where near the level promised or expected.
Here’s the deal with Direct Buy. 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 Direct Buy 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 JENNAIR 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 JENNAIR 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 Jennair, they never have access to the full line of products. So you won’t be able to get a wall oven from Kitchen Aide or a black fridge from Jennair, 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 LOWES. 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 DIRECT BUY. 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. Never-the-less, I would not recommend going down this road if you are a bargain hunter.
Direct Buy 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 you own minds up.....but consider all I have said in the e-mail