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.
MERRILLVILLE, INDIANA -- Customer service was significantly lacking. After completing order on 3/11, we were contacted on 3/14 to tell us the bed frame was no longer available but we could change to regular king. After confirming to do so, we were told they would "try" to make sure the mattress order was updated as well.
When attempting to get updates as to where our furniture order was, the website offered no assistance, so we attempted to contact Chelsea who refused to call us back after multiple requests to do so. We finally received an update via email that it should arrive on 4/1. When we received no communication by 4/6, we called only to find out that only half of our order had arrived and that the rest should arrive by the next week. Again, received no proactive communication and had to chase it down ourselves.
Finally got a call on 4/8 that our furniture had arrived but that one of the pieces was damaged. Had to again call Chelsea multiple times without a return call until eventually we spoke with her manager who assured us that our final piece would be delivered as soon as possible. Finally received an email from Chelsea telling us that our piece would arrive by 5/2. This is 8 weeks which is outside of the 4-6 weeks "max" delivery time and we have received no compensation to date for this horrible experience. However, EVERY single delivery person has been amazing!!! THEY know customer service...DirectBuy does not.
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.
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.
GAITHERSBURG, MARYLAND -- High end chairs with IMO transportation nicks I wouldn't accept. Brought in "expert" who said same. DB wrote email to mfg saying customer won't accept. Are the nicks defects or characteristic of wood as if mfg wouldn't get paid unless it was characteristic.
Meanwhile I never claimed mfg did anything wrong. Mfg says characteristic while Company says it doesn't sell chairs with these nicks. DB won't put in a transportation damage claim. With the extra fees, small discount and what appears to be intentional dishonesty (I was told this is always the mfg response to these nicks) DB is not worth the annual fee much less the membership fee. I should have purchased chairs directly from Co.
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".
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.
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.
TUCSON, ARIZONA -- I was curious about DirectBuy ads I had seen. I had been a member of "Consumers Plus" which went out of business in 2006. That club charged about $1500 to join (in the 90s), their yearly dues were $45, and their handling fee was 5%. I saved a lot of money furnishing a new home using their services. I have no complaints about them whatsoever, except that they went out of business. The only problem was that anything I ordered through them could not be returned.
Before I attended the DirectBuy presentation on 12/30/2006, I was first disturbed by the lack of ANY information they were willing to give about their business prior to my "Free Pass by Invitation Only" visit. At the "Invitation Only" visit the visitors were told not to ask questions until the end of their presentation; that is how they had determined that the presentation worked the best (they did not say it worked the best to their benefit). Then before we had a change to utter a single question we were escort out of the meeting room, each visitor having a private sales person to talk to. Therefore, visitors were unable to gain additional knowledge from other visitors questions.
I asked about their prices for about a dozen items which I was in the market to purchase. They were able to only provide a price for one item. They are either extremely disorganized due to incompetence or due to intentionally making sure no prices are available to potential members.
I happened to have a big end of year bonus and thought I could save money with my upcoming purchases so I signed up. The sales person never explained to me that my son would not qualify as a member on my account. He only asked if my son was present and I said he was not. According to the contract a dependent child has to be under 23 and a full time student to be allowed member benefits at the club. The verbal commitment to add my son at a later date was meaningless since the contract voided all verbal promises. So they lied to my about my son being able to have the membership after I passed away was never going to happen.
Since I'm almost 60, I wanted my son to be a member. He is 25, so the huge member fee - about $4600 for 3 years, would not go to waste if I should die in the next few years. But DirectBuy would not work that way. I had also made to believe during the presentation that this company had been around for some 30 years. Yes, maybe, but under various names. Also only the local franchise was responsible for providing any member benefits. Nothing like Costco, where you can travel the country and use your $50/year Costco membership to buy items on the shelf.
For DirectBuy it is specifically stated that if you order an item you have to pay everything up front the cost of the time, taxes, their 8% handling fee and the cost of shipping with is often 15% of the cost of the item. They never counted actual shipping fees but I was able to figure out the rough cost for freight. Then as a final insult if I ordered something, they could change the price afterwards at any time and I would have to pay the additional fees within 7 days. There was no one to lend support at DirectBuy if anything went wrong with the item. The buyer would have to deal with the problem alone.
The membership cost in no way guarantees any savings to the club member. No 110 % price guarantee. Nothing. You pay $4600 just for the right to order items using them as the middle man (no DIRECT BUY here - DirectBuy is an oxymoron), paying them $4600 for the right to place orders there during the first 6 months, then $200/year for the next 7 years. After that you could continue at the then current yearly fee which has been increased at each possible turn. The bottom line is that this is a lucrative business to the owner - very similar to timeshares.
A consumer has to take into account the risk that they never save any money, that the DBA company goes out of business, and that the $4600 invested wisely would provide a substantial income to offset the cost of buying items at retail. Due to all retail stores having sales 40-70% off and the internet becoming a better low cost supplier for all goods there really is no need to join this scam operation to make a few people line their pockets with your money and to get his and her Mercedes Benz as a yearly bonus. I had a feeling this was a sleazy organization due to their red flag tactics but I still wanted to see for myself.
Now that I cancelled my contract it will take them 15 business days to refund me my money!! How true to their business model. It also looks like they are trying to withhold $25 and not refund me the entire cost of the membership which I paid for. They never explained the contract and never pointed to the important information I should read on the back page. I can only blame myself for not reading that. But regardless, I enjoy writing a letter of complaint about this company and its deceiving practices to the BBB and the Camber of Commerce. There is a whole lot more wrong with what they did but I think you get the idea.