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.
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.
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.
I have read several negative reviews about DirectBuy. All of those reviews have the same thing in common. It appears that the reviewers did not pay attention to the information presented when they purchased their memberships and they also didn't ask pertinent questions before purchasing membership. I am a DirectBuy member. However, I did not become a member when I first learned of this company. Why? Because I don't shop retail, so there was no savings involved in becoming a member. I also did not want to wait several weeks for my items to come in. That was before my home flooded and had to be gutted.
Once that happened, I joined Direct Buy because it was the smartest move I could make to save money on my extensive renovations. The Customer Service at DirectBuy is very poor. The ordering system is inconvenient and time consuming. Being forced to drive 30 minutes to the location to check prices and order items is beyond ridiculously inconvenient. However, I saved over $20,000, so it was worth it to me.
Of course, I spent many thousands to get that savings. If you aren't going to buy high ticket items that are substantially reduced through DirectBuy, then you probably don't want to join this club. Or if you want to receive items quickly. Or if you don't want the hassle of having to go to one location to check pricing. DirectBuy is very, very good for specific types of purchasing.
Pay attention at the presentation. Do the research before you buy a membership. Ask plenty of questions. By being a good consumer you'll be happy with your DirectBuy membership purchase and you won't be one of the many who write complaints about DirectBuy and wish they could get your money back.
I feel our experience at DirectBuy was different than the ones posted on some of the reviews. We went to the open house, were treated with utmost courtesy by everyone that was employed by the Anaheim California DirectBuy facility. We knew going into this that there was going to be a membership fee, but we didn't know how much. We were not pressured in any way, shape or form.
They asked us what type of purchases we were planning to make. We are updating our kitchen, buying new appliances, wood floors, window coverings, etc. (some major purchases). They allowed us to look at as many books as we wanted, they explained how to read the books, etc. Because we went in without any prior shopping at other places (Home Depot, Lowe's, etc)
We didn't really know how much of a savings there would be from DirectBuy. Knowing we had 3 days to cancel the contract (it plainly states in big letters on the back of contract) we signed up and paid for the membership in full ($5800.00) We left there immediately and went to the local appliance store & Home Depot and got prices on the appliances we wanted. We looked at hardwood and priced it. We returned to DirectBuy the next morning and got their prices on the same floor and appliances. There was an $800.00 savings on the appliances, $3000.00 savings on the wood floors.
The even told us about a $300.00 rebate from GE that we could get. Last night we looked on the internet and saw how so many people (those who didn't join) were so quick to decide that DirectBuy is a scam, we got scared and went over to DirectBuy today and cancelled our contract. We told them we wanted to cancel, NO ONE gave us any problem, they were so kind and nice. We just told them that we didn't think it would benefit us in the long run. Our credit card was immediately refunded the money. The gal said that is their policy for those that cancel within 3 business days.
Sooooowe hope we haven't made a mistake in canceling our contract. We just got back from Home Depot and the cabinets we want are double the price of DirectBuy, for THE SAME CABINETS!!!!!!
FLORIDA -- I know an employee that currently works in the Tampa location. She has given me inside scoop on this company. The $50,000.00 giveaway doesn't exist, if anything they will make sure that one of their family members or close friends pretend as though they won but actually didn't. The owners of the company are very rude and unprofessional. She also stated that they have no respect for their employees. I think any company that does not respect customers enough to give them the option to go home and think about a $5,000.00 purchase has no respect for their customers.
Being pressured to make a same day decision for that type of investment is very low class and sounds like a scam to me. The worst part of it is, if you don't decide that day to pay the $5,000.00 membership fee, you are told not to come back for at least 7 years. This company does not want to give you an opportunity to go home, research the organization and find out all the terrible ratings they have, negative commits/complaints from different customers experiences, rude and unprofessional treatment that they are practicing. So people do your homework before you get scammed.
Do your homework. DirectBuy is not the answer. In the late 90's the dues to belong were about 2200.. today, however, they are upwards of $6,000 to join. And yes, then you tack on the 8% handling fee that the franchise owner also pockets.. and you soon realize that this is not anywhere near the savings indicated during the 2 hour presentation.
DirectBuy franchise owners are making oodles of money by getting you to fork over this kind of cash. If you aren't able to pay, you are not allowed to join for 7 years... I do not know how it will ever be possible to have this company banned in all states but someone needs to do this. Put these franchises out of business and make them go look for work. The only thing obtained by joining a DirectBuy franchise is that you would be feeding the greed of the franchise owners. Don't.. you can find better deals for the things you want and/or need elsewhere.
AUSTIN, TX -- I placed and paid for a $1485 order in March. In April, I was notified that delivery had been postponed until May 19. It is now July, I have not received my order, nor have I had any further communication from DirectBuy. DirectBuy does not respond to my email or phone inquiries. You cannot reach a real person by phone, but their phone system indicates that they check messages everyday. Maybe so, but they don't return calls! This is not the first difficulty I have had with Direct Buy. I tried to order a sofa in one of their catalogs. They never got the leather samples from the company that I needed to see.
They would not respond to my inquiries about that, and I made repeated 140 mile trips trying to get that taken care of. I finally gave up and bought elsewhere. It is hard to get help in the store because the employees are usually too busy trying to recruit new customers or visiting among themselves. You might be able to save some money on some items in the store, but it is like looking for a needle in a haystack and way too much trouble for the amount you can save. When I see potential new members in the store getting the sales pitch, it turns my stomach. I want to scream, "grab your money and run!"
80031, COLORADO -- DirectBuy harvested my info from the Colorado home & garden show when I entered their contest. They then called me to invite me to their showroom. They even emailed me the info. After making the appointment with them and driving about an hr away to talk to them and see their showroom, we were greeted by the store manager.
She quietly advised us that we had to attend a presentation on DirectBuy. At this time, we would be allowed to look at their catalog prices etc. However, we would then be required to sign up with them ($5000 for a 3 yr membership). If we didn't sign up, we won't be allowed to sign up for another 7 yrs. If we were not sure at that time then we should not take part in the "open house". Very deceptive practices. They could have easily told this to us BEFORE making the appointment instead of wasting our time and gas. Their excuse was that they "ran out of this written info" at the home show.
They conveniently also forgot to tell this to us when they called us to set up the appointment and when they emailed us the map directions. This was the NW Denver branch. Bad sales practices. I won't sign up with such a company.