Direct Buy: 5 Things Direct Buy Doesn't Tell You on Their Website

Direct Buy: What You Don't Know Can Hurt Your Pocketbook

Direct Buy has a fancy interactive website featuring a really upbeat lady.  It is really hard not to like her or the information published there.  However, there are some things that you really should know before you accept an invitation to attend one of their presentations.

Direct Buy: Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware)

Direct Buy says they will save you money on furniture.
Direct Buy says they will save you money on furniture.

Direct Buy: Let's Get Down to the Nitty Gritty

The first thing that Direct Buy doesn't tell you on their website is the cost to become a member.  You actually have to sit through the 90-minute sales presentation to find out what it is.  The last time I checked, it was $4000 for the first year and then about $300 for every year after that.  You'd think that most people would need that kind of information up front, wouldn't you?

The second thing Direct Buy doesn't tell you is how difficult it is to sift through thousands of pages of catalogs and brochures in order to find the item that you want to buy.  Some customers give up after their first post-sales-presentation visit because of sheer frustration.

The third omission from DIrect Buy's online sales material is that even if you decide to place an order yourself through an online portal, you have to pay a mandatory 8% "order fee" on the total amount of your order.  This is after they tell you that you will not have to pay a mark-up.

The fourth thing they don't tell you is that you must have your spouse with you or they will not let you in the door.  They want both decision makers to be there for obvious reasons (if they can't convince you, they may be able to convince your better half who then convinces you instead).

The fifth thing they don't tell you is that once you hear the presentation, you have to buy the membership immediately.  You cannot go home and think about it.  And this is just one of the high-pressure sales tactics they have at their disposal.  In fact, the only thing they don't do is wrestle you to the ground and steal your wallet.

So don't say I didn't tell you so.  

Oh, I know there will be plenty of people who say this is a one-sided view of Direct Buy.  That may be so.  But these are the facts and facts do not lie.  Happy shopping!

Comments 13 comments

DirectBuy 7 years ago

Good afternoon. We noticed your article about DirectBuy and the value we can provide to those consumers who are thinking about building, refurnishing or remodeling their homes, and we would like to introduce ourselves, and hopefully clear up any questions and information you have about who we are and how our unique business model works.

If you are not all that familiar with DirectBuy, we are a membership-based organization founded in 1971. We currently have more than 160 locations across the United States and Canada, through which our members purchase merchandise for in and around their home directly from several hundred brand-name manufacturers.

The way our unique business model works is this: over the years, our merchandising team has developed relationships with the top manufacturers of home furnishings, home improvement, flooring, electronics, outdoor and accessories. Our hundreds of thousands of members are an attractive market for manufacturers to sell their items to. By offering their merchandise through DirectBuy, our manufacturers are able to make the same amount of money that they do by offering their merchandise through a retail store. The difference is in what our members pay – rather than paying what the retailer has to charge in markup to cover their overhead and make a profit, our members pay what the manufacturers charge for an item, saving hundreds, even thousands of dollars on items they need for their homes. It’s a win-win for everyone.

I did notice some information presented regarding our Open House events, where we invite guests to come learn about DirectBuy and our unique business model. First and foremost, we know that many consumers have a lot of questions, ranging from “How does DirectBuy work?” to “How much does it cost?” Therefore, at the Open House, you’ll have ample time to have all your questions answered and see firsthand how DirectBuy membership works. I’d like to use this opportunity to provide you with further information about why we typically do ask that those consumers interested in DirectBuy who are married or in a committed relationship have both parties attend the Open House.

The reason for doing so is that most remodeling, refurnishing and building projects are major decisions that are decided upon by the couple together. In many relationships, one spouse may do the majority of the product selection, but typically the other spouse is aware of and involved in, at minimum, the budget for the project. Because these projects are discussed in great detail at the Open House, it is usually best to have both parties attend. Additionally, one of the great things about DirectBuy is that our memberships are applicable for your entire family, so we like to have any and all parties who may be doing purchasing of any kind (not just home goods, but sports equipment, jewelry, pool tables, etc.) learn about membership so that they are familiar with our shopping process.

It’s also important to know that DirectBuy welcomes all consumers, regardless of their marital status to attend an Open House and become members. Even in instances where an interested consumers is married, but there are legitimate reasons where their spouse would not be able to attend, we will do everything we can to accommodate the request.

I did also want to express that membership may not be right for everyone due to our unique business model. Because our members buy direct from the manufacturers, as you can imagine that means we do not keep stock of merchandise, and therefore shopping from the items you want for your home through DirectBuy is more like looking through a manufacturer’s entire product line as opposed to just what a store chooses to keep on the floor. In most instances, this means access to hundreds of options and the entire product lines of the best and biggest brand-names. It’s a benefit you can’t get anywhere else.

To address the handling fee presented in your article, some items are subject to shipping and handling fees, however this is explained at multiple points during the membership initiation period and is not a hidden fee. Additionally, many items are exempt from handling fees altogether. It is all dependent on the type of product purchased, and those that are ensure that our members’ products arrive as quickly as possible and in pristine condition. In the event the product arrives in less than stellar condition we work with our manufacturer to ensure we get a new item to the member at no charge.

Our company derives no income from the sale of merchandise and instead profits solely from the sale of memberships, and I know this is an important point to expand upon after reading your article. For many years, we had only one membership plan; recently, however we have expanded our membership offering to include options for varying needs and lifestyles, and now offer a Silver, Gold and Platinum level membership options. In addition, our guests now have the option to choose amongst different membership lengths, ranging from 3-months to as long as 3 years, renewable for up to ten years. Renewal fees beyond the initial membership term are a fraction of the cost of the initial membership fee and in most instances amount to a few hundred dollars per year.

At the Open House, our guests also have an opportunity to take part in a 30-day Free Membership to experience DirectBuy firsthand. It’s an opportunity to purchase very similar to the way our current members do, in order to see if the DirectBuy way to buying is a good fit them and their family. It’s a risk-free opportunity and allows you to upgrade your membership at any time during your free 30 days to a full membership; otherwise, you are free to use the 30 days to explore the benefits of DirectBuy even if you choose not to upgrade to a full membership. It’s really an exciting opportunity to be able to offer to our guests.

DirectBuy has a 37-year track record of enabling members to avoid traditional retail markup and purchase an unprecedented selection of brand name merchandise. However, we do realize that DirectBuy is not for everyone and the most important choice you can make is to get as much information possible so that you can make a comfortable, informed decision.

That being said, one of the best ways we know to share our story is through those members – many of whom have shared their stories on www.directbuyreviews.com. This site is one where consumers can go to read real stories from actual members all across North America. Also, if you should ever need more information on DirectBuy, or the savings, service and selection we can offer – please visit www.directbuycares.com.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post – we know it is rather lengthy – and for the opportunity to share with you more information about our unique business model.

-DirectBuy


PATRICIA SMITH 6 years ago

WHAT IF A PERSON ISNOT SATISFY WITH THE MEMBERSHIP AFTER MAKING PURCHASES BUT NEVER RECEIVE ANYTHING FROM THE WAREHOUSE ? CAN ONE CANCEL THEIR MEMBERSHIP BECAUSE THE SPOUSE WAS NOT PRESENT AND HE DOES NOT WANT THE MEMBERSHIP WHAT HAPPENS ? I KNOW MY FRIEND IS IN A LOT OF TROUBLE BECAUSE HER SPOUSE SAYS NO TO THE MEMBERSHIP


TLW 6 years ago

I tried to get a pass to an open house - I was told they would not be able to accommodate me unless I provided the information about my spouse and commit to a time when we BOTH would be available. When I refused to provide the information, I was told they would not be able to provide me with a pass to the open house. So, you do have to provide the information up front, I'm not sure what would happen if you showed up without the spouse since I never made it that far. I will take a pass on the "great opportunity" - no retailer should dictate how couples make business decisions.


rd 5 years ago

DirectBuy is a nightmare & scam.

Help spread the word...

A Federal Class Action lawsuit against DirectBuy has been filed by Izard Nobel LLP. Contact information is as follows

Lead Attorney - Jeff Nobel

email - jnobel@izardnobel.com

toll free phone# - (800) 797-5499

Please contact them so justice may prevail & we can get our hard earned money aka "membership fees" back.

BBB of E. Missouri & S. Illinois

(Saint Louis, MO)

15 Sunnen Drive, Ste. 107

Saint Louis, MO 63143

Phone: (314)645-3300

Fax: (314)645-2666

Email: bbb@stlouisbbb.org

Web: http://www.stlouis.bbb.org


Joy  5 years ago

I have been a member of my local direct buy for about 6 years now. We have fully renovated our house, using mostly products purchased through direct buy. The free assistance from interior decorators, is invaluable, as well as the great prices on furniture, cabinets, lighting, flooring, etc. I still shop around at Lowes, Home Depot, and other local stores to be sure I get the best deals. 99% of the time, I end up right back at direct buy to make my purchase.


Bill 5 years ago

Like any business, I am sure there are people that have had bad experiences with DB. However, We have been proud members since 1995. As a matter of fact, DB was not the name, it was UCC and we had never heard of it and there were no infommercials. The sales tactic used on us was the same and we were very skeptical, but joined knowing we had the 3 day right of recission. Joining DB was one of the best decisions we have ever made. Like the previous comment from DB says, joining this club is not for everyone, but for recently married couples or a person buying a home that needs to be furnished, DB should be given serious consideration.

We have bought most of our furniture (in door and out door), flooring, complete kitchen make over and electronics from DB. In addition, we are avid consumers that look for the best deal/price available. Yes, we have bought items over the net, Home Depot, Cost co. etc. because sometimes the better deal is not DB, but most of the time it is. Consumers must understand that not every single item sold by DB is going to be the rock bottom price. However, based on our 15 yr experience, most items will beat any retailer/wholesaler for brand new orginal mfg. equipment. I could give countless examples, but our dining room set saved us $5k, our new tv alone saved us $3k and the kitchen remodel in 1998 saved us over $10k. What people fail to realize is that buying directly from the manufacturer takes time and work and if you are willing to do your homework, DB more than pays for itself. In addition, not all items require a 6 to 8 week delivery time. When we did our kitchen, most of the items were sold by local retailers, but we were given special pricing because of our DB membership. When we went to the granite retailer to pick out our granite countertop, the retailer showed us the normal price vs. our price and it was almost 50 percent less. As a result, we got the pencil edge because we could afford the upgrade due to the savings.

When we remodeled our kitchen, we priced everything outside of DB and the only place that came close to DB was Home depot and that was on one item, the 9 inch double bowl sink. The standard item was the same price, but we were looking for a black sink. Thus, Home Depot had the same sink in black, but not in stock. The Home Depot employee gave me the book to find our sink and it was so funny because the catalog was exactly the same as the one at DB, but the prices were higher. So guess what, the same black sink from Home Depot is a special order item and for those who shop Home Depot, you know what that means, increased price and wait time for delivery. So, DB beat Home Depot on this special order item in price, including the handling fee.

Finally, what makes us a repeat DB member? As one of those sales people told us on our first visit, if you do not save money, you may spend a similar amount of money but will have better quality products in your home. After 15 years, that pretty much sums up our membership, we have probably spent the same amount of money that we otherwise would have spent on our purchases without using DB, but our homes have better quality products than what we would have received without DB.

I do feel very sorry for people who have had a bad experience, but rest assured, DB is a legitmate business with thousands of satisfied members just like Cost Co. and Sams Club etc.


maria 5 years ago

Direct Buy is a scam. I joined just a month ago to the one in southern New Jersey. They just closed. Now they want me to travel an hour away to another store to shop. Are you kidding me! have you seen the price of gas! Even if I save money Ill be spending it on gas.I called Corporate and they told me there is nothing they can do. I have to continue paying the finance company for my membership. Im heading to a lawyer! If you are interested in a membership..DONT DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


HappyHome 5 years ago

I have been a member of Direct Buy since 2005. While some of the above comments may deter one from seeking membership, I would encourage anyone who is building a home or doing a major renovation to consider carefully. With one cabinet order for a wet bar, the cost of my membership was recovered. I did some comparison shopping (same vendor, multiple authorized distributors) and found that the savings was in excess of $5000. All appliances that I've ordered were delived to my home and even with the cost for delivery, the savings exceeded 15-20% of retail cost in my local area. I offer this hint to you also: I look for items locally or on the internet before going to the store. This allows me to have a targeted plan for my shopping. If you fail to do this, you will be overwhelmed by the number of books on the shelves. For local comparision, I don't engage the salesperson because I know that I'm going to buy through Direct Buy. Having been in sales previously, I would certainly hope that a shopper wouldn't maliciously seek my assistance only to purchase at another location. I hope that this post offers assistance to those of you who are considering this membership.


mike 5 years ago

I recently got out of the Marines, bought a house here and got an invite to an open house. It sounded good until the sales pitch and the 6 grand they wanted from me. For one, they all gave me different prices. The lady on the floor tried giving me a military discount that was the same as price that the guy in the room gave everyone else, then the other guy was a grand above both. The thing that really hit home was when another guy came over and said he was a retired officer in the Marines and asked if I trusted my commanders when I was in, then he said trust me. Until I started asking him what he did in the Marines and questions that only a real Marine would know. Conveniently he had to run and go take care of something. The lows that sales people will go to, just to try to take our money. In short this place is a scam and people like this should be locked away. To me this is white collar crime.


Steve P 4 years ago

I have been to a show at Direct Buy in Ottawa on the 23/02/2012 13:30 I did find the ideal to be good however the membership fee left me a bit back but was still interested. It is interesting that they do get you in a corner according to one assistant manager the offer to become a member only stand on the day of the presentation, if you do not join you are forever lock out of the Store, I was surprise to hear. I believe it make poor business to tell anyone that they can never applied for membership later that is just plenly cold on there part.I do not believe that not joining on that day will change their store in any matter even if we were able to join latter.


mindy 4 years ago

Just like in all walks of life, there are corrupt DB chain owners and there are honourable ones. You have to be intelligent. I have been a member for well over 10 years. Nobody made me feel like I had to buy. They made a sales pitch, just like a car salesman or some dippy overmade-up girl at a cosmetics counter. A sales pitch is a sales pitch. This is what I mean by being intelligent: I simply said "Thank you for all the information, I would like to be left in peace now to weigh all this". Simple.

Nobody has ever asked me to come in with my husband. Yes, you do have to pore over catalogues and the pricing. In the end, the money you save is the time you spend doing the research. You cannot expect 40-75% price reduction for nothing. That is just plain dumb.

It seems that the American chains are having a lot more difficulties with unscrupulous owners. In Canada, there does not seem to be as much corruption nor unreasonable customer expectations.

I have remodelled 2 houses using DB, am quite happy with them and am looking forward to helping out 4 of my kids get their houses set up in the future.


Scott 21 months ago

My wife and I attended one of DB's open houses last night and it was an interesting experience. In sitting through the presentation, the prices sounded good, though it is hard to know if those were real prices or not. A couple comments thrown out during the presentation seemed a little extreme, but I wrote those off to over-zealous salesmen.

IMO, the price tag is fairly steep to join and would require the purchase of quite a bit of "stuff" in order to recoup the fee.

My wife & I are in the process of remodeling our home which is part of the reason we were interested in pursuing DB.

We have purchased windows, doors, mill-work, etc. over the past year, so I have a good idea as to what things cost. I tried to do a comparison to DB's prices, however our salesman told us he was not allowed to give us a quote on windows or doors until we were members. He kept telling us to trust him, but when a salesman tells me that, I usually get nervous.

We opted to not become members (even though our salesman tried very hard) but things just didn't feel right and the prices didn't seem realistic. Personally I don't see how a company can stay in business simply through dues. While Costco and Sam's Club may make money off of their dues, they are still turning a profit on each and every product they sell, yet DB says they are not.

After getting home, I checked out DB on Consumer Reports website and CR says to stay away from them.

I'm glad we did.


Sandra 19 months ago

I have been a member for about 2 years. They decided to close the showroom, and they didn't even asked the members, I thought this was a "membership-based organization" that is what they advertise. I want to cancel my membership. I am so sorry for joining. Please you people out there, if you are thinking of joining look it up first before you decide to invest or throw away you money. Thanks,

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