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Direct Buy / Membership Open House Experience

1 Knoxville, TN, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 413 Park Hill Drive

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 proceeds to show us a wall of products 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, 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.

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Comments

Ju
  7th of Feb, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

First of all nobody tells me what I have to do, I will never be pressured in joining any membership by short notice, for the fee that is mentioned the company sucks to do that to anyone. they should be shut down, closed forever they're a scam. 4500.00 to be a member what a joke that is. that should come with free delivery and 1/2 the handling fee, what are they handling? your placing an order not the company. you paid for the service through your membership, they are making more money then what they should be. thats why they pressure you that you have to join the night you come in to see what they offer. I think you can save better on the outside. retail stores donot charge you handling plus they give you free delivery so why should Direct Buy charge you membership fee, plus handling fee & delivery fee. where is all the savings? there are none its all eaten up by all the fees... becareful what you choose you will be mis- led... do yourself a favor DONOT JOIN THEY'RE A BIG RIP-OFF WHO WILL SCAM YOU IF YOU LET THEM BEWARE...

St
  28th of Mar, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

I think GOD for leading me to this site. My wife and I had an appointment with them in 45 min. {03-28-2009}. After reading some of these comments I am glad I read them before we left. I think all of you for leaving your comments.

Di
  19th of May, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

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.

Pa
  25th of Jul, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

I worked for them in a management position and this job requires intensive training, because it is such a SCAM...you must learn the slaes tactics, which are ### SCAM RIPOFF NONSENSE!!! DONT JOIN!!! go to big box retailers!~!!! THE federal trade commision should be all over them, it will happen soon, THE PARTY IS OVER SHORTLY...I had to much of a heart to continue working there, I will not rip people off for there money, no matter how high the compensation was...
Beware of the Salesman in nice suits and shoes, with the fake smile!!
WOLF IN SHEEPS CLOTHING...
than people are afraid to not continued paying there membership when they joined, they feel they are committed to save there 4500 or more!!!
RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!!

Di
  28th of Jul, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

Dear Past Worker-
Thanks for having a conscience and not continuing the scam. It's nice to know there are good people out there who won't "take the money & run".

Yes, I am also surprised that the FTC or Attorney General are not all over this. I am appalled that DirectBuy used to be UCC Total Home declared bankruptcy & then opened again as DirectBuy. My suspicion is that they will do the same thing again. "When the heat gets too hot, they'll take their toys and go home."

I have heard that the franchise owners abused their employees and often lied / cheated them as well. I know God is watching & they will get their punishment in the end. They cannot continue doing all of these awful things ripping off consumers and get away with it. I believe that the vast majority of the positive reviews on this company come from either the franchise owners or corporate office.

Thanks for helping expose DirectBuy for who they truly are. Together we'll get them!

La
  23rd of Nov, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

WOW. I did not see this web page before but I went about 3 or 4 years ago. I too received the high pressure that I must "join today or be forever barred. I was thrown back by the then... on the spot demand for $3600.00--- in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Yes, that was a CLEAR Tactic and I made my exit. Thanks for all the posts. I recently saw one of their delivery trucks and decided to look them up.

I see the crooks are still doing their thing, but not on everyone!!!

Kh
  25th of Mar, 2012
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

My husband and i went to an open house today March 25, 2012 in Huntsville Alabama. Membership fees-$4995.00 !! Salesman was very nice until we said that we couldn't justify the membership costs. He jumped up from the table and rushed us out.

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