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DirectBuy / Avoiding to deal with DirectBuy!

1 United States Review updated:

I wanted to start an email to warn people of DirectBuy, and how they conduct business. My husband and I are new-ish members, and have signed up for the initial membership of two years, wanting to renovate parts of our home.

In the year and a half so far, we’ve gotten nothing but hassle.

First and foremost, most of the staff who work there have no idea what they’re doing. We’ve gone in on a few Saturdays – that being the only day we have available to visit their ‘showroom’ – and we struggled with getting any help. We were told to make ourselves available on a weekday to talk to presumed ‘renovation experts’ and ‘electronics experts’ who don’t work weekends. The problem is, is that my husband and I have jobs that interfere with our weekday availability.

Secondly, there is no return policy when the staff make a mistake. Their kitchen expert had botched measurements for our kitchen, to the point where our contractor was unable to fit in many of the pieces that were custom made for us, and when we approached DirectBuy about it, we were given a hard time. I spent over half an hour on the phone with their kitchen expert trying to get her to just come out and see what the problem was, and remeasure the kitchen. She then also expected us to spend more money on buying pieces to replace ones that were ordered wrong from her end. After much persistence, she finally agreed to replace it for us, but not after a condescending lecture about how we, the customer, should swallow the cost of her mistakes (valuing at a few hundred dollars) when considering the thousands that we’re saving on this room’s renovation.

We’ve dealt with two different locations of DirectBuy, one in Mississauga and one in Brampton (Ontario, Canada). The reason why we left the Mississauga location was because of the incredibly poor customer service that we received from there, as well as us realizing that the staff, at best, are inept. By dealing with this second location, we’ve come to realize that this seems to be a common thread throughout the chain.

DirectBuy's gimmick is that they 'dont make a profit on anything they sell, just the membership fees' - but this has become an excuse. Abiding by this policy allows them to make whatever mistakes they want, and in tern, the customer looses hundreds of dollars (or more) because if their ineptitude.

I’ve been looking at a few links regarding DirectBuy and how they do business, and am glad to see that we’re not the only ones unsatisfied with the way they do business. It's unfortunate that we've spent the $4000 membership fee though before finding this out. Despite the fact that we've saved a substantial amount on our kitchen and other items that we've bought, it’s more stress than what it’s worth, and I would very much discourage anyone from even considering dealing with this company.

Thanks for reading, I hope this is shared and helps people in avoiding to deal with DirectBuy.

Sabrina Thompson
Mississauga, Ontario

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  • Di
      10th of Aug, 2007

    You should note the following:

    In US, a court found the membership contract “grossly unconscionable” and that “Club membership is nothing more than a cleverly disguised method of selling nothing but hopes and dreams.”

    In Canada, a provincial court found the membership agreement untenable and unenforceable because it violated the Consumer Protection Act, the Sales of Goods Act, and The Trade Practice Act. Read this at at paragraphs 13-20 of the ruling.

    Best to avoid this scam.

    0 Votes
  • Di
      5th of Dec, 2007

    are all good sources of information about the direct buy scam being conducted nationwide and in Canada

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  • Di
      21st of Mar, 2008

    Even as you read, this scam, which is nothing more than and a variation of the "Advance Fee Fraud" scheme, is parting yet more of the "something for nothing" crowd from their money.

    Here's how it works: the potential victim is baited to call for more information after seeing a tempting infomercial and how on the "inside" someone can get better deals or a telephone "tickler" call is made to a potential victim and an informative letter or brochure is sent afterwards inviting them to an open house so they can see for themselves how much others like them have saved and how much they themselves would save, along with some form of an invitation to join. The letter and subsequent follow-up telephone calls promise rich rewards of savings by buying direct from the manufacturer, at cost, with no Mark Up, No Middleman if only they were "members" of this so called highly esteemed and long time in business organisation. Typically, the pitch at the open house includes mention the so called fact that tens of thousands of other smart and savvy consumers have saved along with a slick selection of what they have saved on -- and you, too, can begin saving as soon as you join this elustrous group by signing a "membership agreement" costing thousands of dollars payable in advance of receiving any benefits - you are told that amount is paltry compared to the savings you will obtain over a 10 year period - and you must sign the contract on a now or never basis. You are even made to feel stupid if you don't sign - only a fool would not take advantage of the savings - spend a little to save a lot sort of thing.

    If you're not saying "scam" by now, you should be. Should you agree to participate in this Advance Fee savings scam, something will go wrong. Savings evaporate ... or.. Wrong or defective merchandise will be ordered ... or ... Order delays ... or ... Order mishaps and screw-ups. You will not be allowed to cancel your "membership" and get out of the deal.

    If you decide to order merchandise, money from you, in advance of receiving the merchandise -- an insignificant sum, really, in light of the windfall of savings about to land in your lap -- will be required to order merchandise without any written guarantees of actually saving money.. You pay, you wait for the merchandise . . . and all you'll get in return are more excuses about why the order is held up and assurances that everything can be straightened out if you'll just be patient and wait a little while longer or send a bit more to pay for this or that price increase. Once you start making threats, these scammers will threaten to sue you if you don't make good on your end of paying for the membership contract in full.

    Beware that the Membership Agreement is in reality nothing more than a legally binding sales contract that may have been glossed over in light of all the savings you are excited about expecting. Carefully look at it - it contains NO GUARANTEES OF SAVINGS - instead there is a "NO ORAL PROMISES" clause: "No oral promises or statements not contained in this Membership Agreement shall bind or obligate the club." It's like a get out of jail free card - they can tell you anything pie in the sky in the open house tour or over the phone to get you to join, but once you sign the sales or Membership Agreement, you agree to the NO ORAL PROMISES clause! So what happens if it turns out not to be what you expected? Ouch. Too late. You're stuck. That NO ORAL PROMISES clause comes back and bites you. Want a refund? Beware that the Membership Agreement states: "Members understand this program is not sold on a trial basis and that no refund of membership fees will be made." So you only partially paid on your contract and think that you're just not going to pay the rest of the contracted amount? -- beware that the Membership Agreement states further: "Members do not have the right to terminate the Membership Agreement without paying the amount remaining for this Membership." And if you think you're going to get a refund because you never found anything cheaper and therefore didn't use the club, think again. There's a clause in the Membership Agreement about this too: "The Membership Agreement is not conditioned on the use of this Membership."

    In a nutshell, the con works by blinding the victim with promises of an unimaginable fortune of what others like them have saved, what they could have saved if only they joined earlier, and what they can expect to save by joining now. Once the sucker is excited and sufficiently glittery-eyed over the prospect of what he or she would do with all the money he will save, he is then squeezed for however much membership fee in full at the time of "joining" or have the sales contract balance immediately financed by a separate finance company, actually a subsidiary of the parent scam company. The money the victim parts with willingly, thinking "What's $5, 000 here when I'm going to end up saving over $50, 000 when this is all done?" He fails to realize during the sting that he's never going to actually get the promised savings because all of savings are expressly disclaimed in the fine print of the contracts and merchandise ordering materials. The very sales contract, which the victim was at first eager to sign, now comes back to bite him with all those adverse terms and conditions. All of this messing around is designed to part him from his money.

    Once the scam is explained, it seems so obvious a con that you'd wonder who would fall for it. Yet fall for it people do because they're mesmerized by the wealth that will soon be theirs in the form of all the savings by not paying any markup or middleman costs - and how smart they are by taking advantage of the join now or never opportunity. They also fail to realize there's a hook hanging just out of sight; at first all they see is that others are getting savings and they want to join this cadre, thus they're ill-prepared to mentally shift gears when the con artists turns the tables. Because the premise of "saving tons of money" is wholeheartedly swallowed early on, it's not at a later point questioned when things begin to go wrong with the transaction and the dupes who have been targeted find out the hard way that there is a no refund policy on all the money they have paid in advance of receiving these now questionable "savings."

    Beware paying in advance for something for nothing - no written guarantees of promises made should send you running - especially in light of the tactics of "Be like me, I'm a member and I've saved money."

    0 Votes
  • No
      15th of Jun, 2008

    Here's what the Consumer Watchdog in Hartford, CT found:

    "If you don’t like the product, tough. You are stuck with it. DirectBuy unlike retail stores has a no-return policy and provides no warranties.

    Sales books are not always up to date, and not every item is always available.

    More disturbing to me is that DirectBuy attempts to hide the fact that not all savings it sees from manufacturers are passed on directly to members.

    By reviewing the 260-plus page agreement with its franchise owners, I learned that DirectBuy reserves the right to keep rebates, discounts and other payments from manufacturers and suppliers.

    It also keeps early-pay discounts, and all DirectBuy purchases are paid by the member at the time of ordering.", 0, 3450527.column

    No Warranties--and imagine that, a buyer's club keeping discounts.

    You guessed it: It's a scam!

    0 Votes
  • Na
      14th of Sep, 2008

    DirectBuy Sued! A federal lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court in Hartford against the national high-end DirectBuy franchise operation, accusing it of falsely telling prospective clients that they are getting furniture, appliances and other household products at manufacturer prices. In a lawsuit filed by attorney Seth R. Klein of Hartford, DirectBuy is accused of hiding the fact that DirectBuy receives rebates from manufacturers which are not directly passed on to their members, who pay as much as $7, 000 to join for two or three years. The lawsuit, which seeks to be certified as a class action representing thousands of present and former members of the more than 100 franchises, was filed earlier this month. It follows a column on DirectBuy that disclosed the rebates, which are kept secret from its members and from those it entices to join through high pressure sales techniques. DirectBuy officials had no comment on the suit but had said earlier that it uses the millions of dollars it received in rebates to the benefit of its members. We will see what a jury has to say about that.

    0 Votes
  • Jt
      19th of Oct, 2009

    Please, can someone supply the name of an attorney or firm that may be filing a class action against Direct buy. [protected]

    0 Votes
  • Da
      29th of Oct, 2009

    Our experience mirrors that of Sabrina in the first letter of this post. I am really disgusted that a company can continue to do business using such unscrupulous tactics. We have been to the location and are generally completely ignored until we get agitated and then someone comes "to calm us down". I placed one order through the website and the two items that were ordered were inexplicably ordered twice. I was then told to return the extra sets to the location like it was no big deal to ask me to go out of my way for their screw up. Now, I just tried to order appliances and was handed a purchase order for an additional $250 on the price of the refrigerator. I was then told that the price I had been given and that was on the website had sold out the day before so I now had to pay the new price. This was after two days of emails when I could have been told to order it right away. When I mentioned that, the salesperson said he did not get the member emails so he had no idea of what had been offered. When I asked why he would not be kept up on these offers as a representative of the company, he said he was not a "member". If the people that work for the company do not also share in the "benefits" from the company, that says a lot about how far away you should stay from Direct Buy.

    David Chandler
    Portland, Oregon

    0 Votes
  • Ft
      13th of Nov, 2009

    Attorney Advertisement

    My name is Michael Mclellan and I am an attorney with Finkelstein Thompson LLP. My law firm represents consumers who have been harmed by large corporations’ unfair business practices. We are investigating allegations similar to those discussed here -- that is, allegations (made in filed cases) that DirectBuy, Inc. may have made misrepresentations to its customers regarding the prices those customers paid for products purchased through DirectBuy. If you have been affected by such activities, you may contact me to discuss your experience and your rights. I can be reached at (877) 337-1050 (toll free) or by email at [protected]

    Responding to this advertisement does not, by itself, create an attorney-client relationship between you and Finkelstein Thompson LLP.

    0 Votes
  • Th
      30th of Jan, 2010

    I worked for Direct Buy, in the Brampton location for one week... I didn't like it, it wasn't what I was hired to do.
    As for the pricing, I didn't feel they carried high end, the best at that time was Sherrill and stanley, as I had worked for a furniture store for years, and they carried one name brand that Direct Buy did, since Iworked there, I took the time to price it out, then I went to the retail store in Mississauga to find the same item. Keep in mind the retail showroom the item is assembles and someone other then me delivers it. Well it was cheaper to go to the retailer then to go thru the hassle of Direct Buy,
    I did find if you were buying buy Canadian made, otherwise there are a lot of extra expense like duty and freight.

    Shop around, i can't see it being a good idea unless you are doing major reno work or building a new home.

    just my thoughts.

    L M W

    0 Votes
  • Ut
      4th of Sep, 2010

    I would agree to all complaints here. I've been cheated into signing the contract and pay a down payment of $1, 000 on 08/28/2010 and finance the rest $4, 500 at 17.67% to come up with 162 per month. I don't need to tell my story, but I had the same angry and frustrated experience as all people on this complaint board after I found out that I would not save anything but I have to end up paying the monthly fees. Now, one week later I want to cancel the contract, but they would not refund the down payment, when I have not bought anything or benefited from the membership.

    Is there anyway we could do something to lobby the State and Federal government to pass a law to shut down their operation, or for them to be more honest and open to consumers. It's a hard time, we want to save money but ended up to offer our hard earn money to the scammer. They are also very rude sales people who do not care about the customers. I would sign a letter with anybody to turn in to the government. How do we ask the government to not allow the TV channel to run their ad, because if they do so many more people will fall for their scam. WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

    0 Votes
  • Au
      11th of Jan, 2011

    DO NOT GET INVOLVED WITH DIRECT BUY. I tried to get a refund of only the monies that I had not already paid and they said not only couldn't have a refund but that I had no where else to escalate my complaints to. This is the BIGGEST mistake and regret of my husband and I. 1) If you have a specific price range for a product, you are extremely limited by what you can buy 2) staff are not only unknowledgeable but also too busy to really help you 3) you are told that you will have your membership for 10 years .. but after 2 years, they start to charge you a "annual renewal fee" 4) their hours are very limited 5) their website is not user friendly and doesn't carry all of the products offered 6) after you get your "great deal" on a product, you have to pay delivery and other fees --> Basically, once you add in the fees, you erase any savings you had 7) Once you sign up .. there is NO way out of their contract.. so they have absolutely no incentive to provide good customer service or to help you .. keep that in mind if you have any thoughts of joining .. the only way this would be worth it is if you were planning on doing more than $50, 000 in HIGH-END purchases in less than 2 years.. we did a lot of purchases but we used some low end and a lot of middle range products .. which were NOT available with directbuy... I've also found that many times with retailers, you can find the same products at a lower price if you catch it on sale .. and you don't have to pay the delivery/additional fees ... DIRECT BUY IS A SCAM!!!

    0 Votes
  • Ad
      28th of Jan, 2011

    Has anyone joined the lawsuit aginst Directbuy. If so please let me know how I can get involved. [protected]

    0 Votes

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