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DirectBuy / Bad experience

1 413 Park Hill DriveKnoxville, TN, United States Review updated:
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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.

Pi
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Comments

  • Ri
      10th of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes

    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.

  • Br
      21st of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    I just love reading how aweful people's experiences have been. How do I know that? Cause I use to be the one doing the sales pitch and pressuring unsuspecting, bright-eyed consumers that want a "bargain". Has anyone wondered what the business does with that 9% "handling fee?" I do. I'm upset at direct buy, but not from a consumers stand point. I leverage direct buy against the retailers all the time and it works about 75% of the time. I have felt guilty about the "truths" that I told to get people to join. The company calls it fluffing which they deem is not lying. I was part of the Direct buy family when it was UCC then UCC totalhome. Some things have changed, for the worse I see with the numbers people are ranting about. I truly do advise people not to join and also advise them to spread the word. The people in the infomercials probably represents about less than 1/2 of a percent of the total membership that has saved that much money. Its called marketing and now the are even doing pop-up on the computer. I have personally talked atleast 2000 people out of joining Directbuy over the last 5 years. I'm in an industry now where I'm speaking to a large group of people on a regular basis where consumer habit is usually brought up. I don't go out of my way to negatively talk about DB, but most of the time DB is brought up. When that happens, I tell them my first hand knowledge of the company. There is so much people don't know about DB and I'm hoping to help others. If some people are upset with the first hand knowledge that I have obtained, then you should have treated me better.

  • An
      22nd of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    I have to agree with Brick. I too am a former DBer. The 'High Pressure/Hard Sell B/S' at DB starts at Corporate with it's Franchisees, who trickle it down to their Centers.

    Corporate likes to feed it's Franchisees with the thought that they're 'helping families to a better life style', when in fact they are putting them through a maze of burning hoops, to justifying the enormous amount of money they've charged them. The Franchisees assume that they're getting the best Boot Camp Training, since their life is made a living hell. Unfortunately 'The Originals' who made their money 'back in the day' and created this Company, never had any Business Training or any previous success at anything for that matter. They bought into the top of the pyramid. They remain stuck in 1980 mentality and still take money out of Franchisees pockets as 'Consultants'. Unfortunately, most of them don't fit a Mentor role, and are far beyond the age where their counsel is worth anything. That being said, when DB was sold last year, all remained on board Part Time, training and developing new Franchisee hopefuls, in the school of 'back in the day'.

    The DB 'Now or Never' buying system would continue to work if it were still 1980, but Consumers are much more savvy these days. The laws are tightening, as the Federal Class Action suit filed against DB in Connecticut will attest to.

    Unfortunately for DB, I have to agree with the Consumer. In these uncertain economic times, I have to think about a Membership before parting with that kind of money up front. In these hard times, DB has lost a tremendous amount of Manufacturers in 2008 alone. Who can predict how many will be left by the end of the year?

    Directbuy continues to defraud the Public with fictitious websites attesting to how fabulous they are. In Directbuy's efforts to suppress all the negative Complaints on the Internet, they have hired 2 different Companies to create these websites such as 'The Truth about Directbuy. com", in an effort to establish an algorithm that will put true complaints on Page 2, rather than Page 1. They're banking, or should I say hoping, that Consumers won't read beyond the first page of the Search. These 2 Companies specialize in surpressing bad internet reviews, and actually create blogs to throw Consumers a curve ball.

    In regard to handling fees, Guests were told that "They always paid that in retail. DB is just up front about itemizing your costs." Directbuy misleads Guests into believing that they make "No money off the merchandise". The Class Action suit is going to expose the truth about the Handling Fee, as well as the rebates that have been kept. In a statement issued from DB, "The rebates went to help our Members". I interpret that to mean they kept the money, unless they've managed to create a bogus Foundation dedicated to helping their Members.

    If you want out of your contract, there are 2 ways: 1) Hire an Attorney to write a letter for you. DB is afraid of lawsuits.
    2) File a Complaint with The Attorney General's office in your state. The AG keeps a log on complaints, and will begin an investigation if there are too many.

    DB worked in the 70's when buying co-ops were 'all the rage'. Consumers have more options than ever before, and those who have the good fortune to make major purchases, can get a better deal than DB can offer.

    Employees at my Center were over worked on the Service side, and on the Sales end pressured and even emotionally abused. They have however, the luxury of leaving and going on to a more honest environment.

    To quote John Irving..."It's a good job to lose".

  • Di
      19th of May, 2009
    +1 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.

  • Wl
      7th of Mar, 2010
    0 Votes

    We went through the exact same thing yesterday! I couldn't wait to see what the price of the membership was because the video's that played endlessly throughout the store were leading up to something really big! Their membership $5790 for 3 years in Canada!

  • Ea
      18th of Apr, 2010
    +1 Votes

    Another scammed client of DiectBuy looking for a way out. I've already paid over $7000 and now they expect another $217 a year and so far I haven't bought a thing from them as I have always found it cheaper elsewhere. Like so many others we will just have to eat it and pass it off to experience.

  • Nd
      7th of Jan, 2011
    +1 Votes

    How can I get my $5000 back as I never bought a thing here after my 3 years membership.What a scam!

  • Nd
      7th of Jan, 2011
    +1 Votes

    Any way of getting my $5000.00 membership fee back?

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