Direct Buy -- total scam or useful?

fern4April 1, 2008

OK, I know Direct Buy has been discussed on this forum because I did a search. But there apparently is no thread that discusses Direct Buy specifically and I don't want to sort through everything from "OT - have you adopted a dog" to various appliances to ferret out information!

I've apparently never heard of it until today when someone mentioned it to me and now I'm wondering what is really is. I already have my appliances, know where I'm getting my cabinets, etc. so I'm not sure what I would need it for. After listening to a bit of the website pitch I clicked on the next Google entry:

WOW, hundreds of people apparently writing to say that it costs about $5,000 to join and it's a HUGE scam.

So now I'm seriously curious about people's experience with Direct Buy. I'm guessing that if it looks like a way to avoid shopping for better prices it's too good to be true. ??

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What frustrates me with a company like Direct Buy is their blatent sales tactics - you must come to an appointment which is 3 hours in length. You are then presented with the package after watching movies, listening to a presentation etc. Both spouses MUST attend or you are sent away (they feel that one spouse will not make a decision without the other) and you are only able to take advantage of the offer that night.

Same as time share presentations. I sold time share when I was in high school and the very, very carefully orchestrated routine we followed was pathetic and honestly, insulting to our customers.

The cost is crazy, but many have joined and love the savings. Most of the time the products must be selected from a catalog and you cannot see them. That would turn me off.

It's not a scam, but really comes across as one with their "secretive" sales techniques and presentations.

I considered them but refused when I found out my husband MUST attend (he works crazy hours) and I could not take my children and that it would be a 3-hour presentation. No thanks.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 8:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I actually went to a presentation, signed on the dotted line, and while researching it more AFTER, I felt literally sick that I'd made a mistake. The owner of my local DB let me out of my contract (many supposedly wouldn't). The excuse we used was my hubby 'wouldn't let me'. He was not at the presentation, so I guess that's why they like to have both there, to avoid buyer's remorse.

One of the drawbacks, is the 'restocking fee' if you don't want what you've ordered. Delivery fees, and of course the waits.

Other than my close call, no other direct dealings.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 8:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

At the beginning of my reno, we made an appointment to go to the presentation and having sat through time share presentations, we changed our minds and opted not to go. I called and left a message that we would not be there because there was no option to speak with a person. A few hours later we got a call from the salesman, who became extremely rude and insulting and pretty much implied that I had lied about notifying them that we wouldn't be there. I finally lost my temper and needless to say, I shopped around and found many good deals, all without the valuable asset of Direct Buy (sarcasm here).

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 8:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I investigated Direct Buy when we started to look into the kitchen remodel. To make a long story short (after much investigation on the internet), there are people out there who are satisfied customers. But there seems to be many, many more who aren't. I decided to end my discussion with them.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 8:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I went there last year. The sales pitch was very very hard. They will not tell you what products they have. You must make a decision right then and there or be "escorted" out of the showroom. I was told I could not return for one year. Needless to say, it left a bad taste in my mouth. I've heard a couple of good opinions but what kind of reputable business has such a draconian sales tactic while asking for such a large sum of money for an essentially unknown product? Good luck to you but I'll spend my money elsewhere.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 11:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A friend of my DH's belongs and her comment is that unless you have several houses to maintain/remodel, it's definitely not worth it. They own several apartment buildings so they use them when they need to replace things or remodel.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 1:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How does such a business model (of secrecy and high pressure) survive in today's world? with the power of the internet, google, online shops, ebay, you would think that people would shop around rather than shop from just one source...

I shop around until I find, to my satisfaction, the right price, options, delivery time and trust.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 2:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would not go anywhere near these folks.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 6:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My husband was considering joining this, however, he looked up the reviews online and did not find any good recommendations for it. Also, once they get your name, they call endlessly to see if you have reconsidered? Finally, they stopped harrassing us.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 7:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First of all how much would you have to spend inorder to make it worth spending $5000 for nothing. Second of all if you don't research prices how would you know how much you are actually saving. You may be able to save $5000 just by waiting for a sale. HD and Lowes always have some deal going on. Also I think that there is going to be more competition among retailers, manufactures, and contractors to obtain a sale due to the economy. The days of home equity loans looks grim with all of the forclosures across the country.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 9:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My friends joined as they were building a house, the house is done and they still haven't recouped their $5000. They wanted to help us in our building and checked prices for us, our local plumber ( mom and pop shop) gave us better prices then direct buy gave them on all of our kohler products.
My neighbors bought carpet from them and had to go all over the city to look at the few places that deal with direct buy. Then they had to go pick up the carpet after renting a truck and then hiring someone to put it down. They got a great price on the carpet but after all was said and done, it cost them more.
They also add a handling fee to everything you order and if something is wrong with the item you order, it isn't easy to send back and of course there is a return fee......Stay away

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 10:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I looked into Direct Buy when we were first started considering a total kitchen reno. DH & I sat down and wrote out a list of questions we wanted answers to before we'd actually make an appointment with them. We did this because DH is a physician with long and often unpredictable hours. I literally got ONE of our questions answered: "How long does this presentation take?" The guy I talked with either evaded the rest of my questions or flat out refused to answer them until we, as a couple, came in for our appointment. The thing that finally decided for me that this was NOT a company we wanted to deal with, was their refusal to tell me what companies and specific products they delt with! The salesperson I talked with was extremely pushy about us making an appointment to come in. I finally did just to get him off the phone. When I called him back the next day to cancel, telling him I'd changed my mind, he was extremely rude and disrespectful. There is no way I'd ever have any dealings with this company again!
Follow-up: I found this forum here and you all saved me so much money on everything from our cabinet hardware, to our Silgranit sink, Kohler faucets, etc. . . . for ZERO $$$$ to join and a lot of great information, comraderie and encouragement thrown in, as well!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 10:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As a general rule of thumb, it's not a good idea to pay an upfront fee (especially one in the thousands of dollars) in exchange for the promise of future goods or services. Whereas business is conducted in that manner every day, it is usually between parties with equal bargaining power who can afford to litigate if something goes wrong.

Whereas there are probably some people who have managed to get their money's worth out of Direct Buy, the sheer volume of complaints about Direct Buy online and with the Better Business Bureau and the attorney general's office of several states is a pretty good indicator the average person doesn't have the time, patience or fortitude to break even where Direct Buy is concerned.

The sad thing is offers like this are becoming more and more common. My lawn mowing service will charge me a cheaper price per mowing if I will agree to pay for a year's worth of mowing upfront. The local car wash has a similar offer. Whereas I have no doubt upfront fees make good economic sense for the lawn mowing company and the local car wash, it doesn't make good economic sense to me unless I am willing to take the risk the lawn mowing company and the local car wash will remain solvent long enough for me to get a year's worth of mowings and car washes. Since I am not willing to take that risk, I spend more for the service and keep the use of my money until the service is rendered.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 12:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Run the other way! I checked into Direct Buy when we first thought of redoing our kitchen. I saw so many bad reports and complaints that it really bothered me. Then I was told we had to sit through a many hour sales presentation (my husband HAD to be present) and that was another negative. I couldn't get any information from them prior to the presentation. I talked with someone who actually joined and he said it was $5000 plus annual renewal fees. Plus shipping fees were very high. He said if was NOT worth it!

I've done extremely well staying UNDER budget by using the internet. It has saved me hundreds of $ by not having to pay shipping (most cases) and no sales tax. I've been able to do comparison shopping in my own home. No pressure sales tactics! Good Luck!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 12:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Direct Buy is a franchise. Some are good, most are not. Most make their profit from your upfront fee and really could care less if you actually buy anything.

Every once in a while we have a Direct Buy employee post on one of these threads. Without fail, the tone of the posts turns from peppy infomercials to creepy, mean and accusatory.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 1:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with Lynne in New Mexico, this GW Kitchen Forum is a far better resource for suggestions/recommendations and price comparisons. Not to mention the wealth of knowledge & experience members freely share. I am embarrassed to report I am one those people who was initially taken in by Direct Buy's hard sell. It took a lot of effort including threats to contact the attorney general before I got my iniation fee returned (....still cost me $500).

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 2:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I guess I will be the only positive post in this thread. ;)

DH and I have a DirectBuy membership, although when we got it it cost around $2000 if I recall correctly. We were students at the time and have since gotten married (invitations and accessories came from DB) and bought a house. We also got our full set of appliances + big upright freezer for excellent prices. It's also a good place to get some gift items - like the Royal Doulton set we got for my MIL. Can't forget our big tv and entertainment set also.

One of the good things is that they have a lot of different manufacturers to choose from with an endless selection. I can be indecisive so sometimes all the selection is a bad thing however. ;) Some items the deals are not that great on - for example certain electronics items. Others are more than 50% off (like that Royal Doulton stuff).

Overall I think we have gotten our money's worth. It's also nice not to have to wait for sales, we can just buy whenever. Delivery times can be up to 6-8 weeks depending on where the item is coming from (I'm in Canada). However we got our appliances 3-4 days after ordering (was supposed to be 6-8 wks also) so I guess it depends on what the manufacturer has in the warehouse. Oh, one more thing they have at our local store - gas, grocery, and restaurant gift cards which you get at a discount (handy, since it's stuff I'd buy anyway, and very nice with the price of gas!).

I can totally see how folks who are not planning to buy many "big ticket" items would lose money on this. Also, I was not a fan of the hard sales pitch, yuck! But overall it's not nearly as bad as the other posts made it seem IMO.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 2:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Unfortunately, It takes even longer to make it worthwhile at over 5,000.00 for a membership than 2,000.00. I am not a member, but I do know a couple of people who are. One is a local M.D., who loves it. He mentioned that his wife had a decorator come out and her plan for the living room included a coffee table that she was going to charge them 12,000.00 for. He was outranged. He joined Direct Buy and got the exact table for 8,000.00. I guess the idea of living on a budget is different for everyone. :) He didn't mention what the Sofa cost much less the rest of the furniture. Regardless, it became clear to me that if you are in the market for 8-12,000.00 coffee tables, you can make your investment back much quicker than if you are only saving a few hundred dollars on each piece of furniture that costs 2,000.00 or less. If most of the items you buy cost even less than that, the discount will also be proportionately less, hense much longer to make it worth while. So, I would think that not minding catalog shopping, and making a lot of high ticket purchases make it more likely it will be something you would find worth while.



    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 11:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i joined to buy Omega cabinets at around 50% off retail after handling fees (60% off before handling fees) plus free kitchen design. i also received very good after sales service from my DB kitchen designer in Manhattan, NY.

bu it is true that there isn't much savings on less costly stuff through DB.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 12:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

People have to be smart and use a calculator in order to figure out their NET
savings; I figure that if DB can offer 50% off retail on some items, it's because the retail price list they show you is inflated or is a retail price list that is always discounted no matter where you buy. A lot of industries put out a MSRP , manufacturer's suggested retail price, it's meant to be discounted, no one ever sells for that price.

I just don't like to be told I'm saving 50% , if in reality it boils down to a net 20%. Just tell it like it is. Then the consumer can make an informed choice.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 7:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I did a hypothetical calculation on a figure of $20,000 order of cabinets.
With DB, you saved $10,000 so you paid $10,000, add the fee of $5000, you paid $15,000

A local business gives you 15% off, you pay $17,000 for the cabinets.
You still saved $2000 with Direct Buy, it's worth it but you have a net figure.
And it's NOT a 50% discount. It seems underhanded the way they brandish the figures and savings.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 7:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is my Direct Buy experiences-
I joined 6 years ago when membership was 2500 bucks- still nauseated that I fell for it. I purchased my bedroom furniture- for after everything was said and done i.e. handling fees and tax- only 300 dollars less than the store- and I spent 3 hours looking through catalogues to find it. I purchased a set of China for my sisters bridal shower- never recieved it because it was discontinued by the manufacturer- and no one from Direct Buy contacted me. Had to scramble for another set. I was furious about this- and they refused to take responsibility for it. I bought a Stanley Youth Furniture bed through them which had some minor damage done to one of the posts during a move- I called Stanley direct to see if I could get a replacement- they said I had to go through the store I bought it from- Direct Buy would not help me. The store hours are not convenient at all. It is a huge scam and I've complained numerous times to the BBB.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 12:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I bought my membership in 1995 when it cost $1200 to join. We have used them several times and purchased everything from furniture, electrical fixtures, Jenn Air, Omega kitchen cabinets and everything in between. Truly worth the $1200 investment. No way I would join at $5000 unless we were spending a lot more than we do. They've been great for the occasional sofa replacement and our latest kitchen cabinet purchase.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 8:07AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
White Macaubus and Sea Pearl quartzite
We are considering White Macaubus for our kitchen in...
Where to keep my oil near cooktop
So I am in the layout phase and trying to figure out...
Cabinet coat for office
I am painting over dark stained builtins in our home...
Those tall coil spring type faucets: Hard to clean?
Like this: (How...
Soapstone with runnels: How are they holding up?
If you have runnels in your soapstone, could you tell...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™