DIRECT BUY---is it a farce? (Chantilly: buying, cabinets, live)
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In my experience, I just prefer to stay away from businesses that utilize high-pressure sales tactics to reign in customers. What they are doing is perfectly legal, and hey -- I'm sure that some folks are satisfied with it -- but it just rubs me the wrong way.
Only after an hour and a half of sales pitches and video testimonials from members did we learn the membership fee: $4,900 to $4,990 (plus tax) for three years and then $190 a year for seven more. Financing is available at 17.75 percent.
Aside from the joining fee to shop there, there are also apparently several other "hidden" fees...sounds like Ticketmaster with their "Convenience fee"
Tacked onto the cost of merchandise—which you select from catalogs since DirectBuy has limited showrooms—are a 6 percent handling fee, shipping fees, and tax. Goods are typically shipped only to your local center, so you might pay additional fees to actually get your new stuff home.
The most bizarre part of this whole setup is how they tout the fact that "you're cutting out the middle-man" by shopping there...but in fact Direct Buy is the middle-man and you're paying $5k just to visit this middle-man! Mysterious...
However, the problem is you cannot look at any of it before you purchase it (unless you go and see it somewhere else). The other problem is is that you have to find everything in a catalogue and you really need to know exactly what your looking for (spec. wise). It can be extremely time consuming and if you want to bring someone with you to help look you can't unless they are a member too. ... I think you can save money, and from my experience I have received exactly what I ordered, but it is time consuming... If you're good at bartaring you could probably do as well.
Amen! This is exactly what I found. The quality of what I got has been good - but it is extremely time consuming and the people at the San Antonio Direct Buy are less than useless when there is a problem.
We ARE building a new house, but I have found that I can often find what I want for a better price elsewhere by just spending a little time on research. Since I already have to spend - literally - hours and hours of time searching through countless catalogs at Direct Buy I might as well spend a little time doing other research to get what I want from people who are friendly and willing to help me.
An example: I ordered a fireplace for my new house. Simple right? The saving quoted in the catalog looked significant. But when I ordered it I was told that I needed all kinds of other parts to connect it all. Could they tell me what parts? Of course not! They suggested I go to the fireplace company website to look it up! So after much time I find what I believe are all the parts I need and place the order for those.
9 days later, while ordering something else I ask them to check on the order to make sure all is going well. They say "Oh, there was a problem with that and they put it on hold because you still need another part" Hello?! When were you going to tell me this? When all was said and done, the final order didn't go in until 6 weeks later! It has delayed the building of my house as we are still waiting for the fireplace to be delivered.
Once it finally arrives I still have to pay for a licensed installer or else the warranty will be voided, so by the time I am through I will be saving maybe %20 and I will have had weeks of frustration and headache to boot.
You know the old saying "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer"? This is what Direct Buy is about - If you are rich and are in the habit of buying high end merchandise for thousands of dollars then you will save money at Direct Buy (Hopefully the Direct Buy in your area will have a better trained staff than San Antonio does) But if you are poor or middle class and buy things only when you can get a good deal then you will not save money when balanced against the very high membership start up fee.
Last edited by Tone509; 12-20-2010 at 06:48 AM..
Reason: fixed quote
I will make this very simple. We bought into Direct Buy for $5370 for a two year membership back in 2009.. It is a rip off. It is too much hassle, can take 3 months to get your order (chair) and then... the customer service aspect is awful. It took 4 calls from me.... to track down a chair that should have arrived May 26th...(I ordered it in March) and finally in late June... After all my calls...and losing my temper with them.....it miraculously arrives at the warehouse. Then...when I go to pick it up... it has a tag on it from UPS that says they tried to deliver it May 25th...but the store was closed. So.. the store did not follow up. It sat at UPS for another month until I forced them to track it. I will NEVER BUY FROM THEM AGAIN.. We seriously regret our purchase of this membership. When I think about all the furniture and things we could have purchased with that $5370.... I am sick. STAY AWAY FROM DIRECT BUY. They do not have a "showroom".... they have a catalog room. They are barely helpful... it is NOT like shopping your local store....and they do not deliver. Their website sucks... you can't find anything easily.... and their prices are not that great. Believe me. All the extra fees that are tacked on to their posted price makes it not worth the headache. This could be a good business, but they run it on a penny, and they seriously need a tough manager to kick the service into gear. You have no MANAGER to complain to, no place to email, or call besides the "customer service" people on the floor that you are frustrated with. (isn't that a wonder?)
Very disappointed, Chantilly, VA Direct Buy Customer....
That's funny you said like a timeshare thing. When I was filling out the questionnaire, they asked my girlfriends name, and then made it kind of clear that we would both have to come. I thought that was strange since I was only looking for a good deal on a fridge and a washing machine. I'll stick with Lowe's.
I just checked on www.badbusinessbureau.com and they have 186 complaints--all saying ripoff. Compare that to McDonalds, which has served a half a trillion meals, which had 56 complaints.
Don't do it!! Save your joining fee and you will come out ahead.
We joined the San Antonio Direct Buy and LOST $3,400. We ordered merchandise and were told that it was unavailable. We cancelled our order only to find out that the company would not accept cancellation. Unfortunately our credit card had already been charged. When the merchandise finally arrived, Direct Buy attempted to sell it and keep what money they could collect from the sale of OUR paid for merchandise.
It is run irresponsibly and unethically at best. I can only speak for the San Antonio branch.
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I joined last year and what I have come to realize is, you only save money if you plan on buying a lot of stuff and the stuff you buy has to be expensive in order to save money. If you are just going there to buy average items that you can get at some regular department store then you will not save a lot of money. There's a lot of things I certainly wish I knew all the information prior to joining, but that's the catch. Let me just give you all my observation:
1) Completely agree with others, it is very time consuming because you have to look up the info, write down the item number, and calculate the extra fees to determine the final cost
2) The cost for moving the items (you have to move the stuff, with exception of kitchen appliances, you order yourself including furniture) out ways the amount you save.
3) They show you the amount you save, but they don't tell you that you usually have to pay a high shipping and handling fee (as much as 25% of the cost) to ship it that takes away from the saving as well.
4) I've also know that they market the different stores differently. The store in Chantilly has more stuff like Computers to research items as opposed to some of the other local stores that don't have as many resources. They are also a bit more aggressive in areas where people are not considered to be as wealthy.
With that said, I won't say it is completely bad because it isn't. If you plan on buying a lot of stuff for your home then go for it. I know I will eventually benefit from the amount of money I have put out because I plan on buying a house soon and completely renovating so in that regard, it is good, but if you just need a few items, don't join.
We bought a membership from Direct Buy in Barrie and now are trying to get our money back with no luck. All the goods we asked about before the presentation they said they sold and told us after they did not. You cannot buy winter tires in winter, no lumber, no trim no tools. We are going through the Better Business Bureau but they are not much help. We may have to sue which we are quite willing to do and publisize every move in this lawsuit.We had to pay $5000 to get lies from these people.
Last edited by wavedancer; 01-20-2011 at 04:56 PM..
I think they get a listing of new home or foreclosure buyers and do their phone marketing. I owned a home for 20 years, sold it and bought another. About 2 weeks after we closed and moved in, the phone call came. We researched and found that many were disatisfied and pretty much screwed over.
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