Direct Buy Membership: A Consumer Report

March 19, 2007 — 243 Comments

Direct Buy and the Magic of Lead Generation

I don’t know how many times I’d seen it. That chipper blond, the irritatingly giddy couples explaining how much money they’ve saved, the irrefutable logic of being able to purchase things directly from manufacturers, avoiding all those costly markups.

If you’ve seen the infomercial, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, here are just a few of the claims Direct Buy makes:

  1. Retailers are making a killing—even on sale or closeout items. Direct Buy cites statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau to support the following average retail sales markups: home furnishings-43.3%, appliances and electronics-26.2%, sporting goods-37.7%, clothing-41.6%, general merchandise-25.2% and internet & mail order-37.7%.
  2. Through Direct Buy, you can buy items at the same prices the retail stores pay—and sometimes even cheaper.
  3. Direct Buy gives you access to the complete lines of over 700 different manufacturers—in a sense, unlimited options. For example, while a store may carry a sofa in a choice of 3 different fabrics, the manufacturer may actually offer 50 different fabrics. You, of course now get to choose from 50, all from one location. No shopping from store to store.
  4. You will belong to an organization that operates more like a private club than a store, with access to confidential manufacturer prices.
  5. Everything you buy comes with a complete manufacturer’s warranty.
  6. With a Direct Buy membership, you can now buy like the stores do. All you ever pay is cost and shipping.

If you’d like to see more of Direct Buy’s claims (ahem) directly, just visit them here. If you’re here for serious research, I strongly encourage you to check it out. Be sure to click on the testimonial tab in the lower right hand corner of the screen labeled, “What Members Are Saying.” .

Now just to be fair, let’s balance it out a bit with couple more testimonials. I found the following on this site.

3/10/2007 – Casey of Michigan, USA writes:

We were skeptical of this outfit and went prepared to say no. We are building a home and were “promised” by the owner savings of 20-30%, approximately $45,000-70,000. We have tried to take advantage of these “savings”. However, we have done better on purchases at box stores & local distributors.

We purchased four stainless steel Kitchenaid appliances and saved $311 through a big box. We found our front door for $600 less than Direct Buy’s “insider” price. Other examples: Our plumbing, lighting, hardwood, and tile have all been cheaper through the installers. Our lumber, doors, siding, roofing, and window price was $52,408 through Direct Buy, but another lumber company in town is offering the same thing (apples to apples) for $49,817. We are refusing to chase our losses and have unfortunately not been able to save a penny by purchasing through Direct Buy.

If we can’t save at least $4500 to recoup our initiation fee then you won’t be able to.

And this one can be found here.

2/25/2007 – Rocky writes:

I do not recommend this company to anyone. It is a scam. My husband and I joined in 2003 (I think it was $3600 to join and haven’t bought a stick of furniture from Direct Buy yet. If you really want a laugh try getting prices of an item off their web-site, it is so confusing just to navigate their site that I just gave up. Going to the actual site isn’t any better. The reps aren’t really helpful almost to the point you feel as if you’re bothering them. I have found many pieces of furniture and other items a lot cheaper “outside”. I will probably just take this as a lesson learned, and not try to purchase anything from them, after also hearing the horror stories about the extra shipping & handling charges and other excess fees, plus the long waiting time just to get your items. If anyone wants to start a lawsuit, I’m in, because we’d like to get our hard earned money back. I will keep coming back to this web-site to get contact info from anyone of you out there who is brave enough and angry enough to carry this out.

Direct Buy: Our invitation to the showroom

So anyway, like I said, God knows how many times I’d seen that infomercial. And of course, as a homeowner with a history of gutting rooms until nothing’s left but dust, studs and wires, it always looked like a pretty good deal to me.

But I just could never find the time to make that phone call. Always something more important to do—like chew meat snacks and watch infomercials. So, as chance would have it, last October Direct Buy made the first move and called us.

Not only did they extend a warm invitation, but they also promised us one of three fabulous door prizes—a new car, a cruise or a $30 gift certificate at a popular chain restaurant—just for showing up.

How could we lose? Worst-case scenario: we satisfy our curiosity and get a free meal. Can’t beat that.

The Rubber Meets the Road (and I slip into a coma)

If you visit the sites I linked to, you’ll get a pretty good idea about what to expect during your visit. The presentation was slick. A nice little movie much like the infomercial you see on T.V., a little talk by the owner showing us some newspaper ads, some sale prices, and then comparing those to Direct Buy’s prices.

The deal we got was $4,300 for the first three years and then something like $95 a year after that.

But we had to decide right then and there. It was a go or no-go situation. If we decided that it just wouldn’t work for us right now, or that we needed to sleep on it, we couldn’t come back for at least 4 years. And of course, who knows how expensive the initiation fee will be by then.

Anyway, after the pitch, we were invited to look around the showroom, which in our case really wasn’t much more than some furniture and a bunch of shelves packed with catalogues.

The thing to understand here is that we really wanted this to work. I’m an investment kind of guy. If I can make sense of it and think I can make my money back in a reasonable amount of time, usually I’m in. My experience with geo thermal heat pumps and CFLs are just two examples of how I’ll put my money where my mouth is.

So all I had to see was how I could recoup my investment in the next three to four years. The problem was that we weren’t planning any major building projects or renovations.

But maybe an even more compelling reason to decline was that we simply couldn’t find anything. We didn’t come prepared. So we made a hasty list of things we thought we might buy.

Gas grills? Um, couldn’t find ‘em.
How about toilets? Umm . . .hang on, let me see.
Maybe clothing? How about athletic apparel or shoes—ehh, not so much.
Bed sheets? Nope.

Direct Buy: The Deal Breaker

They don’t carry basic building materials like Sheetrock or lumber. We’ve already replaced all the windows and doors on our house. So we thought maybe siding. We’ve actually already started doing this ourselves (slowly), as time and money permits, using a brand of fiber cement siding we get at Menards. But we still have a large majority of the house left. We figured if Direct Buy carried the siding, we might be able to recoup much of the $4,300 membership fee.

Like I said, I really wanted it to work.

Bottom line: it didn’t.

After a completely mind-numbing search (first with a sales rep, then another sales rep, then the owner) of the catalogues, we finally came to the conclusion that they couldn’t get it. However, one of the advantages of being a Direct Buy member is that you also get discounts from “partner” retailers and installers and whatnot. So the owner pulls out his cell phone but, alas, it was now nearing six o’clock on a Saturday evening. Nobody who knew anything could be found.

By now I was completely comatose.

We’d spent nearly 3 hours in that place, and I’d had it. It just wasn’t working. And seriously, the hardest part about the whole process was the endless searching. The manufacturer’s catalogues are confusing as hell. Item numbers, limited descriptions, maybe a pencil sketch or a picture here or there but that’s about it.

We had heard during the pitch that everything was also online and shopping was a breeze from home—but we never got close to a computer when we were there. Indeed, I think we only saw one on the floor–and it didn’t look friendly, but that might have just been my blood sugar.

I imagined countless hours over the next 4 years vanishing in the pages of dusty catalogues, as we searched relentlessly for ways to recoup our start up fee. No thanks.

We can’t set foot within 100 feet of the building for the next 4 years? Bummer. Please tell me we won the restaurant gift card. I’m starving.

Direct Buy and Persuasive Sales: A Case Study

Persuasive Sales 101

Ok. First the crash course. If you’ve been to enough sales presentations, you’ve probably noticed a pattern. This pattern is not an accident. It’s replicated because it just plain works.

Different industries, presentation methods, and individuals all tweak the pattern to suit their particular product/media/style, but the persuasive pattern is still the same. Understand, of course, that there’s a whole lot more to this. Libraries have been written about sales persuasion. But here are the basics:

1) The Big Promise
2) The Proof
3) Stories (often in testimonial form)
4) The Guarantee (you’ve got nothing to lose, yet lots to gain)
5) The close (with a tag of urgency)

If you think about it, you’ll find all the basics in Direct Buy’s approach, but what I want to examine in particular is number 5.

You see urgency in sales and marketing all the time. “Act Now. For a Limited Time.” Sales always have an ending date. Every window and siding salesman who ever came to give us a “Free Estimate” always told us that we had to buy that night in order to get that particular deal. Same with time-share presentations.

Direct Buy’s Sales Machine

But Direct Buy puts this whole urgency thing on steroids. If you ask me, the decide-tonight-or-you-can-never-come-back is pure genius.

Why? Direct Buy knows that 95% of people who walk out won’t come back anyway. People have a strong aversion to missing out. Psychologists have proven that fear of loss is a much greater motivator than potential joy from gain.

Direct Buy knows this.

Simply put—if you can resist their tactic, they know you weren’t going to buy anyway. And in probably 99% of the cases, they’re right.

But here’s what I was wondering: Are they really telling the truth?

I mean c’mon. First of all, do you think they really keep track of every person that walks in and out of their doors without signing on the dotted line?

And even if they did, what if (say, six months later), some couple’s situation changes and now they really do want to take advantage of all Direct Buy has to offer. Are they really going to turn away another $4,300 in cold hard cash?

Testing Direct Buy’s Urgent Call To Action

I decided to find out.

Remember, our visit was in October. But last Friday I decided to experiment by clicking on that little “Direct Buy Visitor’s Pass” ticket thingy in the upper right hand corner of their website.

This is what happened next:

First I get a choice of days and times,

Then I get some preliminary instructions about who must and must not attend with me before I’m asked, “Will Saturday, 3/24/2007 at 3:30 PM definitely be good for both you and Lisa?

Followed closely by a reminder that there are absolutely no children allowed (in case you didn’t catch that the first time), and finally my confirmed Visitors Pass. Yea! I can go!

I even got a pdf version that I prints out neatly and I’m encouraged to bring along to the appointment.

So there you have it. Banned from the building for 4 years? Hah! Just try to keep me out.

Direct Buy and the The Bottom Line for the Consumer

I don’t think Direct Buy is owned and operated by the devil. I don’t think it’s an evil company. And at least from the perspective of an outsider looking in, I would hesitate before I called it a scam.

I honestly think Direct Buy is trying to do what it says–save the consumer money. It’s a good business model, and I truly think it’s legit. But Direct Buy has some serious issues to resolve to get to the next level. The first being the daunting challenge of streamlining and simplifying the flow of information to the customer.

Searching through 8-foot high shelves filled with 5 pound catalogues? Fuggetaboutit. Direct Buy is set up more like an old fashioned library crammed with technical specs than a fun, creative, imaginative showroom.

So who is it right for?

  • Probably people looking forward to some major furniture purchases,
  • people who have the time and patience to do their own research,
  • and people who aren’t afraid to wait 6 weeks without word on their order.

Oh, and it probably helps to have some experience (or at least no fear of) dealing directly with manufacturers–which is a whole different beast when it comes to customer service.

A few final tips to prepare for your Direct Buy showroom visit

So, if you’re going in for a visit, here are a few final tips:

  1. Keep an open mind.
  2. Remember the initiation fee will be anywhere between $4,000 and $6,000.
  3. Be prepared. Bring a list of items you’re thinking of buying in near future. Don’t forget to include specific manufacturer item numbers, specs, and retail prices.
  4. Don’t be pressured. Take your time. See if you can find the things you want quickly and efficiently without a sales person helping you. Who knows how helpful they’ll actually be after they get your money.
  5. When they remind you it’s now or never, just smile and not your head. Now you know better–but it’s still probably best to let that be our little secret. You’d hate to upset them. They might actually remember you six months or a year from now.

UPDATE: If you found this article interesting, you may also enjoy learning how Direct Buy’s corporate headquarters felt after they read it and all the comments posted here.

Chris Wondra


243 responses to Direct Buy Membership: A Consumer Report

  1. Oh geez. Just reading all about that made me dizzy. I can’t imagine actually joining. It sounds dishonest to me, anyway.

    You have a real knack for reading my posts just after I post them. I have a bad habit of posting something and then editing it further. I was actually editing this post last night when I saw your comment. Strange to get feedback so soon. And a bit embarassing when you know it’s not your best work. I should be more patient.

    Anyway, what the heck are you doing up so late?

  2. Chris,
    What an education! Yes, Direct Buy like many others sounds too good to be true and is.
    I enjoyed your summary of the experience and their sales process. I agree their close is ingenious and I am sure that it works on many. A call to action that you have to wait 4 years if you pass up, I love it!
    Great sales ploy, of course they don’t sound like they are planning on have customers sign on again after the first year even though I am sure there are some that do, thinking I sure this year we will need something that will make up for that initial outlay of money.
    Great article!

    Thanks again Mark,
    Yes it certainly was an education. I’m glad I went. I’d always been curious about exactly what the deal was.

  3. Chris-

    I don’t sleep. Really.


  4. Did you at least get coffee and doughnuts out of your time?

    Oh, you can bet I loaded up on the coffee (and cream and sugar). But the doughnuts were gone by the time I figured out where they should have been.

    My response to that? (think Homer Simpson) “DOUGH!”

    Thanks for the visit drmike

  5. 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: a telephone “tickler” call is made to a potential victim and an informative letter 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’ve saved money” or the tactic of join now – you can’t join latter (after doing more research).

    Take a look at:

    It may help.

    It has lawsuits, consumer information, news, articles, and links to blogs

    Mr. NoMarkup Scam,

    Wow, Thanks for that. Great site you link as well. Lots of good quality info to digest. Yada yada yada. But let’s be careful before this turns into a pure Direct Buy Bash Fest.

    If a person does honest research, it’s not hard to find happy customers. The links I provided above and even some of the links in the site you provide talk about people for whom this business model does work.

    It’s easy stay in our own little worlds of comfort, doing things like we always have and to rip idea/concepts/business models we don’t understand. The problem I have with that is then we never grow. Progress, growth and change involves risk.

    Direct Buy didn’t work for us. They’re urgent call to action is fabricated. But that doesn’t mean you can’t save a ton of money doing business with them.

  6. Just Wondering March 29, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    For $4,300 or more up front, paid in advance, wouldn’t someone expect some guarantees of savings? Why you might pay the $4,300 and not find any discounts. Then what?

  7. i just wanted to say thanks to everyone posting about these scam artists. i was gonna visit their show room this weekend. so thanks to everyone for saving me from frustation.

  8. Hi,
    It cracks me up when people talk so down about this company. First off, how can a company be in business for over 35 years and be a scam. I do wish people would get their facts straight. Just because you might not agree with they way they do business, or who they are does not make them a scam.
    DirectBuy is actually a fantastic company and continues to THRIVE!!! They open at least 2 new franchises or more a month and will soon be the number 1 way to shop in America experts say!
    If you are building a new home, they are the way to go! You will save much money over supposed big box retailers. If you don’t most likely you have done enough research on the actual item you are buying, especially if you are looking for top notch, quality items!
    I admit, DirectBuy is not for everyone, but we have been members for 2 years and have saved a lot of our hard earned money! Check out this site –!

    Big Lar,

    Thanks for visiting, and thank you very much for your comment. As I said above, there are people for whom this does work. So many people are quick to scorn things they don’t understand. My intention with this post was to share the truth about our experience with the sales process. It’s nice to here a positive report from a member.

    Thanks again,


  9. Thanks for the great insight. I got my invitation this week on the phone but had to decline their date. I said I’d call them back. Then I began to check into things. What an eye opener. I was expecting something on the lines of a Sams Club. NAY NAY. The membership cost alone floored me. I would have to buy a lot of furniture to save 5 thousand dollars! Thanks for the heads-up on these guys. I’ll stick their invitation in the same trash I put the AOL CDs in.

    You’re welcome Carob,
    Glad your research saved you some time. And thanks for the comment.

  10. Hey Chris,

    This may give some insight as well.

    Thank you!!

    DirectBuy America’s # 1 way to shop for your home. WOW, how many times have you heard it.
    A company founded as United Consumers Club way back in the early 1970’s continues to grow and change and thrive!! Experts say this company will be the future of shopping in America and Directbuy is laughing all the way to the bank as it opens more and more franchises all across the U.S.
    Granted this company is not for everyone, continues to change and improve and do it better and better and better.
    If you are building, it is a fantastic way to SAVE hundreds even thousands of your hard earned money, but you have to do it their way! Not so easy and some would say, but WORTH it!
    DirectBuy is not a SCAM and is very real! There are some very real issues to keep in mind however.

    1. If you do go to an open house tour of DirectBuy, beware of the sales pressure. Kind of like buying a new car.
    2. Be aware if you do not join you will NOT be asked back and you have to make a decision the same day! Not exactly easy!
    3. READ THE CONTRACT, PEOPLE! DO NOT SIGN UNLESS YOU KNOW FOR SURE IT IS FOR YOU! DirectBuy’s contracts are iron clad and no matter how much you want to file a lawsuit to get out of it, GOOD LUCK! You will spend a lot of time and money defending yourself!
    4. DirectBuy is a wholesaler. They work very differently than a retailer. They do not have inventory on hand so everything you buy, you order and wait for!

    If you like saving money this just might be the way for you!
    Example – if you were in the market for a new car, wouldn’t you rather buy it wholesale over retail. If you buy retail, from a car dealer you may pay $30,000 for a new car. If you bought the same car wholesale at an auto auction you could very easily knock off all the overhead it takes to bring that same car to the dealer, get it prepped and ready for sale. You could easily save $10,000. You wouldn’t have to worry about a lame salesman, warranty extensions, service, etc. What do you do?
    GET IT! This, in a way, is the same foundation DirectBuy rides on!

    Thanks again Big Lar,

  11. Fed Up With Scam April 7, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    Ever wonder why the savings aren’t all that great or that there are no guarantee of savings in the membership agreement – that’s the agreement between the member and the individual franchised location?

    You have to do some research, I may be wrong and it seems that one answer might be contained in their publicly available UFOC – Uniform Francise Offering Circular – for Directbuy. It contains disclosures on how they operate and that they do in fact received discounts and rebates without passing them on to the franchised location and the stores. These discounts and rebates include volume incentive discounts, quantity discounts, and pre-payment discounts, among others. Also, contained in the UFOC is a copy of their Standard Franchise Agreement. Conataind within that are contractual clauses that allow the franchisor to keep all discounts and rebates without passing them on to anyone. They can say that they pass them on though when and if caught, they are contractually allowed to do so. Crafty euh?

    Here are Two service companies collect and sell copies of franchise offering circulars:

    FRANDATA Corporation, 1725 Eye Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20006, (202) 336-7632, (generally US$2 per page)

    FranchiseHelp, Inc., 101 Executive Boulevard, Elmsford, NY 10523, (914) 347-6735, (US$190 for complete UFOC and exhibits)

    Look it over carefully.

    Hope this helps everyone who wants to do some research.

  12. To be more non bias you might try talking to a person who has used the service for something. You come across as a hard to please jerk in your article here. I work at a DirectBuy and I can tell you that most people are there for about 2 hours. Some centers get people in and out in about 60 – 90 minutes. It’s funny that with over 1 million products to choose from from over 800 manufacturers and outside suppliers, you had trouble finding something. I guess with nearly 1 million members maybe one or two of them have had trouble finding something, then again they had more then 3 hours to look for it….they’re members…. they get tons of help. I would love to meet you and show you what you are missing. I’d even give you a membership for free to let you see the benifits. I’d only ask that when you see how it works and that you will save in many areas, you pay your membership like anyone else. What do you say? E-mail me…. (edited by cw). Let’s see if you really want the truth, or if you survive off knowing what suits your interests.

    Thanks for that comment John,

    I will be emailing you soon. Until then, you can read my reply in this post. I found your comment so interesting I just had to share it with others who may not have seen this thread.

    Thanks again for your comment and visit. I’ll be in touch soon.


  13. I’m a member of the ‘Club’ and we did at least make back our $4,500 membership fee. However, we were building a house, and we needed kitchen cabinets…we saved a bundle, more than our fee by far. That said, I have also seen all of the other bothersome items you mention–six weeks waiting, shipping and handling, hard to find items, etc. We found some sofas locally for about the same price as DirectBuy’s, without the added hassle. Without building a house, or major renovations, I would not have joined…too easy to find off-brands, and local sales for most things…

    That’s great info. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Bargain Minded April 17, 2007 at 4:38 am

    I appreciate the breakdown of the experience.
    I too researched this company a few years ago.
    There were figures on the web from Dunn and Bradstreet and from a franchise retreat that represented the sales for those years and the total sales of those years.
    Here is a link to one of the figures. I don’t recall where the other were posted
    Sales: $113 million
    Members: 500,ooo
    Divide the sales by the number of members and you will have an average sales that year for each member:$226
    A more recent set of numbers showed both the sales and the membership rising dramatically, due to the informmercial. However the ratio went down to less than $200 per member, per year. This number represent sales. It does not indicate if there were any savings.
    Due to the poor average sales, and taking into account that apparently a few members save tens of thousands of dollars. I realized that the vast majority of people did not begin to recoup their membership fee, let alone save any money.
    And that many other merely broke even and had to endure the inconveniences of this method of shopping.
    I also found that Directbuy employees are paid to scour the internet to disparage people who complained about them and to post exaggerated claims of savings.
    Thanks for your even handed evaluation and valuable information.

  15. DirectBuy is a complete scam…..don’t walk away from them…RUN AND SAVE YOURSELF! They should be out of business…there’s just no need for this kind of crap in today’s world.

  16. This morning I turned on my TV and found the blonde in the “DirectBuy” commercial making her pitch. Chills went up my spine and the hair on the back of my neck stood up.

    Now I HATE to admit this to anyone, but I’ve been taken not once, but TWICE by scams such as this one. Does anyone remember DORALCO or NUMART from the 1980’s? They were in the same exact business — grand promises of monetary savings, unlimited buying power, all that crap. Facts? Limited choices, long delays in delivery, merchandise not as advertised (with no easy way to return), exorbitant shipping/handling fees, rude sales people (they get sick of seeing you too after a while). and finally… THE DISAPPEARING ACT! They can go out of business at any time and YOU LOSE!

    That is exactly what happened to me. Remember, not once, but TWICE! The last one disappeared with my all-paid $4,000 wall unit that was never delivered.

    No, your local Attorney General cannot do anything. No, your State Attorney General cannot do anything. No, your personal lawyer cannot do anything.

    I offer my exeriences to you PRO BONO.


  17. Hi, Chris…just a word to Big Lar and any other naive person that (in my experience) blindly defends butcher businesses like Direct Buy…far from being “the future of shopping,” this type of business has been around forever. It’s called a “contractor,” and all it does is put together materials and subcontractors from its area while taking a hefty management fee. You can find multiple pages of contractors in any phone book in any city, and they’ll all tell you the same thing…they don’t actually do anything. they just try to arrange for it; whatever happens to the goods or services after that is your problem. Direct Buy, Doralco, Sams, these are all just the same as a shop front for taking the local contractor national. Sure, a broken watch is right at least twice a day, so there’ve been loads of people who’ve gotten what they wanted and saved something on it, but for the most part, it’s always going to be cheaper to do it yourself. If you want anything in the world and you want the best price, you’re already in the neightborhood; just do a search of the web, because this is the future of buying. And one more experienced word to Big Lar and the others who (it seems from their blogs) never owned a home or dealt with major work or purchases…I’ve done exactly that, from a new roof to new windows and doors to foundation (including load bearing beams) replacement to completely gutting both kitchen and bath, etc., etc., etc., so I actually know from experience what I’m talking about. All I did (after running the gambit of contractors and their promises) was go online to find who makes what I wanted, compare their products, find the best one I could afford, go to their website and find a local distributor, and call them for an estimate of the work (and each time it took me only a couple of days). I replaced all 10 of the windows and 3 doors in my house in less than a month and spent only $4400 total, which was $3-5K less than every estimate I got from five different companies in my area. Oh, by the way, I found my new fridge online at an appliance site and saved $1300 on the top model, even with delievery charges, and I got my new front loader washer for $600 less than anywhere else I’d seen it the past year. My new flat panel 27″ tv is incredible and was delievered to my door for $440! Anyone who’s actually made a major purchase such as a kitchen knows that the future of shopping is online at the actual manufacturer’s or distributor’s site, and believe me, Chris, there’s not a catalog among them.
    Best regards…I’m off to buy a new laptop at Tiger Direct (for almost a grand less than anywhere else I’ve found it, and it’s got the Core2 from Intel and a 2gig DDSRAM2!).

    Thank you for that awesome comment! Being a home owner and DIY’er I can totally relate and very much appreciate your insight. Smart, detailed, and honestly enlightening. Great comparison to a contractor. Thanks for adding a dose of intelligence to this blog.


    I went into Direct Buy to a seminar type thing. They gave me the whole spill telling me I will save 40-60% off of merchandise because they get it “straight from the manufacture”. They based the whole seminar on making the stores ( like walmart, lowes, home depot, ect) sound like they are marking everything up 40-60%. It all sounded good until they told me there was a high membership fee. I then said no thanks because I wasn’t about to pay a big amount of money just to be a member. He kept trying to persuade me to sign up anyways and said ” It sounds like a lot of money to join but you will save so much money being a member it will out weigh the cost to join”. After about an hour of me refusing and he still was trying to persuade me and finally got me to join. To be honest the only thing that sealed the deal was he told me I could never come back again ( which I hear its after 7 years so he lied). I felt horrible the whole time but he kept munipulating me and reinsuring me I made such a great decision. A few weeks later I went back to the stores hoping to find the great deals everyone promised me. I couldn’t find anything much cheaper at all. Some stuff seemed to be cheaper but by the time you add the cost of shipping and handling it was more than the stores. I then sent them a letter telling them how I felt and said I felt conned into signing the contract. (By the way I have a very low income and stressed this to them the whole time. I told them by the time I paid the monthly fee I couldn’t afford to buy anything. Once again they fed me lies and reinsured me that the savings are incredible.) They called and were really rude to me and said they said all kinds of stuff they didn’t say and denied half the stuff they actually did say. Its just basically the same old story …I am another person scammed by Direct Buy.

  19. Chris,
    My wife and joined about a year and a half ago, anticipating doing a remodel on the house. Well we have just started the bathroom and have done most our product research online. As a member we are able to see the DirectBuy prices online and compare them to ther online retailers. I have found that the DirectBuy prices are usually cheaper than the other retailers, but we usaully needed to go to the store to place the order. When we went to the store to place the order, the staff was helpfull: finding the needed catalogs, filling out the order form, taking the order. What we wern’t quite prepared for was along with the item cost there is an 8% service fee, frieght(expected and resonable) and a sales tax(most online retailers do not charge out-of-state tax). The sales tax was 6.8%, appropriate for our state, but it was applied to the frieght and service fee along with the item price. Bottom line is we saved, but not very much; I am undecided on weather the buy-in cost is worth it. (I can send you a spreadsheet comparing actual DirectBuy cost to online retailer cost if you e-mail me)

  20. Chris,
    You didn’t complete the process; and thus, your results are inconclusive. Yet you post them as though you have all the data. With regard to the “second” visitor pass you generated online (and thus “proved” you could get in for a second tour), you stopped the process one step too soon to have complete, accurate results. While you have the ability to generate as many visitor passes online as you wish, DirectBuy DOES track every single person that comes through its doors. Consequently, though you had the pass, you wouldn’t been able to use it, and you wouldn’t have made it through the door. You were already in the system. In fact, I looked you up today. You’re there. See you later.

  21. Dear Sirs,

    I actually work for the direct buy in the Wyoming, Michigan area. (hence the faux pen name to keep from being fired )Let me tell you this we are a complete scam. Im a Telemarketer, (something our company hates to say and prefers the term marketing rep) We are charged with the soul corrupting task of getting 40 ppl a week (per person… there are 6 “marketing reps” calling anyone that comes into our database from 3pm-9pm mon-fri) to come into our center by way of cold calling them and telling them they are semi-finalists in our 50k dollar home makeover. In fact one person wins this prize once every 6 months in the whole michigan area. We tell you that you’ll be sent a key and if it fits the lock in the showroom you’ll win the make over or the cash if you prefer. And to sweeten the pot we will give you 2 of the 5 bonus gifts (you will always get the $20 gift certificate and vacation package although I never found out where that is to, im assuming a local motel 6) just for trying your key. Afterwords we will ask if you are married (If so you and spouse must come in together theres really no way around it and if your single you must have 5k worth of home projects to be sent a pass) and then you’ll be asked if your between the ages of 25-60 (if you are older or younger you will not be sent a pass because they feel you dont make enough for the membership fee which i’ll get to later) then the final question do you make over or under 40k (only 40k or over will let you through) then my job ends but its hardly over for you. By the way you MUST simply MUST when we call you tell us to put you on the no call list if you dont want to be bothered. If you yell, slam the phone, ignore the phone, pretend to be someone else and say they are not interested, (which alot of ppl do) say they (you) arent home, etc etc then we will call again for the next 10-12 days until our computer filters you out and even then in 3 months later we will call you again and the cycle continues and direct buy gets the last laugh. From there you will be called by a booker who will confirm a date for you to come in (they will lure you with fake testimonials and tell you about the direct buy advantage) and will continue to call until they can do so. After you come in you will be treated to a video (yawn) and will be thrown sales pitches and will be given a tour of the sales room as well. After it is all over you will have to make a choice to either join or decline a membership. The cost for ours is 4,500 for 4 years and im not sure about any recurring fees for we are not told much ourselves. All our showrooms are privately owned so member fees and the like will vary from each center. You can also opt to pay 400 a month for a certain amount of time as well. If you do decline you will be banned from all centers for the next 7 years (a psychological sales approach) and we do keep those records because we all share the same operating system that keeps track of all our calls along with names numbers and addresses. Thats the fat of it and please allow me to beg please dont scream and curse at us who call you. Matter of fact 80% of us hate the place. I loath it and how they operate their center but the owners and the ppl who profit (our owners just bought a hummer) do not take the brunt of your anger we the peons do. So why do we stay…because dear reader this is Michigan unemployment is our only other option and at only $9 per hr for 30hrs its better than nothing. Most of us are just out of college or working 2 jobs and none of us can even dream to afford to even member at our “respective” centers. If you are frustrated and want to see where the money goes ask for the owners. As for savings just Google the manufactures websites and buy directly from them believe me it’ll save you alot of time and misery. Now I must go scan the web for job sites and I wish you all the best of luck.

  22. I joined Direct Buy in 2006 after a house fire. I
    purchased everything from large appliances, all lighting, floors (hardwood and tiles), all major house furniture, electronics. I found the savings in my favor.

    I purchased a grandfather clock that retailed at $10,000 for $ 1,400 . the savings along over $8,000. This purchase saved the membership fee.

    To get the best bang for your buck.
    The following are indicated on manufactures catalogs with $ $$ $$$.
    $ means minor savings
    $$$ means significant savings.

    The smaller appliances however since this was an insurance claim. I did purchase these at retail.
    The only reason is the lead time is 4 – 6 weeks.

    I have read some of the articles. Stating that the web was difficult to navigate. It was frustrating to get pricing, with out having to submit a request for quote which was sent to your email account.

    Direct Buy has now made some significant changes to their website. It now includes ** VIEW PRICING **.

    Bottom Line: If you are just planning on purchasing a few items during the course of your membership then Direct Buy may not be for you.

  23. Can you please write a comment about a DirectBuy Franchise Owner in Maple Shade, NJ who saw fit to send my husband off to the summit trip and put him in the SAME room as another female coworker?

    How bout when she arbitrarily took his salary 3 times (once just 6 days before Christmas) because he didnt meet his quota for the month of December.. oh and a second time at the end of January when the Philadelphia Home Show came around and she wanted him to man the booth on his day off. The meeting was held and he declined the offer, went to lunch and came back to find a note “bonus pay only”, meaning, salary, yet once again, yanked away. $1270 salary for two weeks from a man supporting a family of four.

    Please tell me what you’d do.

    L Smith

  24. Chris, if you agree that DirectBuy’s alternative way of buying actually does benefit some people, why do you write that the company’s advertising and sales tactics are wrong or sound like a scam. DirectBuy takes a lot of pride in saving members money. There are freight and handling (very small percentage) fees associated with the sale to cover manifacturers problems and damages, but there is NO MARK UP. Do you think retailers do not build in freight from manufacturer to the store into their final marked-up cost to the consumer. They do and they overcharge for freight!

    DirectBuy makes its profit once-on the membership. Members can buy as much stuff as they want without any markup. And they can take their time buying-membership is long-term! Is it ok for the retailer to mark up one item 50-100% (sofas or area rugs for example) , post one day sale and pressure consumers to buy that sofa TODAY or the sale price is over. Is it ok for Macy’s to sell an item for $69.00, but then you can find the same exact item on a sale rack for $14.99? How much did they mark it up in the first place? 400-500%. Or does Macy’ s loose all that money by giving shopeers such great deal?
    How come appliance retailer can mark up one fridge $400-500.00, put it on sale for ONE DAY ONLY at $100.00 off and no one complaints? Does not it not sound like a pressure sale from each and every retailer over and over again.

    There is nothing wrong with mark up. I, however, will not pay mark up each and every time. And my last purchase was my daughters bedroom set, which costs with DirectBuy $1900.00 (including fees!). At the retail store 20 minutes away, the same EXACT set was $3200.00 plus $90.00 delivery.
    And if you notice, majoiry of “compaliners” are not even members. Give it a break, and be fair!

    DirectBuy Inc is a franchisor, and each store is owned by the franchisee. The sales indicated above do not mean $200.00 spent per member in merchandise. It is corporate’s profits only for servicing and charging the franchisees to provide their services. This number does not relate (not directly as you presented) to the number of members.
    Last year, DirectBuy placed almost half of a BILLION dollars worth of merchandise for its members from over 700 manufacturer, not 112 mil as you stated. The fact is, members ar DirectBuy buy merchandise and a lot of it. and they love the savings, otherwise they would not be coming back-would they? So please do correct math before badgering this decent, hard-working copmany!

  26. Hi Chris,

    I LOVE your blog on DirectBuy! Thoughtful analysis, stylish writing, and decent grammar; I’m practically overwhelmed, no joking!

    Now for my story: Prior to stumbling upon your fabulous blog, I just finished exercising my California three day right to cancel the contract my husband and I executed with the San Diego franchise. I am embarrassed to admit that while highly skeptical of all of the obvious red flags, we were still seduced by nothing more than our own laziness.

    This laziness was borne of many months of searching for the “best deals” on our new custom home project, and simply tiring of the process. Looking back, I suspect we purchased a DirectBuy membership almost entirely premised on the vain hope that we could secure Home Depot prices AND Nordstrom’s service.

    Fortunately, a cursory review of internet posts snapped us out of our stupor and we have taken quick and decisive action to exercise our legal rights. I presume that the San Diego franchise is sane enough not to mess with us and will refund our $6000 in the statutorily mandated ten days.

    Did I mention that I am an attorney….

    Bottom line for us — 1) offers that are too good to be true generally are; 2) a missed opportunity is of far less consequence than an invited disaster; 3) Nordstrom’s does not offer Home Depot pricing; 4) Home Depot does not offer Nordstrom’s service; 5) Home Depot does not sell designer purses; 6) the DirectBuy contract guarantees neither Home Depot pricing nor Nordstrom’s pricing; 7) the DirectBuy contract does guarantee that the franchise owner will, after the three day cancellation period has passed, keep our $6000; 8) the DirectBuy franchise we shopped likely made oral statements that over-represented reality; 9) oral statements that over-represent reality might also be called “sales pitches”; 10) “sales pitches” are most effective on the less shrewd and those, like us, who wanted to be sold. Maybe we are all one and the same.

    Also, regardless of whether DirectBuy is a scam/borderline scam/maligned goodguy/etc, I feel really bad for the less shrewd and their losses. I’m not a class action attorney, but ponder whether a class could be certified and some relief obtained.

    Then again, in many class actions the attorneys make millions and very little relief is had by the class members. Perhaps a scam in itself.

    I digress.

    OK, back to the theme and off to bed. Thanks for making me think about all of this, keep on blogging!


    Thanks for your insightful analysis. I don’t think I’d like to run up against you in court. I’m sure you’ll have no problem getting your money back.

  27. We went to a DB presentation last nite. My wife was 100% sold, but I’m a major skeptic and told the sales guy that if it was a good deal tonight, it would be a good deal tomorrow. He said it was only available that nite. I said good-bye and my wife is so pissed at me for not signing on.
    Anyway, I suspect that DB is probably not a scam, but like one of the comments above said, not for everyone. HOWEVER, DB needs lots of members to keep going and it’s no matter to them if you really profit from it or not, except to get a few shining testimonials.
    POINT 1) A discount is only a bargain if you were planning to buy it anyway.
    POINT 2) If you planned to buy it for $400, but found a $2,000 one that was 60% off, you “only” paid $800 – but you still paid $400 more than you planned. How did you save?
    POINT 3) The average $50,000 income example that DB used would likely only have $1-5,000 of disposable, discretionary income. So, once you paid the fee, where is the money for buying stuff to save money on?
    POINT 4) MOST LIKELY, you will have to get some financing to buy the bigger ticket items that you can save big bucks on. That means you are getting into consumer debt, maybe at high interest! Bad idea….
    POINT 5) Having a DB membership probably pressures you to buy more, or higher-end stuff than you would have bought otherwise. That’s not saving.

    Our rep was a ‘house flipper’ which means he buys lots of furnishing, windows, flooring, etc, that a house renovation needs. GREAT DEAL for him, probably.

    It wasn’t a great deal for us.

    Don’t know if I’m spelling this right, but the Romans had a saying: “Caveat emptor” : Let the buyer beware!!

  28. July 24, 2007) My wife and I attended an open house at DirectBuy last evening and left feeling that it was such a waste of our time. The open house began with a slick video presentation, and ended with multiple smile-laden phony sales reps pouncing on us (almost as bad as used car salesman). The membership fee is $5100 to cover the first three years, and $200/year for years 4-10. After year 10, the yearly fee is inflation based. Also, DirectBuy apparently charges an 8% fee for most every order for “handling” as well as charging for shipping, and sales tax. And, you have to go to the DirectBuy outlet to pick your orders up!! What really got me is the pressure and the insistence that you have to make the membership decision on the spot. The sales reps were obviously programmed automotons, and each wore a phony smile. I thought we were at an AmWay convention and at any moment we were going to hear a “whoa DirectBuy”!!! And once my wife and I began to indicate we would not make the impulse decision, two sales reps began the assault. We finally got a straight answer if you order something, there is NO return policy. You are stuck, but, as the sales lady said, “..with all the money you are saving, you shouldn’t have to worry..”, almost as if product satisfaction is irrelevant. I’m sticking to the internet. At least you can compare vast numbers of suppliers. And as a parting shot, the sales lady said in a trite way that she was so sorry to send us back into the retail world. We told her we would survive!!!

  29. Jerry Chandler July 27, 2007 at 1:52 am

    I bought a direct buy membership several years earlier. I am a business professional, a tight wad, and a skeptic. I have not been disappointed.

    If you spend the bucks you will save; however, you should be willing to spend on average 10 times the fee to get your money back.

    I was fortunate. I saved my fee on one purchase. I know because I researched the costs of my planned expenditures beforehand.

    Bottom line — If you are looking for the highest quality products you will save. If you want rock Wal-Mart prices or clearance deals go elsewhere. This is for the value shopper not the discount shopper.

  30. Dear Chris,
    I’ve spent the last half of an hour reading over all of these posts, very thoroughly, and cannot help but comment on the overwhelming negativity geared towards a company that is in business to help people. DirectBuy offers a service, and as a member for a year and a half, I can vouch for the fact that it is a service that has been very beneficial to me as a single woman with expensive taste and an eye on my budget. It is in my opinion a service that is beneficial for anyone who is a home-owner and consumer, and I know plenty of other members who really enjoy the service as well.

    I have never seen, though, so many people attack a company because they don’t like the terms of the service that they offer. It seems as though it is a witchhunt of some sort, and that people, such as the attorney in San Francisco, seek retaliation against a service. Baffling and unheard of, in my opinion, and it makes me deeply concerned that we live in times where people are so hateful and quick to bad-mouth anything. I must say that you, on the other hand, did seem to make an effort to be fair in your evaluation, and I’m sorry that you had a difficult experience, but as I expressed, I have been delighted with very good deals on the major items I’ve purchased for my home.

    I feel as though the employee from Michigan, who feels as though DirectBuy is a scam, is a very sad young man. If he is among the employees who are recent college graduates, he should strongly consider the value of his college education. Is tuition at any university worth its weight at all if its graduates are unable to seek and obtain employment in which they take pride? That is really a pity.

    In times where people choose to focus on gloom and doom and revenge and potential law suits, I find it all a bit exhausting and ridiculous. If people don’t want to take an honest look at something and make an informed decision for themselves, then they simultaneously commit themselves to a lifetime of not really thinking for themselves. Boy, there’s a lot of sheep in this world!

    Thank you for taking the time to read (thouroughly even) and comment here. It is refreshing to hear the voice of one so satisfied with their experience with Direct Buy. It’s also satisfying to hear the voice of someone who obviously has the courage and intelligence to think for herself.

    It has also been my experience that folks are quick to attack (as scams or otherwise) things that don’t always fit neatly into the mainstream. Sheep is a good word for it.

    As far as I, and this post, is conserened:

    I honestly one day hope to be in a position to take advantage of Direct Buy. Which is to say, I one day hope to build and furnish my own (eco)home from scratch. I’m fairly certain DB’s deals would work out swimmingly in that case. Until then, and with no major purchases in the near future, DB and I must continue to go our separate ways.

    What continues to fascinate me about this post is that it continues to be one of my most popular, averaging over 50 visits a day from various search engines. There are obviously many people searching for answers or validation. But what interests me almost more than anything else is why someone that is well past the research or member sign up page, would stumble upon my web site. Obviously, you have no problem with DB, and you are past researching to make a decision. What prompted your visit?


  31. Dear Chris,

    In answser to your question, a person at work told me that they had read nothing but negative things about DirectBuy on the internet, and my curiosity got the best of me. While I assured him that my experiences with the company as a member had been good, I was interested to see what people (other than the members that I know) were saying about the company, thus stumbling upon your site. I guess it doesn’t hurt as far as number of hits go that you are listed on the first page of Google!

  32. I am thinking of bringing a class action lawsuit against this outfit. Reason: Deceptive trade practices, False marketing and above all no mention of hidden charges, like the 6% handling fee they charge on all items and the 3% credit card surcharge. What is this 6% ? The 6% is what Directbuy makes off of all the stuff you order from them. Yes its you paying them in addition to the membership fee. Then, they do not accept credit cards. Yes, if you decide to pay by credit card, they charge you an additional 3% fee. If you factor in the 6% handling fee and the 3% credit card surcharge, there is NO discount. In fact you can get stuff cheaper elsewhere. I have proof. Let me ask you. how many people order major appliances etc using cash ?? Most credit cards provide product insurance so its wise to pay by credit card.

    Anyone interested in discussing a class action can contact me at and I will have my attorneys contact you.


  34. Hi, Chris,

    I like your article/blog.

    I have been working on a home remodel for the past year, and for that reason I went to one of the DB sales pitches last night. I was not looking forward to the experience, because I expected it to be frustrating and high pressure (which it was), but as a professor of marketing, my interest was piqued.

    The sales presentation was redundant and, therefore, boring. It was also, quite condescending. I felt frustrated by not being able to browse the library. While my sales person did go get some catalogs for me to look up prices for specific items I could remember having purchased or priced previously, I couldn’t come up with anywhere near $5,000 in savings for what I have left on my remodel. Maybe if I were doing cabinets or windows, I could make up the membership fee, but I’ve already finished my cabinets, and my salesperson couldn’t give me any information on what I might really expect to pay or save on window replacement.

    I’ve looked over various rating websites today to see what others think about DB, and there are a lot of complaints about both the sales pitch and the service to members. I have another issue that I haven’t seen raised (and that is possibly unique to me). I usually like to see things in person before I buy them. To do this as a DB customer, I would have to go to retail stores to view and learn about the product, and then (presumably) go to DB to buy it at a lower price. I don’t really think that is fair to the retailer. Part of the reason retailers mark up products is because it costs money to hold inventory in a showroom so that I can physically see and feel the product. That’s part of what I pay for when I buy a product from a retailer.

    I mentioned this issue to my sales person, and she said that there’s nothing wrong with this, since people go in stores and look over products all the time without buying. She told me, though, that a DB customer shouldn’t take up the time of a salesperson in a retail store, though (which, I think, may be one of DB’s “rules”). Even without talking with a salesperson, however, I feel that the DB customer who shops products in stores to decide whether to buy at DB is taking unfair advantage of honest, straightforward businesses. And most store retailers that I’ve worked with are basically fair, reputable companies. After all, there’s nothing wrong with marking up a product or not disclosing what you paid for something you’ve put up for sale. If the markup is too high and the value is not there for the customer, the customer doesn’t have to buy.

    Aside from the above and the high pressure sales tactics, DB seems to have a legitimate business idea, and the people I interacted with there were nice enough. If I had been at the start of my remodel, I might have sweated the decision more, but I hope that I would have still declined, in light of the hassles that so many people have had. Besides, I’m of the opinion that we Americans buy way too much stuff (crap?), and a system that makes me feel obligated to buy more (or more expensive) than what I really need in order to make back a large upfront investment is something I need like a hole in the head.


    Thanks for your perspective and input Brian. I’m glad you stopped by and took the time to comment–especially as a Marketing Prof.


  35. Just went to the DirectBuy in Tinley Park last night. The branch called me at least 8 times during the day, so that I would show up at the appointed time, and I did.

    The presentation was extremely long; I got bored. But the concepts sounded great! I almost got completely sold by this. Darn, I am so trusting. My partner dragged me out of there before I could sign on any dotted line.

    In the car, I was a little upset, but now that I read all of this and recognize truths here, I am glad. Thank god one of us was skeptical!


  36. September 13, 2007
    With DirectBuy, it will cost you a lot to save

    Your town or city might have been blanketed recently with newspaper ads and TV commercials for DirectBuy. The nationwide buying club, with headquarters in Merrillville, Indiana, promises members access to 700 brand-name manufacturers of home goods and the opportunity to buy merchandise with no “hidden store markups and middlemen costs.” Ads invite you to an open house, where you’ll see “confidential” wholesale prices. “We can’t show you the brand names and we certainly can’t show you the prices,” read one ad. What it also doesn’t show you is DirectBuy’s steep membership cost.

    The Real Deal

    To evaluate the pitch, we went undercover at two DirectBuy franchises in New York. Both gave us the same hard sell and offers of up to 70 percent off retail prices if we were to join. 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.

    After the fee disclosure, we discovered that we had to sign up on the spot or never come back. We couldn’t bring DirectBuy’s “confidential” prices elsewhere to comparison shop, the representatives said, because this would likely anger retailers who might then retaliate against the manufacturers by refusing to sell their merchandise.

    The fine print in the DirectBuy contract says you cannot return items, cancel orders, or terminate your membership. When we asked if, after plunking down $5,000, we could cancel and get a refund, a salesperson said, “You’ll have to check state law.” A review of New York state law revealed that the three-day cooling-off period for canceling contracts wouldn’t apply in this case.

    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.

    Just how good are the prices? We compared them against those of other retailers. Prices for electronics and appliances were often only slightly better than those at online retailers and in some instances higher. For example, a 46-inch JVC flat-screen TV selling for $2,586 on DirectBuy’s site cost $2,095 elsewhere. We did find deep discounts on flooring and high- end furniture. In fact, one member we interviewed estimated that she saved about $50,000 over several years on furniture and a kitchen remodel using DirectBuy. Yet the club did poorly on some basics. We found a Kohler bath faucet for $300 less on a kitchen-and-bath Web site.

    Some DirectBuy members complained to us about poor customer service and long waits for merchandise. But since DirectBuy outlets are franchises, service varies by location. Most outlets have a good record with the Better Business Bureau, though some have a poor one or have been suspended from the BBB.

    The Bottom Line

    The lack of price transparency makes it hard to evaluate whether you’ll save by joining DirectBuy. But even if you were to save 25 percent on purchases after joining, you’d need to spend more than $20,000 just to recoup your membership fee. DirectBuy might save you money if you’re furnishing a house from scratch or doing a major renovation. But since you can’t shop around beforehand, you’ll be joining blind.

    —Chris Fichera

    This article first appeared in the September 2007 issue of Consumer Reports Money Adviser.

  37. Bargain-hunters boost firm’s membership rolls

    Rachel Petzinger and Dean Sammy knew they had their work cut out for them when they bought their four-bedroom fixer-upper in St. John, Ind. The place needed extensive renovations in the master bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.

    Whether they could stay within their budget of $35,000 wasn’t as clear.

    Then, while running on a treadmill one morning, Ms. Petzinger saw a commercial for DirectBuy, a Merrillville, Ind.-based wholesaler that offers its members steep discounts on furniture, appliances and flooring. After some comparative shopping, the couple paid to join DirectBuy, a decision they say saved them $50,000 in their five-month-long renovation.
    “We knew it was a cost-effective way to go,” Ms. Petzinger says.

    Bargain-seeking renovators like Ms. Petzinger and Mr. Sammy are privately held DirectBuy’s best hope for riding out the housing slump. So far, the company says it’s not feeling the pinch of steep declines in home sales and construction in the Midwest, where 22 of its 143 franchises are located.

    Since 2002, President Scott Powell says, Direct Buy has tripled its membership, increased sales more than 600% and almost doubled the number of stores. “We are setting records every month,” he says.

    The true test may be ahead, as the housing decline accelerates amid the foreclosure and credit crises. Sales of single-family homes and condominiums in the nine-county Chicago area dropped 13% in July from a year earlier to 9,725 units, according to the Illinois Assn. of Realtors. Local homebuilding dropped 37% in the second quarter from a year earlier, the worst showing since 1994, according to Schaumburg-based real estate consultancy Tracy Cross & Associates Inc.

    But DirectBuy may be able to avoid the storm by focusing on high-end homeowners doing their own remodeling — and by keeping prices below those of direct competitors Home Depot Inc. and Lowe’s Cos., as well as home-furnishing retailers like Crate & Barrel.

    “When you are in a slow market like this where people feel stretched, price becomes even more important,” says Jay McIntosh, director of consumer products for Ernst & Young LLC in Chicago. “And retailers who sell to the do-it-yourselfers doing rather expensive remodeling or upgrading are not hurt as much.” Mr. Powell says DirectBuy’s membership renewal rate was up about 78% by the end of its fiscal year in July.

    The company, which employs about 4,000 nationwide, has taken advantage of the moment by stepping up its advertising. It also plans to open 29 newly remodeled stores in the next 12 months. Last year, the company partnered with home decorator Christopher Lowell, who designed 12 model rooms for DirectBuy members.

    “We have been around a lot of economic cycles, and we have never seen our business influenced too much by the economy one way or the other,” Mr. Powell says. “People’s desires to shop don’t go away. What they want to do is buy at the best possible price.”

    This appeared in the September 17th edition of Crain’s Chicago Business.

  38. Thanks for the warning! I was a little put off and thusly wary of the “no children” and the fact that both partners must attend – sounds like a timeshare hardsell I heard about recently.Then 4,000 to 6,000 dollars for membership! I am glad I visited your page – I’ll use the 2 hours for something more productive! One would need a bigtime project to recoup that amount of money!

  39. Anyone with half a brain knows that you have to spend money to save money when you belong to Direct Buy. So why don’t some of you accept the fact that there are some people out there who knew they were spending plenty of money and decided to join Direct Buy. I belong and like it. Sure, it is not perfect and you have to do some extra legwork. But it is worth it to me. I just purchased a counter height table and hutch and two bedroom sets for half what I would have paid otherwise. I checked prices elsewhere including internet. And I am now about to remodel the kitchen and bath. It works
    for me.

  40. Kurt in Sacramento October 14, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    My wife and I just finished an “open house” at DB today (10/14/07). We are doing a kitchen remodel and are trying to pick cabinets. Brought a fully complete order from Lowes that contained prices and models for comparison. We listened to the sales pitch and asked a few key questions: 1) Is DB privately or publicly owned (private franchise) 2) How does DB make a profit (membership dues), 3) How many members does it take for a franchise to break even (wouldn’t say), 4) can we get out of the contract (California has a 3 day contract break rule).

    So we forged forward. The db staff let us compare kitchen cabinets to Lowes. The DB staff were helpfull and looked up our cabinets in their books. For example, we looked at a specific cabinet: Lowes was $890 – their prices was $465. Shipping was esitmated at $50. There was no mention of the 8% handling fee. Our total Lowes kitchen cabinets were $18,900 and DB’s estimate was about $13000 so it seems like close to break even when I include the $5960 membership. My wife and I agreed that we would not join unless we were sure that we could we could recoup the membership fee on the cabinets alone. (we assume that other discounts will put us in the “black” on the remaining items need in our remodel.)

    After spending the evening reading the internet postings, we are going to cancel the contract. I think that the uncertainties about 1) true shipping costs, 2) the 8% handeling fee, 3) the delivery times, and 4) the return policy and process puts too much uncertainty in our hearts to move forward.

    I guess were going back to Lowes. . . Why to kitchen cabinets have to cost so much anyway – it’s just a box to hold spices?

    Awesome comparison Kurt. I think you summed up many people’s feelings and reasons for hesitation with your comment. Thanks for that.

  41. Last Sunday my wife and I went out to Suffolk County NY for a DirectBuy orientation. All in all it was three hours of high-pressure sales hell.

    I just about had a stroke when they _finally_ mentioned the price for three years of membership: $4,900.

    And when “Cathi,” with the extremely bad teeth, mentioned that the offer was “take it now or never get to join again” the little scam-alarm in my head went off.

    I told Cathi, that her offer sounded just like an offer one would expect from a dishonest used-car salesman. I told her that, considering the amount of money involved, I wanted time to fully look at my options and check around before I committed.

    She didn’t blink an eye. She asked if I’d feel better if I could use their computer and check the Better Business Bureau site.

    She went to the boss/owner, he set it up and we looked online at the BBB. DirectBuy looked okay. And as she had suggested, I also ran a Google search for DirectBuy from their machine.

    Now, here’s the really strange thing: there were only two links on the Google result page. One link was from some guy suggesting that DB was a scam and another link was to a very long screed from the DB store owner, saying the scam-calling guy was someone who’d never visited the store and was ignorant of the actual DB experience.

    I was almost convinced. But I still couldn’t get past the high ticket price for joining. Cathi said it was for ten years of membership; until I corrected her that it was really for three years. She offered us a monthly payment plan of $200 per month. She made no mention of finance charges.

    I just redid a Google search from my home computer and found more that 30 pages of research results. Many of those pages are very negative about DB. I stopped looking after viewing ten links.

    I also redid the BBB search from home. Again, I got totally different search results. While the BBB information looks sort-of okay, there were enough differences to reaffirm my suspicion: they were running some sort of filter on their machine that excluded negative comments.

    Boy, after looking at the real Google results, I am so glad we didn’t sign up!

    Anyone who suggests that their great deal is “take it now or lose out forever” is trying to run a scam. A good deal is a good deal today, or tomorrow, or next week. If your sales person says otherwise, run – don’t walk – to the door.

    I found a way to save more than $5,000 on stuff for our new house! And it only cost us 3 hours of our time – at a DirectBuy sales presentation.

  42. Here’s what’s interesting about your “research,” about the policy of not returning to the club within 4 years, (by the way, I thought it is 7 years in most states). Anyone can go online and print another visitors pass, so I don’t know why you’re so proud of yourself for doing that. Your information goes into a corporate database, so will John at the door know you were there a year ago? Probably not, but if you decide to become a member and submit your paperwork, Direct Buy’s corporate office will kick that right back to you. Sorry to burst your bubble…you seem so…proud of your false findings…

  43. I printed the free pass, selected an open house time, then proceeded to further my research. What a shock!
    I have never seen so many sites complaining about one company.
    However legal they may be, it looks like a classic case of “buyer beware.”
    I called the local DB store and explained that we were only doing a minor remodel and that their plan wouldn’t work for us.
    I also asked to be removed from the open house list which they did. All handled in a friendly and courteous manner.

  44. This is all a classic case of fear of the unknown and a fear of things that are different…

    My husband and I joined DirectBuy on Long Island roughly seven years ago. Since that time we’ve moved from an apartment, into a starter home and we’re now about to close on a home we’re having built. We’ve easily saved the membership amount and five times over. When you look at it from a long-term investment point of view, it’s extremely difficult not to recoup your savings.

    My membership with DirectBuy hasn’t been a perfect relationship – but what relationship is. I can tell you that the four centers that I’ve shopped at (Suffolk, Nassau, Queens and Manhattan) all have had a genuine interest in my satisfaction. Have there been delays, shipping damage, items discontinued, etc. – sure. Was I upset – you bet. Do these things occur when you’re ordering from any other retailer – of course. Just do a search online for the Better Business Bureau ratings for any large national retailer. You’ll find countless complaints. Yet the majority of people still continue to shop there. Who actually checks with the Department of Consumer Affairs before buying a couch from XYC, or cabinets from ABC or appliances from 123? I think people research the product but they don’t take into consideration the THOUSANDS of complaints logged for every traditional retailer when they hand over their credit card.

    I think the biggest problem people have with DirectBuy is that it’s different from the norm. Once you understand what it is and how it operates the amount of money you can save over the course of a membership is really amazing.

    Do I use DirectBuy to buy everything – of course not. Some products just don’t have that much of a profit margin through normal retail channels (online, discount, etc) – namely appliances and electronics. If I find something cheaper outside of DirectBuy that I’m shopping for and I’m comfortable with the source – I buy it – as I would recommend to any other consumer. But for things that have higher profit margins, such as furniture, lighting, mattresses, cabinets, countertops, plumbing, flooring, area rugs, window treatments, table settings, jewelry, gifts, etc – well, I’ve saved a bundle.

    My husband had the hardest time coming to grips with the minimal markup on consumer electronics (especially after I pretty much made him join). I mean, what else would you want to do after you join but buy a nice tv… and then to see that you’re not saving that much… You just have to remember that you didn’t join for a tv – you join for an alternate source for buying things for the next decade.

    That’s key… decade. We all want instant gratification. I think the man a few comments up who wants to cancel his membership because he only saved his membership on the cabinets is ridiculous. Is he not going to buy anything else for his home??? No countertops, or flooring, or appliances, or backsplash, or lighting, or pots, pans, knives, no plates and glasses, or flatware – and that’s just the kitchen. Wow, that’s extremely short-sighted. These are all things that I’m buying now and saving hand over fist.

    As I said at the beginning, DirectBuy IS different:

    – I’ve had access to more products than I ever seen in any store. So much so that I’ve felt inundated with options.

    – The staff lets me select what I want. They’re not pushy nor do they care if I spend $10.00 on a widget or if I get the $10,000.00 widget. So the service level is “different”. They’re not waiting on me hand and foot like some salespeople do at higher end stores nor are they rude like the staff at many discount retailers nor are they leading me or up-selling me to a particular product because of their own internal incentives (commissions or bonuses). They’re, on the whole, normal people and I guess that can be off-putting for some people. I actually find it refreshing.

    – To continue with the normal people train of thought, I’ve had countless questions before buying a product that the DirectBuy staff simply weren’t able to answer. They would help me, either by looking in the catalog, or on the manufacturer’s website or by calling the manufacturer’s customer service hotline – but my inquiry was returned with a quizzical look. They did have a genuine interest to provide me with an answer and honestly tried to get the answers to the best of their ability. Nowadays, most manufacturer websites have all the information I can ever ask for.

    – I treat DirectBuy as a purchasing center. Do your homework in advance. Buy what you want and you’ll be happy. It’s not a store in the traditional sense.

    – Everything is special ordered. I’ve had things come in a week and I had products that we’re custom-made that took 12 weeks. As long as you plan ahead and read through the catalogs you’ll get a sense of how long to expect it to take.

    Just my viewpoints and personal experiences.

  45. I have been a member of Directbuy for the past three years. I can’t believe some of the outrageous comments that I’ve seen on this site. It’s almost like you are talking about another company. I have saved my membership with everything i’ve purchase so far. And I plan to renew and buy alot more in the future.

  46. I almost listened to a coworker who went to a directbuy open house and had nothing but negatives. Fortunatly, I’m a man who thinks for myself and not easilly swayed by the opinions of others. I had an estimate for kitchen cabinets which I thought was outrareously high $28,690
    I could not believe the membership fees. But I thought to myself, if it is so bad as my coworker said, how come they are still doing all this business. So I followed their instructions, went armed with my estimate and the info from my coworker.

    I found the concept to be unique, and made sense to me. Despite the apprenhension of my wife, I joined and saved $17,000 on my cabinets alone. After 3 years of being a member, I’ve saved over $31,000. Did I have some fustrations with service like any other business, sure. My friend is now begging me to purchase items for him. The answer is always no.

  47. This DirectBuy decision is actually a relatively easy solve. Simply ask the sales rep and telemarketer (and yourself): If you are going to save so much $ when you purchase a membership on DB items, than shouldn’t a sales rep’s time be better utilized on purchasing items through DB and reselling them on eBay, Craigslist, or some other reseller forum thereby maximizing his/her wealth? If the savings are so good, than one could conclude that a reasonable and intelligent person would not waste their time peddling sales pitches, but rather on reselling items they bought for so much less than at retail. Maybe even focus on a handful of “hot” items to resell for profit. However, I do not think this is the case. If anyone is doing that out there, please correct me… I can conclude with a high level of confidence that this is not the case because, and simply put, the margins are just not there. To recover an upfront fee such as DB’s would require ALOT of buying and saving above retail. In my opinion, this concept is flawed for the average consumer and is obviously slanted for the DB owner’s gain. Remember thee ‘ole simple advice Dad gave us when considering concepts such as DB: “If it is too good to be true, it probably is”.

  48. I would just like to say, I did a google search because one of my friends is building a house and he told me it was the smartest thing he has done in the whole process was joining DB. I am surprised to see how many people cannot do simple math. “I saved 800 dollars on a dishwasher” “I saved 1000 dollars on my kitchen appliances and 4000 on my cabinets” To even break even you need to save a dollar more than you paid to join the club right? So if in three years you have not saved at least 5001 dollars then you should be buying at full retail prices becase you would ultimately have more money in your pocket even after paying the “higher” prices.

  49. At the orientation meeting at the Direct Buy in Bergen County, NJ, I informed the Direct Buy representatives that I didn’t see anything in their showroom that I liked for the kitchen remodel I was planning. I told them I wanted modern European-style cabinets in Cherry with a cranberry stain. One of their “contractors” approached me with a catalog and told me he could get what I was looking for in the stain I wanted at a very competitive price. On the basis of his representations, I joined. I paid the membership fee in full: with tax it came out to $4,800. I also “bought” two items – a professional Canon high definition wide angle zoom lens and a compact HDV camcorder. These items together cost more than $3,100. I was told that they’d be arriving around the 5th or 10th of November. Neither article was ever delivered.

    Concurrently, the contractor came to my house after a few reschedulings and delays on his part. He took measurements and I didn’t hear from him for two weeks. When I finally tracked him down he told me that he had inadvertently given my blueprints to another client. A week later he came by with blueprints. The dimensions were wrong. I told him what the corrections were. I told him which blueprint design I preferred. He then disappeared and I haven’t heard from him since – it’s been a few weeks since he abandoned the project without notice.

    This Direct Buy took $8,000 of my money and I have absolutely nothing to show for it. They failed to perform in every respect on every agreement and contract they made with me.

    I told them that unless there was a material resolution – where I get the merchandise and performance is demonstrated that I would sue them. Their response was to plead ignorance about the contractor and offer me a full refund for the merchandise (but not my membership fee, mind you). They actually believe that this makes me whole! I am soooo going to sue these bastards.

  50. gregory and mary ann younk November 24, 2007 at 9:38 am

    We were duped too. The night we were invited to hear their sales pitch we were told that their was a Direct Buy location in Cadillac Michigan near the city (Manistee, Michigan) that we were retiring to. Now that we are in the process of building our retirement home there we find out that the city of Cadillac does not have a Direct Buy nor was there ever one at that location. The closest one to us will be a 3 1/2 hour drive.
    When the location we purchased our membership was questioned about why they would tell us such a thing we were told in so many words that we were liars and never told any such thing. Besides we were told it was OUR responsibility to find out if there was a location there or not. Try to do that in the short time period you are alotted that night. And if you don’t chose to sign up that night they tell you that you will never be invited back again.
    Too bad for us. We were told to transport all the products for building our new home to that location ourselves which is a 4 1/2 hour drive one way. We would need a moving van in order to do this, making any saving negligable.
    Beware of trusting these people. Obviously they will do anything for a sale and once they have your money fat chance of getting it back.
    If any one wants to go after them legally let us know!

  51. My wife and I became members of Direct Buy more than five years ago. We are white-collar, college graduate, professionals. To date, we have spent more than $50,000.00 through Direct Buy. We have recouped our initial investment multiple times. Is Direct Buy for everyone? No, it’s not. It’s not for you if you’re lazy, not an independent thinking person, or tend to live in the moment (i.e. one who needs instantaneous gratification). If this is you, don’t become a member. But if you’re willing to conduct your own research, gather FACTS, wait for delivery of your products, you WILL save a lot of money. Now, if saving money is not important to you…then it’s a mute discussion. With over a million members in both the United States and Canada, I’m sure there are some members who are not satisfied with DirectBuy; but according to the media, Wal-Mart is managed by the Anti-Christ. Consider the source folks. SCAMS don’t remain in business for 38 years, yet alone flourish. This organization is not a SCAM. Several non-members have chosen to opine and I’m shocked by the comments made by them on this blog. Many of the statements are represented as FACTS by individuals who are not members. Many of those offering their opinions stated they did not join because they were “shocked” by the membership price. Did you think it would be free? During my time as a member, I’ve noticed most people who criticize the organization are not members of the organization. And, most of them did not join because they could not afford the membership. Therefore, they need to find a reason to demonize the organization. DirectBuy is not perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than buying retail. Some of you really need to adjust your paradigms; because you’re missing out on a good thing. I would not be a member if it was not a financially sound decision. All I can tell you is the return on investment (ROI) beats the hell out of the stock market. Mock the program if you want, but most of the negative replies are based in ignorance, and not FACT. I’m proud to be a member. I share my positive experience with family and friends, and several have joined.

  52. Paid over $2,500.00 and renewed 3 times without benefit
    My wife and I joined this club in 2002. We paid over $2,500.00 with the promise that we would be buying at wholesale for major purchases i.e. carpet, tile, kitchen cabinets/renovations, furniture and appliances. We purchased carpeting for our home and we did save about $700-$800 over comparable product. Everytime we tried to use the service for purchases after the initial carpet purchase, we found that the values were significantly less than advertised. We moved into a different home in 2004 and went to puchase appliances and found that the savings on major applicances was non-exsistant and that we could match or better our pricing with a little due diligence.
    We have renewed out membership for several years in anticipation of purchasing new tile and granite for our kitchen. About 6 weeks ago, I got the names of three members who offer Direct Buy picing for new granite in our kitchen and bath. I contacted all three, received two call backs. I sent my plans to two of the participants and only received one estimate back, nearly 3 weeks later. In the interim, I was referred to another granite fabricator who was both prompt and responsive. I ended up buying from the non-member because I was receiving little to no response from the members. I called the center to register a complaint but was pretty much brushed off. I called the corporate headquarters in Indiana and they took the complaint and were supposed to pass it on to the local owner. That was on Thursday, July 26th. Today is July 31st and I have had no response.

    Thanks very much for your support.
    Lawrence M. Smith

    Mr. Smith,

    Um . . . today is actually December 6th, 2007. Not sure what worm hole you crawled through, but you might want to keep this in mind for future rants: Missing the date by that much causes you to lose credibility–no matter what you say.

    But thanks for the visit and input anyway Lawrence.


  53. Ahhh Direct Buy!
    Where to begin. My husband and I have been members for years and we did purchase our wedding rings through Direct Buy at a considerable savings. Now we’re doing home renovation and the nightmare has been non stop. Direct Buy doesn’t list many of their manufacturers on their website. We didn’t feel that it would be a good consumer practice to jump into a purchase of 20 windows without doing research. I had called Home Depot and priced windows at Lowes and then decided to call Direct Buy and have them give me a list of their window companies. I was delighted to see that Pella was a company that they carried. Here’s the rub. You need to contact the Pella rep so you make sure that you get the correct size windows. Now Direct Buy is not actually handling your purchase Pella is. One would think that you would get better service getting to deal with the manufacturer instead of receiving second hand info. It took me 2 weeks to get the Pella representative to speak with me after leaving multiple messages with my Direct Buy referral. I finally pick out my windows and receive my quote. I send the quote to the contractor to find that the Pella Representative missed a window. I have my contractor contact the Pella Representative to fix the error to ensure that the projects pieces are all ordered correctly. Finally the order is correct and Pella sends the quote to Direct Buy to have the representatives at Direct Buy tell me that they didn’t understand how the math was done on the quote. I contact Pella again and have the Pella representative call Direct Buy to explain how the windows get ordered. I was told that the order was placed to find out a week later that Direct Buy lost the quote and never placed the order. I took a trip to Direct Buy with the quote to hand it to them and watch them make copies this was Nov 14th. I can only give them leeway on one error. My contractor did measure 2 of the windows incorrectly which caused me to change the order so the order was not actually placed until the 15th of November. By the way the missing window also needed to be added to the revision so it was never added when the correction had previously been requested. I was told that a rush was being put on my order due to the delays and errors and a need date was placed as December 7th. December 6th I receive a call from Pella telling me that they will be delivering my windows January 3rd. I of course began to lose my mind. The Pella representative that called me told me that my order wasn’t actually placed until November 29th. I found this to be very interesting since I new that my $18,000 check was cashed November 23rd. I called Direct Buy to ask what was going on and I was told that a Direct Buy representative would take care of it. I was suppose to receive a call the next day to explain to me what the problem was. Today I decided to start harassing everyone again in the hopes that someone would actually give me attention. I was told by Pella that my order took longer because of the missing window on the quote and Direct Buy isn’t open on Mondays.

    I wish anyone who joins Direct Buy good luck. Our first experience was fine but this window ordeal has been a complete nightmare. I feel like I’ve been robbed. I can only hope that when these windows are finally installed that they are beautiful. I’m not sure it will be worth renewing my membership.

  54. Direct buy,
    Why would I subject myself to a “Timeshare mentality” sales pitch?

  55. I almost joined. I have no idea if they are a good or bad company. I only know I refused to even go to the sales pitch because they need an answer that very moment. How crazy is that. Their is no good reason for that (other than get you to make a decision you are not ready for). Why not let me look at the pricing, let me think about it and talk to friends? I am not a big fan of ” well Mr Whybark here is a hot deal but it only last for 60 seconds”. If it is that hot of a deal then why am I not allowed to think about it. Again I stress that I do not know if the deals are good or even great. I simply refuse to deal with a company that uses a take it now or the offer is gone sales tactic.

  56. I priced a bunch of items at Ashley Furniture. Then I checked the prices on DB and found that DB prices were on average 10.00 more per item. Throw in shipping and handling and you are paying way more than retail. DB’s promise that you will never have to pay retail again is true. Sometimes you will pay more than retail, and I have found very few items to buy with a savings worth the hassle of ordering through DB, waiting for 6-8 weeks and then dealing with rude backroom employees at DB. DB is a joke for 90% of the fools such as myself who paid 4000 to join. After 4 years I can honestly say I saved $200 on a sofa. But the hassle wasn’t worth it. If a lawyer would take up a class action lawsuit I would join in a moment.

  57. Thanks for all the info, DB is trying to lure me in, I have an upcoming appt. I think I will cancell that and tell them to have a nice day!

  58. Found this article from the National Post.

    I think this article shows very strong feelings for and against Directbuy.

    Chris, my question is what are the contributing factors that generate such emotional passion for or against Directbuy?

    National Post’s Financial Post & FP Investing (Canada)

    November 20, 2004 Saturday
    National Edition

    Couple take buying club fight to streets: Directbuy picketing

    BYLINE: David Menzies, Financial Post


    For James and Mona Daniels of Ottawa, the marketing pitch for DirectBuy of Ottawa West looked so appealing on paper. DirectBuy promises would-be members it can “eliminate the middleman.” By doing so, the Merrillville, Ind.-based buying club claims consumers can purchase everything from furniture to jewelry “at savings up to 50% and more off store prices.”

    In June, the Daniels attended a DirectBuy open house and were persuaded to join. The biggest selling point: the Daniels, who were hoping to buy 240 feet of commercial grade fencing for their funeral home, were told the savings achieved via DirectBuy would more than pay for the club’s $3,177.90 two-year membership. The owners of the franchise, Robert and Carla Smith, were all too happy to sign up another couple to their $6-million a year business.

    But in hindsight, the Daniels wish they had never set foot in the DirectBuy showroom — a sentiment shared wholeheartedly by the franchise’s owners.

    At issue: The Daniels claim they were victims of “bait and switch” tactics by DirectBuy in that the company wasn’t able to deliver a certain kind of fence. As well, they accuse Mr. Smith of uttering verbal threats and even physically assaulting them. (At time of writing, the Ottawa Police Service confirmed charges are pending.)

    For their part, the Smiths claim the Daniels have done “irreparable damage” to their business due to the couple’s public protests that saw them picket in front of the Smiths’ DirectBuy outlet.

    So, what went wrong?

    Ms. Daniels says DirectBuy simply couldn’t deliver on verbal guarantees made during the open house session. Namely, she had been told by a DirectBuy representative to obtain two quotes from Ottawa-area fencing companies for the sought-after fence; DirectBuy would then contact a fence manufacturer it deals with, Gentec, to obtain a fence at substantial savings.

    However, after the Daniels acquired two estimates (ranging from $17,000 to $18,000) and submitted the information to DirectBuy, Ms. Daniels says the buying club essentially ignored them.

    “We phoned and phoned,” says Ms. Daniels. “Finally, after weeks, we get a call from Beth Taylor, member services manager. We’re asking ‘What’s happening?'”

    Ms. Taylor followed up with a letter of apology agreeing that the club’s response to the Daniels’ “requests and needs” was “far to [sic] slow.” Missing from the letter, however, was a quotation.

    By now, the Daniels were steaming, feeling as if they had been duped.

    On July 31, Mr. Daniels confronted DirectBuy co-owner Mr. Smith and complained about the customer service. Mr. Daniels asked that his membership be terminated and membership fees refunded. But Mr. Smith said he required “more time” to source a fence. Given that several weeks had passed with no firm quotations, the Daniels were not in the mood to wait any longer. They wanted out.

    In a letter dated Aug. 9, 2004, Mr. Smith agreed to terminate the Daniels’ membership, minus $755.10 (half of expenses identified by DirectBuy). But the Daniels declined to accept the condition.

    Ms. Daniels then lodged a complaint with the local Better Business Bureau. After the BBB made note of her “unresolved complaint” against DirectBuy, Mr. Smith soon followed up with another letter offering a full refund of membership fees. But this time, there were five conditions attached including that the Daniels withdraw their BBB complaint. The Daniels refused.

    The dispute escalated last month when the Daniels decided to create public awareness over their dilemma by picketing DirectBuy. One sign proclaimed: “I got took at DirectBuy for $3,000.” The Daniels also handed out media reports critical of DirectBuy.

    Last Saturday, however, Ms. Daniels claims Mr. Smith “lost it” and tried to run them down with a vehicle. She says he also uttered verbal threats. The altercation led to Mr. Smith being cuffed and taken away in a police cruiser.

    When contacted, Mr. Smith refused to comment. But Ms. Smith — who refers to the Daniels as “whackos” — says she can’t understand why the couple continued to picket their operation given they received a full refund. (The Daniels have yet to cash the cheque based on legal advice.)

    Meanwhile, the Smiths’ legal counsel, David Dwoskin, notes that litigation will almost certainly commence against the Daniels should they continue to picket in front of the DirectBuy office.

    “From my point of view, the Daniels are no longer seeking to recover anything because they already have what a court is likely to give them,” says Mr. Dwoskin. “But they are really doing some damage to this business. It is not an issue of freedom of speech — they are simply trying to destroy the contractual relationship between [DirectBuy] and anyone that wants a contractual relationship with them.”

    Ms. Daniels says her picketing days are over. She says police have told her it is “not safe” for her and her husband to return to the DirectBuy premises. Instead, she plans on writing government authorities — from the RCMP to the Competition Bureau — to make them aware of DirectBuy’s business practices. Says Ms. Daniels: “It’s not about the money anymore.”

  59. I am sooo looking forward to free coffee and donuts, and a ‘tour’ of a warehouse of furnishings catalogs – NOT! However, I made the mistake of signing up for a ‘DirectBuy’ visitors pass via the net before doing the Google search. So, you can be sure that when, and if, I hear from DB, I will do the right thing! I will most certainly be delighted to hear, by phone, from DB’s representatives (although they may find that I’m often in the middle of ‘something’, and they may be asked to hold, until I can finish something quick — like vacuuming the living room, or watching the news or Jeopardy). I will most certainly make an appointment! Several, in fact, if one or more should be missed due to unforeseen circumstances. I will most certainly find at least one afternoon, when I’ve nothing on my agenda, to take the time to visit the DB catalog warehouse. I will make sure I stop at their refreshments table first! I will listen politely to the sales pitch; I will ask questions; I will take notes. I will not, under any circumstances, sign my name on anything, at all, while in the presence of any DB representative. Indeed, I may wear a cast on my right hand and wrist! I will most certainly try to talk any folks I know, who like to thwart the nefarious schemes of ‘used car salesmanship’ retailers, into doing likewise — make the appointment, keep the appointment (after several ‘reschedulings’), keep representatives on the phone as long as possible, and make sure companies like DirectBuy, with their opaque business practices, have to spend far more on trying to fleece customers than it would cost them to just open their doors, and do business in a transparent way.

  60. My wife and I recently joined a DB here in OR. We thought hard about our decision and the only reason we joined was that we knew about the FTC’s three day “Cooling off Period” in which we knew that we had the right to cancel our membership, no questions asked and confirmed so at the time of our signing, even though their contract reads no canelations. Needless to say that after having time to compare prices in the showroom to (apples to apples) quotes we received from other stores we were not going to make up half of our $5000 (investment?) thru our major kitchen remodel even though we are doing cabinets, appliances, engineered flooring (throughout the house minus bedrooms), granite counter tops, lighting, plumbing fixtures, dining furniture, etc. What we found is that the deals are there if you are looking for high end furniture and the like. If you are frugle or are working on a budget that doesn’t include luxury name items then the savings don’t exist. In addition the handling fees ate up over $1300 of our savings, bringing our net savings to just over $1900. I felt strongly this qualified us as wrong customers for this company.
    Here in lies the DB Sales Model Flaw, you have to do your homework to make sure that your needs fit the parameters of what this company has to offer. Their sales process is designed so that you don’t have the time or opportunity to compare their prices to those of other stores. I believe it’s intentional and not to protect the retail world or for any other reason then to protect their closing percentages. I believe that any educated consumer given the opportunity to research the items in question, apples to apples, including any incentives, discounts, or sales, would opt to keep the $5000 enrollment fee and apply it to their purchase as such DB’s new membership percentage would drop significantly. It is a poor tactic, screened by a poor excuse.
    I don’t think it’s a bad company and I don’t think they are crooks who are ripping people off, but I do think that they don’t want you to think twice before singing up. They want your name on the line. I don’t think it’s right for everyone and as recommended previously thoughout this blog, if you are going to attend the open house do your shopping ahead of time and get the items you are going to be buying, get brand name, part numbers, model line name/number, prices, any discounts, and/or sales the store is going to be having within the next two months. If you are not building a new house, remodeling an existing one, chances are it’s not for you.

    Great information Matt! Thank you very much for that information.


  61. Actually I feel really reduntant after reading the above bloggers. I thought I would leave some additional and hopefully helpful information for anyone who finds themselves inthe same situation we did.
    We purchased our membership on Saturday 12/29/07. The FTC cooling off period only applies to business days inlcuding federal holidays, so we had Sunday, they were closed Monday 12/31/07 prior to the New Year Holiday, and New Years day, so it’s unsure whether our “clock” started on Monday a business day even though they were closed, but our assumption is that it started on Wednesday, the following business day after the New Year holiday. By that time we had attained all of the information that we needed to make our decision.
    We called the rep who helped us and in all fairness she was a nice lady who presented herself well. I let her know we were going to be canceling and why and she asked that we send in our member packet with all of the information it contained. Note: if you are going to choose this option you need to mail it certified mail so you can note the date and time. I opted to bring it in to the store location which they didn’t want, I am guessing so that others didn’t see somebody canceling their conract which reads no cancelations. I contacted the Oregon Department of Justice and asked what I needed retain in terms of proof of the return and asked what I should do given a couple of cenarios, should something unexpected happen. Turns out all we needed to get was a receipt of the refund.
    We got to the branch location on Wednesday 01/02/08 Upon getting to the branch location I simply explained why we were canceling, thanked them, told them I think they have a good product for the right people, but that they need to be more accurate or less reckless (six or half a dozen) representing facts in the presentation and rather then presenting “handling charges” in the presentation I thought it would be more accurate to present the face value of the handling charges (8% in our case) so that people aren’t surprised after a drop dead date. I presented her with my debit card and she came back with a receipt for the $4890 membership fee. It was simple and rather painless other then we have three kids that love to fight in the car!
    If anything I hope that my wife and my experiences helps anyone who finds themselves in our situation. My only note of caution is that the information I have given here worked in the state of Oregon because of Oregon State Law. Please do the work and double check the laws in your state. There are plenty of resources at the state level that will help you.
    Good luck!!!


    Thanks again Matt. It’s great to get comments that are actually intelligent AND helpful. Your explanation of how you used the cooling off period and comparison shopping was enlightening. I hope many people will take advantage of your advice, be prepared when they go into the showroom, and save themselves the stress of having to try to cancel after a drop-dead-date.

    Also great to hear that the most stressful part of the process for you was your kids. I know how that can be, but at least they didn’t cost you anything–unless you had to buy a bottle of asprin, or a bandaid after the fight.

    Thanks again for your insight! It is very much appreciated.


  62. Thank you Chris for giving people a forum to make others aware of a potentially dangerous situation, monetarily anyway. I don’t mean to just rant rant rant, but that’s what a blog is for, right?
    I guess in retrospect some of the things the really eat at me, probably because I wanted to believe in the savings more than see the warning signs for what they really were, was that they don’t disclose the 8% handling fee’s for what they really are in the presentation. If they are truly a part of the cost of the items being purchased then shouldn’t they reflect a portion of the savings? It’s never mentioned.
    I felt that they over represented savings throughout the presentation particularly on kitchen appliances which they specifically covered in the presentation. After my wife and I priced the appliances in the showroom they said, “Well appliances are one of the areas where you probably won’t save as much money”. My thought was how about any money? We priced 6 pieces of Kitchen Aid appliances, high end appliances, and would have paid $200 more then in another store without being able to purchase an extended warranty. If that’s the case why does DB have appliances as a specific part of their presentation along with TV’s (which is an electronic item) representing savings?
    Another thing that eats at me is that they give people finance options for their membership fee. Just think about this for a second and if anyone can please do the math. We paid cash because we could afford it. If someone has to finance it, I am guessing that it’s because they don’t have the money to pay for it up front. If there is another reason like a tax benefit please let me know. If they don’t have the money to pay for it up front I am assuming they are not going to have the money to pay for items of any high $$ amount in cash, because you can’t finance it. So let’s say you want to use a credit card. You encounter another finance charge from DB that is I believe 3%, so now you have interest charges on the credit card and the finance charge that DB charges you for using your credit card. Now all of this is before you ever calculate the 17.75% they charge you to finance your membership. So now you have to recoup you membership fee of $5000, the interest of 17.75% on your membership for however long you financed it, but the minimum was $690 down for X many months. You have 8% handling charges on the merchandise ordered, maybe a minimum fee charge because you didn’t order enough of a certain product, if you use your credit card because you don’t have the cash (or you wouldn’t have financed the whole thing to begin with), another 3% DB finance fee, and then the interest on the credit card depending on how quickly you can pay the item(s) off. I can’t figure out how to do the math on that but it seems like a tough way to save money. It seems a sleazy way to prey on somebody that shouldn’t be a member. Sure, come sign up, you’ll save a ton!

    Lastly Chris the thing that bothers me maybe most about DB is that there is no protection on your investment. They can pull your membership at anytime, they can discontinue items at anytime, or close the doors 2 years into your membership at anytime and you have no recourse. Once you sign on that line and check the box that says that no oral representation applies, it’s over. And for a lot of uneducated consumers out there, once they got you, they got you.

    So are they dirty, dishonest, people who rip people off? Everyone has to make up their one minds. They have obviously worked for some poeople. They have put toghether a succsesful however quesitonable sales presentation that thanks to this blog gives people the ability to look at this thing from top to bottom.

    Ok I am done I won’t post for another month, promise! I am going to have to start sharing the aspirin with the readers.


    I love readers like you! Yet again you’ve uncovered more ways people can lose money through financing or borrowing! It’s kind of common sense, but complicated enough that most people don’t think if it. Thank you so much for stopping by.

    You can rant on my blog any time. You’re so good at it! Heh, heh.

    In fact, I would like to offer you my Platinum visitor pass good for unlimited surfing and ranting throughout this blog on any post – – – FOR LIFE!

    Take it easy Matt,
    I honestly hope to see more of you around here. This blog can always use more smart readers and participation.


  63. Former Employee January 6, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    I have to say that your site is very interesting. I am a former employee of DirectBuy Suffolk. I worked at the Suffolk location for a few years and used them to pay my way through school. I am now a teacher! I read thru your experience and I have to say that whomever you delt with was a &^*(^*. I was a membership director and I would always tell my potential members that they should DEFINATELY shop retail before they come into a open house. This way I can show them apples to apple savings. I feel sorry that your experience was negative. I have been a member for over 5 years now. Mind you I joined for a lot less! I have saved thousands of dollars on things such as my bedroom (which we priced out at Siegermans at 8k and got for 4 with fees), our Kitchen ( was 45K and retailed for over 68K). We also saved on baby furniture and lenox gifts during the holidays. I would say that we made back our membership and over 50k. However this is not the case with most people who come into the club. Some directors are so caught up in getting you thru the door that they do not think about “your needs”. I would never set an appt with someone whose only buying a tv or a couch. It is just not worth it! I wish I had been there to help you when you came in. I most likely would have sent you home to shop retailers. Then you could have came back with some examples. As for the company stats… more that 48% of the people who walk thru the door join. About 10% of the ones who leave try to join elsehwere. I know that you say u were able to get a pass online. That makes perfect sense. However what online does not tell you is that the system has nothing to do with the indiv franchise computer system. You may be able to get the pass online, yet when you come in the door for the open house, you will be escorted out! They have no problem allowing you to enter again and they take great pleasure in letting you think you have duped them. More of your time wasted because they WILL NOT let you stay. The only way that you can get another chance is to go to another club and try to join there, or to change your address and give a diff phone number. All the clubs are linked so if you give a false address or a cell number you will be good to go. I have had many people try to come back after they have said “no”. I even had one guy come in with prices on Hickory White furn (really high $$$$) set for 11K. After spending 3 hrs with him and showing him over 6K in savings SHIPPED!!! He chose to leave. Well he then chose to go to the brooklyn club an dtry to join. They caught him! So in conclusion I am a happy member of directbuy, I do feel that they skate around issues and mislead potential members. However if you know how to use them to your benifit then you can def reap rewards. Please feel free to contact me.

  64. Chris,

    I am confused. If Directbuy’s parent company is able to keep all discounts and rebates without passing on the savings to the members, just what savings are you getting for your $6K upfront and non-refundable membership fee?


  65. Chris-

    You were too polite, I don’t need to waste your space with excessive rhetoric all I will say is that if you are decent shopper, take your time you can beat them on anything via ‘conventional’ retailers and contractors. There technique reminds me of MLM operations, they can have it.

    I almost feel the same away about Costco – not always the best price but worth the 60 bucks or so because Costco will take ANYTHING back so at least there you are buying ‘protection’. ( hey I’m from Cleveland buying ‘protection’ is a old way of life here LOL)

    Think about this – you’re paying someone UP FRONT for the ‘PRIVLAGE’ of spending your money there. What a J O K E.

    Shop around – make offers – use your contractor for discounts and most of all pay cash if you can and ask for a cash discount.


    Lakewood Ohio

  66. Wow, very interesting reading here. We went yesterday to our local Direct Buy. They have been calling us for about 10 years to go to an open house, with little kids it was just not worth the hassle and I always declined. Now that our kids are older and we have more ‘free’ time we made an appt to go. I even found a coupon for $100 Amex gift certificate we would get for showing up. My husband and I are building a bar in our basement and have other things that we want to do, so we were all ready to join. I thought this was going to be like joining Sams or Costco, with a yearly fee…probably about $200 a year and that we could probably easily get that back. We waiting for the ‘presentation’ to start, and we looked through a vendor resource book, I recognized many of the vendors but also couldn’t find many vendors that I was interested in…that’s okay I kept thinking, I still want to join. Then they told us the cost of membership.
    Shock does not even describe what I felt. $4800 for 2 years then $190 for every year after that for 10 years. DB numbers simply do not add up. The examples they give, average income etc assumes that people do have car payments, mortgages, doctor bills or anything else to spend their money on. I was also in retail, and when they gave an example of a watch retail price vs. their price it was way off.
    Those were two big red flags for me. My husband and I went back to our very nice sales rep, I was so prepared for her to try to get us to join by lowering the membership fee (like a timeshare presentation) but she didn’t. She just handed us our Amex gift certificate, I think maybe because we don’t fit their profile (my husband is older than 60) she knew it wasn’t worth her time. Overall, not a bad experience, I certainly don’t think they are crooks but they certainly aren’t saints either.

  67. Chris… I’m in between join or not… we have major renovations… 3 bathrooms, kitchen, basement floor & remodel, family room floors & remodel, and 4 addtional rooms and floors.

    Is it really worth it… I think the sales pitch is rude… but so much is said negative.. with freight and the 8% handling fee…

    I did get prices on flooring and it 60% lower than retail with all taxes, fees, freight…

    The fee is steep but if it sames us in the long term then it’s worth it, but is those saving real????

    Hi Kym,

    Heck. I’d say that if you already signed up, AND you already found a great deal, AND you have that list of major renovations to do–go for it. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith, expect good things to happen and in many cases, they will.

    There are a lot of negative comments out there on the internet about Direct Buy. But there are also a bunch of positive ones. Keep this in mind as well: People who have had bad experiences have a lot more motivation to voice their feelings than people with positive ones.

    So I’d say relax. Roll with it.

    Then let us know how it goes.

    Thanks Kym!


  68. The terms of the sales contract scares me.
    – The Club disclaims all warranties regarding the merchandise
    – Any need for subsequent repairs or service, after receipt of merchandise, is members’ own responsibility.
    – The entire merchandise price plus handling fee, estimated freight and sales tax is required as a down payment at the time of placing an order with the Club.
    No warranties, no guarantees and no returns makes it difficult for me to have a leap of faith. My question is why are there no warranties, no guarantees and no returns?
    I don’t know, it seems to me that the handling fees and shipping charges kind of eat up any gains you might get – in retail, the stores price include setup and delivery so….I don’t know. It would be easier to take a leap of faith if there were some sort of guarantee. If the service is all that great, why not provide a guarantee?

  69. Thanks…Chris,

    I will we plan to purchases withing the next few weeks… I’ll write back.

  70. I attended the open house, but never received the door prizes due to me. Do you have a phone number for Direct Buy so that I can inquire about them?

  71. We were at a DB in Gurnee 2 days ago. They wanted $6400 for the first three years and then another $1400 for the following 7 years. I would rather spend a little more and make sure I get the exact product/style that I want. Even though they have a huge selection (I was told), I would rather not be limited in any capacity. They also told us if they didn’t carry a specific manufacturer, that they would find a comparable product. I don’t want to research vans and choose a honda, and then they only offer dodge or ford (hypothetically, not that they sell vehicles). I don’t want to pay the shipping/handling fees. I don’t want to have to drive 1.5 hours to view what they have. For me it was just too much hassle. May be more worth it for someone who has lots of money and project(s) as the savings may outweigh the price… The videos were also a major pain. I love how they made it look like a newscast more than a commercial. If they would have given us the cost right upfront, we wouldn’t have bothered my sister to watch our hyperactive 3 kids for 3+ hours. We are putting a major addition on, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, a new living room, gutting our kitchen, and somehow still didn’t feel that this was for us. And btw – we were never offered any sort of door prize.

  72. From the moment we walked in the door it was like walking into a funeral home. The people who work there were very unfriendly and cold. Offered us water saying it was in the fridge when we opened the door there were cans of pepsi with a sign saying do not dare touch. Then the sales person said oh no you have to get it out of the fridge door. Cheap place can’t even give out bottle water. My partner needed to go to the rest room and the sales person walked him to the rest room and waited for him. He asked her, what, you think I’m going to steal something?Even if I thought it was a good idea I would never join a place where the people were like ice. Forget that. Very bad experiance huge waist of time. We have a remodeling business and thought it would be great for that BUT-They do not tell you if you have a business they won’t even talk with you. One of the worst experieces i’ve had. We were at the location in Chantilly, VA

  73. I have read many stories about how Direct Buy is a scam. In reality I have found many great savings through them and can prove it. Although everyone may come across some deals equal to or even better than DB, myself included, I have found them to be more than worth it if you are purchasing many items. I have beat some of their prices on special deals I located on my own but thats not the norm! I have checked electronics and have found it only possible to beat the direct price if the item happens to be on a great sale and not at everday normal prices. I have come to the conclusion many complaints may be companies trying to discredit DB because of the loss of sales. I will also say dont get hung on one brand as some of the brands offered through DB do not offer good deals! Its time to look at other top brands that do offer better deals through DB. I recently looked at theater seating and found it to be better than half the in store price even on sale! I would have this to say to those complaining! I would question their ability to go into DB and master the enormous number of catalogs and find the good deals. It is overwhelming at first! Its not for a dummy for sure! Even very inteligent people cant handle it as I have witnessed also! Ill personally give anyone some of my prices Ive found at DB and challenge them to find it cheaper anywhere on a everyday deal to anyone that walks in the door! Try me!

  74. Wow, what an experience! I’m a business person myself and I came home after an open house and wondered what was happening to the human race. Is this really happening? People can blindly pay for no real information and are really doing it. Just a promise, not in writing. This is my overview; I go into a show room, very tacky merchandise, shown a viedo, given the sales pitch, shown examples of savings, moved to the closing table and asked to give money to join. People actually signed up and paid for no data. I mean no information but lead to believe huge savings. I was told you could ask any question. I did. Every item I inquired about was never directly answered. My voice inside was stating, panic! Than the final close. Today or never. That was the icing on the cake. Apparently, if you are a catologe shopper, willing to wait for delivery, accept the fact that there is NO RETURN policy, this is the place for you. I honestly want to know what I buy, I want to see what I buy, and have choices amongst product. Direct buy is very limited in choices. 700 manufactures? Look on the web of thousands of options and Free shipping to your door with return policy! Direct buy has no consumer protection! If you are aware of these facts fully, I say go for it and enjoy your life. Different strokes for different folks.

  75. Chris,

    Thanks for the excellent blog! I am preparing to build and was considering checking out DB, but after reading these forums along with the other blogs and SCAM reports I have found, I am planning on steering clear of this operation.

  76. I find it very funny that people say they are not shown prices or even produtcts while being asked to join! I personally watched just two days ago while at DB as several potential DB members were toured through and shown anything they wanted to see! I have not failed to find a brand I wanted yet, all name brands by the way! I dont buy at discount stores! If one considers waiting less than two weeks, which all of my orders have taken so far, too long too wait for saving say, $400.00 dollars on the top of the line STEREO RECEIVER over the the box store price just too much to ask, then it is too much for the lessor informed and educated buyer to handle! Some items come faster and perhaps you may hit a factory backup! Still too much to take for saving hundreds of dollars and even thousands? Go to walmart then! I ordered over $7,000.00 just the last day there! An example: I orderd a movie screen for my theater room. The local dealer wanted $1500.00 for there average quality screen. I purchased the top of the line screen available by the mfg I picked and cost me $1900.00. Just $4oo.00 more for quality you could not even compare! I will agree on one point with most NON DB members doing the majority of the complaining here, they do pressure sell on the spot! You can actually joing anytime at any store! Its a pressure point to make the sale! After all they are selling memeberships! Have you ever purchased a new car! I would say most of the complainers here HAVE NOT! Talk about pressure when you walk in the door! Thats why I order what I want in a new car and have for over 25 years now since I bought my first new one! By the way, Ive never paid more than dealer invoice in my life for one! I dont mean FACTORY INVOICE either to those that dont know the difference! I would say this to those of you looking to join DB, pay no attention to the ones that have walked out not joining as they know not of what they speak! Ask or listen to those of us that have joined and can actually prove the savings! To join evedently is not a set price as we have paid much less than some of the figures Ive heard on this and other forums! Under $5000.00! By the way, we are building over 9000 sg ft of new house not buying your average yearly toys! Savings amount depends on whether you buy low end or high end products! Anyone knows the higher end products have higher mark ups and the savings add up much quicker! The cheaper the item, the smaller the profit on the item! By the way every item has the factory warranty and replacement! Do you really think a warranty goes away just because you were smart enought to not pay retail? Come on! Warranties come from the MFG, not where you purchase it! Its this simple to buy from DB! Step one, deceide before you go what brands you may be interested in! Step two, research the model numbers from the MFG web sites you want! Step three, write down the best price in your local stores you can find! Step Four, get your happy !@&#* in you car and drive to DB. Step Five, go in and pick out the CATALOG for the MFG you picked, too lazy too look for it? Ask anyone of the several helpers in DB and its in your hands in seconds! Step six, look through the catalog and find the model number! Now here is the hard part for those of you that have walked out but are experts on what DB is and IS NOT, LOOK AT THE PRICE! OHHH, look at the difference from your best price after all the tax, freight, and seldom handleing charges! More often than not, we dont get charged a handleing charge either and sometimes freight either, making the charges the same as in any store but a whole lot less! Now that is just so tough to do! I saved over $400.00 on my receiver alone that day! Guess you could say I made $400.00 that day for my time on ONE ITEM! As I stated above, I spent over $7000.00 that day! How much do you think the savings were on all the rest? I paid for my membership 10 times over already people! If you have a large project or even plan on buying things over many years, for freinds, family, which you are allowed to do by the way! You will more than like likely come out way ahead. My wife purchased a comforter set for a king bed she had seen in a big nationally known furniture store for $400.00 and paid only $189.00 at DB the same day! Hmmmm, tough to save money for a little effort! We are lucky our store just move to a brand new building and its great! Heck, even the vending machines are almost at cost! 50 cents for a 20. 0z coke? A movie room for the kids! Free coffe and WATER if you want it! The reason MISS FREEZE was watched during the episode at the restroom was so she couldnt go snooping through the catalogs getting prices without supervision or a memebership! What a brain it took to figure that one out! We got FREE DINNER OUT at OUTBACK when we joined! Now that does not seem to match the one that didnt join does it? We also drive an hour and a half each trip to go do our orders! We take all day when we go to get done all we can in one trip! Some things you have to pick up, some are delivered right to your door, some are sent by UPS! It all depends on the the MFG folks! Like the lady i read above said about researching for a HONDA and have to buy a DODGE. How about researching a HONDA and buying a LEXUS for the same money you would have spent on the HONDA at your LOCAL store? Now that would be smart! By the way, there is not always a shipping FEEE or HANDLEING FEE eityher! But you do pay TAX ANYWHERE! It all depends on the MFG as to what they charge for! Some dont add anything! Its all BS by people that have done little more than step in the door into something they cant afford in the first place. If you have to ask how much, you cant afford it! Its that simple! Its not for the one that wants to spend $500.00 a year or even $1000.00 but if you have a several thousand dollar project or a new house going up! You cant help but make your membership fee back in savings! If you were going to buy a LEXUS and wanted an opinion that counted would you ask someone that looked at one and walked out or one that purchased one and driven it for a while? HMMMMMM! See what the ones say that have actually joined! Then see how many complain! Now make your choice! Back up and read PROFV AUG 07! Very well said! Im on my second project in the last 10 years, the first was my wifes office for which I was not a member of DB then but wish I had been! I was acting contractor then and I am no on this new house! Ive saved over $100,000.00 already on my house and im only half way done! Im not special, nor am I college educated! I do beleive myself to be above average in intelligence, maybe not a great speller anymore though! Its a lot of work and almost too much this time as Im a tad older. Never beleive anyone that says you cant save much as your own contractor! Ive come in well over 30% cheaper so far on this job and my first one too! Builders tell you its much less so that you wont take their income away! Bottom line, DB saves you money and I am a member! I didnt walk in and right back out and become an expert like most of the Authors here! Do it!

  77. Hi Chris,

    Thought you’d be interested in reading this story out of Cincinnati, Ohio titled” Ohio Attorney General takes on “Direct Buy.”

    Attached is the link to the story on WCPO’s (Cincy news station) Website.


    Cincinnati, OH

  78. First off, everyone I have read here and anywhere else on the internet is absolutely ignorant. Not because you think DirectBuy is a scam, which it is to some extent, but because you do not know exactly why it is. DirectBuy can save you money, if and ONLY if you purchase a massive amounts of product. The whole concept of DirectBuy is to purchase without retail markup. That’s a great myth, but guess what — there is a 6% handling fee on anything you purchase. That’s a markup my friends, no matter what title you give it. Why would the final price be 6% of the cost of the item… to handle it? Let’s put this into perspective. It would cost $6 to handle a $100 order or flooring tile as where it would cost $60 to handle a $1000 diamond ring. Think about that for a second! $100 worth of flooring tile (very heavy) is quite a bit harder to handle than a small ring, yet it the markup of the ‘handling fee’ of the ring is quite a bit more! DirectBuy works if you know how to work it, but the idea that it has NO retail markup is absolutely a lie. Take it from me, someone who has worked at DirectBuy in the Dallas Texas market for many years. Simple math, let’s say membership costs $4,900 and the average savings is 35%. That would mean you must spend $14,000 to break even with retail to make the membership dues even worth it. Tack on the 6% handling fee’s, you must now pay $14,840 to break even. If you plan on paying anything less than that for things for in and around your home, membership costs are a waste of time and money on the customers/members behalf. So, DirectBuy works for those remodeling a home, where it would cost 30 grand, but for the average Joe it’s completely NOT worth it (regardless of what the damn salesman says). People, do your math before hand, educate your self, and stop voting for Bush-like presidents!

  79. What happens when the average savings isn’t even 35% (less the 6% or 8% up-front handling fee). It seems that there are a number of complaints documenting that a number of instances where Directbuy’s prices are not any cheaper (or just marginally cheaper) than another source?

  80. I guess I’m a little confused after perusing your lengthy assessment of DB. My husband and I joined a couple of years ago and at first, the initial cost scared me. But once he explained it to me in the context that we were getting ready to undertake a HUGE remodel of our home, it made perfect sense. We gutted and remodeled two bathrooms, a new construct laundry room, a nursery, and plan to do an entire kitchen (cabinets included). Without the kitchen, we have already saved more than our investment and we will be taking a free vacation, courtesy of DB, sometime this year because of our membership.

    It all seems quite simple to me – Direct Buy is not for everyone. If you get there and it’s not for you, what’s the problem? Don’t join. It is a membership club which immediately denotes exclusivity, just like Sam’s or Costco. We don’t join at those places because for the most part, we do not need to buy in bulk and the items that are not sold that way are not ones we are interested in. It does not benefit us to be members there so we make an informed decision as consumers. I will grant that they do not cost thousands of $$$ to join but the concept is the same. Direct Buy offers a value-added service for which its members are willing to pay a value-added price. If you are not going to do a lot of remodeling, it’s probably not for you. But that’s not their fault. Their infomercial talks about couples re-doing their entire kitchens, bathrooms, etc. If you know anything about those kinds of projects, you know they are high-end and the initial fee for DB is peanuts in comparison.

    We have had nothing but great experiences with them, including customer service when we had questions or problems. The fact that it takes 6-8 weeks to receive your item – it’s called planning ahead. If we know we want to install something in May, we’re going to order it now. Sometimes we find that a certain item is not cheaper once shipping/handling is added. So we don’t order it. Common sense, not grounds for legal action.

    We drive 45 minutes each time we go to our local DB showroom whether it’s to order or pick something up. It is worth it to us. If it’s not worth it to someone else, possibly they did not think it through and do their homework before attending the presentation. We know other couples who are members and who have saved tons of money because they, too, were planning a large kitchen project or the like.

    Again, talks of a lawsuit, as was mentioned by someone commenting on here, well, that’s ludicrous. Everyone wants something for nothing. We’ve received a whole lot of something because we paid something. Quit whining and pay the fair market price for you gas grill like everybody else.

  81. Update:
    I finally received my “door prizes” — a $20 gift certificate to Darden Restaurants and two movie tickets. I’m happy now.
    You all should do what I did, which is go to the presentation. After the sales pitch, you point out that the numbers don’t add up, then the DB reps get mad and ask you to leave.
    You lose only about an hour of your time, and then you eventually get your free gifts! Totally worth it!

  82. So what guarantee of savings, if any, does Directbuy offer for their hefty upfront and non-refundable (except in Ohio) membership fee?

  83. They don’t help becasue they do not make a dime on the stuff they sale people!! They mak their mula on only the memerships. Why would i help a member if i can close the deal on a new member? Lets see -new member = $ old member = Zero. by the way DB has been sued before.

  84. I get better prices at Walmart. They don’t sell cheaper to anyone.

  85. I disagree with most of the complaints on here. I got a Direct Buy membership after learning about DB from a high school friend who works there. I was lucky enough to be better informed. I found out all about the one time sales pitch before hand from my friend. I strongly disagree with their sales tactics but I do see the point. My friend has related plenty of horror stories of how a visitor drives over to Future Shop and demands a new plasma at cost right after the intro visit. Heck, he has gotten angry calls from Future Shop about impatient members who do the same thing. The Ottawa location lost a garden supplies provider when a member took a confidential Direct Buy quote and drove over and demanded the same price so she could save delivery time. Her membership was revoked and that business dropped DB as a sales channel. She violated the rules and other members lose out (we cannot access that supplier). Yet she is probably going to be complaining on a forum like this soon.

    When I joined, I had him price out different items I intended to buy which allowed me gauge my potential return. Lastly, I found out that since all DB locations are franchises, each one has a different membership fee. The newest locations tended to have the lowest fees but the highest annual renewal fees. Luckily one of these new locations was in my area. So I purchased the membership for around $3500 CAD in Aug 2006. I plan on renewing at a location with a cheaper annual rate. Find a new location, and you will definitely not have to pay $6000.

    As for other costs…the 6-8% handling fee is not applicable on most items. I have paid shipping or handling for only about half the items I have purchased. And even then I have still found it cheaper in comparison to retail. And then there’s sales tax. I can’t see the argument of those who complain about sales tax. I would love to find a retailer that does not charge you sales tax.

    There’s also the comment regarding them not offering financing. I think this is a good thing. If you need financing you do not belong at DB. If you are a discipline shopper who saves up for major purchases and does not impulse buy then you are definitely a DB fit. Given today’s instant gratification society (I am only 27 myself) and the piles of credit card and other debt, I dont think DB should offer financing any time soon.

    I have benefited immensely from this membership. I bought a new condo and I did purchase all my furniture and appliances from Direct Buy. By my estimation, within 2 years I have recovered my fee. They had all the brands and the models, the type of furniture (a Nicoletti couch – only sold in Montreal) and rare items I could not find (an LG combo washer/dryer that was withdrawn from retail in Canada). In fact, I am always overwhelmed by the amount of choice (for example colours and materials on furniture) that I have at DB.

    The location I joined at, advised potential customers not to join unless they had major purchases and were likely to recover their investment. The reality of DB is that it takes some compromise and elbow grease on your part to enjoy those savings. This means you have to do the research before you buy. You have to pick up and install purchases yourself. And you have to have items you need to buy, (ie major appliances or home improvement items) or non-traditional items (like the aforementioned combo washer/dryer) that you would like to have. And you have to have major purchases to make. Unless, you are likely to purchase at least 15 000 dollars worth of merchandise in the next two years, you are unlikely to recover a satisfying portion of your membership. I think they should stress this point more. If your income is less that $60k or you have a family income less than $70k, you’re probably better off at Walmart or Ikea.

    In my experience (and having inside knowledge from an employee), those who complain have entirely unrealistic expectations and a poor understanding of how DB and retailers operate. The fact that many contractors themselves use DB says plenty about how cost effective they are. But there are bound to be compromises. You don’t get the brand you want sometimes (very rare in my opinion) , they don’t sell low end merchandise, you cant return anything (they are not a store with a warehouse, they are a buying club), and you have to cart it away yourself or pay for delivery. If you want to join you have to weigh these issues out. If you are choosy on brands (ie Sony is not offered but Samsung is), DON’T JOIN. If you need to visit a showroom to buy an item, DON’T JOIN (isn’t that what the internet is for?). If you need to talk to sales people (I find them annoying, useless and uninformative), and you are not an independent shopper, DON’T JOIN. If you want everything to be delivered the next day after you pay for it, DONT JOIN. If you don’t like to set up and install things yourself, DONT JOIN. And if you have no major purchases to make, really….DON’T JOIN. If you are satisfied shopping at Walmart and Ikea, DONT JOIN. Direct Buy does not carry brands that can compete on price with gypsum or particle board furniture.

    Lastly, your expectations have to be realistic. Electronics tend to have markups of only 15-25%. The Direct Buy price compares well on the cost price for many electronics at retailers like Best Buy (I have a cousin who works there and I have compared prices). Occasionally, however, retailers like Best Buy do sell below cost so it will be cheaper to shop there than DB. This is however, the exception, not the rule. With items like furniture, or home improvement and building materials there is no comparison. Italian made furniture sells for 30-40% of the retail price. Granite counters go for half the price of outside contractors with more choice of materials and finishes. Tires for my car are close to half off. On a set of winter tires, that over $600 in savings. A single purchase like that every year, could recover your membership value over time.

    In short, you have to have time and effort to put in, to truly materialize savings. And you have to have money to spend. DB is not meant for bargain basement shoppers. It is meant for those who are value conscious (not price conscious – there is a difference), who make informed decisions and take the long view of purchases they make (granite counters add value to your house, a new plasma tv does not). If you are not this type of person, do yourself, the staff and other members a favour, and stay out of the showroom. The rest of us have some shopping to do.

  86. I was told I could not visit the showroom for the “open house” without my husband! I explained that I would be making all the purchase decisions, as well as the payment. No good! In this day of age a woman cannot shop without her husband? Are they kidding me? They need to modernize!

  87. Thank you “anon” for your comment. It really made alot of sense. When I first starting reading all of the comments, DB sounded like a scam. But after reading your comment, I see that it isn’t. I wish that DB would give the same info that you did. Unfortunately they don’t because they want the membership fees. Thanks again

  88. Direct Buy would not allow us to bring our kids aged 8 and 10 with us to their “info” session. When I said I didn’t like the likes of a company that was not kid friendly, I was hung up on.

  89. Interesting Story April 4, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Here’s an interesting story on DirectBuy. It’s called, “DirectBuy Membership: The Real Deal”

    We’ve heard from a lot of you, wondering what is Direct Buy? It’s a membership club that charges you around $4,000 to a business that sells everything from collared shirts to kitchen cabinets.

    Advertisements on TV direct you to call an 800 number, where you can attend a seminar.

    NewsChannel 9 recently attended one local presentation; inside, the 90 minute seminar was packed with people looking to find out how Direct Buy works.

    Basically, they cuts out the middle man. You pay Direct Buy a three year membership fee of $4,250, and they can order you pretty much whatever you need for your home at the manufacturer’s price.

    When the meeting is over, you can walk around the showroom all you’d like. But you have to decide that day whether you’re in. Janice and Joe Procopio who attended the seminar said “It’s a big step and you want to take your time and think about it, that’s the only thing… So that’s why we’re walking around here looking at all the different products,”

    If you leave without signing up, you won’t have another chance. “We can’t act as a public library of information. In other words, somebody can’t come in, look at all of our prices and then go out in the retail world and try to negotiate a better price on that product cause that’s not fair to the retailers,” Sarah Moore Frass, Owner of Direct Buy Syracuse said.

    The company says homeowners who are doing any kind of remodeling or redecorating will get the most benefit out of a membership.

    “The membership fee definitely did shock us but we looked at what we were doing as far as improvements and initially we thought we could save our membership fee immediately and we didn’t but we will over time” Mark Gonya, a member for 3 months, told NewsChannel 9.

    The majority of the folks who sat through the presentation decided to become members. “If they have the merchandise we’re looking for it’ll be a great investment.”

    Where will they see the most savings? Cabinetry, furniture and fixtures tend to have the greatest mark-up.

    Members need to plan ahead, since everything is ordered from catalogues, you’ll have to wait four to six weeks to get started.

    We did a price comparison on about dozen different items ranging from couches to silverware and found in most cases Direct Buy did have a better price than in store and on-line retailers, significantly on kitchen cabinets.

    Most items are shipped to the center. Depending on what it is, you may or may not be charged a delivery and handling fee. Beyond that, Direct Buy says it does not add any other service charges.

  90. I’m usually skepitcal of everything. University of Phoenix, Used Car Salesman, and ways to become rich without little or no effort. Most recently, direct buy. As a home owner, what consumer could not be attracted to their “factor direct pricing?” I mean, come on… Everybody has a friend in the business who has saved them more than a few bucks at some point in their life. Impunity, the American way! So after seeing the commercial, I checked them out online. BAMMM! Consumer reports out the ass. Thanks for the efforts of this site to get the word out. I will not be doing business with Directbuy personally.

  91. My parents were given the same plan from DB last night. While there we sat through a hour or two listening to their description of their plan. Everyone sat there with name tags on, so that the man in charge would know our names, so that he can include you and get you just as interested as he claims to be. But no matter the questions I asked the man at our local Michigan DB, the man told me the same answer “Well, if you are not interested then why would I explain the plan or methods more to you.” Well for us it was not a matter of being interested it was a matter of money. My father works for one of the big three auto companies here and is a mechanic merely bring home little hours (because of the economy here in Michigan) and my mother was a stay at home mother while I was growing up, and now works as a secretary for a local company. But need less to say he gave us the buy now or never plan. Telling us that if we didn’t buy now he couldn’t help us.
    I think the thing that bothered me the most was the fact that although we were interested and had seriously thought about the idea; the man was unable to help us with any of the things that we were looking to buy such as hearing aids for my mother, a 32″ TV for both my parents and myself, we also are getting ready for my younger brothers graduation (so everyone knows that means lots of fixing up to do.) but everything I asked him to tell me about or show me, he was unable.
    Upon leaving my parents and I were convinced that this must have been some sort of scam if he couldn’t show us anything. I understand that some may not buy but I am getting ready to graduate with my bachelor’s in Elementary ED and beginning to look at houses and thats a bummer for that company because they just lost a future customer, because of staff that is unable to show, know or capable of understand the importance of an informed shopper.
    To bad though it would have been a great idea.

  92. AVOID CONTRACTS! May 3, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Word to the wise for your ordinary household purchases/expenses – AVOID CONTRACTS!

    While it’s required for buying a car, home (mortgage), etc, contracts these days are the ‘hook’ to make you a financial slave.

    I have no contracts for my cell service, cable TV, electricity provider, etc, and if any company wants my business they better offer it without any contractual obligation. WHY GIVEN THEM A CHANCE TO PURPOSELY WRECK YOUR CREDIT RATING?

    To me, Direct Buy is just like Amway, Quickstar, etc except these jokers have the gall to require a massive membership fee so you have a chance to POSSIBLY save money – as their own contracts don’t guarantee any real savings.

    And as others have stated above, you better be prepared to $PEND a bundle so as to re-coup the membership fee, the 6% to 8% handling fee, 3% credit card fee, freight fee per order… as well as any EXTRA fee you spend to get the stuff delivered to your home (unless you pick up the order yourself).

    I would imagine that eventually DB will run out of suckers – I mean customers – willing to take the hard sell bait. Either that, or with the downward economy going forward, they will be forced to lower that outrageous membership fee down a few hundred bucks… LOL

    Thanks for hearing me. (JOSEPH from Houston TX)

  93. It is now a fact that the dues to belong to DirectBuy are $5190.. that plus tax so do you think GREED is in the midst of this over excessive price to join and save? Do the employees get this money or is it just the greedy franchise owners?

  94. Membership in Denver: $4950 for three years. Is it worth it? Not a chance in hell. The whole atmosphere reminded me of a Tanya Roberts commercial for Tahiti Village. The only difference was that I was not getting a free bottle of Tequila or tickets to a Vegas show!
    I am sure that DB is good for some people but I do not see them as a benefit. In my opinion, the selection they have is pretty poor, I did not see many “high end” manufacturer catalogs anywhere in the showroom. Most of the merchandise seemed to be pretty low end or middle of the road at best. I took my time to look for items that I was planning on purchasing in the next 12 months ( I had already priced out most of the items at “retail stores.”) When you add in the 6 to 8% “handling fee, the freight, delivery charge to my door or the time and gas to go pick up items, there was not a savings, retail was actually cheaper in many cases. All you members can all disagree with me here, but I’ll give you a specific example (this is something a DB member WILL NOT DO!) Hunter Douglass Ceiling fan – model # 21617 – DB price: $154.99 plus $9.30 (6% handling) plus freight $35.00 (2nd day) plus the DB delivery charge of $25.oo equals $224.30, I bought the exact same model for $179.95 + $14.08 (tax) equals $194.03. And in case your wondering, the fan was NOT on sale. Looks awesome in my great room!
    It is like anything in the world, there is always a better “deal” somewhere else but you have to go and find it. To me, DB is not a good deal since the 3 year fee is ridiculous. DB would probably have better success if they charged $100 registration fee and $50 a year membership fee (similar to Sam’s Club or Costco) and charge a 10% handling fee on all orders. If the pricing is as great as they say it is, I doubt members would mind paying that 10%.
    DB is not for me but it does have its niche. This forum has excellent information and personal experiences from the DB “time share” presentation. But like anything, take each with a” grain of salt.” Do your own research and make up your own mind. Do not allow yourself to be pressured, if DB is such a good thing why do they insist you join that night? Why do they not give you a chance to think it over for a day or two?
    If you are really on the fence about joining, here is what you can do (I know because my wife joined against my wishes): Make your visit towards the end of their business day, last appointment if you can. Go ahead and sign up, use your credit card to do the 4 installments. I believe by law you have 24 hours from when you sign up (24 hours from when the credit card was charged) to cancel the membership (at least here in Colorado you do.) In the morning you should have your login and password to their website. Surf for a little while for the things you want or just purchased. Remember to add the appropriate fees for a true comparison. If you decide DB is for you, do nothing. But if you are still unsure or have buyer’s remorse – write a letter stating that you wish to cancel your membership (a reason is not needed) mail this 1st class mail and have a signature card returned to you (make sure the subject at the post office states “Direct Buy Cancellation notice.” Take another copy of the letter and drive to their showroom. Tell them that you wish to cancel your membership and hand them the letter. They will then take you in back and ask you why you want to cancel. best response is to say, “DB appears to be a great program but it just is not for me at the moment.” The agent should then say the following, “Sorry to hear that but since you did not refuse our offer to become a member, membership is still open to you if you change your mind in the future.” I know this because this is exactly what was said to me when I drove the 32 miles back to their showroom to cancel our membership. If only I would have asked for that bottle of Tequila, it would have made the 6 hours I spent in the DB clutches a little less painful.

  95. I had just made an appointment with them for Monday, May 12, 2008. I wish I had seen all these postings before I made the appointment. I don’t feel like going there on Monday, but they now have my name and my wife’s, address and phone number and I fear they might harass me with phone calls or emails. I can’t find a phone number to call them to cancel the appointment. Do you think it’s okay not to turn-up?

  96. Does anyone know how much DirectBuy’s shipping, handling & other excess fees are? Is there a range or are these “add-ons” arbitrary? I am frustrated with them all around and am trying to receive a refund through my credit card company.

    I checked with the California State Attorney General and they do not have enough complaints to warrant an investigation / lawsuit. Ohio seems to be the state with the most success in dealing with DirectBuy.

    Any advice?

  97. In an article,0,3450527.column found:

    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.

    The agreement also reveals that DirectBuy owns the finance company (Beta Finance) that provides the 17.5 percent loans to pay for the bulk of the membership fees. It also owns the shipping company UCC Distribution Inc., which transports some of the merchandise from the manufacturer to the franchise centers.

    If they did not tell you that they were keeping any of the discounts away from you that you thought you were receiving that might be gounds for recision and possibly grounds for California AG to investigate further.

    What do you think?

  98. Big Lar works 4 Directbuy May 24, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Thanks Chris!
    My wife and I was a directbuy on 5/23/08 in Gurnee IL. The price is 6300 for the first 3 yrs. and 1400 for the next 7 yrs. I think the whole thing was a scam, just like all infomercial. Their price are comparable to Costco and Sam’s club. Even the salesperson at directbuy admits that he goes to sam’s club every week. If directbuy is so great, why would he needs to go to sam’s club. I think he slipped his tongue when he was trying to make small talk with me.

  99. Dear Direct Buy;
    I am writing to you out of concern. I am a member at one of your showrooms located in, Knoxville,TN. I have shopped on numerous occasions at many of your locations, and, I always had a pleasant experience.

    Most recently, however, I visited with my Aunt in,Bridgewater,NJ, and while there, went to your franchised location in Maple Shade.

    My experience was anything but pleasant, from the way the service staff neglected to help me ( while there) down to the look of the showroom. The place was extremely messy and congested which made it rather difficult to shop as usual when I travelled previously for work and/or pleasure. It’s about 59.6 mi – about 1 hour 19 mins drive each way

    The owner of the facility could not be located when I went to inquire for additional assistance that I could not get from the service staff. I was told she was not available.

    Instead, the owner’s husband, a tall red-haired man was in the facility and upon speaking to him I smelled alcohol on his breath.

    Is this the way you allow your facilities to be run?
    I do not know that I will be returning to the Maple Shade, NJ franchise any time soon. I think it is poorly run and members are not treated with the respect they deserve.

    Ms. T. Anderson
    Jefferson City, TN 37760-3900

  100. My two cents,, I have been a DirectBuy member for 3yrs and people who criticize DiretBuy normally aren’t member, the place is designed for people who are true shoppers. Lumber and other comodites are not carried but if you are remodeling, funishing or buying your home its more than worth it! People come in doubting the cost prices DirectBuy is made for people who shop there are in each category many different supplies to choose from if you look, coming in one day and making a judgement is unfair you should join before you downplay DirectBuy.. Thank You

  101. I find it throroughly entertaining to read all of the postings from employees and franchisees or DB. If they were as confident in their service as they claim to be they woulod, like the majority of other service/product companies, release dissatisfied customers from their contract. I have heard from an enormous number of individuals, that within just a few days of signing the contract they realized what a mistake they made and wished they could terminate their contract. However, it does not matter if you change your mind moments after, DB is not letting you out. I am humiliated to admit that I got sucekd into this scam, but like so many others, am building a home and was sold on the dream of large savings. When I started searching products I discovered that most of the savings could be located through other, more convenient avenues. When it came to interior doors and windows their prices were substantially higher than custom doors I had found locally. I placed an order recently only to have them tell me, more than four weeks after the order was placed, that two of the items were discontinued. Thanks for the delays DB! Maybe you can pay the additional costs that I have incurred with my contractors bc of your lack of professionalism. DB more accurately should stand for “dead beats”. Anyone considering membership should be afraid; very, very afraid.

  102. x-employee’s wife August 4, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    There’s definitely something wrong when a directbuy owner takes a 10+ year employee from 104K down to 30K in income. There’s definitely a hostile work environment when, his families life insurance is subsequently canceled, and he is now being made to pay 40% of the health insurance that was once provided as part of the job and promised would not be touched as part of the agreement on the franchise take over. There’s definitely a problem when new owner has her accountant zero out the books to make it look like no profits were made to pay current co-owner. ..when in the last 6 months this new owner has spent in excess of $80K on personal luxuries while she mandates a 6 day work week for the employees without her even available for members to ask questions. Employees are instructed not to disclose her as the owner. Creates 12-13 hour work days while she simultaneously cuts back paying in income to make it so employee cannot even pay his mortgage.

    There’s a severe problem of retaliation on the part of directbuy owner because employee turns down going to her pool party after work and finds that tours get taken away as a result (after being told it would affect his job if he did not attend). There’s also prepaid legal to handle the case. Constructive discharge – designed to make a person quit. Harrassment, greed and sociopath employer representing what was once a decent concept but is now perpetuated by greed and deceit. Someone please shut this ignorant deceptive employer down. Snake isnt the word.

  103. DB will not work for everyone. If you are wealthy and buy high end stuff, then it can be great. I have been a member for 6 years. It cost $3000 to join in Birmingham. Some years we don’t buy much. We bought a house this years. We have bought about $25000 in Kincaid and American Drew furiture this year. We saved about $20000. In 6 years we have saved about $100000.

    If you don’t expect to spend this kind of money then don’t join. Some items are cheaper at stores. DB is just another option. we always research prices before we buy.

    I like it because the selection is huge and I always buy very high end products. It you don’t expect to spend $20000 a year at DB don’t join. If you spend a lot then the savings can be huge.

  104. I am unfortunately a DirectBuy member. I am in the process of building a 1,700 sq ft building and expected to save much of my membership fees on wooden windows for the building. DirectBuy only handles a second tier wood window company named Peach Tree. When I found that Lowes also carries this brand in addition to Pella, I asked Lowes for a quote. I then sendt the quote to directBuy and asked for a quote on the same items. They did not respond for a few weeks despite my calls. finally, they sent their quote and I was shocked to learn that it was 18% higher than Lowe’s. I ended up buying Anderson windows on sale from Home Depot for even less. I asked for my money back, but this request was summarily rejected.

    I had asked the owner during my initial visit if their prices would be lower than the big box retailers and he assured me they always are because they buy direct from the factory. It turns out they actually buy windows from a wholesaler who cannot get pricing as good as Lowe’s. I have almost completed my new building and could find nothing at DirectBuy that was as good a buy as Home Depot or Lowe’s.

    I am currently seeking a class action attorney and would like to hear from others with similar experiences.

  105. 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 May 11 Watchdog 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.

  106. How come they are are allowed to advertise on national TV ? Surely the TV companies must have some responsibility to their viewers?


  107. After visiting the Austin Direct Buy, I tried to get out of my contract because I was never left alone to make an independant decision away from a salesperson, I was informed that the company was RECORDING me. Directbuy markets a $5970 memberfee to people who make mearly $40,000 per year. They don’t mention that you would have to spend more than $15,000 to get their money back. Further, the company should be investigated as a pyramid scheme as it will only be a going concern if they are able to sign up new members. Those who have paid the big up front fee years ago will lose out without the new customers.

  108. My husband and I were going to the open house at the Austin DirectBuy this Sunday. I am glad that I did some research! We will be cancelling our appointment. I knew the membership fee would be expensive, but not as much as I have read. I mean, I have been trying to get the cost of membership out of the lady we were talking to with no response to it! Thanks for the article!

  109. My wife and I just bought a house and thought DirectBuy might be a good idea, so we went to a presentation at the Kent, WA showroom and signed up for $4400. After getting home, I started looking over the numbers and realized that I would probably not make enough purchases to recoup the membership fee (especially since we already spent over $6000 on appliances, etc BEFORE joining)…

    We decided that we were going to cancel our membership (it was less than three days)… After reading some of the experiences I was expecting trouble when I went in to cancel, however, the experience went smoothly. When I told the salesman that I felt that I would not recoup my membership fee, he told me that it usually takes the average family three years to do so. When I explained that I already made several very large purchases BEFORE joining, he said that I was probably right in my decision and said he would refund our deposit. He came back with our receipt, and said “sorry it didn’t work out”, and that was it.

    So far, so good. I’ll keep you all posted if any unsuspected surprises come out of this.

  110. To end your contract with no credit issues, simply file a complaint with your state’s attorney general. There is also a federal US attorney general. Worked for me!


  112. DIRECT BUY IS A SCAM – BUYS OUT INFOMERCIALSCAMS.COM TO COVER ITS TRACKS ! was strong-armed by direct buy and had to remove nearly 1,000 complaints about the direct buy scam. Why you ask. Cause when you google ‘direct buy’ the informercial scam site was ranked #2 by google. All that is left on the site is the fake reviews by direct buy. I would say to be very careful with dealing with a company that is afraid of what it customers post about it on the internet. This company is a scam. Go there, read the contract, its all in the contract. The contract basically states that direct buy is bound to nothing and you are bound to paying the $5,000 member fee. SCAM SCAM SCAM SCAM SCAM

    fortunatly, the postings on the net never go away,

    just check archives

    is this starting to sound like organized crime ?

  113. We purchased direct buy membership under the same pressure exerted on others and with the same fasle promises. In four years – we have no purchased one item simply because everything we purchased was bought at lower prices elsewhere. Their sales practices are deceptive. We were told we had to sign at the first meeting or we would not be able to sign later. The fee was $4000. Items of interest in the catalog or the internet had no prices and the sales help could not tell me the shipping or added fees until after I purhased the order. I never knew what any item would cost until after they billed my credit card and was told that I could cancel if I was dissatisfied with the actual cost. I would never purchase anything under those contidions, thus we have been members for four years and wasted our membership fee without a single purchase. To top it off, I received a notice in the mail last month stating my membership was expiring and rewuesting I pay another $400+ to extend my membership another year. Direct Buy should be sued for their sales practices. You can contact me by email or write me at John Brack, po box 321, geary, ok 73040.

  114. i am in austin, tx and completely p****d o** with DB. if you are interested in joining for a lawsuit and some kind of press action, please contact me immediately at before end of december 2008.

  115. DirectBuy is a scam. Too bad we found out after we had joined. We too have not made a single purchase since joining and tried to get DirectBuy to give us a refund…..which they refused. We tried to go through VISA and initially got a credit pending an investigation. They eventually sided with DirectBuy and charged our credig card. I did find out there’s a Federal class action lawsuit that was filed against DirectBuy in late August 2008. If all goes well, they will have to give our money back. In the meantime, I’m trying to contact ABC TV’s 20-20, NBC’s Dateline, 60 Minutes, etc. to see if someone will listen to our collective stories of being scammed out of our hard earned dollars. DirectBuy should be sued and in trouble for what they did.

  116. I found my experience similar to Chris original post.I went to Direct Buy in Orlando,Fl.After 5 hours I could not see how I could recoup my $4950 membership fee any time witin the next 24-36 months.I compared prices on Electrolux high end wall oven and range and didn’t find a dime to save!The mom and pop appliance shop in town gave me the best deal with service and simplicity to go with it.I checked other items like hardwood flooring and was told I could save 3-4 dollars per sq.ft. ,Nobody showed me in the catalog.I was told of great savings in the presentation but it just didn’t apply to any common items I was looking for.The sales rep. shows me some leather jacket that went out of style after being worn in the Columbine tragedy and says it can be bought for $18 and retails for around a $grand ?How about getting some products I can use at 40%off.NOT for me I guess,But maybe for you.

  117. I just wish Direct Buy would stop calling me! We don’t want a membership (my husband would never agree to having to be present for me to just look into a place, anyway — never; and why would he need to be if it’s a straight-up, honest place?), we joined the do-not-call list, and we can’t get rid of them. I have told them we aren’t interested in the past. Tonight someone at a Direct Buy phone number (beginning with 571) called twice and hung up when I answered the phone. KNOCK IT OFF!

  118. Lawsuit Claims Buying Club Took Kickbacks – Team 5 Investigates …
    Nov 26, 2008 … BOSTON — A class action lawsuit claims DirectBuy members actually paid more than the wholesale prices they were promised.

  119. Chris, I just came from a DB presentation tonight. I attended with an open mind, prepared to learn more about their organization and how it might be advantageous for me to join. When, during the video presentation, they revealed that a go/no go decision would be required tonight, and that I would NEVER EVER be offered a membership opportunity in the future I was SOLD…….on walking out the door! Nobody closes me up in a room with a brainwashing video then strong-arms me into making such a ridiculous decision. Even IF a DB membership had been a good deal, their technique was just too obvious. They lost me right there. Others might call them slick…..but they’re not that good at being slick – amatuerish really. Once I announced that DB was not for me I was promptly escorted to the door – Nobody was receiving a commission for rooking me in tonight !
    Perhaps with a Purchasing Agent background I am more pre-conditioned to be wary of cons and high-pressure tactics. By the way….I know how much work goes into keeping manufacturers’ catalogs up top date. There is now way that those cute little ‘skirts’ have any aptitude or background to do so. Apologies to the ladies for my reference to “skirts” , but there are obvious reasons that all of the staff in the DB showroom were cute young ladies.

    I’m going to take my $4500 and plunk it down on my mortgage !

  120. I wish I had read this before I joined. Every thing I fine in the real store. I go back to Direct buy and they don’t offer that. We have deceided on many things. And haven’t found anything that we wanted. We have looked at mattresses and whn we pick one we go back to Direct buy and they says “oh sorry we do carry that brand but not that style.” Hope things get better so we can say that we did save like they say.

  121. Has anyone started a class action against Direct Buy? I would like to be involved. I have plenty of facts to help sink their ship if needed. Please post info.

    Anyone looking at becoming a member should either be very rich and not care about paying more or very uninformed, which, if you are reading this list of postings you ought not be. Fraudulent business practice at best.

  122. I wonder if Big Lar has heard of a man named Madoff who carried on his crookedness for 19 years? I have been approached by companies with different names, but the same claims. They earn their money by membership schemes-(Ponzis) because they don’t have a product of their own to offer.

  123. I am glad I ran into this site. We are buying a foreclosure and DirectBuy popped into my mind. I looked on the site…no mention of what products they carry, the brands, the prices OR what it costs to join. I tried calling the two local offices to find out more information and got robot sounding voicemails. No help. My thought was, hey if I could save some serious money, I’d pay a decent up front fee $500-1000 maybe…then I saw a few sites…$5000 up front. The door was closed. There is no way they were going to save me that kind of money. I am sure it works for some but the sales techniques I hear about are terrible…I just banned myself for the next 4-7 years and I didn’t even go to the presentation and walk out. I’ll save them the effort!!!

  124. Information for the federal class action against DirectBuy is as follows:

    Counsel representing the Class is: Jeffrey Nobel & Seth Klein of Izard Nobel, LLP located in Hartford, CT

    Phone: (800) 797-5499

    Let’s all get involved & get our money back!

  125. Hello Chris,
    I found your blog and wanted to say I worked for DB of Gurnee for six months. Now, you may have seen, the state of Illinois has shut them down. Employees now without work are still trying to collect the wages owed to them….I wanted to find a way to round everyone up including those fine people I signed on as members who have found that DB is nothing more than a bad joke. I was deceived myself….I drank the “koolaid” you might say. If this idea seems like a logical plan to get everyone together; I thought we could unite for a class action against them, but I’m not a lawyer…I’m sure we could band together to do something!!
    Thanks for your time,
    J. S.

    Kenosha, Wi

  126. I bought a membership to the United CONsumers Club years ago to save money on windows for my new house, I got a better deal from 84 Lumber directly on Pella Windows (which after 15 years are falling apart, but that is another story). RUN from these people, it is a rip off, you will never recover the fees involved. Buy from a local supplier, support your local community.

  127. I am filing a complaint with my state’s Consumer Affairs Department about Direct Buy. I’d appreciate emails to about the length of your membership, how much you paid, where is your showroom, were you told you could cancel, how much to renew membership, where you found DB to offer the best deals, did you rely on their information, were you told about shipping to showroom only (usually), the components that were important to you.

  128. my husband and i went today without knowing anything about direct buy other than seeing it on tv. i have to say, the people there were very pleasant. however, i was pressured that i have to decide by the end of the day. the gentleman was not pushy or anything, it’s just that i hated the fact that i have to make a decision without even doing ANY research. what? i just have to believe every single thing they said. i’m suppoused to cross my fingers and hope they do carry the products i want to purchase, and hope i’ll like it, especially that most orders are over catalogues. everybody’s entitled to make an informed decision and so i don’t believe on their time pressure on signing up for membership and their no refunds on their memebership. i really don’t understand why they have to wait a certain amount of time after you declined their invitation, before you can sign up. people would go back for their business because they had time to think things through and make an informed decision. but they’ll say no? wow a company with pride. hahahaha!

    after carefully considering the fact that we are not remodeling a house or doing any major projects or redecorating, we just needed a dinette and maybe some redecorating, we decided it’s not for us. so i’m glad to say, we didn’t sign up today.

    for those who are looking into going to their presentations, before you check it out, make sure you have made a list of what you really want/need, preferably have an item number already and have browsed around other stores, and then when you get there, you would have some point of comparison, (price wise). at least you’d be prepared and you may decide if it is right for you and if it will get you significant savings. otherwise you are signing on one hand and crossing your fingers on the other.

    for those happy DB members, nice to hear everything worked out . for those DB members who had a bad experience, be positive, hope it gets better.

  129. valerie krebs June 2, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Do you have any suggestions for recourse. We joined and totally regret it. I haven’t been able to use it at all and want my money back – just under $6000. was the fee they charged us. Thank you, Valerie

  130. My wife and I joined Direct Buy and despite being skeptical, we had done research prior to going in and knew we could, in the long run, earn at least our membership fee back since we planned on renovation homes, doing the work ourselves, over the next several years.
    Our research DID prove that we were on our way to earning back our $3950 when we hit the biggest snag of our lives.
    We purchased and entire kitchen (cabinets and appliances) through DB and the entire process was a disaster. The appliance were received and, as far as we know, are perfectly fine. The cabinets however were received and were NOT what had been promised us. DB’s “Kitchen Designer” improperly informed us that our order fell under a mfr. promotion and we would receive 3/4″ plywood end panels instead of the standard 1/2″ plywood. We need this since we are going to be able to build our own concrete counters for less than $500 as opposed to granite ($2k+). When we opened the boxes, the cabinets were lousy quality and had poor workmanship (a separate issue), and were 1/2″ end panels that won’t work for us. Long story short, the designer attempts to get us new cabinets but can’t, offers to pay us “under the table” and “without his employer knowing” for the cost difference to get ours upgraded to the series that was included in the promotion and the owners of the franchise refused to talk with us and we were always sent back to the designer who couldn’t fix the problem. So we initiated at charge dispute with our CC company and won. Now the DB owner is suing US despite the designer having sent numerous emails to us FULLY ADMITTING that it is ALL HIS FAULT!! The hearing date is set and we have filed for a countersuit. Will post what happens and will make this as public as I am legally able to do. Even if we lose due to a “No Return” policy, the entire nation needs to be aware of DB’s business ethics and having the ability to sue you to keep non-conforming goods.

  131. My firm is representing California consumers in a class action against Direct Buy. The case is currently pending in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. If you have lost money due to Direct Buy’s business practices, please feel free to contact my office, The Law Office of John W. Davis, at 619-400-4870. I will be happy to discuss the status of the litigation and how you can recover.

  132. We joined the Direct Buy at South Bay in Jan.09. I have yet to use and in June received notification that it had gone out of business in May and that I now I had to go to another facility. The nearest one is over 30min away, quite an inconvenience. Info over the phone is non existant and online is very limited. I would like to get some money refunded. Any suggestions? There seems to be many others in my predicament. Thanks.

  133. I seem to be in the same boat at ata, I joined in March, bought two things, and received a notice informing me that the doors will close on July 1. I will have to pay for a ferry ride to Vancouver to visit my nearest show room now. I have checked out the on-line service, but it does not list all the manufactures, or all the information. I feel that they were not bargaining in good faith. They must have known the doors may be closing in july, and should have let me know of the possibility. I am wondering if there is a class action against them for this, if I can’t find anything I will be talking to a lawyer.

  134. There are several class action lawsuits filed in the United States listed on:

    For people who have been following this DirectBuy saga…..the website has disappeared into thin air. First there were nearly 1000 complaints then DirectBuy threatened and bought the site. All of the original complaints turned into 27 glowing reviews……Now even the positive information about DB is gone. There’s still plenty of information and common complaints on other websites. Thanks, Chris for allowing this thread to go on and on…..

  135. Roger

    nothing really goes away on the web, just check the archives for all the complaints on decetbuy before they got to ifomericals*/

  136. This is a very helpful site and very to understand what this blog owner is talking about.

  137. This article was extremely helful and was accurate. After receiving at least 20 calls prior to coming in and listening to some sales pitch, they expected me to fork over $5800 and i had to decide that same day!!! That’s ludacris!

  138. We were looking at a major remodel of our home in 1999 and joined. Our experience has been mostly positive, we did save many thousands of dollars on flooring, cabinetry, fixtures, etc. In 2003 we even drove to North Carolina to shop for a new dining room set, but in the long run, it was still cheaper to buy through Total Home. Now we make occasional purchases and I’m finding the savings (what with their own fees & shipping) to be less and less every time we go. My understanding is that membership renewals cost 50% of the current rate for new members. There are still bargains to be had, but it’s unlikely we will renew our membership when it expires in a few months. The initial outlay won’t justify the few purchases we make every year.

  139. My company aggregates pending class action lawsuits and investigations. We recently added a new class action against DirectBuy. The link is below. I surmise based on where I sit that many more may be in the works. Interestingly, when I googled “DirectBuy Class Action”, yours Chris was the first result.



    CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) – DirectBuy lures consumers to buy memberships with false promises of savings of 40 to 50 percent, a class action claims in St. Louis County Court.
    Named plaintiffs Tammy and Jerry Randall say DirectBuy claims members can save 40 to 50 percent off retail price, but charges handling fees and freight charges, which are actually disguised retail markups.
    The class seeks damages for deceptive trade and an injunction. It is represented by David Marcus with Graves, Bartle & Marcus of Kansas City, Mo.

  141. thanks for the info somehow i new this was a ripoff company i called to try and get info from them them would not even give me a price range to join just said i would be well worth my 3 hour drive to the store close to me yeh right

  142. For anyone considering Direct Buy, let me save you some time. DON’T JOIN. There are no savings benefits to membership, I don’t care what anyone has told you, there just aren’t, unless you plan to spend $100,000 on high-end items. Maybe DB worked 10 years ago when people didn’t shop on the internet, but times have changed and you can get 10 prices from 10 different retailers within minutes on the internet. A lot with free shipping and no sales tax. I think the advent of the internet has caused DB to become extremely aggressive and deceptive in order to stay alive. Their sales strategy is both unethical and deceiving, period. Why would you spend hours looking through catalogs, paying an 8% handling fee, pay for shipping and then have to go pick up your stuff 6 weeks later and drive it home AND not save any money? DON’T JOIN! If you do make the mistake of joining, ask for a refund within 3 business days of joining and also send a certified letter stating the same. DB in Washington State was very polite and refunded our money, no questions asked.

  143. My husband and I attended a meeting last night and fully expected a free 30 day trial membership to Direct buy,to think things over. They have a pretty lenghty and heavy weight pitch for joining that very night. If you join that night it’s $5,000.00 (that’s also cash not for the payment plan options which have interest) for 3 yrs etc etc, but if you don’t and you opt for 30 day free trial. The price goes to $6500.00 for cash option for 3 years. It’s costing you 1500.00 in price difference if you opt to use 30 free trial. You are limited to spending $1,000 purchase during the 30 day free trial. Your web site has helped us make a decision.


  144. I am on the list of folks with an appointment to visit the showroom this weekend in Houston. I wanted to be somewhat familiar with DB especially about the membership cost. WOW!!! I had no idea it would be so much. Thanks to your website not only will I save thousands of dollars in my bank account that I can’t afford I will still be able to put gas in my car next because it is a little far to the showroom. Thank you thank you for all this information. My hubby will sure be pleased not to have to waste his Saturday afternoon.

  145. Scam-a-lamma-ding dong!

  146. My husband and myself joined the Direct Buy in Syracuse NY becasue we were well to put it mildly and for lack of a better word INSANE and building a new house! Thought wow this could be really gr8 save thousands of dollars. Yea maybe we saved a bit here and there but as other people have stated we found many of the same things at our local stores for less! Also you didn’t have to pay shipping and then have to drive all that way to pick it up! Plus $4000.00 to join, hmmmm yea not the smartest! So let me say after all that ohhhh there wonderful kitchen designer KRIS YAGER screwed up our kitchen cabinets and also ordered the appliances she said would fit ofcourse at our cost, sure the kitchen was beautiful on paper!!!! Shocked as we were to find that she orderd us a huge convectional microwave, to fit under a 15″ cabinet and the microwave sits just about 10 ” above our GAS cook top, no fire hazard there, and they are supposed to know what they are doing…LOL RIGHT! But even when we have repeatedly contacted the new Owner whats his name (name deleted by CW) again DIRECT BUY of Syracuse about this he ignores our calls, does not return them this has been for weeks on end, I refuse to put more money in there pocket for one of there own mistakes! SCAM is just what they are save your money go to ur local lumber store, even lowes could have done a better job!


    Weird, my lawyer contacted DB over a $150 karfuffle in which they offered me over a damaged dresser. I wanted the $150 bucks after the dresser was moved into the house, instead they got me a new one and refused to give me the $150 discount. The professional movers who moved the 400 pound dresser, said it was the hardest move they’ve ever made. It had to go up my house elevator, on granite floors, through 5 doors. If something happened, the imported granite would have been impossible to replace. So I just wanted my $150.

    The manager was jealous because I just saved $35,000 on Hunter Douglas Alustra window coverings (in Western Canada which I live, the dealers have colluded together not to offer a penny of discount on this line.. same thing with Toyota). You think that the manager would be happy for me… nnnnnooooo. She kicks me out over $150. She also said I haggled too much. Anyway.. total savings of $43,000 purchase of windows coverings, and two bedroom sets vs the best price I could get out there.. Now my membership fee of is refunded.

  148. Had an appointment for DB open house this coming weekend. I think I’ll pass. Glad I looked into it some.

  149. How do I get out of this thing?? Been in it for a month and find so many things cheaper on the internet is is insane!

  150. Um, I’m one of those people who didn’t buy their b.s.. I went to Directbuy in Winnipeg and asked them about the 5k fee and this harpy wearing a pair of horned rimmed glasses tilted her glasses down her ample honker, and told me if I had questions, then Directbuy was not for me! QUESTION NOT DOUBTER OR THOU WILL BURN IN THE FLAMES OF HELL!! Sorry Chris, I understand if you don’t allow this little blurb. Its too bad people who have had bad experiences could make a commercial mirroring Directbuys’ and air it television!! Now THAT would be a kick in their pants

  151. Harvey the Rabbit December 18, 2009 at 3:03 am

    As someone who works for DB, and has for almost a year…I applaud what most people are saying. Directbuy is a concept that people have to buy into. I can almost guarantee you, that most of the people who have written positively in favor of DB, they work for DB. I have read through all these posts, and I know the Directbuy jargon, that are in the scripts, and that only employees speak. I just wanted to get that out there, because I thought it was a bit deceiving for the readers. Like I said, I have worked there for a year now basically, and only continue to do so because I make decent money, and the economy is in shambles, especially in the city where I live. I hate the company, I hate their deceitful ways, and how they demand things from people who are interested. You have to: bring your wife, find a babysitter, come in early( late arrivals ARE NOT ACCEPTED), plan to spend about two hours(possibly more, possibly less, though they tell you an hour and a half “OR SO”), and won’t answer or tell the truth about any question that is asked. They tell you as little as possible, for obvious reasons I suppose. It’s just frustrating working somewhere, from a company that you despise, and don’t believe in. Our owners make a KILLING, yet they don’t pay well at all, and the commissions are horrible. I won’t say what ours are, but if I was to say, anyone reading would say I was a fool, and I was the one getting scammed. Which I’m well aware of.

    Directbuy can be beneficial for someone who is spending a significant amount of money for their home. But mainly on furniture, cabinets, and flooring. As far as appliances and electronics, it’s probably more expensive in the long run. I am not a member myself, though I don’t own a home, nor am I in the market for many of the items that we carry. It’s easier for me to shop online if I want something. I wouldn’t want to wait weeks for my item, and borrow a truck or something to get it home. Another negative that I didn’t really read anyone mention is how every item has to be paid up front. You can’t pay for part of it when you order, and then pay the rest when it arrives(which I’ve witnessed, can take months). So basically you’ve invested on a membership, and on an item that you aren’t even sure you’ll receive. Oh, and also, perhaps it’s discontinued…then you just wasted 6-8 weeks waiting on something that was never coming. Anyhow enough rambling and bashing my employer, it’s disrespectful I suppose. I just had to weigh in on the discussion. Oh and one more thing…anyone looking for employment, DB is almost always hiring. Their turnover rate is through the roof.

    Wow! Very informative insight from an insider. Thank you very much!!

  152. gayle Barttlett January 3, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Hi Chris,

    I feel I must leave a reply… I joined Direct Buy 7 years ago… I think I only paid $2900 for 4 years and now $95 a year to keep it going. It has been great for us. We have made our money back and then some. It is hard to use and the “old biddies” in front are no help at all… but we pushed through and found a way to make it work. We spend days going through all the folders, then we found the company’s we liked and shopped at their stores or stores that carried their products… we found significant savings… We shop the stores then go online to the website of the manufacture to see all colors and fabrics get the numbers and go in to fill out the paperwork. It runs smoothly and easily… we get what we want and we have been able to touch and feel the product before buying.

    I know I save money because I have been into the stores to see what the cost is. Now it doesn’t make sense everything… they told me at my initial sales pitch that the real bargain was NOT with the appliances and electronics and that it was only like a 20% savings. I have only purchased a vacuum cleaner on that end and did save $45.00 over the cheapest like model I could find. I had to wait 5 weeks for the savings, but $45 is $45…

    Now times are different and there are intense sales and competition particularly in the furniture and appliance area… so I don’t know if it makes sense today at $4000 – $6000 entry fee… I think that is CRAZY!! But if you have a whole house to furnish and remodel… then maybe it makes sense. I will say the best savings is with the furniture. I continue to pay my $95 every year and have had very good experiences with the company. My only complaint is that it is not easy to return anything… so if you are buying something that you will want customer service on after… then buy from the store. We purchased our gas grill from a store… we paid more, but we wanted to be able to complain to someone if it broke or failed.

    So the point is… don’t discount this company if it is not for you. If you are moving into your first home and need to furnish it or if you are a flipper… it might work for you. To buy one product… it won’t… but a house full of furniture over 10 years… it may work.

  153. We fell for the hard sell of Direct Buy in RICHMOND, VA., signed on a Friday, got home and realized this was not going to work for us, especially being retired. We left messages on voice mail Monday and Tuesday of the following week. We are getting the run-around. We cannot find anywhere in the contract about canellation. If it is not written or stated that the contract cannot be canceled, this seems like shady business practices. Thank you for this link, but it may be too late for us.

    Has anyone in Virginia been able to get a refund??

  154. BEWARE if you get sucked in by the “Fee 30 Day Trial Membership” – it is a bait-and-switch. When you respond, they will set you up with an appointment for an “Open House” which will actually be a slick, well-practiced sales pitch to get you to buy a full membership – at a cost of over $5400. You will find out that the 30 day membership is limited to purchase of $1000 or less (other restrictions apply as well) and they will tell you that if you buy a full membership TODAY that they will be so gracious as to give you $1000 off the normal price of $6400+. If you wait even ONE DAY, they will charge you the extra $1000 for the membership – they don’t want to give you so much as overnight to think about it.
    We went to Direct Buy on the recommendation of friends who had purchased their Evergrain brand composite decking through the Direct Buy of Westminster, CO. We were specifically interested in joining Direct Buy in order to purchase this particular, or a comparable, brand of decking. After seeing a television ad stating Direct Buy had free 30 day memberships, we made an appointment to check out the store and availability of composite decking. We attended a Direct Buy Open House on a Sunday afternoon, with the intent of taking advantage of the advertised free 30 day membership. However, during the presentation, the membership salesman indicated that the free 30 day membership was limited to $1000 purchase limit and if we intended to buy the full membership there would be an additional $1000 charge if we joined any later than that day of the open house. (I believe this to be a bait-and-switch tactic) We found that the Colorado Springs Direct Buy did not carry the Evergrain brand decking, and since it was a Sunday, the Denver area stores were closed, so we were unable to verify if any of them carried the Evergrain. We were left to decide whether to wait until Monday to verify if one of the stores carried Evergrain, in which case a membership would cost us an additional $1000. The membership salesman assured us he believed that it was very likely that one of the Denver area stores carried that brand since our friends had just gotten theirs through Direct Buy a couple of years prior. If not, we were assured we would be able to get a comparable composite decking at a geatly reduced price compared to retail.

    We spent the next several weeks tracking down what composite decking all the different Colorado Direct Buy stores carried and their prices. As it turned out, none of the stores carries the Evergrain brand, and the brand available through the Colorado Springs Direct Buy costs significantly more than a comparable decking we were able to purchase at retail price, through our local Home Depot stores, which we did.

    In summary, the entire reason for us to join Direct Buy, in order to purchase materials for a major deck construction project, did not work out for us. We have not used the membership for this project and do not foresee using the membership in the future. Therefore, we requested through Mr. Britton that our membership be cancelled, financing for the membership be cancelled and our $800 down payment returned to us.

    One month after our request to cancel our membership and return our down-payment on the membership, Mr. Britton responded by e-mail that he would cancel our membership if we paid him $1200. This feels like extortion to me, since we have not used the membership and have gained nothing from the membership.

  155. True Story: In the summer of 1983, between semesters at college, I went to work for an outfit called DORALCO, in Tulsa, OK. I was a carefree college kid looking to get out of the house (my dad kept telling me to get a job and quit loafing around all day). So I answered an add in the paper, went for an interview, was interviewed for all of about 45 seconds along with 3 other people, all at the same time, was hired, and put to work after about 2 hours of “training.” What was DORALCO selling? Memberships to a “buyers club.” What we, the “salesmen” were supposed to do was get people to plunk down $500 – $750 for a membership to this “amazing” club that would let you buy practically anything at unheard of wholesale prices.

    The reality was that this was a well crafted scam. I got this out of one of DORALCO’S “managers,” himself only an employee for about 2 weeks, who one night after work had one too many long necks, and basically blurted out to several of us what this place was all about.

    According to this fellow, Doralco’s scam was this: they would rent out some office space in town, fill it with office furnishings from a local office supply (all on credit), bring in a truck full of “merchandise,” set up a quasi-showroom, then begin hiring salesmen. The salesmen (most of who only lasted 2 or 3 days before being fired for not producing) were taught to high-pressure people to sign up for the buyers club. They had several callers, who would cold call numbers out of the phonebook, inviting people in for a tour. If you came in, you were guaranteed a new “Bible.” They talked a lot of good older couples to come in.

    Most of these people would say that they liked the idea but didn’t have the cash on hand to join. That’s exactly what they wanted you to say. “No problem,” the salesman would say. We can finance it for you. In reality they weren’t financing anything. They were getting a third party to finance it. Then, after a few weeks, before any payrolls, or rents came due, and after several hundred people had been “stung,” and after DORALCO had collected their front money from the finance company, the truck came in the middle of the night, and they were gone….poof.

    This Direct Buy sounds the same, only sleezier. DON’T BE STUPID, DON’T FALL FOR THIS. SAVE YOUR $4500.

  156. Direct Buy is a big scam. They neglect to tell you on the infomerecial that you have to pay thousands of dollars up front just to begin the membership. They then go so far to tell you that if you are on the old side, you may never break even. The quality of the product that I would have purchased from them was mediocre and was twice as much as what I did get on the outside. I went with a private contractor and got more cabinets, bigger sized cabinets, real wood, and extra features. Direct Buy is making money hand over fist because of what you would end up spending say in ten or fifteen years. It is possible not to even recap the thousands you had to pay for the membership. They are hard, coarse, penurious, and interested only in their profit, not yours. Don’t get fooled. Figure it out well then look around at retail stores and you will be surprised. They sell discount quality at higher prices

  157. I have been a member of Db for 15 years – yes I joined 2x.I first Iloved it, the customer service was great and I was able to save alot of money while I furnished my first home, Though the years, I have become a house “flipper”. To make a long story short – I find it much easier to order cabinets, carpets, etc thru home depot or lowes thee DB. at DB, you need to pat a non-refundable 200 design fee to sit with a designer – how would i know it would be cheaper to use db than home depot – I would have no idea unless I paid the fee. The granite is the same price or more. Hardwood flooring – Home depot. And you need the patience of a saint while waiting for your product. I once ordered a couch and the warehouse “lost it” in their warehouse. after numerous calls to the club and no help at all – i called the manufacurer which you are not supposed to – they said they had shipped it 2 months prior. i physically went to the warehouse and demanded they find my couch and with my help they did…another story i ordered a kicthen table and chairs from a california manufacturer – the chairs came in damaged, then they reshipped them – damaged again and then another time the same thing. then the manufacturer discontinued this table. so now i have 2 damaged chairs – but i am exhausted. i am definitely not renewing and i would not recommend them to anyone – look for sales elsewhere….

  158. sheeple…you have heard of costco and sams club right…pay 130 bucks and you have access to all the crap your heart could desire for
    better prices that this scam outfit…OH MY GOD

  159. Patricia Weisman March 29, 2010 at 10:57 am

    My husband and I joined direct buy as we needed to do a lot of work in our home. I would not recommend this store to anyone. I have never been more stressed shopping for our home. The magazines are never available and when they are they are so confusing. The prices are not readily available – if you need to have someone assist you be prepared to wait in line for a very long time only to have their computer system crash.

    After you do finally make a purchase forget about trying to get a follow up question answered. The customer service is the worst I have ever experienced. Once they have your money they don’t care anymore.

    We were members of the store in Hauppauge NY – we have not renewed and will never use that store again. Bob and his wife run a disfunctional store. I am not exaggerating – don’t join.

  160. Hi -I’m a former DB employee.

    When I started, I believed in the concept, the company and loved earning more money than ever before.

    Within 2 years, (mainly the last 8 months) after seeing as many unhappy members, as happy members… seeing way too many problems with shipping… hearing way too many members finding better deals elsewhere… seeing the level of service way below an acceptable level (by some employees)… plus working in an environment of a giddy socialite girls club rather than a business, I was disgusted, stressed, and quit under a doctors suggestion.

    DirectBuy is like Amway, in that it is a perfect concept. The reality is far from the concept. It benefits few hugely, quite a few moderately, and many not much at all.

    The decision thing is a marketing ploy, not a best price fail safe as claimed, and the long scripted word specific, very manipulative sales presentation is an insult to intelligence. The pricing examples are hand picked and difficult to find great pricing difference examples.

    (I was definitely in big paycheque denial)

    Shop around, shop smart, and enjoy the instant gratification of retail.

  161. Hey, I’m with Rocky on this one….We have yet to save a dime and our initiation fee was $5,000. We recently purchased a Stanley bedroom set for my son. The quality was terrible and Stanley would only reimburse Direct Buy half the cost, leaving it up to them to sell the furniture to somehow salvage the other half of my money. Assuming they could sell my set in the store. Well, needless to say, I have yet to see a penny of my money returned to me. The icing on the cake, however, is the fact that I could have purchased this set for exactly the same price at a children’s furniture store. I think all the members that have been scammed need to join together and get our “hard” earned money back.

  162. Wow….. my local DB is looking for a Sales Rep, they are promising income of $45-90K.

    The money looks really appealing to someone like me who is drawing unemployment, but I think I’ll pass. I would have a hard time sleeping at night knowing my job was to royally screw people over.

  163. I’ve been a member for over a year and have recouped my membership fee two-fold so far. We put an addition on our house last year (doubled the size) and purchased almost everything except lumber and siding from directbuy. You need to do your homework before you get your visitor’s pass. You need a list of exactly what material you plan on buying in the future (we already had most of the manufacturer’s part numbers).

    Like a few people have mentioned, there isn’t much of a savings in the smaller appliances- microwaves, toaster, etc… so just buy those items retail. We also shop for sales at retail stores before we place an order through Direct Buy.

    So the bottom line, in my experience, is Direct Buy might not be for everyone. It all depends on what you want to buy. I was skimming through the prices on furniture (beds specifically) and I think you can make back your membership fee on 4 higher end mattress sets.

    They will try to get you to sign on the spot or don’t come back for 4 years. But I have two neighbors who refused to sign the same day and came back weeks later after they did some research. I highly doubt Direct Buy will turn down your membership fee.

    Just get the free information package from and do your homework before you go in.

  164. Thanks for the tip. I had an appt. scheduled for tomorrow, but I had to cancel it. I was looking for the phone number and came across this website. I was thinking that it would be something like costco, but the fees sound ridiculous. I was just looking to buy a new living room set, but I won’t be getting it from direct buy. Thanks again!

  165. Hey Chris:

    My wife and I were going to check out Direct Buy on a “Free Visit”. Then we found out it had to be on a certain day, time and hour set out by them. That was before we found out the cost of being a member. Direct Buy have contacted us every day, several times a day since this opportunity. We have told them we were no longer interested however, they continue to contact us. Is there a number or email address which we may contact to have our telephone number removed or placed on the “Do Not Call List”. Thank you for your Help!

  166. I went to DB website and went to the FAQ section. Number 10 – I’m Interested. What is the next step? When you click on this the first bullet says:
    •To take advantage of this special offer, order your Free 30-Day Membership Certificate today.
    In all my studies of DB, I have not read or heard of a FREE 30-Day Membership Certificate. Can someone tell me what this is? Is this something new? Are they actually letting perspective customers preview thier services for 30 days free? Or is this a tactic to get you to come to the Sales Pitch? Has anyone gone and asked for their 30-day FREE membership certificate and asked what it actually gives them?

  167. its a shame none of the local consumer reporters don’t look into db.

    but then they are controlled by their greedy stations, and money over integrity rule the stations.

    here ( san diego area) we have MIchael turko, turko files, maybe the coward will go after some day

  168. Just went to a sales presentation today. Their $50,ooo make-over promotion. Sat for 30 mins. waiting, then went into a video presentaion for just me and my wife. About 30 mins. into I said, “Without any disrespect, I understand the concept and the savings that can be made. Let’s just talk about the membership.” I was told the “I am not gonna shortcut my sales presentation.” My wife said, “Then Let’s go.” The salesman replied to my wife, “You did not want to be here anyway! Just leave! Go! Enjoy retail!” My wife said you don’t have to be insulting.” As we were leaving, he followed us to the front lobby and satarted repeating the sarcastic comments he said earlier. Then followed up with, “have a nice weekend.”
    Totally uncalled for and unprofessional. I will be making a complaint to corporate, if I can find their number.
    All this because all I wanted to do was get to the ninty-grity the membership dues.

  169. My partner and I went yesterday to a DirectBuy presentation, and it was an interesting experience. Just like you mentioned, we were in a sales presentation for about 1 1/2 hours and my partner enjoys getting a rise out of these sales people. He is a dedicated and very educated consumer. So when the presenter was asking all kinds of questions about the prices of things and how much we spent on certain items in a store, he was able to give her exact $$$ amounts and she didn’t seem to like them very much, and she would usually go with some “median” or “conservative” $ amount. At the end of the presentation, she showed us some of the catalog books and they were very confusing. So finally we were asked to take a look around, so we did, and didn’t really see anything that we really liked or wanted. We had just completed a major kitchen renovation and so we didn’t have a need to really buy anything. So after about 10 minutes, the sales presenter, not our original associate, came over and asked what we thought. We said that it sounded like a great idea, but frankly we couldn’t afford it (we already had a lot of bills to pay off and adding another $100 a month to pay for a $5190 membership fee, especially when they charge 17% interest after 3 months was just way out of our budget). This is when it went from a nice conversation to a hard-core sales tactic and where my partner almost lost it on this poor lady. She made a comment that my partners was convoluted in thinking that the membership investment was too much money because of all the money we would be saving over 10 years. This is when, understandably, the vein in his forehead started to protrude. He said to her, “I am convoluted, with all due respect (and wasn’t being sincere) who the hell are you to tell me what we can and cannot afford, you don’t know our bills, and you certainly cannot make a statement like that being that you don’t know me.” At this point, he walked away for a minute to cool down. The look on this poor lady’s face was priceless, I think that she was surprised that he didn’t slug her. I then explained to the woman that we have alot of bills that we are paying down and that honestly an extra $100 a month payment would not be feasible, and that I was fairly impressed with the concept and would buy in if we had the money. She just started to repeat her sales pitch to me, and that was when I realized that she didn’t care what we had to say if it wasn’t that we wanted to buy her membership. So she at that point made the statement, “Well… if it is going to take food off of your table, then don’t buy the membership. It is not for everyone.” (in a somewhat cocky tone like we were attempting to get into some exclusive social club). And at that point we asked her if our position changed and we wanted to get a membership later… could we? She said, “Yeah, but you are BANNED from DirectBuy for 7 years.” So my partners reply was perfect, “Well, then I guess that you just won’t get our money or any of our family or friends money for at least 7 years.” At this point, she just walked us over to where the display for their $50,000 homemaker sweepstakes was (we had received a key and if it turned in the doorknob, we would have won a home makeover). Of course, we didn’t win.

    The one good thing about wasting our time at this DirectBuy presentation was as a part of the sweepstakes and as a “thank you gift” for wasting our time, we got a 3 day 2 night trip to any of several US locations and a few in the Bahamas… which that was perfect because after all of that, we needed a vacation. Bon Voyage!

  170. Jennie Waschenbecker September 10, 2010 at 7:46 am

    I am looking for a class action lawsuit to join. If anyone knows of any case accepting new plaintiffs, please contact me. A 3-Day cooling off period doesn’t do much good if you don’t get any information during that time does it? Oh, and just because you place an order doesn’t mean you will receive merchandise. My shipping date was changed 4 times. Two of those changes were made the day before the order was supposed to ship. No problem, I just had three children to feed and no refrigerator or stove… Literally. We just moved to MO and the house came with no appliances so it wasn’t like we were just replacing old ones. I had none. I am a member of the Direct Buy in Springfield, MO and my contact person there was Brent Fesperman. If there are any members out there who are in this area, contact me and we can work together. There is actually quite a bit that we can do but there is more power in numbers so the more we can connect the better. Here’s my contact info:
    Jennie Waschenbecker
    114 North Street
    Houston, MO 65483

  171. So. My wife had shown the Direct Buy marketing material to me and I thought we’d take a shot at it…why not given we are going to be making some major investments in two homes over the next few years.

    We go to the pitch (which I didn’t realize was going to be as long and drawn out as it was…always indicating it’s going to be a big ‘whapow!’ at the end for $$$$), and it was the song-and-dance of 10-years, huge savings, secret deals/pact you must make with Direct Buy so that no reatilers go to the manufacturers and complain because the savings are just so darn massive… the secret price lists, etc.

    Anyway, what I found very interesting…. was that *during* the pitch…maybe 20% through it… a couple comes in ‘late’. This couple was late 40’s early 50’s and showed no interaction much with one another…very stand-off’ish. OK, some relationships are like that… but anyway, the lady keeps looking over at my wife and I… as different parts of the pitch are given… sort of to look for a visual response from my wife and I on certain points. They’re statements/reactions were all right in line with the pitch…yes, they spend that much, and yes, the items all are the type, and yes, yes, yes… anyway, so then after the pitch they get some sales guy that you can tell is a newby… we get mr. seasoned sales guy… and during our ‘low-pressure that is really high-pressure’ pitch…the other sales guy comes over with a supposedly completed contract from the other couple…”Oh! Great, full membership…’Welcome to the club’ ” my sales guy says to the other sales guy as a sort of ‘ding the bell’ ritual… point was so obvious… I think the whole thing of that couple was staged… to further encourage us onto the band-wagon ‘super secret’ group with the one-time $1000 off deal.

    So, I’m a pretty savvy buyer (subjectively speaking of course), so want to dig in… I go over to the website they have… they sign me in… I start going through it lookin for small, mid, and ‘big’ purchases that I’ll need…and it’s pretty wide variety goods I’m looking for here and also brands that I would normally buy… I tend to buy B+-to-A grade brands and look for deals on those brands which are of course few and far between.

    Anyway, they had ONE brand of all brands that I buy… and huge gaps in their merchandise that would have made it attractive…

    What this really all comes down to is … Do they have the goods I want at better prices in a reasonably accessible way? When you take into account the $6K for membership… I can, without question, say this place is NOT going to come close. If I were to just buy whatever they may be selling… I don’t know, maybe? I found ONE brand that I normally buy *and* that brand was only $50 less than what I paid on the items…and those items were $1200-$1700 items!

    Also, the books they have there have price lists in the back… I don’t get the sense that they update those lists and how can they truly reflect the way business really do business with prices fluctuating on a very frequent basis? Then these lists sit there on the stagnant shelves.

    The hard sell comes when they just fall back on ‘well kitchens!’ and they walk you through kitchen purchases… well, that one is tricky for me as I don’t know every brand nor do I know every accessory type, etc…and that’s exactly what they are relying on. Apples/Apples comparisons and from the other posts here… in moving dates, errors, availability, additional fees, etc… really spell out one thing to me: RIP-OFF! I woulnd’t spend $50 on this place for a membership let alone $6000!

    Then the sales guy says: “You know, at some of our franchise offices, once you leave the show room and do not take the special pricing we are offering you today… it goes up to $25,000 for all 5 categories.” I broke out into laughter. Litereally. Come on, anyone with $25K to blow on a membership sure as heck has the two brain cells to realize the lunacy of such a scam. “If you don’t give us the $5K *today* and come back tomorrow? Yea, $25K I’m afraid.”

    Costco, you have my commitment for years to come… *and* & … you both do as well!

    To anyone… don’t waste your time… it took two hours out of our day that I should have been spending doing other far, far more valuable things.

    Oh, to top it off… when I identified major product gaps and price equivalence, the sales guy informed me of a ‘Platinum Concierge Service’ where they will work with manufacturers they don’t have… Yea, right, that will go down like a ton of bricks … and they only have 700 manufacturers… a fraction of what people really want to warrant a $6K price tag. Don’t waste your time on the pitch folks… I’d wanted to try the adventure more for my wife than anything, who is well intentioned in looking for ways to save cash as we’re doing two homes over… so, unlike my normal way of researching the heck out of everything, I went in cold, to try it… FORGET IT folks.

  172. To: Jennie Waschenbecker
    Look at the bottom of page 84 of this website for information on class action lawsuits against DB that you can probably look into joining:

    On that board, we do not share any personal information because DB is watching online, harassing people & sometimes suing for making them look bad. I wouldn’t want anything like that to happen to you. DB is actually writing fake complaints to get people to give up their personal info. Please don’t fall for more scams from them.

  173. Boston Boy-
    You are not alone. I am so glad that you saw through DB’s schemes. They’re full of it and should be shut down. I cannot believe that so many of us fell for their empty promises. Do us a favor and continue to tell people to stay away from DirectBuy. It’s much better to have the $6K in your pocket than give it away to these crooks who don’t give you any service & sell damaged goods.

  174. smarterinflorida October 24, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    I just went to a briefing on Saturday. Here is something noone else has mentioned: At no time during the briefing do they want to address the cost of the cheaper alternatives. There are different levels all costing over $3,000 where you are limited to a category of items you can buy.

    To add insult to injury, they do not give you a copy of the contract to review until you have provided a form of payment. They offer to finance your membership after you pay 10% by check or credit card at a low rate of 17% interest. At that rate, the %5,490.00 membership balloons to almost $7,000.00 not to mention that this is only for two years, each additional year you want to use the membership for purchases, you will have to pay an additional $179.00.

    I feel like a total idiot for even considering it.

  175. Direct Buy is nothing but a bunch of Damn Stupid full of lies, Nasty Attitudes Harassing Evil Basters.

    I can’t seem to get off their e-mail list. every time those Evil Stupid Basters. can’t e-mail me. they pull of scam and send it from another e-mail list. making it almost impossible getting off their e-mail list.

    Therefore, People., the more People we have here complaining about Best Buy is too file a Harassing Complaint with BBB in Washington.

    I can’t promise we will get results Immediately.
    However, I assure that the more People Cooperate by writing the same e-mail making it joining then BBB may get to the bottom of it.

    If only a few People complain, then I dealt that we will get Immediately results.

  176. Any one out there interested in starting a class action law suit against Direct Buy? God, I hope so. They are a rip off and something needs to be done to protect comsumers from this outfit.

  177. Has anyone successfully won their money back from DB via a lawsuit or other measure? Please share it with us.

    We feel horrible after being scammed for $5000. I have contacted the USA District Attorneys office for NYS 11/11/2010. Join me. Log on to (I believe this is the proper web address, if not do a search for US district attorney’s office and your state) for your states District attorney and inform them of your experience and let us take them down. The more of us the louder and stronger we are. Call you congressman or any other elected official. DON’T be satisfied with venting on this site alone. Let us help each other and the general public.

  178. DirectBuy is being taken down in Columbus Ohio

    My wife and I tried to just go look at their idea and we figured it was a scam. Now we know.

    In Columbus, Ohio it appears they have been shutdown. May be Federal law enforcement.

    If you were scammed by DirectBuy, like my friends, you should contact the law firm Craig T. Matthews & Associates at or937.434.9393. That law firm has sued DirectBuy before in both Ohio and
    Indiana (where DirectBuy’s are located), and it’s conducting an investigation about DirectBuy’s misleading promises. If you want your membership fee refunded, you should contact Craig Matthews to pursue a class action case against DirectBuy. No matter what state you’re from,
    his firm should be able to help you. Be warned!!

  179. In the matter of: United Consumers Club v. Prime Time Mktg. Mgmt., Case No. 2:07 cv 358,Case No. 3:08 cv 60, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA, HAMMOND DIVISION, 2010:

    “The defendant, Prime Time Marketing Management, Inc., was a franchisee of DirectBuy, Inc. from 1986 through 2007. Prime Time was owned and operated by Dell Craaybeek. On May 11, 2007, DirectBuy’s General Counsel, C. Joseph Yast, sent Craaybeek a letter terminating Prime Time’s franchise with DirectBuy allegedly for violating its Franchise Agreement. DirectBuy alleges that an audit conducted by Integrity Assurance in 2007 demonstrated … that Prime Time was using another business owned by Craaybeek, Home Improvement Wholesale Distributors, Inc., as a supplier without prior approval by DirectBuy and was overcharging DirectBuy members through the use of impermissible handling fees and price mark-ups in violation of the Franchise Agreement. DirectBuy brought this suit to recover damages incurred by Prime Time’s alleged violations of the Franchise Agreement.”

    Plantiff, Directbuy, represented by C. Joseph Yast (General Counsel for Directbuy), might have a tough time proving this one, especially since Directbuy seems to hide the fact that not all savings are passed on directly to members. This is accomplished by the franchisEE agreeing in the franchise agreement (the terms of which are unknown to the victim member) that the franchisOR (Directbuy) can keep all discounts and rebates and not pass them on to the member. It is only by reviewing the 260-plus page agreement with the franchisOR that the victim would every learn that the franchisOR reserves “the right to keep rebates, discounts and other payments from manufacturers and suppliers.” Directbuy also keep early-pay disccounts and all members’ purchases are paid by the member at the time of ordering. All of this messing around is designed to part the victim from his money and this marketing scheme is now the subject of a number of class action lawsuits around the country.

    So it seems as though they are now suing a franchisEE for these discounts and rebates: gread, that’s all it is.

    What’s so ironic about this is that according to a recent filing on November 16, 2010 by Andrew P. Rodovich, United States Magistrate Judge, Directbuy is being evasive in court (imagine how that might be a surprise):

    “Yast provided evasive and incomplete responses or avoided answering by claiming he did not understand the questions posed.”

    “…Yast continued to avoid answering questions by stating he did not understand the questions being posed or the time period for which the question were covering, despite the fact that Prime Time clearly had established the relevant time period in question…”

    “…Yast continued to evade any questions through a series of evasive responses:…”

    “Yast provided vague answers to the questions regarding audit procedures by arguing the difference between policies and “customs and practices.”

    “DirectBuy has continued to withhold relevant information .. Therefore, Prime Time’s request for attorney fees is GRANTED.”

    “Because Prime Time’s motion to compel Yast to submit to another deposition is granted and it is clear that Yast’s and DirectBuy’s intentionally evasive conduct necessitated this motion, DirectBuy is ORDERED to pay Prime Time’s reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees incurred by this motion as well.”

    Why the evasion?

  180. a friend of mine works across from directbuy in san diego. (Corporate Court )

    He sees the same “shills” show up at almost all the membership days.

    could be they want you to sigh up on the spot, and not come back and figure out the scam when you see the same “audience” members /

  181. DirectBuy Settles Class Action With Free Memberships

    By Jesse Greenspan

    Law360, New York (December 15, 2010) — Purchasing club DirectBuy Inc. has agreed to settle a class action that accused it of misrepresenting to its members that they were buying merchandise that wasn’t marked up, but very little of the deal involves cash payouts to plaintiffs.

    Under a settlement preliminarily approved Tuesday by Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, DirectBuy and two affiliates will give a free two-month membership extension to all current members.

    The Indiana-based company will also offer its current members the opportunity to purchase a 28-month membership renewal for the price of a 24-month membership renewal or a 13-month membership renewal for the price of a 12-month membership, according to the settlement.

    Former members will also purportedly get two months of a free DirectBuy membership.

    Meanwhile, four individual lead plaintiffs and three lead plaintiff couples will take home a class representative award of $4,000 each, the settlement said.

    It added that class counsel would receive between $350,000 and $1 million in attorneys’ fees, with the exact amount to be determined by Judge Garfinkel.

    An attorney for DirectBuy said only that the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties, while an attorney for the plaintiffs did not respond to multiple calls seeking comment.

    The class is open to all people who have an active DirectBuy membership or who were DirectBuy members at any time from Oct. 11, 2002, to the present, according to the settlement.

    Any plaintiffs who want to opt out must do so by March 14, and objections are due by April 12. A final settlement hearing has been scheduled for May 10.

    DirectBuy and its two affiliates, United Consumers Club and DirectBuy Holdings Inc., did not admit any wrongdoing and said this class action and at least four other similar ones were without merit.

    They agreed to the settlement, however, because the litigation was requiring them to expend significant time and money and was damaging their reputation, they said.

    The complaint, filed in April 2009, alleged that each DirectBuy member forked over an initial payment of at least several thousand dollars and paid several hundred dollars periodically thereafter in order to buy carpeting, furniture, appliances and other merchandise at direct prices, or prices that have not been marked up from the manufacturers’ or suppliers’ actual prices, the complaint said.

    However, DirectBuy never disclosed that it was receiving tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks from manufacturers and suppliers out of the purchase prices paid for the products by DirectBuy members, thereby resulting in members paying more than the direct price, the complaint alleged.

    The plaintiffs including lead plaintiffs Christopher Wilson, Regina and Gary Ingram, Christian Kalled, Keith Walker, Mabyn and Daniel Morgan, Raymond and Shery Bailey, and Robin Varghese are represented in this matter by Jeffrey S. Nobel and Seth R. Klein of Izard Nobel LLP.

    DirectBuy is represented by Edward Wood Dunham, John M. Doroghazi and Joseph C. Merschman of Wiggan & Dana LLP.

    The case is Wilson et al. v. DirectBuy Inc. et al., case number 3:09-cv-00590, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

  182. They’re a terrible con-artists. What they don’t tell you is they do zero installation. Hence good luck trying to find a contractor to install anything you just purchased. Most people get gouged by the contractors more than the product. Also, everything is negotiable when you are purchasing for your home.

  183. My wife and Joined direct Buy in 2001. We then Bought some equipment for the company I was starting. It took more than six months to get the equipment that I was told would arrive within a month. When the equipment finally did arrive it was damaged but I bought it anyway for a reduced price. We kept our membership and wwhen we needed some new appliances we went back and found that the exact same appliances were 25% to 30% less expensive at Home Depot or Lowes. We did not recoup our initial membership fees and would not recomend this company to anyone. In fact we recommend Costco or Sam’s Club.

  184. I received a settlement notice from DB, apparently, it was sent on the 6th of Jan 2011 but it conveniently it landed in my junk folder. I just now saw it and it is very vague. Does anybody know what I am talking about? They’ve been withholding additional manufacturers deals and rebates from members.
    Every time I look into a product I am interested at Direct Buy it becomes SO much of a pain in the butt to even order anything and I wind up going to Best Buy or Ebay.

  185. Don’t become a direct buy member. It is a scam and you will lose your money. Point in fact, to buy many items you have to email them with your item model number and it takes days for them to get back to you. Once they do you realize that the price they quote you is not a bargain at all. In addition you have to pay shipping and this inflates the price to the point that you are not saving anything at all. Also, you have to pick the item up yourself from one of their distribution centres.

    I am not a happy camper.


    West Virginia Record
    McGraw’s office files suit against DirectBuy
    1/26/2011 2:35 PM By Chris Dickerson -Kanawha Bureau


    CHARLESTON – Attorney General Darrell McGraw has filed a suit against DirectBuy over its high-pressure sales practices.

    Assistant Attorney General Matthew Stonestreet said Wednesday that Indiana-based DirectBuy Inc., the local franchise DirectBuy of Charleston-Huntington and its President Timothy Parker were named as defendants in the Kanawha Circuit Court case regarding unlawful, coercive, deceptive, and high-pressure sales practices.

    Soon after the local DirectBuy opened in 2009 in Cross Lanes, McGraw’s office began receiving complaints from consumers that the discount buying club “pressured them into purchasing memberships costing thousands of dollars.”

    A release from the AG’s office says DirectBuy coerced consumers by offering free trial offers, guaranteeing free gifts, and offering a variety of other promotions.

    “When consumers attempted to redeem these offers, they discovered the offers were not available as promised,” the release says, “Instead, DirectBuy focused on selling expensive club memberships through a sophisticated and oppressive sales presentation.”

    McGraw’s office says DirectBuy solicitations encourage consumers to contact the company to get a “free visitor’s pass” to its showroom. Then, they are invited to a sales presentation at the store. After obtaining the consumers’ personal information, each consumer is paired with a salesperson.

    During this one-on-one sales presentation, DirectBuy “pressures consumers with its ‘now or never’ tactic, according to McGraw’s office.

    “DirectBuy warns consumers that anyone who leaves the premises without joining the club will be banned from joining forever,” the release says. “This threat is false, misleading, and unconscionable. When consumers become members, they discover that many of the promises DirectBuy makes during the sales presentation directly contradict the actual terms of the membership agreement.”

    “Some of the elements of their sales practices are common nationwide,” Stonestreet said Wednesday. “Some, we found, are distinct to this location.

    “The ‘now-or-never’ tactic, from our investigation, is used in most of their locations. People walk in and they’re not really sure what’s going on. Then this is dropped on them. You have to make this decision right now. The consumer is bombarded with these high-pressure tactics.”

    Despite guarantees otherwise, DirectBuy’s written contract “specifically prohibits refunds, discloses various hidden fees, and plainly states that ‘DirectBuy does not guarantee that members will get the best price,'” the AG’s release says. “DirectBuy discloses these material terms only after the consumer has purchased and signed the membership agreement.”

    Stonestreet said McGraw’s office began an investigation after receiving several complaints from consumers.

    “West Virginians should not be pressured with coercive, deceptive, and unlawful tactics into buying expensive club memberships that have little actual value,” said McGraw.

    In the complaint, McGraw’s office seeks a preliminary injunction barring DirectBuy from engaging in such activity in West Virginia until further order. The complaint also asks that the court eventually order restitution, refunds, debt cancellation and civil penalties.

    Stonestreet said the AG’s office in Ohio has an assurance of discontinuance with DirectBuy, meaning they reached an agreement saying the company will change some practices.

    Stonestreet and Christopher Hedges are handling the case for McGraw’s office. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.

    Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-140

  187. My husband and I went to Direct Buy as a shop since I was a secret shopper. After listening to the salesman we talked about it and it seemed like a good deal as we had just sold our house. We purchased the membership for over $3000 and never used it. My husband became ill and died before we could build another house. I believe I would rather have my membership fees back as I am now a widow raising two sons instead of two months of free membership and paying $200 per year for 10 years. Lawyers!!!!!

  188. Didn’t a Kentucky federal judge order a cease and desist to Darrel mcgraw for this already?

  189. Another Class Action Lawsuit filed this year:

    Desert Buy Palm Springs Inc v. DirectBuy Inc et al
    Share | Plaintiff: Desert Buy Palm Springs Inc
    Defendants: DirectBuy Inc and Does

    Case Number: 5:2011cv00107
    Filed: January 13, 2011

    Court: California Central District Court
    Presiding Judge: Stephen V. Wilson
    Referring Judge: David T Bristow

    If anyone has PACER or knows anything about this case, please weigh in. Thanks.

  190. I just saw a commercial for a DirectBuy $50,000 home makeover contest. Just so you know, the winner of the contest is getting a home makeover paid for with $5,000 of my family’s hard earned money. I hope you enjoy your home make over while my family goes hungry because DirectBuy ripped me off!!!

    DO *NOT* JOIN DIRECTBUY IN COLUMBUS, OR ANYWHERE!!!! This place is such a total scam!

    We went to their location in Worthington and didn’t join because of their HIGH PRESSURE TACTICS!!! They said we could only join then or NEVER. We didn’t join and decided to test their “one time only” tactics and went to their other location in Hilliard and joined a year later only to have them shut down without any notice in 2009 and run off with our $5,000 membership! We then shopped at their other location by the airport only to have it shut down in 2010 without any notice. This place is just ripping you off of your $5,000 membership. It’s a pyramid scheme at its finest!!!! They lied about the join “now or never policy” and then they ran off with my money. RUN!!!!! DO NOT JOIN DIRECT BUY IN COLUMBUS!!!!

    I have no doubt they will try to open again in Columbus sometime soon. It’s all about the greed of getting other people to join and then running off with their money. I did some research. Just Google what happend to DirectBuy in California to see that what I’m saying is true. They don’t do what they promise and if you become a member then you are throwing your money away!!
    ake over while my family goes hungry because DirectBuy ripped me off!!!

    DO *NOT* JOIN DIRECTBUY IN COLUMBUS, OR ANYWHERE!!!! This place is such a total scam!

    We went to their location in Worthington and didn’t join because of their HIGH PRESSURE TACTICS!!! They said we could only join then or NEVER. We didn’t join and decided to test their “one time only” tactics and went to their other location in Hilliard and joined a year later only to have them shut down without any notice in 2009 and run off with our $5,000 membership! We then shopped at their other location by the airport only to have it shut down in 2010 without any notice. This place is just ripping you off of your $5,000 membership. It’s a pyramid scheme at its finest!!!! They lied about the join “now or never policy” and then they ran off with my money. RUN!!!!! DO NOT JOIN DIRECT BUY IN COLUMBUS!!!!

    I have no doubt they will try to open again in Columbus sometime soon. It’s all about the greed of getting other people to join and then running off with their money. I did some research. Just Google what happend to DirectBuy in California to see that what I’m saying is true. They don’t do what they promise and if you become a member then you are throwing your money away!!


    You’re in luck the W.V. atty gen is going after em…join in…you’re lucky because you may have some recourse. Good luck.

  192. Thanks, folks! Your comments saved me and my wife from an unpleasant (and possibly very expensive) experience.

    My wife had signed us up for a sales pitch; she’d been offered a chance to win a $50,000 home makeover, but we’d have to sit for a 90-minute pitch. I HATE those things, so I asked her to cancel it. She tried to, but they offered her a $100 gift certificate to a restaurant; she asked which one, and they said there were a large variety. So she confirmed our appointment.

    So I went to Google and searched for “Direct Buy key tour”. This site was in the top ten. I read several others, and they convinced me that Direct Buy was a sleazy scam (which didn’t surprise me; I’ve seen this sort of thing before). But it was your comments that convinced my wife. I read them to her.

    She called and left a voicemail canceling the appointment, and asked them to put us on their do-not-call list. If we hear from them again, I’ll report it here – and possibly to the consumer’s affairs office of the state Attorney General.

    This sort of scam should be illegal, but in this economy the sharks are out for blood. Caveat emptor – and thank goodness for the internet, which gives we little people a chance to defend ourselves!

  193. We are from Connecticut and would love to know if anyone would like to join us in a class action suit against Direct Buy. We signed up and have not found any great deals. It was a very high pressured sales tactic used. We have attempted to shop through them but prices and information are extremely difficult to find. Please post if you would like to join a class action suit.

  194. Hi Tom-
    Yes, we’d like to join a class action that would recoup membership fees and interest. The Wilson v. DirectBuy case extends the worthless membership, which we never used in the first place. Therefore, we excluded ourselves from that class. Hopefully there will be a federal class action that will cover all of us.

  195. I have been a direct buy customer for about 13 years. When I joined it was called United Consumers Club. It might vary from club to club but the people that talked to me about membership were very honest and what they have said has proved true over the years.

    This is what they said and what I have found to be true:
    1. Don’t join UCC (Direct Buy now) to purchase low-end merchandise, you won’t save any money. The low-end merchandise has very little markup anyway so there is not much to shave off.
    2. Direct Buy cannot beat loss-leader pricing. This means that sometimes stores will sell merchandise at a loss to get people in the door. This is usually, again, low-end merchandise.
    3. Do join Direct Buy if you want to purchase high-end merchandise at significant savings. Top of the line merchandise has significant and huge markups.

    To test this….I was interested in the time to buy some high end speakers. I looked up the retail price and “cost” price at Direct Buy. I then went to an electronics retailer that was across the street. Here are the prices:

    Retail – $1500 each (i told you these were high-end)
    Sale Price at Store – $1099
    Direct Buy Price – $563

    So anyway, it is partly the responsibility of the consumer to understand what you can and cannot save money on and the Direct Buy salespeople should also be explaining this honestly to the consumers. Also, at the time I joined the fee was about $1000. So I had a much lower rate of entry.

    After I joined I bought Barcalounger furniture and Kincaid furniture and saved a ton of money. I bought a top of the line Simmons mattress and broke even on my membership on the mattress alone. I kept my membership up for several years but did not need to buy anything. Then my washer and dryer were going south so I bought a new Whirlpool washer, dryer, stove, and dishwasher. I received a special manufacturers discount and free shipping. I saved a ton again, especially on the washer and dryer.

    At the new startup membership prices I have to say it may not be worth it unless you need furniture and appliances for a whole house. So if you are building a new house AND want high end appliances and furnishings I’m quite sure you can still more than break even. You will still save thousands and the yearly upkeep membership is usually reasonable.


    DirectBuy class action settlement not a quick sale
    Rob Varnon, Staff Writer
    Published Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    BRIDGEPORT — DirectBuy Holdings Inc.’s settlement of a class action lawsuit over sales practices at its membership-based discount club faced objections in federal court Tuesday from 39 attorneys general and a consumer advocacy group.

    “It’s a first for me,” said U.S. District Court Judge Janet C. Hall during the proceedings on the unprecedented objections to a settlement offer. “I never had anybody object.”

    The hearing was held in federal court in Bridgeport to approve or deny a class action settlement valued at $19 million in the 2009 case of Christopher Wilson and others brought against DirectBuy.

    The settlement, which was granted preliminary approval in December by U.S. Magistrate Judge William Garfinkel, would provide about 800,000 members of Merrillville, Ind.-based DirectBuy with a free, two month membership. Those members, who joined the club on or after Oct. 11, 2002, paid $3,000 to $7,000 for a multi-year membership.

    The plaintiffs in the case and several others across the nation allege DirectBuy’s advertisements are misleading and fraudulent because the company promises members will be able to buy merchandise at manufacturers’ prices. The case focuses in part on how a manufacturer’s price is defined because discounts the company received from manufacturers weren’t passed on to members, according to court documents.

    The lead attorney for DirectBuy, Edward Dunham, partner with New Haven-based Wiggin and Dana, told the judge Tuesday that members are given material stating they will pay the price printed in the DirectBuy catalog.

    Hall plans to issue a written decision in a couple of weeks. The hearing drew 14 lawyers into court and more than a dozen spectators, including some investment bankers monitoring DirectBuy as the company’s bonds have tumbled over the last couple of months. Its bonds were going for 55.25 cents on the dollar and the company was placed on a credit watch by Standard & Poor’s on April 25.

    Hall will decide whether the settlement applies to several potential class actions or a limited scope of class action involving racketeering charges. DirectBuy’s attorney says the settlement covers them all, while the attorney for Wilson said it’s a limited settlement. This was a point several lawyers objecting to the settlement jumped on as reason to deny the settlement, because the two sides didn’t agree on the scope.

    Attorney Jeffrey Noble, who represented Wilson, said the settlement is a good one, which also brought criticism from objecting attorneys.

    Ellen J. Fried, New York’s assistant attorney general in the consumer frauds and protection bureau, said her office is actively investigating DirectBuy and that she has seen evidence to support future claims.

    Hall questioned what value the settlement would hold for people who are no longer members. “It’s like giving me a free golf membership,” she said, drawing a laugh from the courtroom. “I don’t like golf.”

  197. I read your posting and had to reply. You make a very good point about using Direct Buy for major purchases in your home. That is what my husband & I did it for. We were having out house built back in 2008 and joined Direct Buy during the building process. We weren’t planning on buying everything we needed all at once, just some things like cabinets, appliances and a room or 2 of furniture in the first year-figuring we would make one or 2 major purchases a year for our home (we had 2 living rooms, 5 bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms, a great room, a game room and a huge kitchen to buy for). We knew it would take a few years and some major purchases to make our membership fee back in savings and we were fine with that.

    Unfortunately, my husband lost his job late last year. And with the job market like it’s been, he hasn’t been able to find a job that pays like his last one. My salary can only cover so much-like the mortgage, utilities and food & clothing for our kids. So now our household income is significantly less than it was when we joined, and yes, we are unable to make our 2 yearly major Direct Buy purchases like we had planned when we walked into their showroom. Our home still sits quite empty, unless we want to buy lesser quality items from our neighborhood stores and put it on layaway. But since we already footed the membership fee to Direct Buy, what would be the point? Wisely, we kept the furniture we had from our previous home so we’re not all sleeping in sleeping bags or eating dinner on the floor.

    So, when people think they will be shopping at Direct Buy for the next 10 years, remember that you don’t know what the next 2 years will bring, let alone the next 10.

  198. I am one of the victims of Direct Buy. I just wanted to know if you or anyone you know was able to get out of their membership scams. I tried talking to them about my disappointments as a member and that I want out….unfortunately of no success. The only way I think of getting out of this membership contract is to file for bankruptcy. I dont know how much it will affect my credit rating…its just sad that its like … they are stealing my money (legally) upfront with my eyes wide open…and yet i cant say ENOUGH! this has to stop.

    Anyone wants to start a lawsuit? Im in.

  199. I’m not a member of direct buy, nor have I ever been to there showroom. But from what i read online I believe the following.

    1. DirectBuy is in the business of selling memberships, not providing good products or service for existing members.

    2. DirectBuy requires you to bring your spouse, because it far easier for the high pressure salespeople to use tactics on you like “Your husband must not love you enough if he doesn’t buy you a membership.” or something similar.

    3. DirectBuy charges extra fees and inflated shipping to pad there profits, it doesn’t cost $50 to ship a PC, not even half that amount. Any saving you might have seen are eaten up by the extra fees they are charging you.

    4. I believe the reason you wait months for a order is DirectBuy is queuing up orders so they can purchase in bulk. Manufactures don’t want to be bothered shipping one or two items to a store, they deal in bulk, they like to sell in pallets or even truck loads at a time. This is how Walmart gets items for cheap and sells to you at a profit, buying in bulk. If DirectBuy can buy in bulk, the make even more money without passing any saving over to you.

    5. Forget about returns, if DirectBuy doesn’t make any money off a return, why should they bother. Talk about no customer service for your 8k membership.

    6. 95% of positive testimonials are posted by sales people. I can’t believe anyone would give DirectBuy a positive review the way they treat existing members.

    So it is really worth the hassle to be treated like crap? Maybe a few people who spend 100k on stuff and recoup there membership investment, but it it really worth your time. People that can afford to spend 100k on Furniture make far more than the average person and there time is more valuable as well. Why spend endless hours searching catalogs when that same time you could be earning thousands of dollars working at what ever job you have that made you rich to begin with.

  200. Did you know this company bought “” because there were a vast number of complaints against Direct Buy on there. It is almost humorous to go look at it. If you did a little they do still show the original complaints. Link:

  201. My husband and I purchased a membership with Direct Buy several months ago and have been making payments to a Beta finance company, that was suggested by this company. We have not missed any payments, but the interest rate is 17.75%. We have never used the company to purchase anything since we signed the contract.
    I recently lost my job due to budget cuts at my company and my husband is a disabled Vietnam veteran on a fixed pension.

    We have searched the internet about the company and have found thousands of complaints concerning this buying club. Our contract says that we cannot cancel our membership and none of the costs are refundable. When we signed the contract, we were told that we must make our decision at that very moment and could not have any time to think it over before we made our decision. At the time, we were planning to build a new home, so we decided it might be worth the possible savings on products that we were informed of. Under our current circumstances and the new information we have since learned about the company we are not so sure that $6000 membership fee is worth it to us.

    Direct Buy has high pressure membership sales techniques. Direct Buy is a terrible company to do business with. They lie, they scheme and will say or do anything to get your money. Please tell everyone you know and those online to keep away from these scammers. They are masters of deception and lie.

  202. My husband and I purchased a membership with Direct Buy several months ago and have been making payments to a Beta finance company, that was suggested by this company. We have not missed any payments, but the interest rate is 17.75%. We have never used the company to purchase anything since we signed the contract.
    I recently lost my job due to budget cuts at my company and my husband is a disabled Vietnam veteran on a fixed pension.

    We have searched the internet about the company and have found thousands of complaints concerning this buying club. Our contract says that we cannot cancel our membership and none of the costs are refundable. When we signed the contract, we were told that we must make our decision at that very moment and could not have any time to think it over before we made our decision. At the time, we were planning to build a new home, so we decided it might be worth the possible savings on products that we were informed of. Under our current circumstances and the new information we have since learned about the company we are not so sure that $6000 membership fee is worth it to us.

    Direct Buy has high pressure membership sales techniques. Direct Buy is a terrible company to do business with. They lie, they scheme and will say or do anything to get your money. Please tell everyone you know and those online to keep away from these scammers. They are masters of deception and lie.

  203. Just from the quick read I know this is going to be a bashing site of Direct Buy. I have been a member for 8 years now (since 2003). I have nothing but great things to say about them. I joined just as I was purchasing a new home. My first purchase was for a dishwasher, fridge and gas stove. That one purchase saved me more than my initiation fee and my next 5 years of membership fees. I have purchase numerous items from the club and have saved thousands of dollars. I never buy anything without doing a lot of research and shopping. I have never been able to find the exact item at any retail store for less then I can purchase from Direct Buy. The club is like any other club if you do not use the membership it is a waste of money. Many people will purchase a Costco membership and never recoup they annual fee. A lot of the food at Costco is more expensive then you can buy at the store especially when they are on sale. Last year I purchased a new washer and dryer from direct buy. The closest retail store price was at Lowes and they were still hundreds of dollars more. After factoring in delivery, purchasing the stands for the units and the extend 7 year warranty I saved over $1500.

  204. Direct Buy, We have been members for 6 years, WE LOVE IT!!!!! I don’t know what states you live in but in OKC , the staff is extremely helpful and very knowledgable. We saved over $15,000 on our kitchen remodel with a well known major kitchen cabinet company we got our dream kitchen way more than we thought we could have and designed the way we wanted could not have done it with Directbuy, We just remodeled large living area, floors through most of house, we saved approx.
    $16,000 just on the floors alone the tile is beyond beautiful and will last a life time great porcelain name brand. DirectBuy is setup with alot of Big name companies, it has allowed us to have much better quality for a whole lot less. Occassionally you might find a better sale on Appliances that are on special, so what you buy it where you can get best deal, but as far as the overall Direct Buy ROCKS!!, I bought our large area rug for 1/2 of what I found in the stores on sale, identical, same with wall art/decor 1/2 price. So all in all I think we are pretty much in the Green, money in our pockets……
    Tina L.

  205. Mike,

    In response to what you write:

    1. You are clueless why would you berate a company you stated you have never seen/ been to based upon what others like yourself who only read and make judgement and then put on the web, I find this very sad.

    Why don’t you check it out for yourself before writing about something you know nothing on? I have been a member of Directbuy in OKC for 6 years and have a nothing but a Great experience, their staff is very informative and helpful, they go to bat for you if you have been wronged. We have saved approx $32,000 maybe more. We remodeled our kitchen, Lg. living room, tiled our floors for most of house with large 18′ x 36″ porcelain tiles saved about $15,000 on floors, area rugs we saved 1/2 off what it was in stores on sale for, shipping 1/2 off what stores charged.

    No I am NOT an employee but a very satisfied customer! This is the first time I have ever done one of these blogs, But I found it sad that one person writes crap on a company they know nothing about, writes about how they think it’s a scam and it snowballs from there amazing.

    When you hear what someones says and repeat it it’s just GOSSIP!

  206. It’s just not worth the time it takes to get help making purchases and getting information. I have had the same awful experience several times so it’s not a singular issue. It’s very difficult to get information about products and the staff at the 2 offices I’ve dealt with do not return calls or emails.

  207. As my wife and I were buying a new house that needed work plus appliances, stereo equipment and numerous other items, it sounded like the ideal time to join Direct Buy, so we did in Sep 2008. As we moved in, we built or bought the following items and the only items we were able to save some money on thru Direct Buy was the tile flooring material and granite counter tops. Everything else we were able to source elsewhere at less cost and at equal or better quality:

    Refrigerator (GE)
    Stove/Oven (Jenn Air over/under)
    Garage Door – cheaper at Home Depot
    Plantation shutters for windows throughout downstairs – this was a real kicker as they quoted me a price the night we joined which i expectged to save $1,500 – $2,000. When it came down to actually placing the order at DB, their price was $1,700 higher. I was able to select great quality shutters from another company with better trim options and at less cost.
    Stereo receiver, tower speakers, center speaker (Found same components offered by DB online at less cost than DB)
    Credenza (found in furniture store as there was littel to choose form w/DB)
    Sofa and Love seat (Bought form a local furniture store at a better price than we could find in DB’s site)
    Granite counter tops for kitchen (Some saving here)
    Travertine Flooring tiles (Some saving here)
    Plus a few other odds and ends. Where they get you is their little 8% adder wtih every order. The base price you see for a lot of their items look great but then by the time you add shipping, tax and the 8% DB fee, there are no savings on most everything they sell. At $6,000 membership, i figure you would have to spend over $100,000 in order ot get your payback. We had tons of stuff to buy and saved about 10% on the $15,000 worth of granite and floor tile, We didn’t even renew this year at the $215/year maintenance fee becasue we have no faith in being able to save enough money through them to recoup the $215/year. And we’re a fairly high consuming household. So if we’re not willing to spend $215/year for their membership, then obviously don’t waste your time and money. I’m just shocked that a major class action lawsuit hasn’t been brought against these scammers.

  208. I never post anything on blog to disgust anyone, or any service. This is my first time because I am really really upset, and angry about DB’s service with such a high membership they got from members. I joined the membership since Sept 2011, firstly, I didn’t recieve any membership card even after I paid for 2 months of membership fee, and then when I started to shop and look for things for my new home, guess what? All these appliance and cabinet costs way higher than the “outside” stores, yes, the additional H&S charges, and long long lead time to wait without know when it will be shipped drives you crazy and escalate the feeling of being cheated. There’s no way to find something you need that’s cheaper than what they advertised, turn out I purchased all these kitchen cabinets, tiles, and appliances elsewhere which was cheaper and fast delivery. I’m still waiting for an order that DB shipped wrong and never replied me for the new arrangement. Such a bad taste of dealing with DB, and feel being cheated. I wound never never recommend people joining this club.

  209. How long have you been an employee of Direct Buy?

  210. even though it seems like you did your homework. You still have no clue.

  211. If Directbuy were legit you would be abe to look at everything before you buy. I signed my contract at 9pm I was told I would have my pin number prior to the three days. I didn’t get my pin until 4 days and sent my certifed letter the following day. Directbuy is way out of my league. I am sure it is great for the weathy but what am I going to do with the 6 pairs of sheets that I would need to buy to get a great price? I thought I would sell 4 on ebay, oh wait I am not allowed to do that.

    Now all I can do is wait.

  212. yes, please send me a copy of the spreadsheet

  213. Tom,
    We could not possibly be speaking about the same Direct Buy! My experience with them has been quite troubling. I have been a member for a short time. I purchased the membership because we will soon be purchasing our retirement home and intend to sell our present home and furniture when we relocate at the end of the year. I had searched the catalogue and perused items on-line, but when my washer broke, I had a
    wake-up call! I searched on-line and found a list of machines, but the ones that I was intered in had no price. I could not make it into the store, so I called and spoke with and irate representative who told me that if I would send her a list, she would check the prices for me when she found the time. She rudely responded a day or so later to tell me that the list was inconclusive and the numbers did not match up. I verified the list and e-mailed it to her again. I called her a day later but did not get a response. I left a message for someone but they never returned my call. I was told by someone that I could contact Sears, as they had a few washers that were “approved” for direct buy purchase. I was quoted an astronomical price by a salesperson who seemed quite disenchanted and combative. He had a washer that I was interested in at a tune of $900+. I ended up buying a washer from a local sears store, that was not a Direct Buy approved item, for $550.00 and I am quite satisfied with it. I had another experience in trying to get prices on some kitchen items. I was so disgusted that I abandoned all of the hoobla and went to Lowes.

    The problem with Direct Buy is two-fold. First and foremost navigating through the system can be quite challenging. Secondly. Secondly, customer service is rude and unaccomodating, at best. Thirdly, I am not sure that the prices are better than high-end furniture stores, due to the scanty information available to me.
    I was told that there had been such professionals in place, at one time to provide customers with assistance, but that process had been all but eliminated.

    To search for items on-line that much of the time are out of stock, over-priced and/or prices are not given, all coupled with irate customer service people is not my idea of comfortable shopping experience!

  214. Big Lar,

    We are talking about our OWN, PERSONAL EXPERIENCES WITH DIRECT BUY! The process is horrible. The average customer has difficulty navigating through the system. Many items on-line do not have prices, so comparisons cannot be promptly done. The customer service people are cold, and unfriendly, treating the customers poorly. This fact has been elaborated upon by many customers; too many customers to ignore. The fact that they have been in business so long has to do with the reputation and service that they provided in the past. But, as I understand it, the ownership of the company changed hands and gone are the representatives that kindly assisted the customers in navigating through the system. if you can not get prices for on-line items on-line nor in the stores, then how can you make a comparison? If there is no one to assist with making purchases, then you are limited in what you can purchase, as the desired product is unpriced, IT IS UNAVAILABLE TO YOU! What “facts” have people not gotten straight? You must work for the company. And, the fact that they open two new retailers a month speaks to the suggestion that they are making tons of money from new club memberships, and not from customer purchases. AND IT HAS LITTLE TO DO WITH CUSTOMER SERVICE OR QUALITY PRODUCTS. (HIGH END FURNITURE STORES HAVE COMPARABLE MERCHANDISE THAT IS OFTEN PRICED MUCH BETTER AND THE CUSTOMER SERVICE IS SUPERIOR! LET’S SEE HOW LONG THEY LAST IN MISTREATING CUSTOMERS THIS WAY!


  215. My husband and I joined 9 years ago and we live by consumer reports. We had bought a house 12 years ago and were thinking of a major addition and remodel. We wound up buying a complete kitchen (cabinets, plumbing, appliances, granite counters, lighting, ceramic floor tiling), our remodel materials (vinyl siding, windows,doors), bathrooms (sinks, lighting, vanities, faucets, ceramic tiles,tubs,toilets), furniture (tables, chairs, bedroom sets, upholstered seating, lights). We buy everything there (golf clubs, air conditioners, bikes,electronics,etc) The catalogs are a little challenging, the website terrific, the staff helpful, delivery sometimes challenging, the merchandise first class, and the initiation fee about $2500 back then, plus 175 a year for 10 years. Did we save more that $4250? ABSOLUTELY. Was it ALWAYS the cheapest price? probably not always, but at least 80% of the time. Was the delivery time manageable? Yes.
    Would I join again in the same circumstances? You bet! Would I join if I was not going to use it? no way.

  216. I have been a Direct Buy member for 6 years in Cleveland, Chicago and Cincinnati. This is my 3rd remodel and although I had very good experiences in Cleveland and in Chicago, the Cincinnati location is a whole different story. I had figured out a long time ago that most items can be found alot cheaper online with no 4-6 week lead time but I have used them for cabinets and that seems to have a good price points compared to local cabinet places. But the Cincinnati store has made ordering cabinets extremely difficult. They offer no help and have delayed every small project (bathrooms, laundry room) by 4-8 weeks from the start to the final order process. Then you have to wait 6-8 weeks for delivery. Needless to say this has been very difficult to complete projects with my contractor. I am getting ready to do a kitchen and will not go through Direct Buy for this project.

  217. I agree with you tom.To everyone else, put it this way, we bought our house and were shopping for major appliances and blinds,we joined directbuy 2 months before we moved in, compared prices( sears, maytag stores, the brick, blinds to go,……….) then made our first purchase from directbuy! there, we saved more then the money we paid from the first buy. owner of this website: you are pathetic

  218. I’m not an employee, and I totally agree with Tom.. i bought my membership… as soon as we bought our house and only with all the appliances, fridge, stove, dish washer, washer and dryer we save more than 10k.

    As any membership if we don’t use it you will waste money.. but if you are going to spend 30k or more buying stuff for your house you will save a lot of money.. of course if you want to save a couple of dollars in a TV… probably de 5k membership is not a good option.

  219. its a scam a lie and cost me $250 to find this out need I say more

  220. its printed as a one sided contract dont be fooled you always have three days to cancell

  221. also I would like to know how retail and manufactures would feel about DB slaming and slandering them by name to sell ther memberships

  222. yes they slander and slam companys buy name. They also price compaire in their presentation without buying the product. Something they can void your membership for (in their on-sided contract). Meaning they can void your contract if you price compare from retail stores without intent of buying. They lie about prizes, play you agaist your spouse, embarrass you into signing. Harley Davidson will not give 5% above dealers cost for motorcycles or products so that was another lie.

  223. John, bad job trying to convince people your not an employee. You say you saved 10k….. What did you spend on your kitchen 150,000.00. I am a home builder. I have never put more than 12k worth of appliances in the entire house. You must have built a kitchen for god….. in another words John, your full of it….and I think we all know what your full of….My wife and I have researched and read well over 100 reviews on Direct Buy. It appears that out of about 50 bad reviews, we may have read one good review….

  224. Big Lar
    Did you get a bonus from your boss at DirectBuy for writing this BS review?

  225. You must have made employee of the month with that BS review……

  226. I have found that the majority of bad reviews for DirectBuy are from people who do not even have a membership. Every good review is from someone who actually uses the services they offer.

    They do have a price guarantee, if you do not save at least as much as you paid in, they will compensate you with the difference. They will also match prices. If you find it cheaper elsewhere, bring in the info they will beat the price, not just match it.

    If you are looking for strictly shopping convenience, this may not be the place for you. It may not be the MOST convenient, but the extra research is worth the savings, IMHO.

    And to all of those who respond so rudely to the positive reviews. A company would not have been in business for so long if it didn’t have plenty of happy customers who continue to use their services. No, we were not paid nor employed. We REALLY do find the benefit of the options we have at DirectBuy.

  227. I’m not sure how you think that an employee would receive any benefit from making up a fake review. Even if it did get a couple more customers into a direct buy store chances are it wouldn’t be their store, so they wouldn’t make a dime… and that’s assuming that they even get paid on commission. If you had a different experience write your own review, but don’t bash someone else’s, it wastes the time of people like me who are actually looking into it.

  228. Tina, a personal attack is a sign of trolling. You seem to be caught up in an emotional response. Rest assured that there are those of us who have attended Direct Buy’s high pressure sales pitches and when we did we were uncomfortable with our experiences.

    I for one desperately need to remodel my kitchen. I’d love to be able to purchase high-end kitchen cabinets for the cost of regular cabinets. However, when I read that a single Direct Buy member has had a bad experience which resulted in a lawsuit, I know that I don’t want to borrow trouble from that source. It’s safer to be happy with regular cabinets, knowing that I’ll have good customer service and people I trust to back me up if something goes wrong.

    If you cannot comprehend that, then you must have more invested in Direct Buy than the membership fees. Are you a stockholder? Does a family member work there? Whatever the reason, whatever your connection, it makes no difference. Some of us dislike buying into problems. When something seems too good to be true, sometimes it is. That’s what I have found in this case. I don’t want to take the chance of having to pay for my cabinets twice over. I don’t like that I have to replace them once.

  229. So you saved $4500 in buying a refrigerator, gas stove and dishwasher. You should not be paying more than $6000 total for those 3 appliances unless you have zero common sense about quality appliances (even stainless steel).

  230. So, did anyone get the free stuff they promise for showing up for the sales pitch?

  231. I have to agree there are savings. Is it difficult to manage the showroom absolutely. short on help? Yes. The system difficult? Yes. Was i skeptical after I joined? Yes. Us there a lot if homework to verify the savings? Yes. I saved at least 40% on furniture. Did I compare the cost with retail? Yes. I found my carpet I wanted and couldn’t afford and went to direct and found close to 50% less. I just bought a cocktail table side tables a curio cabinet and new stove. I placed calls to the stores who carried those lines and got prices. Yes I did save…. Lots. I’m doing a remodel and am getting bathroom appliances, flooring Ect and compared to the showroom prices and wow these retailers make a pretty penny. Don’t get me wrong I was having a difficult time at first. Do your homework that’s the hard part . Electronics are marginally cheaper about 20 % because of the best buy and bigger chains and competition. I swear on my husbands tight wallet I saved several times the membership. Yes we were building so we had a lot to buy. Worst part be prepared to spend time in the showroom beyond what u would like.

  232. My complaint is they closed my local showroom (next closest is 40 miles away) 1 year after we joined, thus rendering the membership pretty much worthless, The proximity of the showroom (next door to my place of business, making pickups easy) was one of the 2 reasons (the other is saving money) for our joining. It can be said “they took my money and blew town!!”.

    Speaking to the other complaints I have read. I my opinion perhaps this business model is becoming, over time, more and more inconsistent with (evolving) customer expectations. Put another way, there is growing body of perceived “underhandedness” which I think will reach a “critical mass” in which the Direct Buy model cannot survive.

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