What's the "catch" with DirectBuy

I bet everyone has seen their infomercials on TV. Buy brand name furniture and appliances and save 50%. So what’s the “catch”? Do I have to pay for an expensive membership? Is it the old 50% of the ridiculously inflated “list price” that nobody in their right mind would ever pay? Can I get the same stuff at about the same price at a discount retailer?

Has anyone out there used DirectBuy?

I imagine it’s a combination of everything you said.
You get a limited selection of merchandise that they bought at closeout/liquidation prices from manufacturers and they’ll quote your savings off of the original MSRP.
In addition you’ll pay them a membership fee (no idea how much) to have the honor of buying from them.
There’s plenty of places to buy closeout home remodeling materials at a bargain without having to pay someone to do so. Just have to look through the phone book.

Yes, yes, and yes.

Like you said- that leather couch they have for $1950, 50% of the $3900 MSRP? You can buy it at any furniture store for $1699. :slight_smile:

Okay. That’s what I thought. Thanks.

The “membership” is insanely high.

For their Mountain View location, you have to cough up $6500 to join, and the part that’s really fishy about them is that you have to either pay up at the time you first visit them, or you’re banished forever. They absolutely will not allow you any time to think it over and come back tomorrow to join.

A simple Google search on “Direct Buy complaints” yields more than 300,000 hits. That should occupy your time for a bit.

Jesus, that first link is 26 freaking pages of people who plunked down five grand on the spot and now regret it :eek:

Point made.


Sweet cracker sandwiches, those Direct Buy people sound like demons.

The first time I saw a Direct Buy advertisement, I was instantly thinking “SCAM!” I couldnt put my finger on it, so I googled

Direct Buy Scam
All the above, plus you dont get warranties on the items you buy through DC, that you might get at the “real” store.

My best friend works in after-sales customer service at a DB here in Ottawa. It might be slightly different in the US.

The membership cost is $5000 and like gotpasswords said, you either have to join on your first visit, or you’re banned (supposedly has something to do with seeing all of their “deals”).

Basically, you get the merchandise at cost. No mark-up from the retailer. Nothing at their DB is from close outs or liquidations and everything is ordered directly from the manufacturer, sometimes taking MONTHS to get to the warehouse.

You get all of the manufacturers warranties at the point of sale, but trying to get your stuff repaired or replaced is difficult. My best friend works in this department.

Needless to say, her last day is this Friday.

Wow. On the other hand, in the US at least, all furniture is a scam. Everyone knows that car salesmen are paid on commission, few realize furniture salesmen are too. And the margins are even higher.

I gotta admire that they insist on both husband and wife coming together- that way they avoid the “I have to talk it over with my spouse” cop out. They even cover the “I can’t find a babysitter” backout by asking you on the website if you have kids and have a babysitter for the day of your sales pitch- its pretty creepy. I signed up for a meeting just to see how many times they call me today.

My brother is a member of Direct Buy. He doesn’t regret it, but he recognizes that they aren’t quite as good a deal as they tell you they are. And when they replaced the stove (or something) in their kitchen, they went directly to Sears, so that if something malfunctioned, they could call Sears to get a repairman to come deal with the stove, rather than start from scratch looking for a good repairman.

On the other hand, they bought a kitchen sink which is nifty which they would not have been able to buy otherwise, because the “direct from the manufacturers” bit bypasses Home Depot and Loew’s and their tendency to make available only the 100 most popular inexpensive models of sinks. (Details made up to suit me).

But my brother agrees with the assessment that on some products, there isn’t much difference between what you pay if you go the Direct Buy route as opposed to what you pay if you buy from an ordinary retailer.

And he feels like their membership pricing scheme is weird.

He doesn’t think it’s a scam, exactly, but he figures that you need to totally remodel your kitchen or something to really get your money’s worth from membership. (Yes, he did remodel the kitchen, and yes, he feels like he saved enough to make that money back and yes, he’s done enough pricing comparison to know the difference between what he “saved” and what he really saved. Although I suppose there’s still some eye of the beholder).

The only person I know who bought a membership was remodeling a whole house and also adding an addition to the house, so they felt they got a pretty good deal from DB. Anyone who is not doing a large project like that would likely not benefit from membership.

Friend of a friend says some of the products you can get fom DirectBuy are normal, typical products, but many of them are just cheap junk that falls apart while they deliver or install it.

My dad wanted to buy some hardwood flooring and went to a DirecBuy center. They went through this whole song-and-dance of issuing everyone name badges to get in like it was some big privledge to be there. And there was a membership fee, $5000 or more if I recall correctly. Plus, they would say how much the discount would be. They wouldn’t discuss numbers at all except the membership fee. Their attitude was you pay the membership, then we’ll see what sort of prices we can get.

A bit off topic, but a great story.

Several years ago, I was in Vegas on business and I went to a time-share presentation at some resort in exchange for free food and a free swim. I was with a male business associate.

As soon as they started to try and sell us a timeshare, we informed them that we were both married, but not to each other and that our respective spouses didn’t even know that we were in Vegas. BTW, we had rehearsed the story but it WASN"T true.

But that shut them up good, and they let us enjoy the rest of the afternoon without further hassle.