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Just Say No to Direct Buy

No Direct BuyA few years ago, we got a mailer from a company called DirectBuy. It sounded a bit like a Costco or Sam’s Club for home builders, designers, or remodelers. I’ve been a happy customer of Costco for years and thought I’d give it a try.

First, I googled for info about the company. What I found was not encouraging. There were myriad complaints about the high price of membership coupled with the lack of real savings and the limited availability of products. And nearly every single such post with an open comment option had a very suspicious, repetitious rebuttal. “I love Direct Buy. I saved a gazillion dollars. But it’s not for everyone. It’s for those who are building high-end homes with quality interiors. So it’s probably not a fit for you schmucks who just want cheap crap.”

Still, I decided to get a closer look before deciding. I can have an open mind!

I went to their website, per the mailer directions, and signed up. A few days later, I got a phone call. I was a bit annoyed at all the conditions, such as the demand that my spouse be there if I was married. It started to sound like a timeshare sales pitch.

The real roadblock came when I asked the salesman questions, such as:

  1. How much is the membership fee?
  2. Can I bring a list of specific items we’ll be purchasing and get your prices on them, before signing up?
  3. Must I sign up when I come in or can I go home and think about it?

The answers I got were:

  1. That is set by the individual store. (And I’m not telling you more than that!)
  2. No.
  3. You must sign up when you come in.

Um. No.

And when I balked, the guy got downright belligerent. And he called back to berate me. Very professional.

If you need more reasons not to go, Steve Bass has plenty.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Stephanie O. July 30, 2009, 8:48 am

    I wish I’d read this four years ago. I’m embarrassed because in hindsight it seems like such an obvious scam, for reasons that you mention (sign up today or go away forever! How can we have fallen for that!).

    You can indeed save some money, but shipping charges are higher than you think (and higher than they say when you’re there). The customer service is abysmal – once they have your very high membership fee, why do they care about customer service? You cannot return items, of course. You can refuse a shipment if it’s damaged, but it is very difficult to properly inspect something at their warehouse – you have to take it home (so it’s nice for it to still be packed), and there isn’t space to really take things out for inspection.

    I’m glad you did your research – I wish I had.  

  • PowHound August 1, 2009, 12:57 am

    Great post thanks for posting it!

  • Braceface August 2, 2009, 8:27 pm

    Good article . Will definitely link to it from blog.Thanks.

  • John August 3, 2009, 7:42 am

    I really like your blog and i respect your work. I’ll be a frequent visitor.

  • HotSpotter August 3, 2009, 9:51 pm

    This is an in depth article and full of useful information. Thanks for the warning about DB. But don’t be surprised if your blog suddenly gets spammed with hired guns telling you how wonderful DB is “for upscale homes” and “home owners who want classy stuff.” Blah!

  • Cristy August 5, 2009, 10:15 am

    Valuable thoughts and advice. I read your post with great interest.

  • Soony4 August 7, 2009, 3:09 pm

    Having been through the scam, I agree. Don’t waste your money and don’t listen to the pleas to class envy. You’ll get better stuff, faster, at a better price through reputable store.

  • Dave October 3, 2009, 6:38 am

    I’ve seen those commercials. Good to have a heads up at the problems at this place. I agree, if they won’t let you think about it, there’s a really good reason!

  • Lindylee October 4, 2009, 7:26 am

    I want to say thank you for this! Saved me a bundle.

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