So many companies advertise memberships to their clubs on television and the Internet. These companies often entice consumers with the lure of big savings yet fail to reveal their membership prices publicly. So, I will take a look at a few membership clubs over the next few weeks and exactly how much it would cost you to join them. The first secret membership cost that I would like to take a look at is DirectBuy.
DirectBuy Club Membership
DirectBuy offers its members the opportunity to save lots of money on home furnishings, home improvement items, electronics, appliances, jewelry, and other accessories DirectBuy claims that its members save an average of 40% on products since they don’t have to pay markups. I scoured the company’s website looking for pricing information. There was not a single membership price listed. You have to attend an “Open House” as a guest to find out this information.
At these Open Houses customers are given the high pressure sales pitch as salesmen try to close the deal. Guests have to watch videos and endure long sales presentations. After this is over, they have to make a decision on whether or not to join DirectBuy on the spot. If they choose not to join at that time they cannot return to DirectBuy. That’s not too much pressure, right?
So, how much is a DirectBuy membership? The average membership fee is $5,000 and it goes up from there. Most members pay $5,995 for the Silver package and some Gold members have paid as much as $10k. Some members have been able to negotiate a fee as low as $3,500. There is also the $199 annual fee that kicks in after three years.
If you don’t have the $5,000, don’t worry! You can always finance the membership at a double digit interest rate. Customers are paying between 17 and 18% annually for the privilege of financing.
Is it worth it?
In my opinion, no way! I have talked to a few people that joined DirectBuy and regretted the decision almost immediately. One of them tried to get out of the contract a day later and said that trying to cancel was an absolute nightmare.
It is not worth it to me to pay $5,000 upfront and then an annual membership fee for the privilege of shopping at DirectBuy. Besides most of the products are bought out of catalogs or online since space is limited at the showrooms. I prefer to make large purchases in person especially with DirectBuy’s no return policy.
It may be worth it to a few people however. If you consistently buy a lot of home furnishings or are in the home improvement business then you may see a DirectBuy membership as an investment.
I’ll pass on DirectBuy
I always find it shady when a company has to entice buyers with free stuff and then hits them with a sales pitch. Many DirectBuy guests are lured into the showrooms by the chance to win $50,000 in cash and a free home makeover. Ultimately, they find out that this is just a way of obtaining access to their personal information so that they can try to sell them products. There are horror stories all over the Internet of DirectBuy visitors being harassed with a barrage of phone calls and emails despite their refusal to join.
Besides any company that cannot tell me the price before I set foot in their offices is not a company that I want to join.