How Much Is A DirectBuy Membership?

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.

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14 Responses to “How Much Is A DirectBuy Membership?”

  1. avatar DoNotWait says:

    Gosh! Did not know it was working that way. Not interested either! That is for sure. Thank you for the research!

  2. avatar Chris says:

    Uh-oh. I bet this will be your highest commented post with “customers” praising Direct Buy for the tremendous value, but really will just be paid shills who are paid to search for any article negative about direct buy and post their side and pretend to be customers. But, time will tell.

  3. In light of comments and testimonials soliciting others to “be like me, I’m a member and I’m saving money”, 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: the potential victim is baited to call for more information after seeing a tempting infomercial and how on the “inside” someone can get better deals or a telephone “tickler” call is made to a potential victim and an informative letter or brochure 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. All the while the con artists are keeping certain important information secret from their intended victim, so 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.

    The scam involves their very effectivly hiding 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 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 franchiseOR reserves “the right to keep rebates, discounts and other payments from manufacturers and suppliers.” They 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. This marketing scheme is now the subject of a number of class action lawsuits around the country.

    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’m a member and I’ve saved money.” — You may not!

    http://edumacation.com/DirectBuy

  4. $5000 just to walk in the door? That’s crazy. I don’t need to buy anymore junk in any case. We live in a small place and it’s already full.

  5. I have always wondered how much it cost, and now that I know, I think it is a total rip-off.

    My wife and I renovated our house about a year ago, and we were thinking about using them, but they make you pay up front, and you don’t even get to see what they have to offer.

    We ended up getting very creative and using Costco and Amazon, as well as Appliance.com, and we saved boatloads of money.

    I definitely don’t think you need to shell out that kind of cash up front to save in the future.

  6. avatar Jess says:

    this just sounds like the rantings of an angry ex-employee. you have to look at the benefits too. the sales reps don’t even make commission…they don’t care if you buy.

  7. avatar Davin says:

    I just received a flyer from DirectBuy stating that just for coming in for the open house i would receive a free android tablet and a $100 gift card. The fine print…if you are married, you both must attend, no children, and it last for up to 90 minutes. The only reason that i called was for the free tablet for attending the sales pitch, knowing that i wasn’t going to purchase a membership, especially after finding out that they run at $5,000. My advice, don’t bother with the gimmicks and waste your time, unless you like gifts for wasting up to a hour and a half of your time! Needless to say, i called back to cancel the appointment because of the no children rule, i expect to start receiving phone calls shortly.

  8. avatar Walter says:

    Thanks this saved me alot of time I could of wasted doing research on DirectBuy. $5,000 – $10,000 is my limit for kitchen renovation anyways.

    Thanks
    – Walter

  9. avatar AngelW says:

    My husband and I have been members since 1997. We love it and have bought many items from them including furniture and remodeling project items. We have always been happy with the products we have purchased and have more than saved the money that we invested in the membership. I am not a paid employee, just an average homeowner who does her research. I don’t exclusively purchase everything at direct buy either. I recently couldn’t find a sofa and loveseat from them and ended up buying from LazyBoy instead. We always do our homework before we purchase items and save anywhere from 10 – 40% on our purchases. The quality is much higher than you can find at most big box stores. If you are not furnishing several rooms of a home or doing any major remodeling this would not be worth it, but if you are it may take you a few large purchase to save the membership cost, but you will definitely recoup the money you spend. We have saved more that 3x what we have spent.

  10. avatar Ken says:

    Only join DB if you can afford to dump $50k to just break even with your membership. (the not-in-stock models, no return policy and month long delivery times might be an issues for some.)

    I admit, I was one of those few that was suckered in on the open house. High pressure tactics mixed with common sense ideas of no middle man…(DB becomes the middle man), forced to sign under threat that ‘this offer will not be offered if you walk out the door’, lifetime ban in all direct buys. –that should have been my hint to run or call the police.

    After thinking about it, I put in my cancellation notice with-in the 3 days… they apparently lost the letter and refuse to honor the request. The finance company was sent a copy and I know they received it. Two months later they send membership cards! … A month after signing and backing out, my mother passed without insurance and I’m now fighting to avoid chapter 7. 8 months later I’m still fighting Vera Finance who is aggressively trying to collect and threating wage garnishment and court…. Vera has no email or fax numbers, and an F rating with the BBB, very hard to send documents or proof other than certified letter.

    My advice to anyone in middle or lower class incomes…. run away from DB, don’t go in… they just want to hook you on a finance plan and could care less if you actually use their service.

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