After watching a TV infomercial about Direct Buy I decided to contact them via their website and request more information.
Approximately 2 days later I received a call from a Direct Buy sales representative and given the opportunity to attend an "Open House." I was informed on the phone that my wife must also attend and that no children are allowed.
Upon our arrival to the Direct Buy "Showroom" we were pleasantly greeted by the receptionist and shortly after were introduced to a nice girl who was our tour guide.
Upon entering the "showroom" (if you can call it that) we noticed a few people browsing around, looking through catalogs, staff smiling and assisting the "members" and even a small child playing in the childrens play area. ("Members" can bring children into the showroom.) However, it all appeared too perfect and I just couldn't help but feel that all of this was staged and everyone there was actually an employee.
After briefly walking around with our tour guide, we were sat at a table and asked various questions such as place of employment, years there, job titles, # children, own or rent, etc. Just a bunch of small talk in an attempt by the tour guide to form a relationship and see if we meet the "standards."
Our tour guide then presented us with a binder containing approximately 10 issues of Direct Buys member magazine "Directions." We flipped through the pages and I immediately noticed that the prices in the magazine were not anything lower than I could buy the same product for anywhere else additionally their prices did not include shipping, tax and the 8% fee that gets tacked on to the entire purchase.
We were then ushered into another room with other couples attending the "Open House" and introduced to yet another employee who gave us a 45 minute verbal and video presentation about how much money we could save by joining Direct Buy.
At the conclusion of his presentation, we were informed that it would cost $4800 to join for 36 months and then $190 per year for years 4-10. We both just laughed knowing that this would negate any savings we might get by joining. The real kicker here is that we are told that we must sign the contract today before we leave or we can't join later!
We were then led out of the room with the other couples and I noticed all of the "Tour Guides" surrounding us from the back rather than coming up to us from the front. Gave me a very uncomfortable feeling. Also in front of us was a person in a room with the "Kitchen Remodeling Consultant" with their kitchen design on a huge projection on the wall so we could all see it (small child was still playing in the childrens area too!) Again, I just couldn't help but feel that this is all being staged!
Our Tour Guide then escorted us over to a table and began asking us what we thought about Direct Buy, etc. We both just looked and said no thank you.
We were then immediately escorted out of the building so there was no chance on any interaction between us and anyone either waiting to attend the presentation or those that have already attended the presentation. I'm not even sure how many of those other couples were actually there for the presentation or were they in actuality staged employees!
The real issues with Direct Buy are:
1. There are very few people I know that have $4800 to give away when they attend an "Open House." That's why Direct Buy also offers a payment plan that tacks on a huge interest rate in addition to the $4800.
2. Once signed, the Direct Buy contract can't be broken (according to Direct Buy.) A person is not given the opportunity to review the contract at home nor are they given an opportunity to have the contract reviewed by a lawyer if they desire. It must be signed there or you must leave! Keep in mind their contract is for "Membership Dues" rather than goods or services making it almost impossible to get out of once it is signed!
3. If Direct Buy truly stood behind their promises of saving people so much money they would encourage all attending an "Open House" to make a list of any big ticket items they plan on purchasing prior to attending along with the best prices they could find locally and then compare the Direct Buy price (including shipping, tax and 8% fee) to the best price the person found for the same items. Rather, Direct Buy uses the excuse that this will anger the retail stores.
Lastly, it is just bad business to try and pressure anyone into signing a contract without allowing someone to read it in their home or have it reviewed.
Hyde Park, New York