• Report: #204717

Complaint Review: Direct Buy

  • Submitted: Sat, August 05, 2006
  • Updated: Fri, July 31, 2009

  • Reported By:Brooklyn New York
Direct Buy
72-75- Queens Blvd Woodhaven, New York U.S.A.

INVESTIGATION: DirectBuy members can feel safe, confident & secure when doing business with Direct Buy. DirectBuy 100% commitment to member satisfaction helping them realize their dreams through exceptional customer experiences & unparalleled savings, service, & selection. Commitment to Rip-off Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program, ..A program that benefits the consumer, assures them of complete satisfaction and confidence. Merrillville Indiana
*UPDATE: Direct Buy partnered with world-renowned customer service authority Maritz Corporation to assist them in customer feedback & improving policies & procedures. Rip-off Report Verified Safe

*Consumer Comment: I have comepared and saved

*Consumer Comment: I have comepared and saved

*Consumer Comment: I have comepared and saved

*Consumer Comment: Different Experience

*Consumer Comment: DirectBuy does in fact profit from your purchases

*Consumer Comment: I would believe Consumer Reports before

*Consumer Comment: Response On Direct Buy

*Consumer Comment: A major consumer publication

*Consumer Comment: Thanks, both reports are helpful

*Consumer Comment: Direct Buy Member for 4 Years, No Problems

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Rip-off Report Investigation:

EDitors UPDATE: Positive Rating and Recognition has been given to DirectBuy for its Commitment to Excellence in customer service.

Rip-off Reports investigation of DirectBuy uncovers an ongoing commitment to total client satisfaction. This means that clients can expect the company will always work towards finding a mutually satisfactory resolution to any complaints or concerns in the past, present or future. DirectBuy pledges to help members and guests realize their dreams through exceptional customer experiences and unparalleled savings, service, and selection.

The Rip-Off Report Investigation revealed a demonstrated commitment by DirectBuy to providing excellent customer service and resolving customer issues. They achieve this through several means, including a recent partnership with customer service experts to actively survey their members and guests and make changes that improve their processes and ensure a uniform exceptional experience for every customer. To address the most common concerns, DirectBuy recently started offering free trial memberships at participating club locations, as well as additional tiers and terms of membership to meet a broader range of household budgets.

The Investigation also showed that DirectBuy members are renewing their memberships at record rates, indicating members are still very satisfied with the value they receive through DirectBuys home furnishings and home improvement products and services. DirectBuy is one of the largest consumer buying clubs of its kind, and we are convinced they are dedicated to using feedback from customers to continually improve their policies and procedures.

One DirectBuy executive explained about their many changes stating, We have a team of service support specialists available specifically to address concerns from members and guests who visit Rip-Off Report. We want to ensure that their experiences with DirectBuy are positive, whether they join or not." Should you require this assistance, please contact them at DirectBuyHELP@directbuy.com Provide your name, the date of your issue, and the name of the location you visited. If you are a member, please include your member number if available.

Given DirectBuys commitment to excellent customer service, they were alarmed by some of the complaints lodged with Rip-off Report. Rip-off Report found that most complaints about DirectBuy were made by non-members who were critical of the cost of membership and the policy that a decision about membership must be made the same day of the open house visit. The policy is there to protect the manufacturers. It ensures their confidential pricing cannot be used by non-members to negotiate better deals with retail stores, thereby protecting the best possible pricing to members. The policy has not changed, but as stated above, new tiers and terms of membership are being offered at participating club locations

DIRECT BUY recognizes that complaints posted on Rip-off Report (true or not) are issues that need to be addressed and if handled correctly can be valuable learning opportunities. With the feedback generated by Rip-off Reports Investigation DirectBuy has made the necessary organizational changes to allow their members a more streamlined approach to problem resolution and a total overall commitment to customer experience. As one senior executive stated, We have learned that even the most committed companies can make mistakes, but if you really pay attention, you can learn from them. Weve adjusted policies to please both members and manufacturers, and we hope that anyone who has further suggestions on how we can improve our services will contact us with their ideas.

In summary, after our investigation, which included discussions with DirectBuy Senior Management, Rip-off Report is convinced that the company has been and is committed to quality delivery of services resulting in total client satisfaction.

Read about DirectBuy .. see their websites and the services they have to offer.

Read more about DirectBuys Commitment to Excellence and Total Consumer Satisfaction and why consumers should feel safe, confident and secure when doing business with a member of Rip-off Report's Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program. ..yes, a long name for a program that does a lot for both consumers and businesses alike.

Read about Rip-off Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program,..A program that benefits the consumer, assures them of complete satisfaction and confidence when doing business with a member business. this program works.

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NOW TO THE ORIGINAL REPORT THAT WAS FILED
=====================

Direct Buy High Pressure, Vague, Misleading Woodhaven New York

After nibbling on their well presented advertising carrot, my wife and I decided that our upcomming refurnishing plans might be considerably cheaper if we joined what seemed to be a highly recognized (BBB, Dun & Brad, Fortune 500 Co) (PS,A CHECK THAT NIGHT REVEALED NO SUCH AFFILIATIONS OR RANKINGS AS CLAIMED !!!)buyers co-op. From the first moment,there were red flags.

At every turn there were rules restricting every movement.....who could attend, who MUST attend, even who COULDN'T attend. Couple this with very little, if any, advance info about the programs cost or terms, and it was easy to see why our "Scam Antennas" were at 3/4 mast already. We were unimpressed as we were greeted by a fast and smooth talking salesman, who was equally unimpressed having to try to sell his product to a guy who wore his name tag on his hat and his wife who spilled coffee on her white shirt in the car on the way over.

Maybe it was that,it may have been my wifes obvious disintrest, or maybe it was when my lack of price savvy was exposed when we played "The price is Right" regarding a grandfather clock and pool table, my guesses overshot the actual price by more than double. Whatever the reason, he decided to focus his attention on the other two couples in our group, neither of whom would be prepared for what was to come.

I must admit that my antenna retracted a bit during our visit. As we were shown one product after another, with all the pricing involved, it seemed like a good deal. We had concerns about quality, those were answered immediatly as there were many high quality companies involved. As we neared the end of the tour, 90 minutes into it, my wife and I were actually taking a guess, or establishing a monitary threshhold that we would accept. Again, I was way off the mark, but I don't think anyone in the room was ready for the numbers that followed.

All I remember is some mention of $4300 and than a yearly membership for 7 years thereafter....not much memory of what happened next, my wife says I stopped breathing for about 10 minutes.

Next thing I knew we were sitting at a table waiting for the salesman to give us a "personal" talk. They divided us up VERY QUICKLY before anyone could recover enough to speak, and although there were PLENTY of tables to sit at, we were directed to sit at tables ONLY with a "Reserved" sign on them. The tables were spaced far enough apart the you that if you tried to you couldn't communicate with anyone else unless you had a cell phone. Well, strike that because one of the endless rules was NO CELL PHONES ALLOWED.

Antennas were up again as our salesman came to our table to gauge intrest. I guess my wife asked one of those foolish questions, when she asked if she could look at the brochures to get a guage of what products were offered and at what prices. The answer was a condensending "....if you NEED to."

When she asked the timeframe of our decision,it was explained to us that we weren't allowed a second visit, as they were protecting against people who would use their showroom as a price barometer and run back and forth to retailers with price quotes, the manufactureres would receive complaints from the retailers, and not allow direct purchases in the future. Fair enough, but as a person who spends a few weeks investigating the price and detail of a new cordless phone, I would like a night or two before commiting to spending $6000. The answer was that we had to sign now, or never be allowed to. She asked if we could think about it and CALL, not visit again, so as to eliminate the threat of our price knowledge. This time the answer was about how many people visited the showroom. I interupted and s l o w l y repeated the question, as we didn't ask about people visiting. The response was to hand us off to another salesman.

After all this my wife looked at me and said, "Lets go.

From the time I was home looking at the website, I should have decided it up to a scam. There are SO many red flags,they are VERY good about theit business,as most scam artests are. They do everything with a purpose, a reason, but we went for a look anyway. I can only wonder about the other couples that were still in conversation with these people as we left. They could probably ill afford to lose that much money, as they seemed to be people that were just making ends meet, and were going to fall prey to their talk about how you can do more for your family by joining.

The main purpose of this writting is just to inform all that read it that there is nothing about this deal that smells good, and after reading all of these complaints, I am so glad that we walked away. Hindsight is so clear now that this is a scam, but this afternoon, it wasn't that clear. The funny thing is that I told my wife, that if they weren't so greedy ($6k),and asked for say $2k, I would have given her an argument for signing.

It won't be long before I see them on a "Shame on you" type news report.

Eric
Brooklyn, New York
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/05/2006 04:49 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Direct-Buy/Woodhaven-New-York/INVESTIGATION-DirectBuy-members-can-feel-safe-confident-secure-when-doing-business-wit-204717. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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#1 Consumer Comment

I have comepared and saved

AUTHOR: Melissa - (U.S.A.)

I've compared prices of big named retailers and online shops with those of Direct Buy and still came out saving more with purchasing my products with my membership. I've been a customer for 2 years now and have already made up for the 3 year membership plus much more
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#2 Consumer Comment

I have comepared and saved

AUTHOR: Melissa - (U.S.A.)

I've compared prices of big named retailers and online shops with those of Direct Buy and still came out saving more with purchasing my products with my membership. I've been a customer for 2 years now and have already made up for the 3 year membership plus much more
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#3 Consumer Comment

I have comepared and saved

AUTHOR: Melissa - (U.S.A.)

I've compared prices of big named retailers and online shops with those of Direct Buy and still came out saving more with purchasing my products with my membership. I've been a customer for 2 years now and have already made up for the 3 year membership plus much more
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#4 Consumer Comment

Different Experience

AUTHOR: C. - (U.S.A.)

To all those put off by UCC's "sales" pitch, I highly agree. When I first walked in, the pitch was so offputting that I almost walked away. My rep was awful, but I decided to join because I saw the savings on some items I needed.

My experience as a "member" has been generally positive. I think the main problem with this company is that each "showroom" is an individually owned franchise run by people who have never had a business before. Some owners may be unscrupulous. Unless the corporate office hears a complaint directly from you, the company cannot address complaints. People might be able to change their sales tactics by calling the corporate office and complaining. I think the sales program comes from them, since everyone has about the same experience.

Membership to this company is only worth it if you are doing some MAJOR purchases for your home. Not a new TV or sofa, but MAJOR purchases. My family has purchased an entire kitchen - cabinets, sink, faucet, countertop, major appliances, the works. We saved more than our membership fee on just the cabinets. We compared apples to apples at Home Depot, Expo and Lowes. Our high end countertop was 3/4 the price of anywhere else we shopped. We got better quality for less money. Period. My showroom rep told me up front that we wouldn't save much on electronics. The major savings are in kitchens, furniture and window coverings. The window coverings we purchased were one-third of the sale price of Home Depot Expo.

This membership has allowed my family to buy higher-end things than we could have afforded otherwise for less than the average quality we could normally afford. Doing this requires an enormous amount of research, patience and the willngness to check out brands you aren't familiar with. Homework is essential, but if money is tight, you do what you have to do.

We have had an issue with our showroom that we couldn't get resolved and after calling the "mother ship", the franchise changed the way they handle calls and my problem was solved within a week.

My advice to people having problems with their local showroom is to call or write the corporate office. You have nothing to lose by doing so.
Good Luck.
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#5 Consumer Comment

DirectBuy does in fact profit from your purchases

AUTHOR: David - (U.S.A.)

Despite claims to the contrary, DirectBuy's only income are not their membership fee's. Similar to a time share's 'maintenance fee', DirectBuy has an 8% surcharge on nearly all items that they offer. They call it a 'handling fee' (yes, just like the elusive fee that accompanies most 'exclusive TV offers'). This handling fee is what pays the same overhead that all other retailers have to cover. The difference is that other retailers call it a markup, while DirectBuy prefers to deny that they would do such a thing.

While it is generally true that the consumer takes certain risks when buying, DirectBuy's predatory and dishonest practices should not be tolerated.
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#6 Consumer Comment

I would believe Consumer Reports before

AUTHOR: Thomas - (U.S.A.)

I believed unknown posters here...

This says it all:
"Their income is totally dependant on your membership fee. That is it. They make not one cent off of your purchase."

So once they have your money, given that they "make not one cent off of your purchase", what are their incentives to actually perform their services?? There ARE no incentives for them to perform their services. So if they disappoint you, too bad!
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#7 Consumer Comment

Response On Direct Buy

AUTHOR: Richard - (U.S.A.)

As a Member for 12 years I would like to say that Direct Buy was never a part of Unimart or whatever other company the person above referenced. They were previously known as UCC which was completely different. Also the theory of the other individual adding on the $5000 to the cabinet cost...thats the idea, the $5000 is subtracted from your savings until you're in the black. However the concept of every years renewal being $1k is fantastic, I'll tell you, mine aren't even 1/5 of that.

I have done several homes and countless gifts. They were pretty upfront with me on whether or not the investment would pay off for me. In the end, I've been able to do so much more and get such a great quality, I recommend them to people I feel can use them but there are many who can't. Everyone can find closeouts and stumble on great deals in retail is the bottom line, but this place, the store isn't dictating, your style is. So join don't join but everyone slamming the place thus far is not a member and I am so take that into consideration.

R.
St. Petersburg, Florida
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#8 Consumer Comment

A major consumer publication

AUTHOR: Greg - (U.S.A.)

Consumer Reports (or CR Money Advisor) took a look at DirectBuy, and said most items were available at other retailers for similar prices. Sure, DirectBuy prices are below list price, but so are most stores.

They also reported that shipping and handling ate away any savings on the few items that were actually priced lower.

This company used to go by the name Unimart, and I remember my friends purchasing a membership in the late '80s for $1200, and then buying furniture at a different store anyway.

Do not fall for this rip-off.
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#9 Consumer Comment

Thanks, both reports are helpful

AUTHOR: Jay - (U.S.A.)

My wife and I actually considered joining Direct Buy. What turned me off originally was:

1. It's marketed at 3:30AM eastern like your usual 'get-rich-quick-scheme' or should I say, 'too-good-to-be-true' methods.

2. They never discussed how much the membership fee was, only how much money you'd be allegedly saving. But I'm guessing when you add back the cost of membership, you really don't save much.

Like I said, I'm thankful for both comments. Fortunately for me and my money, I won't be utilizing Direct Buy for anything but a good laugh and something to watch when I can't sleep.

I think the lady speaking for Direct Buy contradicted herself and may merely be a representative from Direct Buy attempting to 'save face' for the company.

If you are remodeling your home and the quote is 21K for cabinets. You get those cabinets from Direct Buy for 9K. Well now lets add back the 5K you spend for membership your already back to 14K. You never mentioned taxes which you have to add to this equation so now it's 15.12K. If the membership cost 1K/year for the 6 remaining years you are under contract (Note: you'll only probably remodel your home once in that time span) you're up to $21,120 for your cabinets and I didn't even include the cost of labor, shipping, & shipping insurance.

So, to people who can do basic arithmetic IT'S NOT A GOOD DEAL! Coupled with the fact that you can't find out if you're getting a deal until you've already entered into a contract, you're getting played. Maybe if you were filthy rich, this would work for you. However, even rich people don't remodel that often.

Well that's my two cents, thanks for the penny for your thoughts...
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#10 Consumer Comment

Direct Buy Member for 4 Years, No Problems

AUTHOR: Lisa - (U.S.A.)

My husband and I have been direct buy members (Long Island, NY) for about four years now, with no problems. My mother (Long Island, NY) is a member and so is my step-sister (Peru, MA).

All three of us had joined because we were either building or buying new homes. My mother and step-sister were building new, and I was purchasing an older home.

If you are not looking to completely remodel your home, Direct Buy may not be economical. But if you are looking to remodel or build, its a good choice.

Yes, I agree, they have a harsh sales approach. You come in, you see the video, you work with a sales person, see some examples and are then expected to join up or never come back.

Now, I have read several of these blogs of people complaining or insisting that they can get a better deal. If you are getting a better deal then Direct Buy then its either stolen or discontinued.

Here is how the place works. Their income is totally dependant on your membership fee. Thats it. They make not one cent off of your purchase. The purchases are pooled together from across the nation at the same time and sent directly to the manufacturer. It is pretty impossible for you to get a better deal at a retail store then an order directly with the manufacturer for 1,000 plus units.

We had purchased one of those home weather stations that tells you outside temperature, humidity, etc. A week after we received it we received a check back for $25. Thats because from the time we ordered it until the manufacturer shipped it from their location, they had lowered their prices. Like I said, they dont make a penny off of any product sales.

Now, some items have more retail markup then others. For example, jewelry is marked up somewhere in the neighborhood of 300% when you buy it at Macys or other stores. But, electronics are marked up only about 10%. So what you might save in flat price you make up for in delivery costs.

My mothers biggest purchase were her cabinets for her log home. She went to Consumer kitchens first, had them draw it out, selected her cabinets, the whole nine yards. Price: $21,000 before installation. She purchased the same make and model, same configuration from Direct Buy for about $9,000. I too made a cabinet purchase for an accessory kitchen in my home, $7,000 retail price $3,600 Direct Buy.

My husband and I have also purchased outdoor lighting, indoor lighting, small electronics, washer, dryer, refrigerator, freezer, stove, range hood, and a chandelier. The chandelier is $600 and I paid $200 for it.

What I like most is being able to spend Home Depot prices but get top quality with Brand names that I wouldnt usually wouldnt spend the money on.
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