• Report: #175914
Complaint Review:

DirectBuy UCC TotalHome, United Consumers Club

  • Submitted: Sun, February 12, 2006
  • Updated: Wed, February 27, 2013

  • Reported By:Caro Michigan
DirectBuy UCC TotalHome, United Consumers Club
NATIONWIDE Nationwide United States of America

DirectBuy, UCC TotalHome, United Consumers Club Direct Buy Scam Ripoff Saginaw Michigan Nationwide

*UPDATE Employee ..inside information: bull

*Consumer Comment: @Jessica - are you a Direct Buy Shill?

*Consumer Comment: So far, I've found DirectBuy to be a GREAT deal

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: I did MY Homework and I'm a satisfied Member- Did YOU?

*Consumer Comment: Member for over 10 years.......

*Consumer Comment: Sounds like Direct Buy is padding responses on these boards

*Consumer Comment: There's no pleasing some people

*Consumer Comment: UCC Infomercial

*Consumer Comment: Direct Buy is a good deal for the right person

*Consumer Comment: It's just another business model- It's not evil

*Consumer Suggestion: Ex employee

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The 2 lines that Direct Buy used to convince me were:

1. If you purchase $3500 worth of goods (current price of membership), in a year, you will have paid for your membership, and 2. Most people pay for their membership fee if they do nothing more than just buy carpeting.

NOT TRUE! I could have purchased $35,000, in a year and it would not have saved the cost of the membership fee. As for carpeting, I purchased mine elsewhere because I got a better price for the EXACT same brand and style offered by Direct Buy.

In response to those who say Direct Buy (aka UCC Total home) is well worth the membership, all I can say is, either those people have not done their homework, or they are affiliated with Direct Buy. Time after time, when comparing total costs, I have ALWAYS been able to find similar or better pricing elsewhere, shipped to my home in a few days, not to a warehouse in 6 weeks!

Some of the furniture seemed to have good pricing, but not close to what was promised. Since they couldn't estimate a freight charge, who knows what that could have amounted to? The biggest price savings I have found so far was an area rug that was 1% less with UCC than it would have been from RugsDirect.com. BUT, I would have to wait 6 weeks, drive to UCC warehouse during the work day, and pay a restocking fee if the item had to be returned certainly not worth the $20 savings! Again, this is with the BEST deal I found when, as the UCC people like to say, I compared apples to apples, brand to brand.

There is no plus side to a UCC membership, except for the franchise investors! Save your money, do your homework, and use your $3500 to buy from a reputable source, not from Direct Buy!

Nancy Saginaw, Michigan

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/12/2006 10:46 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/directbuy-ucc-totalhome-united-consumers-club/nationwide/directbuy-ucc-totalhome-united-consumers-club-direct-buy-scam-ripoff-saginaw-michigan-na-175914. 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.

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#1 UPDATE Employee ..inside information


AUTHOR: - ()

 direct buy will do or say anything they can to get your money, and i know i used to work for them, untill i realized how we were told to do anything to get that fee , that fee is the reason we have a job , the fee is the way you keep your job, no matter how bad we ripped people off. and the so called savings are non existant, they do buy refurbished model of everything they can find, sell it to the consumer as new. consumers dont get what they are promised nor what they are told.

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#2 Consumer Comment

@Jessica - are you a Direct Buy Shill?

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

I seem to recall a Jessica that was a sales person at the Stoneham Directbuy who was used to help scam us out of thousands for this useless membership.  I like the original complaintant was taken for a ride by the empty promises of this dishonest company.  I have never found one item, even the occational special offer below membership price were no better than local retail prices.  Plus tack on outragous shipping fees.  In many instances I found Directbuy prices were 15-20% higher than retail before shipping. Also many of the items they offer ar 2-3 year old B and C stock. They even offered my wife a job as a salesperson there if we bought the program.  8 months later, no job and no good deals.  Direct Buy is a scam run by Con artists. 
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#3 Consumer Comment

So far, I've found DirectBuy to be a GREAT deal

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

My wife and I joined short while ago. And I will tell you, the club is not for everyone. If you are planning to make large purchases (TV, furniture, kitchen, patio, etc.) and can afford to lay out a healthy membership fee, this is a deal you can NOT afford to walk away from. If you can't afford a hefty fee, or really have no real purchases coming up (they don't sell food or gas), then they are definitely not going to be a good deal.

In our case, we laid out $4500 to join. We targetted a new TV, sound system, living room furniture, kitchen cabinetry and countertop, and some outdoor goods as our purchases within the next year. We already saved $1000 on the TV over a major big box store specializing in electronics, and about $500 on the receiver compared to the same store. That's already 1/3 of the membership. Our kitchen alone will save us about $5k, so within 1 year, we will have saved approximately $2000 from going with these guys.

On top of this, the service so far has been great. They are prompt with calls or emails to help with orders or questions. So far, the only thing I think that is a drawback is the initial membership fee (which we'll have saved with our first 3 purchases). Caveat Emptor, but it's a good deal for most.
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#4 REBUTTAL Individual responds

I did MY Homework and I'm a satisfied Member- Did YOU?

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

First of all, My husband and I have been members of the Direct Buy in Boston Metro West for over 2 years now. We did our homework, we went into the tour with actual discounted prices with model numbers of specific items we were looking to purchase that we found from almost every local home improvment store- the fact that they allowed us to look at the exact items we found and we saw a significant different in price. If you USE the membership, there is definately savings. Maybe this person didn't do their homework. I have saved over 6,000 dollars using my membership with DirectBuy.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Member for over 10 years.......

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

Joined in 1998, when it was still UCC. Basic value is if you are purchasing a large quantity of furniture, flooring, etc....! Electronics are not a always are available at a huge savings. E.G. one TV purchased direct may not be as good a value when BestBuy purchases a "box car" full. But high markup items like furniture are available at huge savings.

Recently purchased over 1000 sq. ft. of Hardwood floor that retailed for over $13 a sq. ft. + tax, etc.... Paid $7.15 tax, fees and deliveryinc.. We saved about $ 8,000 on that purchase alone. Purchased an "inversion table" that retailed for $ 299, sold at Costco for $199 and purchased through DirectBuy for $ 130. Obviously you would not get your membership investment back on small purchases, but we saved our initial fee on our first order 10 years ago on lamps alone.

We joined when we owned our own business and have saved about $50,000.00 over 10 years. If you are not going to make major purchases for a business or plan to substantially upgrade your home, etc....it is not for you. This is a simple business decision that needs to be considered prior to forking over the large up front fee. Not a rip off in the least. As in anything else you do, you have to weight the decision against your needs to establish the value you will recieve. If you just want a cheap TV, this is not the way to go!
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#6 Consumer Comment

Sounds like Direct Buy is padding responses on these boards

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

The two "positive" responses to this report reeks of phoney corporate employees spinning a complaint. The bottom line is that Direct Buy will do just about anything to sell you a membership, including the use of aggressive salespeople who will lie and cheat in order to pry that $5000 membership fee from your wallet.

Any discounted prices received from DB can easily be found on the web, and are often no longer a discount when steep non-negotiable "handling charges" are added to your order. Yes, DB will add 8% to your order as their handling or processing charges. So, what the heck was that $5000 dollars for?

They claim DB's buying power gets you great deals because they can order in volume. Believe me when I say there are far bigger retailers with FAR greater "buying power" than DB.

So, use your brain people. If a company like Direct Buy can set-up brick and mortor stores and offer these products at such "unbelievable discounts", why couldn't any other retailer do the same? The fact of the matter is they can't, DB is just another middle man taking their cut of the profits just like any other store. The only difference is at DB you have to pay $5000 US Dollars for the honor.
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#7 Consumer Comment

There's no pleasing some people

AUTHOR: Marc - (Canada)

I just purchased a membership to DB in Canada after doing extensive research. I think the suggestions by the other members should be taken to heart. Go there with several items in mind complete with model numbers. I just bought a house and I need to furnish it from top to bottom. I have already saved more than my membership fee ($4600) in my purchase of a bedroom set (7 pieces), dining room set (7 pieces), kitchen island, bar stools, sectional sofa and HE Front load washer and dryer.

You will save the most on furniture. In my experience I've enjoyed discounts of over 50% retail! With savings like this I don't mind paying a microcharge for freight. I've STILL come out on top.

I will eventually remodel the kitchen and bathroom of this house as well as replace the furnace and upgrade the windows. I believe there are much greater savings to be enjoyed.

The bottom line is you need to do the right type of research. Get a list of about 10 -15 items ranging from Appliances, furniture, electronics - hey whatever gets you going and have them pull up the lists. If you don't like what you hear, you've only invested 30 min. No big deal.
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#8 Consumer Comment

UCC Infomercial

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

UCC is now running an infomercial to promote their stores. How many products sold through infomercials are of good quality? Why do customers have to pay for shipping? Shouldn't they have a contract with a freight company and a warehouse to store the products? The fact that they use an infomercial to promote their stores tells me a lot about their company.
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#9 Consumer Comment

Direct Buy is a good deal for the right person

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

My wife and I have been satisfied Direct Buy members (Edison, NJ) for about 5 years and we recently renewed our membership. I'm sorry that Nancy had a bad experience, but I think her comments underscore the importance of doing your research before you invest. And that's the point - you are investing $3500 or perhaps more (I believe the fee is up to the local franchise) for the ability to buy home goods at a hefty discount. But before you join, you need to evaluate the membership cost against the potential savings based on the amount of stuff you're planning to buy.

We bought a membership because we were doing a major remodel on an old home - two bathrooms, new kitchen and new family room starting with bare stud walls. We bought plumbing fixtures, kitchen cabinets, granite countertops, carpet & tile. I'd estimate that we saved at least $12,000-$15,000. We saved $5000-$7000 on the kitchen cabinets alone. We found the people at our local Direct Buy to be courteous, knowledgable, helpful and never deceptive.

When a toilet came in cracked, they worked with the manufacturer to expedite a replacement at no charge. I went in yesterday after a 3 year lapse to find tile for another bathroom and they arranged a private appointment with a manufacturers tile showroom - normally only accessable by trade people - that had the best selection that I have found anywhere.

I have found that my savings on home renovation goods to be typically in the range of 35%-50% (less an approximate 5% administrative charge per order). The manufacturers that they deal with seem to be mostly mid to upper grade. For example, all of the plumbing fixture manufactures that you will find at Home Depot are represented plus some higher grade ones as well.

I think my experience differs from Nancy's primarily for two reasons - I was able to quickly recoup my investment in the membership because I was buying a lot of stuff that typically has high markups (don't plan to use them for consumer electronics unless you already have a membership). Also, because Direct Buy is a franchise, the local management will make a big difference in how you are treated, so investigate before you join and don't paint them all with the same brush. I'm not affiliated with any Direct Buy organization except by membership.

Hope this helps.
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#10 Consumer Comment

It's just another business model- It's not evil

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

With UCC or Direct buy, the consumer buys at wholesale- just like a retailer. Like a retailer, the consumer must pay for shipping and taxes. In some cases, this includes importing fees, again, just like a retailer.

Does this make UCC or DirectBuy a bad deal?

Well, when you buy from a retailer, you pay a markup for services. In a high end shop, you pay a steeper markup than you would at a warehouse retailer because the cost of sales is higher. The retailers EARN that markup by providing a facility, investing in inventory and providing services.

At UCC or Directbuy, you get access to catalogues. You have to do more work yourself. If you know what you want to buy and you don't need the retailers services, facility or access to stocked inventory, you CAN save a lot of money.

I buy at a retailer when I need help or I need a part today. In these cases, the retailer earned the markup. When my home inspector reccomended I get a new water heater, I choose DirectBuy because in this situation, I can save a lot of money. Yes, I have to pay for shipping and handling. The stuff get's shipped and handled so someone has to pay the nice folks who ship and handle :) Happy to do it and I still save.

DirectBuy isn't for conspiracy theorists. Probably not a good fit for college students or welfare mothers either- the membership fee is too high to be offset by the potential savings unless you are a home owner with modest remodel ambitions. If you decide to investigate, I'd reccomend shopping for five or six items before you go to the showroom for the sales pitch. They'll let you test the savings opportunity- once. Be prepared to get confident the model, or you are wasting everyones time.

Regarding the infomercials- they made me nervous too. But given the model, there is only so much they can say on TV without creating problems with retailers.

It works for me!
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#11 Consumer Suggestion

Ex employee

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

Direct Buy isn't for everyone. The memberships are expensive A lot of the savings is fabricated, everyone there is looking to make a commission off of your membership from the person who calls you to get you in there to the owner.So yes the 5600.00 membership fee is high. On top of that there is a 8% handeling fee added to every order. They do not make money off the freight.

However, if you do your research you will find that Direct buy is selling brand name stuff, they are not selling the crap you find at a wickes or some other retail store. There is savings to be had you just have to know what you are buying and weigh it out.
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