Monday, March 26, 2007


Consumers who shop at DirectBuy

Recently you may have seen an advertisement on local television or in the Homesteader and other newspapers for a members-only buying club that promises “over 750 quality brand-name manufacturers and their authorized suppliers.” At the top of the ad, big black block letters scream “Buy Direct. Save Big.”

The ad says you can purchase from these manufacturers “without having to pay hidden store markups and unnecessary middleman costs.” The company, billing itself as “The #1 way to buy direct for your home,” invites you to call a telephone number or go to a Website to retrieve “Your Complimentary Visitor’s Pass Now!”

Membership at DirectBuy lasts for ten years and costs $4425 which works out to four hundred plus bucks a year. The trick is the dues are front-loaded in the first three years. You pay $3200 now—in installments—and from years four through ten, you pay only $175 a year. That took us by surprise. Thirty two hundred bucks is a lot of money to part with—even in four installments of eight hundred dollars.

Be especially forewarned of sales tactics that require you to close that same day. If you decide not to join, we would not be asked back for another seven years. Of course they also won't let you look through the catalogs because you might see wholesale prices and want to shop them at another store. Based on the local store, there are still idiots in Connecticut (20 to 30 a month) that are stupid enough to pay large fees upfront. Ignoring the fact as to how long some entity has been in business, what happens if they decide to close? I wonder if these folks have ever considered what happens to their investment if they decide to go out of business next year or even tomorrow.

The biggest question on my mind is why should I trust anyone who wouldn't tell me everything I need to know upfront?

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