Reimagined and Revamped. Fighting the spread of nonsense often feels like a Sisyphean task. However, the joy is in making the information available, not the hope of conversion.

Lost in the Averages : Direct Buy

A recent post by Akusai reminded me that I wanted to write a post about Direct Buy (warning that stupid link talks). Unlike Russel's story about Amway, this is not a tale of a cult-like business, preying on the simple minded who seem to have trouble with simple arithmetic. However, its not that easy to find much detailed information about Direct Buy, so I thought I would post some stuff about how it works, and why it works for some people. Its not a pyramid scheme, and I want to say this up front: I fully believe some people may save a ton of money by using Direct Buy. I just think that most people won't.

My wife and I renovated our kitchen recently. It cost quite a bit of dough (in the 40 grand range - wow). It looks great, we love it, and from my engineers perspective its solid (Corian is a bit wimpy, but the new stuff is nice looking). And yes, it took twice as long and cost twice as much as we expected. It seems to be a law of nature.

We also recently bought another building that we are renovating. This time, while we still wanted to put in a nice kitchen and bath, we decided we wouldn't be going full guns. We would be cool with looking nice without necessarily being nice. Since we ultimately have 3 apartments to do, we thought we would look into Direct Buy (there is one very near us).

I asked two friends of mine who did join Direct Buy if they thought it was working for them. They both said that they feel like it does. You know, that word really sets off alarms in my head. It means they didn't check. They each gave me one example where they were sure they saved a bunch. But as I pried more and more, it was clear that they didn't know about the majority of their purchases because once you join, you might as well get everything through there and presume that each item is a good deal.

So the first thing we did was schedule a time for one of their introduction meetings. They sit down with you, give a very short schpiel and then put you in a room where they give you a longer schpiel with some movies. The host was very nice and friendly. All in all it is very much like one of those sessions where you go somewhere to win free airline tickets and all you have to do is listen to a timeshare pitch for an hour or two.

The movie/talk session discusses their basic plan: You pay a fee to join, then after three years you pay a yearly fee. You are free to leave to program at any time (err, without your fee reimbursed). Their claim is that they have a direct link to the manufacturers, so that you don't pay ANY mark up between the manufacturers price. They claim that Direct Buy only makes their money from the membership fees.

To be clear, this fee is 4500 dollars. It pays for your membership for 3 years after which you pay something like 180 dollars a year. So when they tell you this, they also break down the average savings. They have a bar graph that shows the average savings for different types of products (I tried but could not take a picture of it, so I'm recalling this from memory. For example, the average savings for furniture was something like 44% off of the MSRP. Appliances were like 25%. The average of all the averages was something around 30%. I have no reason to believe that these numbers were faked in any way. But you will see how it works in a second.

The play is that since you save 30% on your purchased goods, you will get your membership fee back as long as you spend over 15,000 dollars. Will you spend 15K over the next 10 year? Of course you will, and they have everything for your house you will need: Lawn chairs, floorings, windows, kitchen cabinets, bathroom stuff, tile, couches, chairs, tables, beds, and the list goes on. They have over 700 products that you can buy.

Then came the anecdotes. Being relatively used to skeptical thinking, all of these anecdotes, even if true, have no basis in reality. The 4 people interviewed could be the only 4 people who this works for, how the hell should I know? For each anecdote they presented you can find many more who feel oppositely. So I am not a big fan when presented with anecdotes to support a case.

OK, so showtime is over. They give us a little tour. You see that there are lots of shoppers there. You see that they really do have lots of product that you would use if you renovate or are building a house. But I had no real way to evaluate their claim. I didn't have prices for things that I would buy from somewhere else. Frankly, no one sells at MSRP. So what are the average savings when you take that into account?


Folks, here is how Direct Buy can make their claims. When someone is using averages to make quantifiable claims you have to remember that an average is a single number that represents many points. So when they say they save you an average of 44% on furniture, that means that they save you 80% on some furniture and 10% on others. So, are you happening to buy the stuff that you save a lot on, or the stuff that you don't? There is no way to know without actually deciding what you want, checking some prices and comparing those prices when you get in there.

But we didn't do that. So I was trying to wean out the system from him right there. I wanted to know if this was going to work for me or not. He caught on that I was an engineer, and stereotyped me. Brokers do the same thing, apparently engineers and teachers are the worst. They want all the detailed information. Well excuse us!

Anyway, I asked about how many people continued their membership after the first 3 years. I wanted to understand the basic level of happiness from this. He told me it was close to 85%. But in retrospect, to me its amazing how many people are making choices on what 'feels' good. I asked about appliances. He admitted that they actually don't do that well on appliances. Only around 10% savings.

Thanks to my handy little iPhone i was able to pull out some more questions to ask him. I told him to describe all the costs associated with making a purchase. Now a shipping cost reared its head. He couldn't tell me what the shipping cost was, because it depended on the item. Then I asked about KraftMaid cabinets. Well those are done through a distributor, so there is an extra 1-2% cost associated with those. There were a variety of other things that were done through partners/distributors.

Other tidbits: They claim that if you refuse the offer, then you can't go back to Direct Buy for 7 years. This is to protect their 'secret' pricing. Even though the only pricing you have heard by this time was the anecdotal stuff in the movie.

Shopping Experience
I told my wife to go and try to find something she liked. The dude helping us out was friendly and explained that shopping there was different than in normal stores. You had to look through manufacturers catalogs. To be honest, its a pain in the ass, however all the sales people are quite knowledgeable and helpful if you are trying to find some sort of look. but it didnt matter, there is no real way to get an idea of the look and feel of a piece of furniture from a 3" picture.

Apples to Apples
This is something you will hear often from a Direct Buy sales person. "When you do an apples to apples comparison, you will find Direct Buy to provide significant savings". Well folks, there is one problem with that statement and its a huge one. There is almost never, apples to apples. What are really identical matresses differ from store to store by markings, stitching, the name and the price. Or oppositely, some products have the exact same part numbers, but differ from store to store by their construction. For example, a lawnmower may be cheaper by 200 bucks at one store, but it has brass pins instead of stainless steel ones. It happens for computer products. So even if you comparison shop, and find that something is cheaper at Loews, then the Direct By people will say "well that's clearly an inferior product!"

The Rest of the Experience.
My wife lost her patience and just wanted to get out. To her, she was cool with the claim of 30% savings while I wanted to press on it some more. But nothing pains me more than to see her in distress. We paid 4500 bucks and left.

We talked about it and decided with 3 apartments to do, we'll be fine.

New York State has a law that says, that anyone has 3 days to get out of any membership deal. Friday, when we joined was our first day. Saturday was the second, and Sunday (when they were closed) was our third. Further, to really see if there was savings we had to meet with their kitchen counter people to get a quote. I had to meet with their window people to get a quote for windows. Clearly we were not going to be able to check pricing within 3 days.

So, my wife went to Loews (if you don't have Loews near you, its like Home Depot, a gigantic hardware store). She walked around while I checked prices at Direct Buy. We checked on stuff we needed, some lawn chairs, a specific refrigerator, bamboo flooring, and a few other stuff. The lawn chairs were far more expensive at direct buy, simply because they had some far out name brand stuff and didn't have any of the made in china crapola. For lawn chairs, we are good with crapola. The bamboo flooring which looked identical to the stuff Direct buy had, was 26 cents per square foot cheaper than at Direct Buy. The refrigerator was about 10% cheaper at direct buy. Things were not looking good.

I told 'Todd' that I was ready to cancel my membership right now. I told him flat out that since I have not had a chance to actually check their claims, and the little that I have been able to check did not bode well, that there was no reason for me to stay. He fed me the apples to apples line again. Then he came up with a new line. This one was about long term investments. If I give 5000 dollars to a broker, what are my expectations. I told him, that on average I expect to double my money every 7 years. He said, "Right, and with this investment, on average we give you a 30% return, not just a 10% one!". Well, I must admit, I knew something was wrong but I couldn't put it together immediately. I told him "Wait a second.. The stock market is a long term investment based on future prices of stock. The difference is that I want to check current pricing for what I want to buy that you have for sale right now." It occurred to me then that, if they are so comfortable in their claims, that they should have no problem with me going to Loews, getting pricing, and coming back to have them match it, apples to apples. I told him, "Either you give me two more weeks to be able to leave with a full refund while I check this, or I am leaving today". He gave me the two weeks. I got it in writing.

In those two weeks, I had a kitchen designed for the apartment that I would really put in there. I'm not doing this for fun and games. I actually need a kitchen, and if Direct Buy is a good deal, then I am all for it. I didn't choose bottom of the line stuff from Loews, and I didn't choose top of the line either. Their Shenandoah series is middle of the road. It looks pretty good, and consumer reports rated it about what I expected, middle of the road. We didn't choose any wacked out styles, just maple shaker style, pretty common. We chose a granite counter top that we liked. I also prices out a large window we need for a renovated barn we have in the Catskills.

For a kitchen at Loews, they help you design the kitchen, choose the counter top, schedule the installation and so forth. Everything is done in one spot. Direct buy has subcontractors, who give you a better deal on their work, and vendors. So if you want a kitchen, you buy the cabinets at DB, but then you have to call the granite people yourself and schedule a design appointment with them, then you have to call the installers yourself, and schedule all that work with them. Its far less convenient, but worse.....

They couldn't beat Loews price. As I mentioned before, there is no apples to apples. DB doesn't have Shenandoah cabinets. They have other brands that Loews doesn't have (Omega, diamond). Diamond is lower end than Shenandoah, both consumer reports says so, and so did the DB people, by their own admission. So I told them to price it out with their lowest end stuff. Diamond has maple shaker style, so no biggie to me. THey simply could not beat the price. I handed them the exact drawing and parts list that Loews made.

So I go over to the windows. I priced out a Pella window. Same thing, it was cheaper but only 10% and the installation was more expensive.

Leaving Direct Buy
So, I told Todd I was leaving. He sat me down in his office and he told me he was mad at me. He went on about how I didn't do an apples to apples comparison. I told him about the cheaper bamboo flooring at Loews. He went into the rant about how DB stuff was better and as an engineer I should know that there are differences, and that he was very disappointed in me. I said I just wanted bamboo flooring. I had no way to evaluate the binders they used, and know way to know if one was better. Loews guaranteed their stuff for the same amount of time as DB. I told him that I asked their cabinet people to price out their lowest grade stuff and they still couldn't beat Loews midrange stuff. The funny part was that they had the consumer reports ratings out there in the open. It showed that Omega was top of the line, Shenandoah was middle and Diamond was lower (mills pride being at the bottom). I said, "why is your low end stuff more expensive than Loews midrange stuff?". He then went into why things aren't really apples to apples. I responded with "I know!". They seem to try to use the Apples to Apples argument in both directions.

In the end he kept his word and let me out.

Conclusion
Clearly Direct Buy was not for us. It limited our choices if we wanted to save money on each purchase, and it made shopping harder. Worse, our choices of stuff never lead to a 30% discount from other places.at best it was 10% which would mean I would have to spend 45,000 dollars before my initial membership fee paid off. Forget about the extra shipping charges, or their 'qualified' vendors and partners that end up raising costs to you.

I have no doubt that someone could save a lot of money. But you have to think about the type of things you buy. do you generally buy high end, name brand stuff? Well Direct Buy might be good for you. I think most people don't and don't bother to check if they are getting a deal. I think with their system, most people are not getting a deal.

One bit of information I should have asked was if those average savings they like to blab about are averages for the products they have, or average savings of their customers. I strongly suspect its the former.

One quick hint. I will not do this, but both of my friends offered that I could use their membership to get the stuff I wanted. I told them not only would it be cheaper for me if I didn't do that, I don't have any desire to scam Direct Buy. But I know its being done, the way they are set up, means that anyone can 'lend' their member ship to anyone.

Lost in Averages
I wrote this post mostly to document how Direct buy works. But while writing it, I am realizing that many things are lost in averages. For example: what if Washington DC's gun ban actually did bring down violent crime by 10% on average. What if it brought it down by 50%? What gets lost in those averages is individual rights. I for one don't see how the constitution says anywhere about an individual right to own a gun, but apparently extreme right wing judges disagree with me (big surprise there).

Often individual rights are lost in averages. Its important to look for these when discussing the effectiveness of one program or another.

24 comments:

On 7/16/08, 7:51 PM , Anonymous said...

-In US, a court found the membership contract "grossly unconscionable" and that "Club membership is nothing more than a cleverly disguised method of selling nothing but hopes and dreams."
http://www.mlmlaw.com/library/cases/mlm/state/nyniemiec.htm

-In Canada, a provincial court found the membership agreement untenable and unenforcable because it violated the Consumer Protection Act, the Sales of Goods Act, and The Trade Practice Act. Read this at at paragraphs 13-20 of the ruling.
http://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/judgments/pc/2002/01/p02%5F0197.htm

-In Ohio, Directbuy was sanctioned, fined, and the AG effected a change in Direcbuy's apparent preditory sales tactics.
http://www.ag.state.oh.us/press/08/02/pr080213_a.pdf

-From DirectBuy's Membership Agreement:
"
IMPORTANT MERCHANDISE TERMS:
- The Club disclaims all warranties regarding the merchandise
- Any need for subsequent repairs or service, after receipt of merchandise, is members’ own responsibility.
- MERCHANDISE MAY NOT BE RETURNED.
- The entire merchandise price plus handling fee, estimated freight and sales tax is required as a down payment at the time of placing an order with the Club.
- Suppliers reserve the right to change their prices without notice.
- From time to time some suppliers and services are dropped
- Only the supplier has the right to cancel an order.
"
http://edumacation.com/DirectBuyMembershipAgreement

"If you don’t like the product, tough. You are stuck with it. DirectBuy unlike retail stores has a no-return policy and provides no warranties.

Sales books are not always up to date, and not every item is always available.

More disturbing to me is that DirectBuy attempts to hide the fact that not all savings it sees from manufacturers are passed on directly to members.

By reviewing the 260-plus page agreement with its franchise owners, I learned that DirectBuy reserves the right to keep rebates, discounts and other payments from manufacturers and suppliers.

It also keeps early-pay discounts, and all DirectBuy purchases are paid by the member at the time of ordering."

http://www.courant.com/business/hc-watchdog0511.artmay11,0,3450527.column

- No warranties
- No returns
- No guarantee of savings

Hmmmm. Did someone say scam?

 
On 7/17/08, 4:55 AM , Techskeptic said...

Thanks for that! I Didn't want to write a post on whether or not it was a scam (much like I am unwilling to portray companies that sell nonsense as a scam, like Medis). I wanted to write a post about how their system works, and how, even if all of it were legal and on the straight and narrow, it still will probably not work for most people.

I appreciate your additions however. It was an area that I didn't look into (the fine print and legalities).

 
On 7/19/08, 9:11 AM , Anonymous said...

Yes you are right. 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 enticed to enquire about more information after watching a compelling infomercial, hearing a radio-add, or sees any number of slick internet spam adds promising "insider" savings. An informative letter/packet 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, called a "Visitors-Pass." 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, just like other savy "insiders" do 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 "insider" consumers have saved along with a slick selection of what they have saved, 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 and be part of this special and privaleged "Insiders" club" -- 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. 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. All of this messing around is designed to part him/her from their money.

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."

http://edumacation.com/DirectBuy

 
On 7/20/08, 2:36 PM , Anonymous said...

Yea, they scam you with the averages so that you will think that the probablility that you will save 30% or more is greater than it really is.

 
On 8/3/08, 11:57 PM , Shon Bi said...

Hello. I find your blog very interesting. I bought a few appliance items from Direct Buy some time ago and I must say that I am completely satisfied. It has been a year since I have been using them and still no problems, no repairs, service men and the like. These products have 2 years warranty, so I should not worry. I learned about the company on this great site www.pisseconsumer.com.

 
On 8/4/08, 12:00 AM , Shon Bi said...

Hello. I find your blog very interesting. I bought a few appliance items from Direct Buy some time ago and I must say that I am completely satisfied. It has been a year since I have been using them and still no problems, no repairs, service men and the like. These products have 2 years warranty, so I should not worry. I learned about the company on this great site www.pisseconsumer.com.

 
On 9/3/08, 6:52 PM , Anonymous said...

DirectBuy Sued

A federal lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court in Hartford against the national high-end DirectBuy franchise operation, accusing it of falsely telling prospective clients that they are getting furniture, appliances and other household products at manufacturer prices.

In a lawsuit filed by attorney Seth R. Klein of Hartford, DirectBuy is accused of hiding the fact that DirectBuy receives rebates from manufacturers which are not directly passed on to their members, who pay as much as $7,000 to join for two or three years.

The lawsuit, which seeks to be certified as a class action representing thousands of present and former members of the more than 100 franchises, was filed earlier this month.

It follows a May 11 Watchdog column on DirectBuy that disclosed the rebates, which are kept secret from its members and from those it entices to join through high pressure sales techniques.

DirectBuy officials had no comment on the suit but had said earlier that it uses the millions of dollars it received in rebates to the benefit of its members.

We will see what a jury has to say about that.

 
On 10/24/08, 5:11 AM , Anonymous said...

Hi,

You have very interesting article here. Just an FYI, you can learn a lot about Direct Buy consumer experiences from pissedconsumer.

here is the link: Direct Buy

Regards

 
On 2/7/09, 1:45 AM , Anonymous said...

I have a so-so experience with direct buy. From what I see, it all completely depends on what products you purchase. I used my boyfriend's parents membeship and was able to get a huge very nice dresser for a little over $200 (which you can't get a children's sized cheaply made dresser for that price from Wal-Mart)...The bedroom furniture and dining table sets were completely worth it. My boyfriends parents are remodeling their kitchen and after doing serious comparison shopping they are saving 30 to 40%.
It's not for everyone but it does actually save some people a lot of money. Not all of their return customers are just morons who don't comparison shop and figure out if the membership fee is worth it. Some actually return because it was much cheaper for them.

 
On 2/16/09, 10:02 AM , Anonymous said...

I have a different problem! We signed with Direct Buy and paid about half in cash and used their financial company to cover the rest. We were in the plans to renovate our kitchen in the future, but they explained to us that if we did not sign up right then and there, we could not come back ever. SO, I guess we gave in to their tactics. Well, three weeks after that I lost my job. All this took place about five months ago. Consequently, of course the kitchen renovations have been more than postponed, since I am behind all my payments, including my mortgage! Now, I am getting calls from Beta Finance because they want money... so I thought that should be the least of my problems, I cancel my membership, Beta finance gets the interest they financed for this past months. I though Direct Buy would penalize me, fair enough I thought, but I should be able to obtain some of my money back. Well, that is not the case according to them; they are telling me that there are no returns and Beta Finance is going to send my account to collections! The saddest part is that we only went to Direct Buy for the presentation, which cost us about $2,200 so far, and the possibility of my credit report being marked by them and dealing with a collection agency!!!! All we have is a membership? How is this possible? If this was my house, car, or even an expensive TV, I could return to the store and just pay the penalties.... This smells putrid to me, like a bad scam.... even in the case of a rental agreement, if you get out, you pay penalties, not your right leg.

Is there anyone, or agency that could help us? Are there any laws that protect us from this lunacy?

This has become the most difficult situation we have to deal with!
Would anyone entertain the idea of creating a web site called Directbuysucks.com so people can explain the abuses this company is doing? I for one would help in the upkeep

Stay away from Direct Buy!

 
On 2/16/09, 10:59 AM , Techskeptic said...

Well, anonymous (man I wish people would just make up a name! :)

I am afraid I have nothing to offer you. I have no researched anything about how to get out of it. My article was just about how to go into it with a critical mind and realizing that they can be 100% honest about their claims and still make a majority of their customers feel slighted becuase they don't fit on the beneficial part of the Gaussian due to what they choose to buy. You can see that the anonymous before you knows poeple who do in fact fall on the good part of the gaussian. I did post a link to "infomercial scams" which has much of what you are hoping for, and I have since found many more sites that call out direct buy on their poor behavior, there are also lots of links in these comments.

In my entry I mentioned a way in which you can go into the contract with a critical mind, and thereby open a hatch by which you can get out if you are finding poor savings for the things that you would buy.

I have no idea on how to get you out when the economy takes a nosedive. You need legal help, not help from anonymous bloggers like me.

 
On 5/14/09, 9:31 AM , Anonymous said...

i see someone posted about a class action law suit in hartford, how can i be part of this law suit??

 
On 6/29/09, 5:07 PM , Anonymous said...

Akusai,

I agree with everything you said about Direct Buy.

However, I have to disagree with your statement about gun ownership. Have you ever read the Constitution and for that matter the 2nd Amendment? I am not attacking you here everyone is entitled to their own opinion and beliefs. I mean that is protected in the Constitution by the 1st Amendment.

I try to look at what is the purest form of the writing itself and that I believe is what makes this country a unique model.

Absolutely, time changes everything and the Constitution has been ratified multiple times. Just think about the stigma and separation of our political parties from what they truly used to be. Would Abe Lincoln be considered a Republican Politician today? Probably not but he was the first Republican President ever elected in 1860. The Democrats embraced the Confederacy... but I digress.

Great job on your personal experience with Direct Buy and sharing it with everyone.

If you want to do a little research on what gun control and gun bans do to a country and crime rates take a look at the UK and Australia.

Would a criminal rather break into someone's home knowing there was an 80% chance that the home owner had a gun or an 80% chance that the home owner didn't have a gun. Remember this criminals will always find the means to have guns.

I will do everything I am able to do as an American to defend and protect the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic and to defend the rights of those less fortunate or those unaware of their rights being infringed upon.

Keep the word going...

 
On 6/29/09, 5:20 PM , Techskeptic said...

Well first off. I'm not akusai. I'm techskeptic. But thanks for visiting anyway.

the primary reason for gun ownership in america was to be sure that the citizens could have some final power over the government. Since I hope we can agree that allowing joe shmoe to have access to a nuke or a tank or apache helicopter is a ridiculous thought, the original reasoning behind gun ownership is long outdated.

Your other reasons for gun ownership is the same stuff the NRA has been touting for years. They point to small towns with small crime rates and say "See?" they have guns and crimerate is low!

I'm not against guns. I'm against it being easy to get a gun. I like NYS gun laws. I dislike texas gun laws. I have no idea how you can actually read the 2nd amendment, unbiased and come away with the idea that they meant everyone gets a gun.

As for the criminals. Well you have your opinion. Every time I see stats about gun ownership and death penalty I see conflicting data in relation to crime rate, which means that crime is far more complex an issue than whether or not guns are legal.

But the point I was making was the exact one you are trying to show here. Even if the gun ban showed a huge drop in crime (it probably didnt or wont), it still wouldnt be right to ban then becuase individual rights are being trampled on as interpreted by our modern supreme court.

 
On 7/11/09, 8:17 PM , Anonymous said...

Agree with comments, Direct Buy is a poor way to 'save' money.

Just one point - when I attended the presentation I noticed that the brand names of the electronic products in their catalogue looked blurred out. For example, there was clearly a Nikon camera pictured in the catalouge but you only kinda-sorta of make out the word "Nikon" on the camera itself and no where in the description did it say it was a Nikon - only something about a top of the line camera. Is this a bait and switch I wonder? Anyone know?

Did not purchase membership, btw.

 
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On 1/19/11, 6:31 AM , Jaxx Travels said...

How did you get out of the contract?

 
On 1/19/11, 10:22 AM , Techskeptic said...

Jaxx,

I havent looked at this post in a while. So I am unsure if I described this above.

I didn't use the service very long. In NYS they have to let you go if you wish if you change your mind in 3 days. Their scammy method is to sign people up on friday night, you get to browse around on saturday and on sunday they close. Well On saturday, I mentioned this and said if I dont get 2 weeks to evaluate their service then I'm going to cancel right now. they gave me two weeks. I really spent 2 weeks to see f I would ever recoup my 4500 bucks. I wouldnt have. I bailed and they let me out.

 
On 1/31/11, 8:52 AM , francisco said...

I went Saturday and called them back Sunday to cancelled the membership after I read reviews in www.yelp.com www.consumerreport.org that this is scam. I thought my fiance had done the homework and did a search on them. Now I don't know how to get out it. I spoke to a manager name Dan and he says in Texas the 3 days get out of rule, doesn't apply. Can Anyone help me??

 
On 4/24/11, 11:37 AM , Dirigible said...

In response to francisco's being told by Dan that the 3-day rule doesn't apply in Texas:

Wake up, Francisco! Liars lie! If they lied to you about the money you would save as a DirectBuy member (which presumably is why you wanted to cancel), then why would you trust what they told you when you tried to cancel?

It's absolutely true that in many states which have "3 day right-to-cancel" laws, these laws don't apply to DirectBuy (for various reasons), and they probably don't apply in Texas either.

However, DirectBuy's national office has publicly stated that there's a 3-day cancellation policy. Hopefully, they wouldn't say this unless it's also in the franchise agreement.

You can see the full report from WCVB-TV in which DirectBuy vice-president Bart Fesperman states:

Regarding our cancellation policy, any new member can cancel their membership within three days of joining.

It's possible they had you sign something which would have overridden that provision. Short of this, a new member in any state should be able to rely on the stated corporate policy.

 
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