I have not been a fan of DirectBuy in the past, the company that lets its members buy thousands of items at cost. You may have seen its infomercials with members praising the company for savings $5,000, $10,000 and even more on furniture, kitchen cabinets, carpet and other purchases. The national company has locations in Bloomington and White Bear Lake. What has irked me about the company in the past is the lack of transparency. Only after sitting through a one-hour presentation do potential members learn that the enrollment fee is $4,500 (it may be as much as $5,000 but the Bloomington owner would not confirm it). And members have told me about other fees that you don’t hear about in the infomercials–a 6 percent handling fee and a 17 percent shipping fee on each purchase, as well as sales tax.
But recently, DirectBuy has started offering a 30 day trial membership as well as shorter-term memberships. I have always recommended that anyone who is considering joining make a list of items to consider for purchase. Write down manufacturers and model numbers to compare in DirectBuy’s catalogs or website. In the past, members didn’t have 30 days to make these comparisons. This is more transparent way for new members to know if the large cash outlay will pay off and, in my opinion, it should have been done years ago.
DirectBuy is not a good deal unless a member plans to make many major purchases, such as remodeling a home or furnishing a new home. Without big purchases, members don’t recoup the original investment. I have never been a member and the owner of the Bloomington franchise refused to let me take advantage of the 30-day trial, but members have told me that DirectBuy’s price on carpet, for example, is slightly higher than Jack Rubenstein carpet wholesalers, which has no membership fee and is open to everyone.
To set up an appointment, call the Bloomington location at 952-835-0790 or the White Bear Lake franchise at 651-287-0050.
DirectBuy members, do you think you have gotten your money’s worth?