UPDATE: It looks like DirectBuy’s bizarre policy extends to lesbian couples too.
Reader Stacy writes in to let us know that DirectBuy refused to let her tour their showroom without her husband.
She says she was laughing in disbelief as she wrote her email to Consumerist:
We are moving soon and am looking for options to buy furniture for our new place. This morning a sales rep from the Direct Buy company returned my call about receiving a pass to the showroom and meeting about their furniture selection. During his information gathering he asked for my husband’s name and I refused, as my husband is a very private person and prefers not to be involved in these types of meetings. He works long hours and trusts me (stay at home mom) with household buying decisions.
Well, once the sales rep heard that my husband didn’t want to be involved he refused to schedule me for a pass and meeting at the showroom! He stated that they only schedule married couples if both spouses can be at the meeting. I stated “So, you’d have no problem having just me for a meeting if I was single.” “No.”, he replied. (?!?!)
Then the sales rep urged me to try and convince my husband what an important decision that buying furniture is and he would be an important part of the process. I politely declined. He then couldn’t get off the phone quick enough since it seemed I wouldn’t be a viable customer without my big strong man there to hold my hand through the process. Oh well, I guess I’ll take my thousands of dollars worth of furniture purchases elsewhere to a company that realizes it’s the 21st century.
You should know, Stacy, that our sister-publication, Consumer Reports did an undercover investigation into DirectBuy back in 2007 — and from the looks of things all you missed was a high-pressure sales pitch for a 3-year membership that, at that time, cost from $4,900 to $4,990 (plus tax).
Consumer Reports’ undercover shoppers say it took the sales people an hour and a half to even get to the part where they disclosed the membership fee.
So our guess is that the salesperson didn’t want to leave you an easy opportunity to escape the marathon sales pitch. Or he’s a sexist. Or both.
We’ve contacted DirectBuy to ask for their perspective on this “policy.” We should note, however, that we were obliged to fit our “Media Inquiry” into a 140 character text box.
With DirectBuy, it will cost you a lot to save [Consumer Reports]