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My Husqvarna Viking sewing machine repair problems continue

I wish this were a photo of my Viking Platinum sewing machine home from repair, all ready to go back to work, but it’s not. These are photos of my new sewing machine when it first arrived here. In reality, it is still sitting in the repair shop, where it has been for over two months. Unfortunately, it looks like it will be MIA for an indefinite period of time.

Everything in regard to repairing it has been ridiculous so far. As I mentioned before, there was a problem with the feed dogs. I turned the machine on to work one day, selected a stitch as usual, and the machine just began sewing backwards, with the machine feeding the fabric in reverse. Nothing unusual happened at the time. I had really just started my day. I don’t think I even had anything else turned on yet, and the machine was on a surge protector. I wouldn’t have had the iron on, since I hadn’t as yet sewed anything to iron. No lights dimmed, no circuits popped, nothing strange happened. I brought it to the local Viking dealer to see if he could fix it, and he thought, at first, the feed dogs had been accidentally popped out of place when I got some fabric caught in the throat plate.

Later he told me that he thought the entire electrical panel needed to be replaced, along with the buttons, to the tune of maybe $250-300. I had the option to send it back to the dealer who sold it to me, but it seemed safer to just let this dealer fix it, rather than mail it across the country. I contacted the Viking company about transferring my warranty, which would have covered parts in question, to the new dealer, but they said they would not honor it since I bought the machine over the Internet. They told me their dealers aren’t allowed to sell machines over the Internet, and they implied that, for all they knew, it was stolen. They told me they only honored warranties on machines bought from authorized dealers.

I gave them the serial number, which is right on the mailing label with their distribution center’s address on it, along with a bar code that they must have scanned at some point, so they could trace it to the dealer address which was also on the box. I had managed to successfully register my warranty on the Viking web site, using my serial number, and I received an email confirmation of my warranty registration. So, I thought, the serial number must have already been in their computer system. I asked them how anyone could sell hundreds of their machines, for years, without any authorization from them, and without their knowing who the dealer was, or without them reporting machines that were possibly missing. Where else could he possibly be getting so many machines, but from them? I got no answer to my questions, just an apathetic response repeating that they wouldn’t honor their warranty.

Apparently, the dealer here who was ordering parts for my machine asked them some similar questions, and was told that the person who sold me the machine was in fact a Viking dealer…he just isn’t anymore. So, because of that they couldn’t honor the company warranty, supposedly because they don’t know what might have happened to the machine between the time they sold it to him and he sold it to me, as if that is something they could tell about any machine. The label on the box says it was sent from their factory to their distribution center in 2007, before going to the dealer, and I bought it from the dealer in 2008, new and sealed in the box. That seems like a normal turn-around time to me, not really enough time for it to have been used, abused, reconditioned, and repackaged from the factory without any note about it being refurbished anywhere on the box. It was working perfectly when I got it, and it seemed brand new to me. Plus, the dealer I got my machine from is still selling them, along other models that came out after mine. If he was no longer a dealer at the time I got my machine, how did he get machines that came out after mine?

Anyway, it seemed obvious that no matter what, the Viking warranty was useless. They told me my only option was to send the machine to the original dealer for repair, since he had his own warranty on it. I decided to just wait for the parts, and get my machine back. Over two months, I called and called, but no parts arrived from the Viking company. Finally, when I went in to look for a new presser foot, I was told my parts had just come in, but the dealer was too sick to fix my machine. After a couple of weeks, and some more calls, he told me it had turned out that the new parts didn’t do the trick, there was still something wrong with the feed, and that he would probably need to send my machine to Tennessee for them to figure it out. I asked how much all of this would cost, and he told me we were “already at $700.” I asked him if he could take those parts and send them back to the company, and he said he would. He’s not going to charge me anything, thank goodness, and now I don’t have to pass out cold on the floor.

So, right now, I’m out a couple of months time. Plus, I’ve had so much frustration with the Viking company itself. I’ve never heard of such nonsense over warranties and repairing a machine. Why don’t they just have a place you can mail the more complicated electronic and computerized machines to for repair yourself? And all this warranty intrigue…what’s that? If the company has a conflict with a dealer, that shouldn’t be my problem. The warranty should be on the machine, and not dependent upon how they feel about the middleman involved. How can I know who is following their rules and who isn’t when I buy a machine? How can I even know what their rules are? There is nothing in the language of the warranty about the Internet either. It’s not like it’s illegal, or even uncommon, to sell merchandise on the Internet, although their email to me made it sound like I should expect underhanded dealings if I dare to buy something there.

You find out that you are completely dependent on the dealer from whom you purchased your machine, and their own warranty on it, which makes purchasing a machine about ascertaining if someone is personally a good egg or not. Even so, if that person retires, I’m not sure what the Viking company says about your warranty, since they seemed to have said that if someone is no longer a dealer at the time you purchase your machine, the warranty is no good. And how can any potential customer know this about anyone? The idea is, supposedly, that you can transfer your Viking warranty to a dealer closer to you, if you live more than 50 miles from the original dealer, but that didn’t work for me, obviously.

I feel like I’ve fallen into some kind of sewing machine soap opera. I wish it were over now, but I have to start from scratch. This time I’m just sending it to the original dealer, and I’m going to hope that he is honorable about his own warranty, and that he knows how to fix my machine. I have the service manual myself, but they make their machines so they can only be opened with tools they sell to their dealers. The electrical aspect is well beyond my scope at any rate.

I don’t know what people who sew are supposed to do anymore. Viking, Pfaff, and Singer were all bought up by the same company. It was so important to me to get my machine before they began their production in China, but it seems like even though I like my machine a lot, the customer service of the company just doesn’t measure up if you have a problem. Two months to send parts to their dealer? We’ve been talking about getting a Kenmore as a stand-in, but there are so many complaints about Sears’ customer service now as well. They’ve been bought up by Kmart. It just seems like every company gets bought up by someone bigger, and their products begin to be made more cheaply, and their customer service becomes more detached. And even when your dealer tries to do right by you, he or she still needs to get parts from the company. The dealers must suffer because of these things too. So, who knows how long it will be before I see my machine sewing forward again, if I do. Fingers crossed.

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Retro Thursday

I had a bad headache today, and so I scanned some old photos to take my mind off of it, and off my frustration over the long delay in my sewing machine being repaired. This is me in the 12th grade. This photo was one of several proofs I still had from the photographer. Each one had a different expression, ranging from peaceful and dreamy-eyed to very annoyed. I think I was trying hard to be patient while posing for my senior photo. As I recall, that black thing they insisted all the girls wear was drafty and way too small for a self-conscious teenager. Somehow I managed to look composed anyway. Hm, this might be a theme here, me trying to be patient and maintain my composure. I’m going to be very happy once I don’t have a headache and I have my machine back in working (knock on wood) order.

A nice surprise for today, one of the sluggies I put up just yesterday jumped right into an Etsy treasury. Thanks, Aimee, for including her! This is Aimee’s very first treasury, and so that’s extra nice of her.

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Before I forget to mention it, I finally figured out how to add one of those “Follow my blog” boxes over on the sidebars of each of our blogs, if anyone is interested in joining in. There’s one over on the Ruffing’s blog too. Everyone who uses Blogger seems to have one, and if you host on Blogger, it’s easy to add one by going to your settings. I just don’t happen to have our blogs hosted on Blogger, which made it a little trickier. The “Follow” boxes allow you to easily add blogs to your reader list in Google or in Blogger, so you can check all the updates on your favorites in one place.

I just finished up a small batch of “Hug Me! Slugs” and sent two along their way, off to their new homes. Two others are up for adoption in my Etsy shop,

including this soft orange one, and the turquoise-blue one below. I’m letting their new slug parents name them this time around. I still don’t know which people prefer, naming them themselves, or having me name them. I’ve been asked to name a slug here and there, and that’s okay with me too.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been trying out some ideas for children’s stories, something I used to work at much more, when I had just gotten out of college. I put that on hold for a long time, but I’ve been exploring the idea again. I had thought that once I had children of my own, I would be better able to relate, but since I don’t, I’ve decided it’s just time for me to regress 😉 I’m trying to find my way.

I hit a bonanza of children’s books at the local used book store, after Christmas. People must have dropped off books of which they already had copies. I found quite a few that are very charming. I wanted to see what other people were creating, and I do pick up ideas that don’t always occur to me when I write, like adding dialogue and action! I tend to do a lot of describing when I write, and so it is good for me to be reminded to take off in different directions like that sometimes.

I’m also very much enjoying reading The Gormenghast Novels by Mervyn Peake right now. I just finished the first one, Titus Groan. There was a wonderful miniseries, also called Gormenghast, based on the books on PBS years ago. They are surreal, imaginative fantasy-type novels, but not the kind with magic in them. They are wonderfully odd.

While reading the Gormenghast trilogy, I started thinking of another fantasy novel I read a couple of years ago, Stardust. It had been a Valentine’s Day gift that was, well, ungifted. You know how sometimes people get you a gift that is really for themselves? Well, I decided to just get my own copy on eBay. It’s not new like “my” other one, but I’m pretty sure I get to keep it. It’s also illustrated, kind of like a children’s book, but it’s more for adults.

And, I have two new friends. These are my new hamster and my new owl. They’re watching over my pile of fleece that I use to make hearts and eyes for my own creatures. I think the hamster loves me. That’s what he says anyway.

I have a few new fabrics on my table waiting to be prewashed too. My sewing machine is still…can you believe it?…in the repair shop. It took the Husqvarna Viking company two months just to send the part that needed to be replaced, and now the man who repairs the machines is sick. This isn’t making me happy with the Viking company at all. I’ve written to them about that, and about some problems with my warranty, which they aren’t honoring since I bought my machine over the Internet, even though there’s nothing about that in the language of the warranty. I’ve had some questions for them about Internet sales, and where sellers are getting their supply of machines to sell, if they aren’t sanctioned by the company. I’ve gotten nothing but a very apathetic response from them, which is giving me a bad impression of them.

It’s just so sad, depressing really, that companies don’t seem to try to do right by consumers anymore, or to protect them. We’ve been talking about getting another sewing machine, for backup, but it’s so hard to decide what brand to even go with anymore. You pay more for the “top of the line” machine brands, and then, when they don’t really give you better service than you’d get anywhere else, you just feel like everyone is trying to take advantage of you.

I guess you just try to do the right thing yourself, and the best you can do. I know it’s not enough for me to not do my best with anything that I make or sell, and I know it’s important to me that people who receive things I’ve made are happy with them. I just wish we could all feel like we’re being treated fairly, and with respect, in every interaction we have with other people, business or personal. I get very discouraged sometimes about things like this. I’m so glad I have the opportunity to work on my own, and have as much control as possible over what I do.

Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti right now too, and to their families wherever they may be.