My Viking Platinum sewing machine lowdown

Kitty makes friends with an anoleHope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day weekend. One of our kitties had company today. He’s befriended an anole. They’ve been staring at each other for over an hour. The anole is showing off here, puffing out his red pouch under his chin. They were fascinated by each other. Just like cats do, when one gets tired and starts to close his eyes, the other closes his eyes too.

anoleThat doesn’t last long though. They are soon back to staring at each other, tilting their heads this way and that, to take in every angle. They seem to be enjoying themselves, getting to know each other, even if it is through a windowpane.

We also have a patriotic display of color by the side of our house. The blue lace-cap hydrangeas are in bloom, with all the red and white petunias I have to plant in our hanging baskets. Very appropriate timing, for Memorial Day.

Blue lace-cap hydrangeasSo, as I mentioned in my last post, I have an update about my sewing machine, and it’s quite the soap opera. I spoke with the sewing machine repair technician who worked on my Viking Platinum 775, when I sent it across the country to be repaired. He thinks he can get it fixed, and so I’m planning to send it to coast-to-coast again. He filled me in on a lot of missing information in regard to my sewing machine repair saga.

Blue lace-cap hydrangeaThis is the lowdown, according to him…The guy who sold me the machine did in fact used to be an authorized Viking dealer, as we already heard. Before he retired, he bought a million dollars worth of  sewing machines, legally. They were all new. He put them in a warehouse, intending to sell them on the Internet, at lower prices than the other dealers, which Viking forbids their dealers to do. The only punishment Viking has is taking away your dealership. But, he retired. So, that didn’t effect him.

For the past three years, he has been selling the machines online. Viking knows about this, even though they wouldn’t tell me that. They can’t stop him because he isn’t breaking the law. The people I contacted at Viking, when I first had trouble, told me my machine might have been stolen when I asked them about it, but afterward, they did tell the Viking dealer I went to here in NC, that the seller I bought it from used to be an authorized dealer and had since retired. Either way, they wouldn’t honor their factory warranty on my machine. I don’t know if they told the local dealer the whole story.

According to the repair technician I just recently spoke to, because of this seller selling online after he retired, Viking rewrote all its dealership contracts, to stop anyone from doing this, retiring and continuing to sell machines online, in the future. The other dealers who have found out about him selling Viking machines on the Internet, have been very angry about it. Viking sewing machine retail prices are not listed on their web site, and so dealers can set their prices, without worrying too much about being undercut by competition. My machine, in short, was bought legally, by an authorized (at the time) dealer, fair and square. It was also sold to me after the model was discontinued, when other authorized dealers also had the same machine on closeout sale. So he wasn’t really undercutting anyone at the time either.

My machine itself has two step motors. One was replaced the last time I sent it to CA, because it was faulty. That was the one causing the machine to sew backwards, the feed step motor. The repair technician said that, judging from my video, it looks like the second step motor is bad too. That would be the one making the needle swing off in the wrong directions. It seems that at the time my machine was made, there were a bunch of bad step motors made, by whatever company makes them, and they were put into lots of machines across the country. The repairman used to see one bad step motor a year, and suddenly he was getting in a couple a month. He will replace the second step motor for me, and the button patch, which he’s thinking has a severed connection. If I leave a good note, they can take care of the other issues too, since there are a lot of little issues. I asked him if the seller was paying for this, and he said yes.

The repair technician confirmed that this is a new machine, but it was in a warehouse. He said it is probably old, but according to the mailing label, it was only about a year old when it was sold to me, which seems like an average turn-around selling time to me. I’m sure the repair tech doesn’t like this seller selling the machines online either. He told me to never buy one off the Internet, “buyer beware”. He was very nice, and filled in the missing information for me. But, honestly, if the Husqvarna Viking company had just been truthful with me, instead of implying I was dealing with a criminal, I would have just sent the machine back to the seller to have it repaired it in the first place, instead of taking it to an authorized dealer here, who wanted to charge me over $700 to replace different parts entirely, not the two faulty step motors. And maybe I’d have a working machine by now, instead of having to wait for months more. My machine has been broken since October 2009! It is additionally offensive to me that the faulty step motor issue has to be known to the company as well, and yet, even though the local dealer had another Viking Platinum in his repair shop at the very same time as mine, also sewing backwards, he had no idea what was causing the problem. Why wasn’t he told?

I still maintain that if Husqvarna Viking would just sell machines directly, in a way that is fair to consumers, as I was suggesting in one of my previous posts, none of this cloak-and-dagger secret nonsense would have happened. This is all because they have built up a society of dealerships, which, in my opinion, puts buyers at the mercy of dealers and allows for price gouging. Apple does just fine, selling directly online and in their stores, and also selling through authorized dealers. It seems archaic now to treat Internet sales as something to avoid at all costs. Tell that to Amazon. And Viking knew they sold this man sewing machines, which they knew weren’t stolen or used. They could have checked for me. They could have looked up the serial number I gave them. I feel they wouldn’t honor their warranty on my machine because they wanted to punish me for buying it over the Internet, and they wanted to punish the seller, indirectly, because it’s against their dealer rules. They should never take that out on someone who bought one of their machines. A warranty should be on a machine, if it is new, with it’s serial number and bar code right on the box, which I’m sure they can trace. If they can’t, they should fix their system so they can. But, I bet they can. The seller, fortunately, is honoring his personal warranty on the machine, but I, of course, have to ship it to CA, when, under normal circumstances, I would be able to transfer the warranty to another dealer.

Anyway…I’m sure it will take another 2 to 2 1/2 months to get Viking to send the step motor and the buttons to the repairman. Then, we can just hope it works, because if anything else is broken on it, it will take longer. Even if I’d bought this very same machine from a currently authorized dealer, it would have had bad step motors. At least the seller is paying for them to be replaced. I would have been at the mercy of whatever dealer I’d bought this machine from, and we’ve already seen what happened with the last dealer I went to.

So, as I said…what a soap opera!

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Comments

  • […] Art of Elizabeth Ruffing Skip to content HomeWelcomeAbout MeMy ArtContact Me « My Viking Platinum sewing machine lowdown June 6, 2010First harvest By Elizabeth […]

  • I have an older Viking that I took to three different repair shops and got three different diagnosis about what is wrong. The first one was an authorized Viking dealer who I bought the machine from. He charged me $80 to tell me a part was broken, part no longer made but he could make a part to fit but no guarantee. I think he was going to do a little bit of rigging around to get the machine to work for a day or two and then take more money from me. I will never go to him again. 2nd said mother board and he couldn’t get them. 3rd said probably step motor. 3rd shop contacted Viking to figure out exactly what is wrong, which motor and or mother board. Will cost around $700 to repair. I really liked this machine, but I hate Viking. I am thinking of taking the machine apart and selling it on ebay after I find out which step motor is bad.

    I hope you get your machine back and it works for you. No more Vikings for me.

    Pam

  • My Viking 775 also purchased online just malfunctioned today. No stitches that require the needle to move side to side work and the needle adjustment buttons don’t work properly. After reading about your and the commenter’s remarks I’m thinking i’ll have to get another machine. I’m pissed that after spending so much on a machine just last year, i’m going to end up with something used or refurbished. Not Viking. Never again anything from this company.

  • Thanks for your comments and the well wishes, Pam and Michele.

    I’m so sorry that happened to you too. The technician I talked to in CA told me that those faulty step motors went into a lot of machines at that time, and another repair place had the same model as mine come in with that same issue while looking at mine. Since it was a factory mistake, you’d think Viking would have notified all its dealers that they’d replace the faulty parts on machines that got them. The first authorized repair guy I went to knew nothing about it. Michele, you might want to ask a repair person, if you know or can find a decent one, what it costs to replace the step motor for the needle (if they agree that’s what is causing the problem. It sounds like the same issue mine has.). I have no idea what that repair costs, since the seller told me he’d pay to have mine replaced. Unfortunately, it looks like I am in the same boat as you both, because my machine just came back from that seller, unclaimed from the Post Office! Yes, after he said he’d have it fixed and told me to send it to him. So, I will, eventually, when I have some extra money, be asking someone for that information too.

    I certainly understand how you feel. This has been the most ridiculous purchase I think I have ever made, and the worst experience trying to get it repaired. Michele, if you can just find an honest repair person, you could have everything turn out fine, since I’m told the machine would work fine with the repairs. I don’t know if I trust anyone to fix it now though, not anyone here anyway. If someone can fix it, maybe it will cost less than a new machine? I hope so. Pam, it sounds like the repairs on yours might cost more than the machine might be worth. The first repairman I went to came up with $700 for repairs too, without even knowing what was wrong with my machine. And of course, all the repair people charge you just to look at your machine and give you an estimate. What a mess.

    I wish you the best! I hope you can get something worked out with your machines. I’m not sure I even want to look at mine again.

    Take care,

    Elizabeth

  • I am so glad to find your website! I am ready to throw my platinum 955e out the window! I bought it from a dealer about a year and 4 months ago and so far it has been in the shop 4 times, and it died again yesterday. 4 months after I bought it they had to replace the PC board. Three months later the buttons quit working again but the repair person said it is because I was threading it wrong (really!? So if I thread it wrong the reverse button won’t work and I can’t chose what stitch to use??? Never mind that threaded or not the buttons would not work). Then two weeks after my year warranty the feed dogs quit working altogether. Got it back and within a month the PC board was fried again. I just got it back about two months ago and yesterday all the buttons quit working AGAIN!!! I am so sick of this machine! I keep asking if there is such a thing as a “lemon” sewing machine but no one will answer me. I have it on a serge protector and none of our other electronics are acting funny, not even an alarm clock has been reset by a surge in power. I don’t have any faith that sending it to the shop will do any good, yet since it is out of warranty a return is not an option. So frustrated. What a huge waste of money!! I am left wondering what brand to buy next, but I don’t dare spend my money on anything. I am thinking bernina, but not sure yet. I bought this Viking from an authorized dealer and it has still been a joke.

  • Tamra, I’m so sorry! Your story is as bad as mine. I should update this post by adding my machine was cracked and broken and falling apart when I went to send it out again: http://elizabethruffing.com/2010/08/experiments-in-sewing-good-and-bad.html What a mess, every step of the way. Everyone I’ve had to deal with in regard to this machine was terrible. Yes, there are lemon sewing machines! I’m sorry you got one too.

    I bought a Kenmore/Janome as a spare, and now it is not a spare, but my main machine. It is pretty good, and no where near as expensive. I got it when it was on sale. I have some photos of it and the stitches it does in this post: http://elizabethruffing.com/2010/04/my-food-and-sewing-revolution.html It got good reviews and I haven’t had problems with it so far. Fingers crossed. This is the link to the machine on the Sears site where I got it: http://www.sears.com:80/shc/s/p_10153_12605_02019233000P?vName=Appliances&sName=Computerized&cName=Sewing+%26amp%3B+Garment+Care The only issue I had so far was that I did actually thread it wrong the first few times, and you have to pull it under the tab on the top. But that’s nothing in comparison! Geez.

    I may look at other Janomes, once I get over being traumatized over this Viking. I sure sympathize with you! Don’t let it get you too down. It’s a shame there are companies and businesses that behave this way.

  • I just remembered another bit of info you might be able to use if you get a new machine. I got an extra presser foot ankle, but you can unscrew the one on your Viking and use that too. I was able to screw the Viking ankle onto my new Kenmore and use all my Viking presser feet. I’d collected a lot of them, and so that was nice: http://elizabethruffing.com/2010/04/return-of-the-platinum-775.html I don’t know if that works on all machines, but it does work on some of the different brands. You could just bring your presser foot ankle with you when you shop for a new machine and try it out.

  • You know, I just took my Viking Saphire 870 Q to the shop today for thread tensioning and automatic thread cutting issues. This is the third time I’ve taken it in, and I bought it a little less than a year ago. I too am a little frustrated and disapointed in the Viking Brand. I hate this machine on so many levels. It struggles going over the easiest seams and constantly nests, nests, nests! Honestly, I bought it before I researched it, and afterwards I saw that this model had many complaints of thread tensioning being off. It’s automatic too, so you can’t even try to fix it yourself. The worst thing is the salesmen constantly try to give me the hard sell when I come in for service, to ‘upgrade’ to a bigger, more expensive machine. Ugh, I just want them to fix this, I do not want to give them any more money. Is there any way that the warranty is transferable if you sell it privately? Otherwise I am stuck with a 1600.00 paper weight. I’m done with Viking and their parent company ‘Singer’, I’m buying a Bernina 230PE. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them, and their stitch quality is impressive.

  • Argh! I definitely feel your pain. I bought my Platinum 950e through a dealer, they are actually honoring my warranty, and yet my machine has been gone over 5 weeks now (on the SECOND repair issue–none of which it had when it went in for the first problem) with no sign of it coming back. On the first round, my circuit board was out and was fixed and back to me in about 2 weeks. Now the button pad on the front is fried, and they are telling me it’s on back-order, though the company is replacing it under warranty. Thankfully, my machine died after the 4-year mark and not the 5-year one, since electronics have a 5-year warranty.

    I have emailed my issues to Husqvarna, and they have actually emailed me back and are supposedly following up. This is the email address: info@husqvarnaviking.com

    If you could pass this along to everyone who has commented about the problems they are having with Viking, hopefully we can create enough of a stir at the company that they will start addressing the problems.

  • Barbara, I’m so sorry you are having so many problems with your Sapphire. I have read about those online also, and I’ve seen other people’s frustrations with them. They don’t let you transfer your warranty, but since you do have a warranty, I hope you will be able to get them to fix your machine free of charge. From what I’ve read online, in regard to other people’s issues with this machine, there was a problem with the take-up lever, causing tension problems, and Viking supposedly has a kit to fix it or an attachment. People were angry that Viking didn’t say this was a design flaw, and some people were paying for this fix. One person I read about got her dealer to give her a newer model of the Sapphire, and she saw they had redesigned the take-up lever and the thread guide section.

    There is a Yahoo group I would encourage you to join. It is just for the Viking Sapphires: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VikingSapphire/ People help each other out with their problems there. There was another issue with the bobbin thread cutter, and someone there had a fix for pushing it back a little, with photos on how to do it. I’ve never tried this machine, and all I know is from what I’ve read online. Anyway, there is hopefully a fix for you, or if they can’t get your model fixed, ask them for a newer one. Maybe that is better, but I certainly wouldn’t pay extra either. I believe Viking has come out with a Sapphire 775 Quilt now. Be persistent. You shouldn’t be asked to pay more to get a working machine. If necessary, perhaps you should threaten small claims court. It is very frustrating.

    I’ve also heard good things about Bernina, although I’ve had no personal experience with them. I have a Kenmore I bought while waiting for my Viking Platinum to be fixed, and it was made by Janome. It’s a nice quality machine, and I haven’t had any problems with it so far.

    Good luck to you. I certainly sympathize.

  • Toni, I’m sorry about your situation too! But I’m glad you have a warranty and that they are fixing your machine. I hope it doesn’t give you any more problems. I also hope they don’t make you wait an even longer time. Thanks for the sympathy, and thanks for the email address too. People should write to them. I wrote a couple of times. Unfortunately, I was met with very apathetic, unhelpful responses. Hopefully the Viking company will step up and do a better job with their customer service. I’ve heard from a lot of people who are very frustrated with the company and their dealers. A lot seems to depend on whom you buy your machine from in the first place, but the company seems to make people wait for a very long time for parts too. Good luck to you!

  • I’m just reading these posts now and wondering why none of you have gone to the AG’s office in your area and asked to file a class action suit against Viking and Viking dealerships.

  • The same issue here. I’ve got a new Platinum 775 from e-bay a couple of years ago for my wife. Now it seems the step motor that moves the needle sideways is gone bad. Reading customer reviews about other products made by Husqvarna (i.e. chainsaws) it seems that the quality across the board has gone down. The shady dealing with dealer mafia network is just ridiculous. A company can rest on its former achievements for only so long before customers figure out that it doesn’t stand behind its product anymore. I don’t think I will ever buy another product made by Husqvarna, whether it be a sewing machine, chainsaw or anything else.

  • Sorry you had the same problem, Art. I imagine a lot of people have. I reported the eBay seller to the Department of Consumer Affairs in Hayward, CA, (501)888-7062, if you happen to have gotten it from the same CA seller I did. If so, it might be good to send them your information too, so they have it on record, if a lawyer ever does pick it up as a class action suit, or if someone wants to take him to court. I filed online initially, under Electronic and Appliance Repair, http://www.dca.ca.gov/online_services/complaints/ As far as a class action suit against Viking, perhaps a lawyer will eventually get involved and collect information, in forums, or elsewhere. One might find quite a few people who have had problems.

  • Well girls, I have been looking at a Viking because my Brother Innovis NX450Q is in the shop for the 2nd time. This time it is going on 6 weeks. I thought Viking was a top-of-the-line machine until I started researching and saw all the problems with the Saphire and Platinum models. This is so frustrating on so many levels. I need a back-up machine but now I am so confused on what to purchase. I’m beginning to think the more bells and whistles the machine has the more possible problems. There is a person selling Vikings on EBay and it appears they are selling them for around 500 dollars less than an authorized dealer. I am wondering Elizabeth if this is the person you bought yours from. The machine ships out of Michigan City Indiana but thats is the only info I can find on this seller. Has anyone purchased from this person? I am so apprehensive to spend another $1000.00 on a machine I will only have problems with.

  • Sorry you are also having problems with your machine, Debbie. No, the seller I bought from was in California, and used to be an authorized dealer, who retired but didn’t have permission from the company to keep selling his inventory. Personally, I would not buy a machine online. The warranty is only good with the person you buy your machine from, not the company. My machine was destroyed trying to send it back and forth to California for repair. I agree that the more bells and whistles a machine has, the more things there are that can break. I have good luck with my old mechanical Viking, and I’ve had good luck with a machine made by Janome, that I bought through Sears. I’ve heard people are also happy with Bernina. Whichever you choose, choose the seller carefully, because, ultimately, that is the person you have to rely on for repair. I hear that other people wait a very long time for parts for Viking repair too. They were bought by another company, and from what I hear, I don’t think they have such a good reputation anymore, which is a shame.

  • I have a Sapphire 875 with tension problems. It is less than a year old and in the shop waiting for a part.

  • Hear ye hear ye… I am so sick of this authorized dealer bologna. It is the reason why I ended up with a Janome 1600p rather than a pricier Viking. There are so many machines I would buy were it not for the secret haggling and taking advantage of senior citizens…

  • My experience dealing with Viking dealers within Joann stores has been disappointing over the 15 plus years that I have had Husqvarna machines. They are all smiles and gung-ho when getting you to buy their product. Unfortunately, the customer service afterwards is lacking. I have two other brands which were purchased from mom and pop stores. No problems so far. I know we live in a material throw-away world but our machines are huge investments.

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