Sewing Machine Scam

salem1772July 10, 2009

I have been scammed! I feel so stupid! I don't hold out much hope of getting my money back or getting a machine that works, BUT I can make life difficult for the scammers out there, and I don't want YOU to be the next victim.

I do not know how to sew, but my young daughter wants to learn (and I thought it would be fun to learn together). Normally, I research the heck out products before purchasing, but for some reason I didn't this time. Hindsight is 20/20.

I saw an ad for "School Model Singer Sewing Machine One Day Only Sale" and did as the ad directed: took the clipped ad to the appointed location where, I, along with about 20 other people, crowded around a young man demonstrating three models of Singer sewing machines for $129, $199, and $299. I asked advice from people in the crowd --- all seasoned seamstresses --- and watched people hand over their money and walk out with the new, still-in-the-box sewing machine of their choice. I telephoned a friend who sews to ask her advice on which of the three machines I should get, then I handed over my debit card and walked out with the $199 machine. I signed the receipt that stated I had 3 business days to cancel the sale.

Confident that all was well, I waited until my friend was available to assist me with setting up the machine --- that would be 10 days after the sale. First, she met me at the fabric store where I purchased material and supplies to make a simple valance for the kitchen window. So excited! We cut the fabric, got the machine out of the box, she threaded the bobbin, and then threaded the machine. We were all set to practice sew! But the machine would not sew. The motor made a straining noise, but the needle would not go up and down. She double-checked her work, re-threaded everything, and still, nothing.

When I called the phone number on the receipt, I got an outgoing message saying they were on vacation. When we called a sewing machine repair shop and described the problem and the straining sound, they said the motor was bad.

The next week I tried MANY times to reach a person at the phone number on the receipt. All I ever got was an outgoing message stating the business hours and that if I was calling regarding the sewing machine sale, a demonstrator would be available there.

Getting that scammed feeling, I checked out the GW sewing forum and also Googled "Sewing Machine Scams" where my fears were realized.

According to my GPS, the address on the receipt is real (it is in a town about 3 hours from me). However, I do not know for certain it is a legitimate sewing machine business. (The satelite picture makes it look like an abandoned gas station!)

Not surprisingly, my credit union says I have no recourse for getting my money back since I signed the receipt stating I had three days to cancel the sale. Meanwhile, I am working my way up the chain of command at the Singer Corporation, at the place of business that hosted the "sale," and next I intend to contact the police department and the owner of the newspaper that ran the ad. I will probably also contact the Attorney General for my state.

Again, I don't hold much hope of getting my money back -- or getting a working machine --- but I do want to get the word out to others: DON'T FALL FOR THIS DEAL! I can't believe I did! I wouldn't dream of purchasing anything being sold out of a truck in a parking lot, but essentially, that's just what I did! The newspaper ad, the Singer name, and the host store name gave this scam an air of legitimacy, and squelched that voice in my head that told me it was too good to be true!

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Keep going back to the host store. Talk to the manager - at least they won't be hosting again. I wonder if some of the other purchasers were in on the sale? (That lurks in my mind). contact the better business bureau (or whatever agency is available to you) and express your anger. Keep your ad from the paper and just tuck it away, these sales seem to come up every few months....if nothing else haul the machine back with you at the next sale and see what if anything they might do - just to shut you up in front of other customers. Tell everyone about your experience. Is there an address you can mail a registared letter to for this business? Registared cause someone has to sign it to receive it. sure smells like it. I have heard of machines clunking out after a few months....but not even sewing first time, even that is a new one. I guess the old buyer beware applies yet again. I am sorry you are having to go through this and hope it does not put you off sewing....but I do thank you for getting the word out....a few have inquired about such sales and the great bargains to be had. Seems like you got "had" alright. Budster

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 5:24PM
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OK, not 15 minutes after my original post, I was FINALLY able to get through to the Singer Consumer Affairs desk. The district manager of the store that hosted the sale had emailed Singer about my situation. As a result, a Singer Consumer Affairs rep had called me twice this week. I was unavailable both times, but have spent hours today trying to return the calls.

The Singer rep listened to my story, and said it lined up with the email she had received from the store district manager. She told me it was not a scam, that Singer wanted to make things right and that she had permission from her manager to offer me an upgraded machine (a CG 550).

I was a little leery of her offer ---- after all, I know nothing about sewing machines. (We may as well be dealing in airplane parts here!) She led me to their website and to the photo and specs on the CG 550. She seemed sincere in saying it was a true upgrade and not "a pig in a poke." All I need to do is fax her my receipt and she will mail me a label to slap on that old machine for return. The new machine will be sent to me next week.

Since there was no hope of a refund, I took her offer. I hope this ends this little chapter in my sew-sew life. But I still stand by my recommendation to avoid this kind of too-good-to-be-true purchase.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 5:43PM
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There are many posts on this site talking about this very same thing.I worked for 10 years in a quilt store that let this co use space in the store also.The store has nothing to do with the company as far as returns etc go.Our store signed a contract with the co that stated we we were'nt responsible for their sales in any way,shape or form,that we just let them use the space.

Within a week or so of that sale,the customers that bought them started bringing them back,we told them what i just told you and sent them off to fight with singer.They had the same problems you're having.

Our store owners learned their lesson the first time and never let them use space in our store again.Thankfully our customers didn't hold it against us.

I hope you made a copy of your receipt before you sent it to them,otherwise it will be your word against theirs ,and guess who will win~~~~~~~~~~hint,it won't be you!!And if it is i will be totally surprised,as none of our customers won.They just had to chalk it up to lesson learned,buyer beware and all that.

I'm sorry this happened to you though.Always remember that saying"If it sounds to good to be true,it probably is".

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 2:32PM
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Let us know how it all turns out. You are faxing the receipt which means you have the original receipt still. By all means make a copy of it if you are fedexing it or something. Slap a label on the broken machine, is there anyway you can be assured they receive the machine? I am wondering if they will say the broken one never arrived so they won't ship you the replacement. Best to think the worst and how to avoid being left with nothing. It sounds like they are trying to help you out, but cover yourself at all costs would be my advice. Budster

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 2:59PM
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Good for you for following up so diligently. Hope it all comes out ok. Other people who get bad machines probably don't stick to it like you are and just end up "eating" the price of the junk machine.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 7:20PM
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Got home this evening from several days vacation to find that the new sewing machine had been delivered and was sitting on my front porch. I will have my sewing friend open the box with me tomorrow and give it a test run. I'll let you know the outcome!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 12:05AM
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Sometimes companies sent their hard, or expensive to repair machines to the scrap recycler as it's cheaper to toss them than repair them.

Someone could still purchase them, clean them up and sell the defective units as new.

I saw a few pallets of high end KitchenAid mixers that had small issues, and the thought of picking up a few and attempting to piece together on decent unit for my own use.

It would be easy to scam them out especially if someone had some friends to stand in as "other customers" to add credibility.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 4:37PM
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