Enclosed is my post regarding how to buy a sewing machine from a dealer. I am sorry this is so long but it is very comprehensive. I hope to continue to add to it until it will cover every part of buying a sewing machine, including a list of features that can be checked off, but that is in the future.
The entire thread of approx. 100 posts can be viewed at http://www.dejanews.com. Search on the Subject line 'SOME SEWING MACHINE COMPANIES DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU!'. Don't forget to search dejanews for other topics in the sewing and textiles groups for ideas on 'What is your favorite machine feature' or similarly named subjects.
Obviously, there is not as much negotiation possible at Sears or other chain stores. But those places always have sales and some sales are better than others. Don't wait until you are desperate for a new machine. If your machine is on it's last leg now, it's probably time for you to start looking at machines and watching for sales if you intend to buy from a chain store. Start visiting dealers stores and pick up any free literature they have on the machines.
I personally would not pay more than 65% of retail price for a brand new machine unless additional incentives, and 'throw-ins' make it come out to at least a 35% discount. I have posted slightly higher amounts in this original post, but have changed my mind. Many people have told me they have gotten brand new machines for as low as 50% of MSRP usually without sacrificing anything.
I bought a Pfaff 7570 with the Fantasy embroidery unit, the #1 creative card, and both carrying cases for $2860. MSRP is $4398. So you take it from there.
Good Luck, and please, let me know how you did. I am considering compiling a list of the prices people are actually paying for these high end machines and the deals they get, and then posting the results, without names of course, occasionally on the NG. Just to keep the consumers informed.
If I were buying a sewing machine now, I would first call the manufacturer for a list of all dealers within 100 or so miles of your home, and/or any place you frequently visit. Ask them if they have had any complaints about those dealers and their service department. Ask them if they, or someone else, would be able to tell you about those complaints or tell you how many complaints they've gotten in the last 2 years. Ask them how complaints are resolved. Don't ASSUME that mfg.'s or dealers won't be truthful, but if anything makes you suspicious that they are not being truthful, keep that in mind.
Make a list of the features you absolutely have to have. Make another list of the features you'd like to have. Make a third list of the features you absolutely refuse to pay extra for. If you haven't looked at sewing machines for more than 5 years, you won't even know a lot of the nice features that some of the machines are capable of so look around in sewing magazines at ads, ask friends, and check the Internet and the Newsgroups to find out about the latest features.
Search the Internet on Pfaff, Bernina, and Viking, etc. There is at least one place that sells every major brand on the Internet for a better price than MSRP. I think their address is http://www.sewserg.com. I don't know if they're authorized or anything else about sewserg, so I am not recommending them, I am only suggesting you use their advertised prices as an additional tool. I would take several printed articles from this newsgroup (use www.dejanews.com) (but OH, Please! scratch out the NG peoples names--we don't need any additional harassment) and show them to the owner of the dealership when you begin your negotiation. The salesperson might not be allowed to negotiate price.
Find out how many repair people they have on staff and ask what the average length of time it takes to get your machine back is. If they send the machines out, ask them for references of customers you can contact to find out if they got their machine back within 2-3 weeks and if they were happy with the service.
Don't trade in your old machine unless it still is worth a good portion of the money you paid for it or it is broken and not worth fixing. It is a good back-up machine if yours is in for repairs. Sewing machines never break unless you are making something that has a deadline. Besides, these embroidering machines can take as long as 20 minutes for 1 design and you could be sewing on your old machine while the new one is embroidering. I kept mine and EVERY PERSON I talked to that traded theirs in, regretted it.
Ask your dealer for a list of all the MSRP's for all the machines. If they don't have one, they surely know them or have it in some book. Ask them to write them down for all the machines in the feature category you are looking for so you can see them at a glance. Some machines are only $200 different than another and for that $200. you might get a lot.
In fact the MSRP on the Pfaff 7550 (which is still a great machine but can't take the fantasy unit) is only $200. less than the 7570. I wouldn't bother with the 7550 for only a $200. difference. Not that it isn't a good machine but it will not be as upgradeable. But if your dealer or the mfg. has a lot of 7550's to unload, you might be able to get a 7550 for a significant price reduction. If you don't want to do the fanciest embroidery, the 7550 might just be what you're looking for.
Treat this transaction the same as buying a car. Go there looking for a machine, ask them the price, and tell them what you're willing to pay. I would offer roughly 35% less than MSRP. If the dealer doesn't want to negotiate in price, ask them if they can throw in accessories or other incentives to make it a better deal for you. Especially more feet or expensive threads. Some of those can be very expensive and if the dealer has had them in their inventory for a long time, they might be happy to give them up to get a sale. (If you don't have a back-up machine at home, maybe they have a trade-in that is in good working condition or a new low-end machine that they could throw into your deal so you'll have a back-up.)
If they say NO altogether, give them a card with your name and phone number and the model # of the machine(s) you like best and your intended method of payment. Tell them if they change their mind or have any other options to suggest within 24 or 48 hours, they can call you, but you just don't think you can spend that much at this time. Tell them you'd really rather not have to drive to Timbuktu to save money, but you will if you have to. (if you do decide to drive far away, remember your warranty repair service and your lessons are also in Timbuktu, although if you have the videos you won't probably need the lessons. (see below about the videos) If you move often, ask them how much they would sell you the machine without the warranty. It isn't any good generally at any other dealer anyway, so why pay for it. Keep in mind, that dealers are smart enough to know that there is no profit to be made if no item is sold. Remember, they are counting on their security blanket called 'protected territory', but if you let them know that you are looking for a better price and won't buy at all if you don't get it, you probably will.
It is important to tell them if you are financing, because they are going to have to pay a percentage of the sale as a penalty for allowing that credit card. This is exactly the opposite of financing a car where the dealer gets a finders fee from the bank for your loan so they would rather you financed it.
If at any time you feel uncomfortable with the transaction, step away from it before you sign the dotted line. If the dealers' shop is dirty and unkempt, or you are sure they are lying or trying to manipulate you, walk away. You don't need to do business with anyone like that. Report to the mfg. that you went to such and such dealership WITH THE INTENT TO BUY A MACHINE and were appalled by the treatment or whatever. Ask them to recommend another dealer or else you'll have to buy a different brand of machine. They're all GOOD machines and I don't think anyone would be unhappy with any of the high end brands.
I don't know if any of you will get a price as low as I got. But I will tell you that dealer #2 was going to sell me the Pfaff 7570 for $3499 and it would include the Fantasy unit, the #1 creative card, both carrying cases (a $4398 MSRP), a gift of $50.00 worth of thread, and if I used anything besides the Pfaff credit card, she would have thrown in the PC software (at least a $299 or $399. item) which would have brought it down to nearly what I paid.
So, it looks to me if you can get at least 35% off of MSRP, you've got a good deal. And don't be afraid to ask her or him if you can also have a discount (and negotiate the amount right there on the spot and have them write it on your invoice) on Pfaff accessories and non-Pfaff accessories you intend to buy in the future. Ask them specifically how many sewing lessons are included and what kind of sewing lessons they are that you get. Basic sewing? Machine oriented?? Embroidery oriented???
If you buy a Pfaff 7570, remember that they have 2 videos for the operation of the 7570 that cost me about $35.00 each, and 2 videos about the software that cost me about $29.00 each. Your price might be higher but they're worth more. I have only watched the 2 on the machine but THEY ARE A WISE INVESTMENT. They are excellent and I recommend them highly. They show you step by step how to do every single thing your machine can do. You can look at them over and over if something stumps you. The dealer might even have some of these videos to loan out for a while and then you could look at them and decide whether you want them. Remember, my experience is only with the Pfaff 7570 videos.
One woman told me she took a class for $50. at a local high school on how to maintain and clean your own sewing machine and she said it was easy, and the best $50.00 she ever spent. Frequent cleanings usually keep a sewing machine working well for many years.
I hope you benefit from my experience. And if you do, feel free to e-mail me and tell me about your new machine and what kind of deal you got. It will make me very happy to know I helped someone.
Ken's Sewing Page
Last updated May 6, 1997 by firstname.lastname@example.org