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Any experiences buying sergers on e-bay?

Hansi | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on


I’m considering buying a serger and have thought about taking a chance on an e-bay one.  I don’t have a specific one in mind.  I looked at a couple but didn’t quite have the nerve to commit to buying.  I guess I’m hoping to get a good deal on something fabulous LOL.  Anyway, has anyone done this?  Was it a good experience or a disaster?






  1. solosmocker | | #1

    If you have not owned a serger before, I would definitely advise going to a dealer where you can get the classes and support necessary for what for many new owners is very intimidating. If you have experience with sergers or a good friend who can help you, you can chance the ebay thing. Personally,from an experienced serger-er, I wouldn't do it.

    1. Hansi | | #4

      Thank you very much for taking the time to write me.  Sounds like good advice.  I'll listen to it.  I appreciate your thoughts very much!

      1. sewconfused | | #5

        I bought my Brother 1034D on Ebay. It arrived in under a week. I followed the instructions and threaded it. It was too easy. I couldn't believe how easy it was. Everyone says it's so hard. So I did it over. Yep, right the first time.

        1. Hansi | | #6

          Well, that's interesting.  Thank you for the information.  It's definitely something for me to think about.



  2. daylight | | #2

    I would discourage any newbie from getting a serger off e-bay.  There are certainly some bargains to be had, but you will receive no instruction whatsoever.  I was lost when I took mine out of the box.  You need to have someone sit with you and go through the threading, tensions, etc. until you can do it automatically.  I wound up having to pay for an hour-long  instruction class just to get the thing unjammed and running.  I still struggle with it.  That said, when I can get it operating it's a godsend and really produces a professional seam finish.  Good luck whatever you decide.

    1. Hansi | | #3

      Thank you for the good advice--I think I'll listen to you!



  3. ValerieJ | | #7

    Be very careful about buying any type of sewing machine on eBay - I learned this the hard way. In 2001 I bought a Bernina Artista and thought I was getting a great deal. I didn't think I needed the dealer lessons (I was right), and wasn't that concerned about support. What I didn't realize is that there is a gray market in these kinds of things - the sewing machine arrived without a warranty card or serial number. I kicked myself later because I did notice there was no warranty card and thought that was strange.

    When I plugged in the embroidery module I got a message that it needed to be upgraded. I called the local Bernina dealer - and that's when I discovered that I had basically an orphaned machine. I don't know if it was stolen merchandise, or if some dealer had inventory he had to unload (my guess), but the dealer can't provide any type of service as the machine was never officially sold.

    I ended up spending an extra $900 or so to buy another embroidery unit. Everything works great, but I can't take it anywhere for tune-ups or software updates or anything else. This purchase turned out not to be such a great buy.

    If you are buying anything like this on eBay, make sure you understand whether it has a warranty.


  4. Sunshine | | #8

    I bought my Juki 654DE serger from SewVac Direct. I checked their prices online, along with several other online vendors. I got a price from SewVac Direct, after talking to them directly by phone, that included an extended service warranty and an extra blind-hem foot, and it was LESS than their online price without the extra foot. I ordered it right away and it arrived by UPS in 3 days, in perfect condition.  You might say I bought it "semi-online"! (I did get an email confirmation of my order.)  

    The instruction manual is good, but you do need to learn to ignore the other non-English instructions. I found a highlighter works wonders to keep me on track.  The drawings help.  If I don't understand something, I refer to another serger book, my own or from the library.

    I bought my serger "online", sight-unseen for several reasons: 1) a friend has a Juki sewing machine she loves, 2) Juki is a quality manufacturer of precision machines and several other brands of sergers, incl Bernina, 3) the excellent pricing - $340 and 4) I was VERY frustrated by going to my local dealers and finding that they couldn't do a passable job of showing or even threading the sergers they were trying to sell!  I'm good at reading directions and figuring things out myself, so I knew I could teach myself, and I have.  Some sewists need a dealer to hold their hands and walk them through learning a new machine. Not everyone does!  You know yourself what you need, so let that be your guide for deciding whether to buy online or from a dealer.  I'm happy that I bought "online" because I saved a LOT of money that now goes for fabric and some cool new tools and notions!!!

    One last thought - be sure you know the EXACT conditions of sale when you buy on Ebay.  There can be extra charges that aren't explained upfront.  That's why I chose to buy from a vendor directly, & still get free shipping with no hidden fees.

    1. Kiley | | #9

      Well said Sunshine..or should I say..good post. I also have had excellent service from SewVac Direct and I did business with them by phone from something I saw on eBay and I got a better deal. I have used other on line stores plus bought from a private seller on Ebay that was closing a store and selling demos and we both had good reviews from each other.

      I also agree about some dealers not being able to instruct properly on the use of sergers. Some new sergers come with videos that show all you need to know on the use of that model. There are many serger books at the local library, used book stores, dealers and fabric stores that I highly recommend for new users. The books show different types of stitches and threads and explain the workings of the machine and how to set tensions etc.

      I hope before buying you can test drive several models to check out their quality and your comfort level with the serger. Then if the model you like is on ebay and the dealer has a good feed back..give it a go. Many sellers on ebay have excellent buy it now prices for brand new machines without needing to bid. I prefer a brand new machine and one that can be returned if damaged or does not function properly. I am leary of factory serviced models. If buying on line beware in knowing that if a machine has an FS after the model number it usually means it is factory serviced.

      1. KarenW | | #10

        I like buying new when possible too and having the dealer support but I've also bought and sold plenty on ebay.

        I'd like to add though that if you do go test drive models before deciding, then buy on ebay, that you be willing to pay the dealer whose time you took for help, service, classes, advice, etc.   After all they don't keep their doors open just by offering test drives.

        1. Kiley | | #11

          I think many customers stay away from dealers that wish not to take the time or they cannot be bothered because they think the customer is not going to buy. I think many have seen sales people spending more time with the customer they know will buy and ignore the customer that is looking. I think that is why customers prefer Ebay or on line dealers.

           I sold machines for years. I always enjoyed giving test drives to customers no matter if they were buying or not..because they would return for my good customer service.  I tried to find a machine the customer loved and suited their needs and comfort level and pocketbook. The customers needs should be considered above all if they buy or not. If a customer came in with a certain model in mind and said they could find it priced better elsewhere but wanted to see the machine to test it I don't think a dealer would mind giving the test drive. One reason..they might find the customer didn't care for that model but found a nicer one in the store. Another reason, even if the customer tested the machine but bought elsewhere they still found you gave good service and would return to purchase again sometime. If the customer never returned again they still might recommend the dealer to a friend for the way they were treated in the dealers store. It is the dealer responsibility to please the customer. I think once we enter a store we can sense the attitude if this is where we will purchase and continue to use or buy from ebay.


          Edited 6/24/2006 12:45 pm ET by Kiley

  5. user-172042 | | #12

    If you go to a dealership, ask if they have a display that they would sell at a discount. Sometimes, you don't even have to ask, they will tell you about them. People trade up all the time and that might be an option, if you want to save some money.

    1. Hansi | | #13

      Thank you very much for the tip!

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