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Thread: Regretting long arm purchase?

  1. #61
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    Update

    Quote Originally Posted by Boater4444 View Post
    I am experiencing this feeling at the moment but only because the Dealer that I bought my 18" Innova with AutoPilot is so new to longarm quilting that my buying experience has been absolutely horrible. I researched and test drove every single brand I could find for the past 4 years until I finally decided on the Innova and took the dive in March when the manufacturer had a great special on. I live just north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and found an Innova dealer in Toronto so I figured "BONUS", since he is the ONLY Canadian dealer listed on the manufacturer's website. Well... first off, they "lost" my machine in transit. So the dealer's 7-day delivery promise turned into 21 days. When the machine was finally delivered, the dealer and his sidekick proceeded to put the unit together by reading instructions and arguing with one another about what went where and in what order. Talk about inspiring lack of confidence. They started at 12:30 pm and 8 hours later - and I mean a SOLID 8 hours later, no food or restroom breaks even though I offered coffee, etc., seeing as it was going on 8:00 p.m., they decided to wrap up and return another day to finish the job. After they left, I realized that the machine, as set up, was way too high for me, so made a note to point this out when they returned. Two days later, they returned, lowered the unit to my satisfaction, then spent another 4 hours finishing the installation. Having become understandably nervous by now that my $24,000. expenditure was a good investment, I asked them to demonstrate the machine. The dealer (and this is the owner of the shop) gave me a funny look and said "Of course!" whereby he turned it on and sure enough, the needle went up and down and the carriage moved around. I gave them the rest of the payment, satisfied that the machine was operating satisfactorily, they left, and I spent the rest of the day pouring over all the on-line literature and tutorial videos. The next morning, I decided to inspect the machine more closely, and to my horror, discovered that the head of the machine actually rocked on the carriage, as neither the left rear wheel nor the front right wheel were making full contact with the carriage. To add to this, two of the belts that operate the robotics of the machine are rubbing together and creating terrible drag as the machine is pulled forward. I immediately called the dealer and explained the problem and his response was "Oh yeah, I noticed that rocking motion before I left your place." I just about fell off my chair as I responded "And you left it that way???". He then promised to call the manufacturer and "get back to me" but I haven't heard from him since and it's been more than 24 hrs.

    Quite honestly, this experience so far has been a bit of a nightmare - and my husband, who is extremely handy and mechanically inclined, is fuming but not willing to tinker with anything for fear of voiding the warranty.

    Buying an expensive toy in our current economy was a big leap of faith on my part. Now, I'm wondering what I've done. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE to quilt and have made more than 25 quilts in the last several years - many of them Queen sized on a domestic machine. But after carpel tunnel surgery last year, a longarm with robotics was the only way I could myself able to continue doing what I love. I just hope I didn't make a mistake with the choice of machine and dealer.
    I am delighted to say that within hours of my above post, I received a personal phone call from Neal, the President of Innova. He was thoroughly gracious and professional. He apologized for the problems I was experiencing, admitting that the dealer had not been properly trained by Innova, particularly on the AutoPilot. He offered to fly an Innova technician from Houston to Toronto first thing in the morning to complete the installation. Now, THAT's customer service! As I am not running a business, I couldn't honestly say that my situation required that sort of urgency, so I agreed to give the dealer another chance, on the understanding that I would request an Innova technician, if the dealer failed to perform once again. Neal gave me his direct phone number and e-mail address and assured me that my installation would be completed to my 100% satisfaction at Innova's expense. I was very impressed and my confidence in Innova was restored.

    The dealer returned that same evening, and spent a solid 2 hours tweaking the carriage assembly and belt drives to my satisfaction - as well as my husband's, who is very fussy. The machine appears to now be operating solidly, although I won't know for sure about the belts until I engage the AutoPilot. But as it stands, I'm a happy camper.

    I am now looking forward to learning this machine inside and out and making some beautiful quilts. As for the dealer... well, let's just say he's more salesman than techie and he's got a huge learning curve. But I'm a generous spirit and I'm willing to work with him, knowing Innova will always be there for me.

    Thanks Neal.

  2. #62
    Senior Member cmw0829's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boater4444 View Post
    I am delighted to say that within hours of my above post, I received a personal phone call from Neal, the President of Innova. He was thoroughly gracious and professional. He apologized for the problems I was experiencing, admitting that the dealer had not been properly trained by Innova, particularly on the AutoPilot. He offered to fly an Innova technician from Houston to Toronto first thing in the morning to complete the installation. Now, THAT's customer service! As I am not running a business, I couldn't honestly say that my situation required that sort of urgency, so I agreed to give the dealer another chance, on the understanding that I would request an Innova technician, if the dealer failed to perform once again. Neal gave me his direct phone number and e-mail address and assured me that my installation would be completed to my 100% satisfaction at Innova's expense. I was very impressed and my confidence in Innova was restored.

    The dealer returned that same evening, and spent a solid 2 hours tweaking the carriage assembly and belt drives to my satisfaction - as well as my husband's, who is very fussy. The machine appears to now be operating solidly, although I won't know for sure about the belts until I engage the AutoPilot. But as it stands, I'm a happy camper.

    I am now looking forward to learning this machine inside and out and making some beautiful quilts. As for the dealer... well, let's just say he's more salesman than techie and he's got a huge learning curve. But I'm a generous spirit and I'm willing to work with him, knowing Innova will always be there for me.

    Thanks Neal.
    That IS customer service. The manufacturers are very aware of the power of a negative review. There are stats on this and they know that the negative will always outweigh the positive.

    I'm glad you were able to get the issue resolved. And even though your dealer worked it out for you - and you suffered through it - you can be gratified that the next purchaser from this dealer will not experience the same nightmare. Innova will ensure that it doesn't happen.

    Thanks to the vendors and manufacturers who monitor our boards for issues. I asked a question of the board about a kit offered by Keepsake Quilting when KQ didn't seem able to answer my question. KQ saw my post and provided a contact so that I could get the answer. I did get my answer and purchased the kit. I'll remember their efforts.

  3. #63
    Junior Member
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    Central MN
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    to Boater4444 and all others
    The customer service provided by Innova is unbelievable and was one of the deciding factors when I purchase my 22" Innova last fall. We have a small business ourselves (dairy farm) and deal with a number of vendors through that and I don't think in the 30 years we have been doing this that we have had customer service from any of them like I have experienced with Innova. I sure hope your dealer gets trained properly and gets to understanding their business ethic because they truly are one in a million. Fantastic product and the absolute best in customer service AND 24/7/365!!!!! How can you beat that??? I hope you are loving your machine:-)

  4. #64
    Junior Member Xtgirl's Avatar
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    Boater, as a fellow Innova owner I urge you to call Innova directly and tell them about your experience. You may want to ask to talk to Michael. I know he will want to hear about your experience and make it right.i am a relatively new owner with autopilot as well. I had mine installed by one of the techs! Keith . It took about 12 hours and it was a very good install. My tech taught me how to run the machine and bobbin winder, adjust tension and work with autopilot, and we can go to Utah for additional free training if desired. I did a lot of my learning on my own and called the company when i had problems and asked questions on the Innova forums. I admit that I was frustrated as most are with tension issues, but I feel like that is usually an newbies learning curve issue with gaining experience and knowledge. I know why they always offer tension classes at all the quilt shows watchingthe innova videos that Renae produced was very helpful and I feel much more confident that I can troubleshoot issues that come up now, 6 months on later. That being said, you can't and shouldn't fight a bad set up. Innova wouldn't want you to, I am sure. Call them and see if they will help.


    Quote Originally Posted by Boater4444 View Post
    I am experiencing this feeling at the moment but only because the Dealer that I bought my 18" Innova with AutoPilot is so new to longarm quilting that my buying experience has been absolutely horrible. I researched and test drove every single brand I could find for the past 4 years until I finally decided on the Innova and took the dive in March when the manufacturer had a great special on. I live just north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and found an Innova dealer in Toronto so I figured "BONUS", since he is the ONLY Canadian dealer listed on the manufacturer's website. Well... first off, they "lost" my machine in transit. So the dealer's 7-day delivery promise turned into 21 days. When the machine was finally delivered, the dealer and his sidekick proceeded to put the unit together by reading instructions and arguing with one another about what went where and in what order. Talk about inspiring lack of confidence. They started at 12:30 pm and 8 hours later - and I mean a SOLID 8 hours later, no food or restroom breaks even though I offered coffee, etc., seeing as it was going on 8:00 p.m., they decided to wrap up and return another day to finish the job. After they left, I realized that the machine, as set up, was way too high for me, so made a note to point this out when they returned. Two days later, they returned, lowered the unit to my satisfaction, then spent another 4 hours finishing the installation. Having become understandably nervous by now that my $24,000. expenditure was a good investment, I asked them to demonstrate the machine. The dealer (and this is the owner of the shop) gave me a funny look and said "Of course!" whereby he turned it on and sure enough, the needle went up and down and the carriage moved around. I gave them the rest of the payment, satisfied that the machine was operating satisfactorily, they left, and I spent the rest of the day pouring over all the on-line literature and tutorial videos. The next morning, I decided to inspect the machine more closely, and to my horror, discovered that the head of the machine actually rocked on the carriage, as neither the left rear wheel nor the front right wheel were making full contact with the carriage. To add to this, two of the belts that operate the robotics of the machine are rubbing together and creating terrible drag as the machine is pulled forward. I immediately called the dealer and explained the problem and his response was "Oh yeah, I noticed that rocking motion before I left your place." I just about fell off my chair as I responded "And you left it that way???". He then promised to call the manufacturer and "get back to me" but I haven't heard from him since and it's been more than 24 hrs.

    Quite honestly, this experience so far has been a bit of a nightmare - and my husband, who is extremely handy and mechanically inclined, is fuming but not willing to tinker with anything for fear of voiding the warranty.

    Buying an expensive toy in our current economy was a big leap of faith on my part. Now, I'm wondering what I've done. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE to quilt and have made more than 25 quilts in the last several years - many of them Queen sized on a domestic machine. But after carpel tunnel surgery last year, a longarm with robotics was the only way I could myself able to continue doing what I love. I just hope I didn't make a mistake with the choice of machine and dealer.
    Last edited by Xtgirl; 04-12-2012 at 04:00 PM.
    The Potomac Quilter
    Innova 26 with Lightning Stitch and Autopilot

  5. #65
    Junior Member Xtgirl's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
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    Oops I posted after you received the help you needed I'm glad the company came through for you....I thought they would you can call them anytime day or night if you run into anything else...I would be happy to help if I can too...pm me if you want to
    The Potomac Quilter
    Innova 26 with Lightning Stitch and Autopilot

  6. #66
    Super Member
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    Feb 2011
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    Lumby, British Columbia
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    [QUOTE=Hockeyrabbit;5108255]Has anyone on this site, who owns a Long arm have any regrets about buying it? I am in the process of buyers remorse and feel I need to return the machine. There is something just not right with the timing of all this and I wish I could put my finger on it. Making me nuts! JC[/

    This happened to a friend of mine. She is an excellent quilter and her husband bought her a quilting frame for Christmas. Then they bought I think it was the tin Lizzie machine. But I'm not 100% sure of that part. Point is she hated it. It sat like an elephant in her quilt room and she never used it. It got so bad she was avoiding her quilt room and her quilting. I tried to encourage her to find some sources for help but she is stubborn! Point is they have decided to sell their home and downsize so she sold her machine and frame. She is so much happier without it!

  7. #67
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    No buyer's remorse here! I was looking at Gammills, Noltings, and HQs when I found an Innova at a shop hop. It had everything I was looking for and the price was WAY less than the others, so I bought it!!! I had never even heard of it but I don't regret my purchase for a minute. I love the 24/7/365 tech service that is willing to help me get my tension balanced just right, walk me through my once-a-year timing of the machine as well as their willingness to send a tech from their operation in Texas for free to fix something that I can't be talked through. I had my machine a week when I had my first customer quilt on the frame. I love my Innova and don't ever intend to replace her!!!

    Well, post first and read more posts later is what happened here! You are an example of just how far ABM International is willing to go to make sure the owners of Innovas are completely satisfied with their machines. Their customer service is head-and-shoulders above the service I've heard of with any other longarm.
    Last edited by Farm Quilter; 04-16-2012 at 08:21 AM.

  8. #68
    Senior Member Jupiter's Avatar
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    If you subscribe to TheQuiltShow.com, Linda Taylor has a series of classes for how to load and use your long arm. Her method of pinning on a quilt is so sensible and quick, that alone is worth the price of the subscription.

    Short explaination: Start in the middle of the quilt edge. pin out every 4 inches. When you get to the edge, go back putting a pin between each of the previous pins. When you get to the middle, go to the other edge placing a pin every 4 inches. Go back to the middle putting a pin inbetween each pin. She claims you can have a king sized quilt loaded in a half hour. She is right. So simple, but it organizes you and you don't take extra time to figure out what comes next.

    Hope that helps some.

    hugs, Jup
    "Stash Enhancement" makes buying fabric necessary, even when you have no idea what you will do with it! ----Jupiter aka Marilyn


    http://marilynjsmith.blogspot.com/

  9. #69
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    metro Portland, OR
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    I have a "mid" arm and haven't used it much however, my 13 year old grandson started quilting on it when he was 8 and he does a fantastic job. It was worth the money to be able to share it with grand children. My 8 year old grand daughter will be trying it this summer when school is out. She made her first quilt on a regular sewing machine last fall and has filmed several segments for OREGON QUILTING on our local public TV.
    http://www.oregonquilting.net
    I choose to give my life away for things that last forever

  10. #70
    Super Member
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    I have a "mid" arm and haven't used it much however, my 13 year old grandson started quilting on it when he was 8 and he does a fantastic job. It was worth the money to be able to share it with grand children. My 8 year old grand daughter will be trying it this summer when school is out. She made her first quilt on a regular sewing machine last fall and has filmed several segments for OREGON QUILTING on our local public TV.
    http://www.oregonquilting.net
    I choose to give my life away for things that last forever

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