Buying & Selling Sergers
Buying new home machines
For home machines Amazon consistently has good prices and good customer service. However, before you buy you should make sure that the machine is actually sold by Amazon and ships from Amazon. Some items that are listed on Amazon are actually sold by other sellers. If you look, it will clearly say on the product listing page if the item is sold by Amazon or by another “Amazon seller”. I am not saying that other sellers are bad, but on these items you need to be aware that Amazon is not the seller so you should do some research and find out about the seller and only buy if you trust the seller. Some sellers are good, some are less reputable.
I use Amazon as a benchmark to check prices for new items. Most of the time it is hard to find a better price. Amazon also has a good return policy if your machine or parts arrive dead, or you don’t like the item you ordered. Watch the time that is allowed for returns so that if you are going to return an item you do it in time.
eBay sellers, Amazon sellers and on-line sellers
There are many sellers of new machines that sell through eBay and on-line. Each of these sellers is different. Some are good and others are bad. Do your research and only order from sellers that you trust and feel comfortable dealing with. The landscape of sellers changes all the time so I do not feel comfortable recommending favorites. Sellers that have worked for me in the past may not work so well for you now.
eBay feedback ratings are useful. If an eBay seller has a high positive feedback rating and many sales then they are probably a good seller. Feedback on eBay is done by the seller and not by the item. I have relied upon the eBay feedback system for many high dollar purchases and have had very few problems. I have found the eBay feedback system is more reliable then hours of Internet research of non-eBay sellers. On eBay the items are not guaranteed by eBay and each seller has its own guaranty policy.
The Amazon feedback ratings that you see on most product pages for products sold by Amazon sellers are for the product and are not the cumulative feedback for the seller. If you click on the seller you can pull up a cumulative ratings for the seller. Amazon has what they call an “a-z return guaranty” that covers all sellers sellers. Read about this on Amazon and make up your own mind about if this makes you feel more secure about buying from an Amazon seller.
I have not found a reliable way to get feedback on random on-line sellers that are not on eBay or Amazon. A Google search may or may not turn up any reliable information. Sometimes calling on the phone and talking to them is a good option!
I try to buy local if possible, but sadly most local retail stores in my area have high prices and I end up buying on-line most of the time. Sometimes I will buy from the local store anyway just to support them, because it is good to have a local store for convenience sake and I want them to stay in business.
Buying new industrial machines
Industrial sewing machines are sold by industrial sewing machine dealers. They are also sold on eBay and Amazon. Some industrial sewing machine dealers have very good prices, just as good as eBay or Amazon prices. Amazon and eBay have a limited selection of models, going to an industrial sewing machine dealer you will find a much larger selection. Industrial sewing machines are heavy. Buying from a local dealer at a good price may be the best option because you will not have shipping expenses. Check on-line and then call your local dealers to compare prices and service. Local dealers normally service what they sell, this could be a big advantage. Industrial dealers primarily do business with other companies and are normally very professional.
Buying used machines
Used home machines can be purchased from eBay, Craigslist and some local sewing machine stores. Also resale shops, garage sales and Goodwill stores. Pay attention to shipping cost if you are buying on eBay, used sewing machines are heavy and the shipping costs can add up to more than the cost of the machine!
Most used machines are sold as-is (no guarantee) so plan on having to oil and adjust the machine and allow some extra time and money in your budget for this. A used machine will often need some repairs or parts. If you want a machine that is perfect then get a new machine! Some eBay sellers claim that their used machines are fully serviced and adjusted. Some of these sellers do a good job and the machines are as claimed, other sellers just wipe the machine down with Windex so it looks good in the pictures and have no idea what they are talking about. Look at the feedback ratings and read the actual feedback. Packing is a big issue, you don’t want a machine that has been damaged in shipment. Ask the seller about how they pack their machines, if they double box, what kind of packing material is used, etc. Look in the feedback comments to see if other buyers have said anything about the packing, either good or bad. If needed you can offer to send the seller $5 or $10 additional funds for extra packing material and double boxing. Sometimes this is more effective then paying for insurance because you are preventing the damage instead of trying to collect for the damage later which can be a headache and waist of time.
Used industrial machines can also be purchased from eBay and Craigslist. Most industrial sewing machine dealers also sell used machines and sometimes at good prices. Some industrial dealers have huge inventories of used machines. If you buy from an industrial dealer they may guarantee the machine or are able to provide service and adjustments. If you are buying from eBay or any dealer that is out of your local area pay attention to shipping cost.
Selling used machines
For selling used machines under $200 Craigslist is the best way to go. This is because sewing machines are heavy and difficult to pack well. If you sell them on eBay, by the time you add up your time, seller fees, shipping costs and other fees it is not a good deal. Otherwise you may prefer to give less expensive machines that you are not using to your favorite charity! To determine the asking price for machines you are selling you should look at previous sales on both eBay and Craigslist.