Get Gephardt: 2 Utah quilters say sewing machine manufacturer isn’t honoring warranty
Oct 11, 2023, 10:57 PM | Updated: Oct 17, 2023, 11:24 am
LEHI — Laura Money doesn’t just quilt, she longarm quilts. It’s her business. Her longarm quilting machine with its long neck moves across quilts as it sews intricate, computer guide patterns to stitch layers together.
“So, what happens is the customer (brings) a quilt top, they mail it to me and then I add the batting and the bottom layer,” Money said. “And then the machine sews the layers together to make a quilt and I mail it back to the customer.”
And if you’re just learning longarm quilting is a thing, brace yourself for sticker shock: “It costs $38,000,” Money said.
Problem is, Money says her machine constantly adds extra loops to stitches on that bottom layer. Each stitch must be unpicked by hand, and the machine reconfigured.
“So, for months, I was fixing I was going back and fixing them, and I was taking hours and hours,” she said. “And I finally was like, I can’t sustain the taking 12 hours to finish a quilt.”
There is another issue constantly needling Money, and it struck while we were rolling. She says the machine keeps shredding or breaking the top thread, and the fix to the stitch has to be done by hand.
“You have to go back, you have to unpick stitch by stitch,” she said. “Sometimes you have to do big sections – sometimes small – and you have to restart it.”
The machine is made by a company called Gammill. Money says after service by two of their techs, her machine is still not fixed, and her business is now in tatters.
“It’s this huge investment that’s just useless,” she said. She is not alone. Pauline Maxwell says she paid Gammill $40,000.
“For a used machine that … promised would have a beautiful stitch just like a brand-new machine,” she said.
Like Money’s, she says it consistently sews in extra loops.
“I’ve done two quilts, and both quilts have had a problem with the stitch.”
Maxwell says you can’t catch a bad stitch until after it has happened.
“It’s frustrating because it’s a labor-intensive job that shouldn’t have to happen when you spend this much money on a machine,” she said.
Maxwell and Money asked us to investigate.
Gammill’s limited lifetime warranty says covers the product against defective materials and/or workmanship. That’s true of new machines, and “pre-loved machines” their website states.
When we reached out to Gammill on behalf of both longarm quilters. a company spokesman insisted neither machine is defective.
Maxwell’s frustrations “can be solved with education and machine settings,” Gammill writes. It said they offered to take her machine back, but Maxwell says they told her to expect to pay around $8,000 to ship it back.
No such offer for Money. Gammill said “her issues are issues of settings and alignment.” And despite Money asking for them to buy back her machine, the company said she “could sell it (to a) private party” and that “due to inflation … she could likely sell it for as much or more than she paid for it two years ago.”
Now, a warranty doesn’t get you an automatic refund if a product is defective. Companies have the right to try to fix it first. But if they don’t honor their warranty, you can report them to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection and to the Federal Trade Commission. Beyond that, you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.