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I wish APQS would train more field techs to come around and service our machines............not just routine maintenance, but troubleshooting problems...........a friend just spent MONTHS dealing with her 2014 demo machine trying to get it to work right.............no one would come to her house to check it out............kept trying to 'FIX IT' by email and phone calls with no results other than more frustration for her............she was finally forced to trade it off for a brand new machine - just to get something that works............she SERIOUSLY considered buying another brand.........APQS touts their great warranty and customer service, but it seems to be lacking..............many of us are not able to man handle a machine to pack it up and send it to Carroll.........when I got my new machine a year ago, they took the box back with them.   I dread the day when I might need help because it seems no one will come............with the number of machines that are sold every day and at all these Road Shows and Quilt Shows, APQS is falling down on their Customer Service after the machine is delivered.  


Linda B.       :rolleyes: 

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I agree wholeheartedly, Linda! Having lived in the middle of nowhere for many years, it was frustrating when having problems.  NOBODY wanted to come to Elko, Nevada. I thought it would be better once we moved to the Vegas area, but nope. I have considered taking the machine maintenance class just for my own sanity, but that's an expensive endeavor, too.


90EB6B28C6BCFC9DAC2A6D4F9B7AFCA9.png Lisa E APQS Freedom SR with Bliss! Henderson, NV

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So far the emails and phone calls is the only way they want to handle my thread breakage problem and I only bought it in March.  I have done al the trouble shooting 2-4 times. Its not fixing anything. Nothing changes so I find myself not quilting.:mellow: Very nice people, just not enough of them to go around I guess.


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A good friend will come and bail you out of jail, but a best friend will be sitting next to you saying, 'Dang, that was fun'!

2017 Blissed Lenni and loving it!

 

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Knock on wood, my machine is working OK, but dread the day when it does need something............my friend went through "H"..........she bought a demo machine, but they are supposed to be all worked over and have the warranty...........I guess if you can fix it yourself with a part they might send you, you are OK, but don't ask for anyone to come to the house...........I am VERY DISAPPOINTED in the Customer Service in that regard.......she even had trouble getting anyone to return her calls, emails, etc. .....We recently moved and they did give me the name of a man who would come move my machine, but he didn't do any maintenance............only take it down and put it back up in the new location...........and I paid him $400 to do it...........


Linda B.       :rolleyes: 

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I live on the edge of the middle of nowhere. I have always experienced excellent customer support from APQS. To troubleshoot a problem I start with this forum, call customer support and then fix it myself. I took the APQS machine maintenance course which was well worth the cost and travel.
Thread breaking can be very frustrating. Weak thread, lint in the hook area, thread tension- too tight, too loose, worn check spring, burrs, can all cause thread breakage, the list goes on. It takes time to really get to know your machine. 
Leslie


Quilted Stitches

APQS - Lucey

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I agree that having the option of someone coming to you to fix your machine is a missing piece in the APQS support system.  I am comfortable with working on my machine and have had good experiences with APQS support working with me until the problem is fixed.  But not everyone wants to work on their machine, and this process takes a long time.     If you have a robust quilting business, you can't afford the down time while you figure things out.  I am fortunate enough to always have quilts waiting in line, so often it would make sense to call in an expert to get the problem fixed quickly, pay for it and then keep on quilting.  Most of us don't hesitate to call in a plumber or electrician when we need help, because you want the problem fixed quickly and correctly.    I think if there were more qualified APQS service people available, they would stay pretty busy. 

 

Carol

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My local Brother deal repair guy fixes the area quilt shop longarm machines.  You might find that they are more than qualified to get your machine up and running.  You may even find, like in my area that another dealer has an APQS longarm for their own use at home, and she and their repair person is more than happy to help fix your machine.  I feel confident if one were pay the house call fee, that they would come to your home to fix your machine.  Look into it, you may be surprise what you find.

Cagey 


May your threads be balanced, and your bobbin forever full….

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Actually, I don't think anyone would object to paying a service call and with warranty covering any parts needed..........They don't even seem to offer that as an option..........Many of us can't or don't wish to work on our own machines..........fearing doing something to damage the machine and ruining the warranty...........having a hard time seeing or getting into a position to do maintenance, etc.............I am 70 years old and do not wish to do it and my husband is even less enthused about it.............many of us are in the same boat.........I can clean/oil my machine and those things, but I will not get into replacing circuit boards or anything else.    Lifetime Warranty should include more than just parts coming to you in the mail and a "do it yourself kit".


Linda B.       :rolleyes: 

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HI,

all I can say....is that I would pay for someone to come and fix my machine, and to pack it up, and even....to do a yearly cleaning and servicing.....I am not good a maintenance things and at 68 getting a bit creaky myself.....I doubt in most areas that their would be enough people with long-arms to make a living....ummm....maybe a sewing machine tech who wants to take longarms on as a sub-specialty?  Umm...maybe a person who would like to do this who would service many different brands of longarms?  I think the person would still have to be willing to travel a bit and I don't know....I think we would have to be willing to pay some of those expenses to make it worthwhile for a person....I know local repair people for other things often add a "travel" charge for coming to your  house based on how they have to travel....

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 A local longarmer with a Lenny called me, knowing I had a Millie and could I come over and "help" her figure out what was wrong? What's the problem? She wouldn't pick up a stitch. Did you go over the checklist? Yes. Did you call APQS? No. Helphelphelp I'm getting behind!!! I drive over (10 miles), look at the machine (so dirty and soooo may set-up errors--yikes!) and immediately see her needle is in backward. No "thank you", she hustled me out the door so fast I got dizzy! That "service call" would have cost her $200 plus travel time. Luckily I live within driving distance of Barbara Mayfield and it gives me vast peace of mind, but I still fix my own. The other side? My nightmare of a spa treatment at APQS several years ago that resulted in me using a loaner for 4 months. Please realize that there are very few "traveling magicians" that are trained on every longarm and will gladly come to your home. My Gammill friends locally have to hand-deliver the head to Eastern Washington or pay $$big bucks$$ to someone traveling 200 miles for a house call. They pay him for a full day's work because he's away from his base. They do it, but don't like it much. The repairman comes to this side of the state a couple of times a year so he sets up work and it cuts the cost by a bit. Dave Jones is the only one I know who makes house calls, besides Barb. If "traveling tech" was a viable career, someone would be doing it!  


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

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Some years back APQS started taking names of folks that were interested in some in depth maintenance classes especially on the west coast, we signed up. My husband has done several set-ups for friends and repairs to my machine. He is a very talented technician and can fix anything! Nothing ever came to fruition even after I contacted them again and again. It was also brought back up on the forum as "whatever happened to that?"  No response. A couple years ago APQS  told me they were going to do a "Spa in the Box" for those of us who wished to give our own Spa Treatment. Once again.....nothing. I inquired again and received no response. I have a difficult time with the lack of follow through and communication. Say what you mean and mean what you say!


c7bae4be5138b5e1d1f267e209f5b9f6.png

APQS Millenium in

Spring Creek, NV

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A service person I have used is Ron Paul. He is located in northern California and travels to several states. He comes to Arizona every Spring for Spring Training and makes the rounds working on any and all systems. He is a Gammill and IQ dealer but he knows all the machines. I really like the work he does. If you are interested in learning more about him, his phone number is 406-550-9026. His email address is houndholler@aol.com . I don't know what his schedule is and where he is going to be but if you are interested, let him know you are interested in getting your machine serviced and see what he says.


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Sue in Phoenix, AZ
Millennium with IntelliQuilter
http://www.flickr.co...aciouscreations

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As Customer Service Director, I appreciate your candid feedback! If you have not received the kind of service you expect, please let me know so that we can remedy the situation as quickly as possible. We do take pride in our customer service, and if we have fallen down on the job we want to make it right. Unfortunately, if we aren't alerted to a problem, then we can't fix it. If you have not had an issue resolved to your satisfaction, please let me know.

I understand the desire to have more customer service technicians around the world to help customers who are not willing or able to do the repairs themselves. We'd like that too!  In fact, if you haven't looked at our "retailer" listings lately, be sure to do so--we have spent the past two years training nearly 50 of our dealers to become certified technicians who can do service work both in their stores or studios as well as "in the field". You can search for retailers who are certified technicians based on zip code or even by the certified tech designation.

We have three more training sessions set up through next June that will bring that number up to well over 75 trained service people across the US, Canada, and Europe. Once our dealers have been trained, we will work to add more technicians who are "outside" of the APQS dealer family but are interested in receiving the training. That will make it easier for customers to find a regional service center for help with their machines if needed. While we'd love to have a technician on every corner just like Starbucks, as a small, family-owned company that is a bit out of our reach at the moment.

The good news is that these machines are built to industrial standards and are designed for years of heavy use before the machine parts start showing wear and tear and need more than simply oiling and checking motor brushes. That's how we are able to offer a lifetime warranty on the machines. If they were prone to problems or frequent breakdowns, we'd go broke with warranty repairs. We realize that despite that reliability, some quilters just feel better if they have the machine "looked over" on a regular basis, which is a service that our certified techs can still provide. But it is also something that machine owners can also do themselves through a "mini spa kit" (see below).

Many longarmers are convinced that their machines need a yearly "servicing" just like their home sewing machine. That may the case with other brands, but APQS machines do NOT need a yearly servicing. If a quilter keeps the machine clean, oils the machine properly, and checks the motor brushes annually, (all of which are described in detail in the machine manual found on the CD or USB that came with the machine and on our "Support" section of the APQS website) then even a machine used every single day for a business will not need typically need "servicing" until the 7th or 8th year of ownership. It's at that point of full-time use that the 'wear and tear' parts on the machine start affecting the stitch quality and will need repair or replacement.

However, it IS still a machine, after all, and once in a while a machine may need attention before that point in time. We designed the machine so that any repairs are not only simple to do, but also user-friendly and more cost-effective than having to pay for a technician to make a house call or experience 'down time' by sending the machine back to the factory. But both of those options are available, along with certified technicians in the field, to help when needed.

Regarding our "Spa in the Box", it is currently not listed on our online store, but that IS available for purchase for customers who call in to order it and doit  themselves. The Mini Spa kit includes instructions on how to 'check' the machine over, along with basic wear and tear parts for replacement if needed. The Deluxe Spa kit assumes the machine is due for that 7-8 year "check up" and that parts will be replaced for sure, rather than just 'evaluated'. We haven't listed it on the store at this time due to the variety of APQS models available--we want to be sure we send the correct repair parts to match the model.

However, Lisa brings up a good point--we could list it on the store and simply request that the customer call us directly to place the order.

If you're interested in either of the Spa Kits, you can call our Parts Team at 800-426-7233 or email us at parts@apqs.com for more info.

And if you're struggling with your machine and need help, please let me know!

 


DA6F15FEDD9F8F152708CED82003B151.png

APQS Customer Service & Education Director

1-800-426-7233

dawn@apqs.com

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Dawn;

Thank you for the update.  Since you say a machine used every single day (I'm guessing computer driven E2E 6-8 hours a day), only needs service around the 7 to 8 year mark, would it be a good guess that a home used machine 20-40 hours a month would only need service around the 20-year mark, as long as an owner keeps it oiled, clean, and checks the brushes yearly?  

Cagey


May your threads be balanced, and your bobbin forever full….

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This was a very good topic today and a lot of information given.   Dawn, if there is a way to put your response under the service area of the website it might help more people to head in the right direction for answers.  I had a 2003 Millie that was used when I bought it I had no idea how to fix anything or if it needed anything done to it when I got it.  But I did read the manual repeatedly and when I couldn't figure something out I called.  I loved the help each and everyone gave me.  They even listened over the phone and were able to tell what the problem was just from listening to it!  It may of taken some time to fix my issues and I am thankful they were all small but if I didn't follow the manual and keep things cleaned and oiled like we need to I would imagine that more would be wrong.  Owning a machine no matter what kind it is means you are going to have to take care of it and learn the mechanics of your machine not just using it to sew or quilt.  I no longer have my Millie and wished I had never had to sell her but life throws life out of wack at times and when the time comes I will have another APQS because the team members are great people to work with and these machines are absolutely wonderful!!  Oh I forgot to tell you that if you have the ability to Skype on your computer or other means to video chat with them they can also see what you are talking about and can tell you what to do and watch YOU do it while they direct you.  Wonderful help and Wonderful people!  Just ask.

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Hi Cagey,

Your assumption is right--barring a catastrophe with the machine, machines used only casually may not need any "wear and tear" maintenance for two decades or more (if ever). The machines we are seeing back at the factory now for the "spa treatment" are in the 2006-2008 model year, and most have been used in business settings. The most common "wear" items that eventually need replacement with extensive use are:

  • hook assembly
  • thread guides
  • needle bar bushings
  • motor brushes
  • wheels
  • canvases

All of the items listed above can also be replaced by the customer to avoid having to send the machine back to headquarters. We have parts kits and individual parts along with video tutorials and written instructions for almost every repair. Our first goal is to try to get the machine up and running as quickly as possible for each customer, which means working directly with each customer to make repairs themselves.

Frankly, the actual machine repairs are really not that hard. Our most common obstacle in Service is a customer's lack of confidence or fear that she (or he) can actually DO it on her own! If you can handle a screwdriver, you can repair the machine! If you have ever attended one of my classes, you have probably heard me share my favorite quote from Henry Ford. (I have lived my life with this thought in mind, and it has helped me accomplish so much more):

"If you think you CAN, or you think you CAN'T, either way, you are right."

My philosophy has always been...if I try and I fail, what do I have to lose? I may end up still having to call the repairman, but I MAY end up fixing the problem myself and gaining so much understanding and self-confidence to boot!

However, we do understand that it may not be practical or possible for some customers to do the repairs themselves, which is why we began the certified tech program. Hopefully, we WILL get to the point where a tech is within a short driving distance of every machine owner. While the longarm world is still growing, we aren't to the point where there's a dealer in every town like there is a gas station or convenience store.

As it is now, it's common outside large metropolitan areas to have to drive 4-6 hours to reach a qualified service person in MANY industries. I think the longarm world is a bit like the auto industry in that you can find a general auto mechanic in just about every town, just like you can find sewing machine repair people. But if you buy a Corvette, chances are good you'll need to take it to a Corvette dealer for service--they don't come to you.

fbaldwin,

Thanks for your input and great suggestion! I can see if the webmaster can at least put something on the Support tab that indicates we have Certified Technicians and how to find them. I realized after reading your response that someone needing service or support is not necessarily going to click on the "find a retailer" link to find local help. 

One of the other major life lessons I've learned in this job is that there is always room for improvement. All of your comments help us make APQS a stronger company!


DA6F15FEDD9F8F152708CED82003B151.png

APQS Customer Service & Education Director

1-800-426-7233

dawn@apqs.com

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Dawn;

Thank you for reassuring me that our APQS machines are built like tanks.  Ones that can take a real beating before they show any wear or tear, and then need repair.  As long as we do the normal in-between bobbin/quilt checks it seems like they will provide most quilters a lifetime of smooth stitching.  When the time comes if you are willing to re-time your machine on your own, it sounds like you can more than likely handle any repair job.

Thank you for the update, and I look forward to taking a class with your one day.  Maybe you could set up a traveling maintenance class in the south-east area (hint hint Orlando), so you could up the confidence levels of APQS owners.  I suggest late fall/winter time frame.  Try to stay away from the hurricane season.  Though if you can repair your machine up and test it out while only getting power from a generator,  I'd say you can overcome any adversity that an APQS machine could throw at you.  Thank you again.  Take care, and have a wonderful day.

Cagey


May your threads be balanced, and your bobbin forever full….

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I personally think it's great that I can try and fix any problem myself with the help of APQS (althought I am happy to know that the next technician is less than three hours away and passes through my town on a regular basis). But I can certainly understand that not everyone can or wants to do this. There is no rule though (I think ;) ) that you have to do it yourself. You could ask any family member, friend or neighbour who is a little tech savvy and not afraid to touch your machine to do it for you. The instructional videos are really good, and if there are questions, just call APQS, and they will walk you through. You could pay whoever is helping you for their time and effort and it would be a lot cheaper than having someone travel to your house who is six hours away.


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