Some Final Thoughts on Husqvarna Viking

Last night I picked up my Viking Topaz 20 from my dealer, Tampa Bay Sewing Center. They found a tension assembly and replaced it. It seems to be working.

56 days is how long it took for this repair to be completed.

I’ve updated my original blog post on the subject but I have some final thoughts for anyone that might be considering purchasing from HV and also for any dealers out there that might be reading my blog.  When I picked up my machine I was asked if I’d consider taking my original blog post down. In all honesty, I was quite surprised at the request. Just because my machine had been fixed didn’t take away the horrible experience I’d had over the last two months.

My experience could have been better if the dealer had done the following:

Called me on a regular basis, preferably weekly, with updates on the status of the repair and what they are doing to try and speed it along.

Offered me a loaner machine a week after it had been in the shop, especially since it was right before the Christmas holidays when I needed to make gifts.

Been honest with me as to why the part was taking so long to come in and why they couldn’t just find one from another dealer.

Offered me something in compensation for my time waiting on the repair and driving back and forth to the dealer multiple times to get the problem fixed.

I still do not feel comfortable recommending the brand or this model of sewing machine to anyone, especially those that plan on using it on a regular basis. I typically sew and quilt upwards of 20 hours per week. I do not have another embroidery machine as a backup. I also used the Viking Topaz 20 as my main quilting machine since I purchased a cabinet that it dropped down into so I was unable to quilt anytime the machine was in the shop.

Ultimately this comes down to bad customer service. Maybe your local Husqvarna Viking dealer would have handled this repair problem differently. Mine dropped the ball on this one.

I sincerely hope the machine is fixed and the thread tension problem doesn’t happen again. Because of the experience I had with my dealer I will be selling the machine since I do not trust them. I can’t afford to be without a machine for that amount of time in the future.

See their response to my Better Business Bureau Complaint where they call me a liar.


  1. Diane Rincon says:

    Well written, fair, and true.

  2. I think this is very fair. If they didn’t want word to spread about their terrible customer service, they should have thought of that 56 days ago!

  3. Jacquelyn says:

    How unfortunate that likely the only reason they even fixed the machine was their “fear” of how many folks would come across your website! I looked at machines at my local Joann store but ended up purchasing from a local Babylock dealer. I had considered using the dealer in my local Joann and am so happy I did not!

    I read all of your posts Katie and respect your opinions on not only sewing machines but every other subject as well!!! I haven’t been quilting very long and look forward to everything you have to say. I know that to maintain your website and podcast takes a great deal of time and energy but know that you are having a direct and positive effect on many of your followers.

    Enjoy your well deserved vacation!

  4. Taking down your blog post(s) will NOT change the horrible experience you had with a HV dealer and their poor customer service. Please do not take down your post(s). The dealer wants it down for one primary purpose – she’s noticed that interest in her HV machines has dropped down to ZERO. Her lack of customer service has paid her well deserved dividends – ZERO! How a person treats people comes back to them in some form or another.
    You were fair and honest. I’m proud that you stood your ground until you got the machine fixed.

  5. Gaile Schriber says:

    I have 2 Viking sewing machines. The first I have not had any real problems with. The second one is a different story.i recently took the second one in to be service and cleaned. I have had trouble with the bobbin winder.They have repaired 2 and I am having problems with it again. When I said something about it the person appeared defensive until she looked at my history on the computer. She made a note on the work order. I am wondering if you posting has made the rounds with the Viking dealers. I am sorry for your problems but it may get mine fixed. Please leave the posting up. Gaile

  6. That dealer is my dealer too and while I still love Vikings and my machines, I can honestly say I’m not surprised at your experience. I brought my machine in a couple of years ago to fix relatively easy problems (nothing computerized) and had the same lack of communication and miscommunication. Two of the problems came back and I’ve never brought the machine back in because I just don’t want to deal with it. Sad, really.

    I’m glad you finally got your machine back and fixed and I wish you much luck in selling it for a good price.

    And hey … I’m a garment sewer and local (Valrico), so if you ever want some help, let me know. Your first foray came out great! You’ll really enjoy those dresses on your cruise.

    • That’s terrible you’ve had the same experience customer service wise from the same dealer – especially if it’s been going on for years! Did you get your machines fixed elsewhere?

      Yes!! We should totally get together. I’d love to pick your brain if you have time 🙂 Will browse through your blog too – added it to my google reader.

  7. I don’t have a Husqvarna Viking machine, although I will admit that I have been checking them out at my local JoAnn’s.. I like the features on the machine, and the ladies that work there are rather nice and seem helpful. However, even though they seem nice enough and they know the machines, they are sales people, not repair people.. They might be able to handle minor questions but nothing major so I feel if I bought a machine and there was a problem I would have to find a shop that offered repairs.. As I remember all the Husqvarna Viking stores in JoAnn’s are owned and operated by a outside dealer and not JoAnn Fabric. So where I live the main Husqvarna Viking dealer would be the repair shop.. JoAnn’s is just a sales area for him. I currently own a Janome, a Brother and a Singer machines, Singer and Brother have never been in for repair in the 10 years or so that I owned them… Just the yearly cleaning and oiling trips.. BUT my Janome ended up in the shop as it stopped one day and there was nothing.. found out later it was a fuse… BUT it took the Janome dealer three months to get my machine back to me… I called and stopped by and found out her repairman had been ill, but the dealer and her husband were both trained to do repairs so why they didn’t just get the machines fixed and returned is something I didn’t understand… especially when I found out the it was a simple fuse… and the change was so easy.. I have had fuse problems with this machine since, but now I have my husband change it, buying the $3.00 fuse saves $ 90.00 service call and months of being without my machine.. so as you can see it is the dealers who are causing problems…because customer service is just not what it once was. As for removing your blog post on your experience with this shop… NO WAY, you reported on your problem and their not handling the problem in a timely manner. If they want a good review, then they need to earn it by giving good customer service to everyone. Maybe with more posts like yours things will get better.. we need our machines, some rely on them for their livelyhood some for their stress relief, some just for fun and being customers they all deserve top quality service… I mean with the cost of these machines and the money that dealers make from the sales you would think they would treat their customers a little bit better. As we all know, we will never be satisified with a machine, there are always that new one the we must have and if we have a good dealer we will once again be at their door to purchase our dream machine, and we will go with the ones that get great reviews, not the ones who have complaints. I enjoy reading your posts and I rely on your blog and other blogs like it to give me tips, tricks, techniques and insight on what is the best for my hobby… Thank you for your lovely insights.

  8. I am glad you have your machine back so you can finally close this chapter in your life. I wonder how long the repairs would have taken if you did not have a blog? I feel even more sorry for those who do not have public forums to express their delays and are still waiting…. I enjoy your podcast.

    • Your sewing machine is just as important to you as a car is for most people. What would your dealer say about a car repair shop that held their car for 56 days?

    • I mentioned that to her Sharon and she said my blog post had nothing to do with how quickly my machine was repaired, it was all because of her effort to help me. I have no idea which is true. Many, many other people are waiting on backordered parts that don’t have a public blog which is a shame. I wish more quilters and sewers would document their machines – good and bad – so when others are researching what to buy they are well informed. Those “consumer best buy” awards are worthless and HV machines get them every year.

  9. My first thought is that unfortunately, this kind of experience is not that uncommon for ANY kind of product these days. I’ve had similar issues with a brand new car, dishwasher, etc. Customer service and customer satisfaction go out the door as soon as cash passes hands. Yes, I’m old and cynical…..I have so many similar experiences, I could write a book. I have a HV….can’t say that I’ve EVER been thrilled with it. Mine is currently sitting in my living room, waiting for me to finish a quilt I started last March. I’ve screamed, cried, cussed (YES), and threated to throw it in the swimming pool. To make matters worse, it is paper pieced so there are a million LOOSE, unattractive seams in what was supposed to be a family heirloom. The story as to how I even came to purchase this machine is even more humorous and at the same time REALLY SAD but probably not to others so I won’t bore anyone with that. But needless to say, I’m really sorry I made the purchase.
    The needle threader on mine is broken. As I said, I’m old and can’t see something that small but the new part is over $35 to $90 plus the repair charge. RIDICULOUS .
    So, like I said, it is sitting like an albatross !

  10. Ladies (& any gentlemen who read this). I have use Husquavara machines for many years. I have always had good service.

    HOWEVER, I have ALWAYS dealt with a regular dealer – NEVER one from such an arrangement as the JoAnn thing. My dealer at the present is honest, forthright and very helpful – I live in a very rural area and the dealer is in a fairly small town and is the only one within 100 miles from me. I would alwyas reccommend that anyone who wants to use ANY BRAND of machine investigate very carefully, talk to people who have used the machines, talk to people who have used that dealer and ALWAYS, ALWAYS deal with a “REAL” dealer for that type of machine.
    I realize this might be a time-consuming effort, but it is by far the better course of action!

    • Carol Alaniz says:

      MY dealer IS inside a Joann’s store. Just because they’re inside Joann’s doesn’t make them bad…it’s the people running the dealership. My dealer, thankfully, has been wonderful, NEVER a problem. They stick up for me when the repair guy says ‘Nothing’s wrong’

  11. Thank you for posting! Good information to have in hand for those of us considering making purchases in the future.

  12. Lis Martion says:

    What were they thinking?? Leave all your blogs up and posts. I have never had a HV, but that is not on as far as service goes. I hope you have caught up on a mths worth of sewing now! I think I would be really, really pissed off.
    Good luck with it…

  13. I can sympathize with you totally!! I have a Juki machine and after trying several dealers who had no idea where to get the part I needed, we called Juki direct. Turns out it was a recall item ( and the dealers didnt know this:????) Anyway, Juki payed the shipping back to them to get fixed. It should be there Tuesday so I am very anxious to see how long it will take. I dont think people should hang a tag that they repair certian machines if in fact they are clueless as to the problems, where to get the parts and recalls. Cant do repairs without that info!!! Hope yours stays up and running for you! I am a mess without my machine!

  14. You shouldn’t take down your post. If they were any other kind of dealer they should have offered you a second machine after your second repair. After all this trouble and you said your machine was out of warranty I hope they didn’t charge you for this nonsense.

  15. martie bruner says:

    my call to the service dept did no good what so ever they just basically blowed me off the tension control is still on backorder and they don’t know when it will come it and they don’t care makes my blood boil. She said it had to come over on a boat i told her if they would open a plant in america it would already be here and i ask about a recall she said there was not that many having a problem but in the same sentance said they were have to wait on alot of parts. She wouldn’t let me talk to anybody else so i was just cut off basically.

    • I think that’s so stupid they wasted your time by having you call in to tell you it’s still on backorder. Really bad business. Plus, according to the Husqvarna Viking tech that commented on my post they know it’s a problem and there are at least four technical bulletins out about the tension issue!

      • martie bruner says:

        and the saga goes on the hate me so much now the called the dealer that they had me take it to so she could call me and basically shut me up. I told her i hadn’t contacted her because since i didn’t buy the machine from her i didn’t feel it was her problem and about my call yeasterday and that they told me to call her she would know when the part was in she wasn’t happy either when we got off the phone. Honestly if you get to looking this has been going on since at least 2010 and thats just from people that post to the internet it not the problem its that they don’t want to make a solution. She offered me a machine and i told her i might in the future take her up on it but i didn’t feel like making the 3 hour round trip. Then i had to explain why i couldn’t use the local dealer if i didn’t buy it here then hv doesn’t pay for labor accept in a joann store or at the store i bought it. I just hate that we all can’t buy anything worth bring home anymore and really nobody cares after they get our hard earned money. I have decide to just keep up with the post and continue sharing my experience but otherwise live on for all it worth they don’t care i am just wasting my time.

      • Keep posting and sharing! I honestly think that is the ONLY reason my machine got fixed faster than normal especially since people like you are being told the exact same part is on backorder. Somehow they found a part for my machine because I had people reading my blog post. I think that’s why they asked me to take it down when I picked up my supposedly fixed machine.

        It’s disgusting they’re asking you to keep your mouth shut about a huge issue like this. Seriously bad business practice.

    • Carol Alaniz says:

      I don’t know what these people are telling you. My dealer told me most of the problems they have with machines have to do with the way UPS handles them, tossing them on the trucks and then back off the trucks at the store’s loading dock (Joann Fabrics). I’ve never heard of this ‘on the boat’ stuff. I suppose it could be true. Sounds to me as though your dealer’s OWNER doesn’t give a c*ap about anyone, and the people who run the store don’t either. Husky should close the place down. I’m lucky that I have a good dealership manager who sticks up for me. She replaced my Ruby when the first one I got wouldn’t run at all. Then, when I decided not to unbox the Ruby and trade up to the Diamond, she took it and the store’s owner said ‘Okay, give her list price on the Diamond’. So, she did. I have been thrilled with my Diamond and have dealt with my dealership (prior to owning the Diamond) for three years; NEVER a problem! It’s all in the people!

      • Husqvarna Viking is having documented issues with the tension assemblies, so much so they cannot keep replacement parts in stock. Several people are having tension problems with various models that use the same part.

        There are better dealers out there that aren’t hit or miss like Husqvarna Viking and actually care about customer service. I’d rather go to a consistently good brand that is known for having great dealers than take a chance on Husqvarna which seems to not care about customers at all.

        I know a lady that was personally called by her dealer and told to stop complaining on HV Facebook page regarding her machine’s issues and months of being in the shop. Dealers are telling people to shut up and stop talking about it! It’s not right.

  16. Katie; my strong opinion PLEASE DO NOT WITHDRAW YOUR BBB CLAIM! The fix of your machine does not negate the poor service. The BBB is the to let the consumers know which businesses are BETTER than others. (I also have to carefully censor my language here 🙂 !!!
    PS have fun on your cruise!

    • Thanks Susan! I haven’t found a way to withdraw or modify it so it’ll just stay there and I’ll let them deal with it.

  17. I used to “bleed Viking” and solely used their machines from 1981 until they were bought by a holding company named “Kohlberg & Company LLC” (an American private equity firm) who already owned Singer. Viking had bought Pfaff before Kohlberg bought Viking. They then became known as SVP Worldwide. Notice that this “private equity firm” is AMERICAN and what do American business firms do, but move their companies to China. I purchased one of the last Swedish-made Designer Diamonds in 2010 and that is the last Viking I will ever purchase. I do have a Swedish-made Sapphire 830 and a Designer SE. Every Viking machine I have ever owned has been my “dream machine”. My newest machine purchase is a Baby Lock Ellisimo and the Baby Lock Evolution Serger…I LOVE them! I love my Baby Lock dealer as well…quality machines and quality service. Viking has lost their quality and me as a customer.

  18. Carol Alaniz says:

    I have a Viking machine. I am NOT in any way defending how Viking handled your machine. Your situation was handled badly. But, I have to say in all honesty, expecting the store to give you a loner machine and also, offering you something in compensation for all your driving back and forth–not gonna happen. You actually expect your local dealer to hand you an expensive machine for you to take home, on loan? If they did that for you they would have to do so for everyone. This creates a problem, in that the store would have to hold onto machines to loan out and, then they have to keep track of them and maintain them. Maintenance would come out of their profit, which means prices would have to increase to cover this. And, what do they have as a promise that they’d get any of these machines back? After all, they are expensive. Just because someone would be waiting to get their machine back from repair, doesn’t mean they’ll be honest and return the loner…stuff is stolen from businesses all the time….If you need a loner machine, buy a $300.00 ‘sewing class’ machine and keep it as a back up.

    • It’s common practice for dealers to provide loaner machines, even other Viking dealers. My situation happened a month before Christmas and being without an embroidery machine I was left in a lurch without an alternative. The dealer didn’t care. I wasn’t offered a loaner until January, well after Christmas and New Years. If it’s going to take longer than 30 days to fix a sewing/embroidery machine and you had to drive to said dealer four times before they believed there was an issue with it – you just let the dealer jerk you around?

      Plenty of other dealers have no problem offering loaners to their customers, especially customers that spent nearly $3k and might possibly upgrade to an even more expensive machine in the future. They have trade-in machines quite often. Personally, if I ran a business like that I’d think it would be better for business to keep customers happy and have a few loaners on hand just in case something like this happened rather than worrying about a BUSINESS COST like maintaining the machines (that could also double as floor models). Business costs are tax deductible. I seriously doubt theft would be an issue since they have all my credit information, drivers license, etc. not to mention MY EMBROIDERY MACHINE. Car dealerships offer loaners. How is this any different?

      The Regional Manager called me and wanted to make sure a loaner was offered to me so obviously it is something they do but the dealer I was working with didn’t seem to want to make it possible until I contacted corporate and complained about it a month after waiting to hear when I’d get my machine back.

      I have other sewing machines but cannot afford more than one embroidery machine.

      I don’t agree with letting businesses walk all over me for the sake of their bottom line.

  19. My repair guy ALWAYS offers me a loaner of comparable value. He keeps me happy because he wants to keep my business. Simple.

  20. Dave Barry says:

    We bought our Topaz 20 at a quilt show in Pomona CA from an AZ dealer in January 2010. We had exceeded the capabilities of our 1972 Kenmore (actually still going strong) and were impressed with the projects produced at the show attributed to that Topaz 20. We had trouble with it immediately, though I could nurse it along by very carefully regulating its speed. Our friends (Bernina owners) strongly suggested careful thread selection and frequent needle replacement. Did lots of that with some success, but still got relatively unpredictable birds nest failures. Also was promised some hoops that had been with the machine at the show, and some accessories that should have been, so called the AZ shop; THEY WERE EXCELLENT IN THEIR RESPONSE and met all our needs. We took the Topaz to the local CA Viking dealer when we kept having problems; THEY WERE EXCELLENT in giving us the prescribed VH lessons, and tried very hard to duplicate our problems – machine refused to misbehave so we eventually concluded it was our fault. Next pass through Phoenix we visited the dealer with the same results – THEY WERE VERY CONCERNED AND HELPFUL, but again machine only fails in our hands when no pros are watching.

    We gave up and have for three years been quilting on the ’72 Kenmore and one of my many Singers, a 1960s Golden Touch-N-Sew. Just this last weekend, I ran the VH through its paces with good results after aggressively blowing out the bobbin area and tension discs after Sue had a failure that showed loose loops on the bobbin side of the fabric. Now it was failing with any thread other than black Gutterman – THEN!!! It failed with that too while I was simply raising the bobbin thread! And I saw the loop escape the take up hook just as you did. My thoughts: Poor design! Impossible to believe that VH doesn’t know about it! Very upset about 3 years of frustration and blaming ourselves.

    All my Singers and our Kenmore have closed eye on takeup arm so I wrapped a wire around the lever, threaded through the eye and sewed perfectly for the rest of the day, including all grades of thread from cheap Coats and Clark to the high grade Guterman. NO FAILURES, perfect stitches, including some of the fancy ones. Removed wire – instant birds nest. Took a piece of insulation from 14 ga house wire and slipped it (friction fit) on the wire of the takeup lever until it made an interference fit when threading (thread normally but snaps past the fix point). Visited the local VH rep shop where she had a Topaz 20 on display and allowed me to look at the takeup lever – very different bends and much tighter gap! Lots of sewing the rest of the weekend using Coats And Clark Walmart thread – all functions normal. We see no reason to trust the machine to the experts and will never buy VH again. Poor design and very irresponsible corporate attitudes and policies.

    For the first time, we are going to take the embroidery unit out of the box and try to learn to embrioder. Local rep is going to tutor us.

    • Dave Barry says:

      Errata: Our Topaz and the local embroidery shop’s are both Topaz 30 models. Ours was never shipped by UPS, is not made in China, has never been dropped or abused, or any of the other excuses given to earlier victims who have posted on your thread. This is just terrible; hope ours will be OK now. It’s an early ’10 production, so maybe it’s tension setup is OK.

      • Dave Barry says:

        Errata II: the last “it’s” was an “its” that my Ipad changed for me. I must find it a school that teaches English. The Topaz 30 reference correction must be credited to eagle-eye Sue, principal quilter and comma/grammar judge.

      • I had that uptake lever modification done since I also had issues with the thread popping off. (You probably read about my saga regarding that affair since my dealer had no idea it was a reported issue). I hope your homemade fix works for your machine.

        I ended up selling mine since my dealer was worthless in trying to get machines fixed. I have a Pfaff now that I adore.

  21. Thank you for sharing your experience. I plan to purchase the Husqvarna Viking Topaz 20 for my birthday. I went to the Vikings Center in JoAnne’s Fabrics on Trinity Parkway in Stockton, CA. *NONE* of the three representatives were able to properly operate this brand. In fact, I was able to show the “master of the three” how to interchange an easy feature (upper & lower case letters) without ever using the machine–it was my 1st time.

    The machine’s demo wasn’t working, and they blamed it on the customers’ & their children touching the machine improperly. No one ever owned up to lack of knowledge with its functions. I haven’t purchased the machine, yet but I really like it and plan to do so within the next 72 hours. Do any recent users have anything to add? I welcome your input. Thank you in advance.

    • I just caution you to really think about purchasing this machine from a dealer where their employees don’t know how to properly work it. You won’t receive ample training on how to use the machine and I do wonder about their repair support.

  22. I know this post is a bit aged, but I just came across it and wanted to share my story with the local HV Dealer in the Joann’s.

    I bought a used Designer SE and have been having it serviced at a dealer (HV, Pfaff, Bernina, Brother – they sell and service them all) that was quite far from my home. I was having some tension issues/breaking needles while embroidering (sewing was perfectly fine) and decided to try the local Joann’s dealer since I wanted to not inconvenience myself getting it there and picking it up. I brought both the machine and embroidery arm since I seemed to be having the issues while embroidering. I explained that I wanted both pieces send out for service because I’ve had issues with the embroidery arm in the past.
    When I was called to get the machine, I went to pick it up and the embroidery arm was nowhere to be found. We searched the entire area. There was a handwritten note on the dealer’s version of the drop-off receipt that the arm was not sent in (even though I requested it to be). I was livid that 1-the arm was missing. I now had a very expensive plain sewing machine and 2- the arm was not sent as I really felt there was an issue with it. The woman who I was dealing with seemed to not have a clue about much – process, where they keep machines, where they keep items they didn’t send to service, etc. She tried calling the manager and could not get ahold of her while I was there seething. I refused to take any part of the machine home since I did not want to be held responsible in any way. I left after 2 hours with the person working there assuring me they would find it.

    Later than night, I received a call from the manager who assured me the arm was there or she would get me a replacement. She would be working the next day, so I should stop in while she is there. I went and she magically produced my arm/sewing machine, etc. She also offered me some thread from the wall since I had to come back again. I appreciated that, but also asked what happens when this thing doesn’t work because the arm was not fixed. She told me they would take it back and send it in with the arm. (even though I already asked them to send it in). I even had to show the manager how to release my machine in the computer so she could then give me a receipt saying I picked it up (I work in IT and pretty much all apps work in a similar way). She had no idea how to use the POS software.

    So I took the machine home and tried it out. It was still jacked up and even worse since the machine was tweaked, but not the arm. I called right away and was told to bring it all back right away.

    They ended up sending in the arm and machine again for service. When it came back they found there was a gear broken in the arm. Yippeee, it works, but I not wasted too much time on this ( total of 2 months). I had to show the other woman (which I learned from the manager has worked at this dealer for 7 years – yes, the original person who had no clue) how to release the machine in the POS system too.

    Long story short is that I agree with you that there is a huge knowledge and customer service issue at these Joann’s HV dealers. It’s frustrating that you spend so much money on these things and no one cares to help you fix it, even if you are paying, when there is an issue. I’m thinking my next machine will be a Brother…

    • Ugh your story is so frustrating to read and it’s sad it’s so similar to mine. Just goes to show there IS an issue with Viking dealers in Joann Stores. I’ve heard great things about Brother so I hope you find a fantastic dealer to support you!

  23. There IS nothing good to say about Husqavarna Viking. Realize folks this is NOT the same Husqavarna that was produced in Sweden with fine Swedish workmanship. They sold the Viking division off to Kohlberg Holdings and now your units are made overseas in some cheap sweat shops in China or Vietnam. SVP Worldwide in LaVergne is their so called headquarters and I say “so called” because they claim to be Bermuda based to avoid paying taxes. THEY DON’T EVEN OWN THE UNITS OR THE MANUFACTURING COMPANIES IN VIETNAM OR CHINA THAT PRODUCE THESE MACHINES!! THESE UNITS ARE SUBCONTRACTED OUT TO ASIAN MANUFACTURERS WHO JUST SLAP ON THE BRAND NAME TO FOOL YOU. THIS IS WHY THE UNITS SUCK! They don’t own the service parts either. If your unit is defective (like most are), it could take up to 3-6 months arrive in the U.S.. Compound that issue with the fact that the Chinese manufacturers HAVE and WILL CONTINUE putting them on credit hold for lack of payment. How bad can it get when even the Chinese put your on credit hold!

    The CEO and senior management are beyond incompetent. Turnover is huge. Headquarters in LaVergne is a mess. Dealers are tired of Katrina Hempkamp (I think that’s her name) lying through her teeth about how they have improved. She refuses to change over the idiots running the operation even though they have failed year after year. It’s the same story. She lacks backbone to bring in a new senior staff with a new vision. This is why turnover is so high.


  24. it still pains me to remember when the fellow Mexican employee was ripping off expensive machine units from the lavergne facility right under the noses of this inept senior management. i can’t estimate how much or how many but i’m sure it went on well over 3 years and if I had to guess, probably between $200-$250 thousand in machine cost. the only reason it became known is because someone saw a new unit being advertised for sale on ebay and the photo displayed a serial number. IT WAS NEVER NOTICED BY THE CFO, FINANCE OR ACCOUNTING FOR YEARS! go figure that. to make a long story short, the facility which carried well over $400 mil in sewing machines never had one security camera on the premise nor a security strategy. it was running an operations like it was 1970. in a normal company, the operations manager’s head would’ve rolled like thompson s for such a grevious breach of security. what happened instead? thompson forced his manager underneath him {burroughs], to fire some low level floor manager named preston for the security breach. lol! really? how can that be? unbelievable! this was the norm for thompson who always had a middle manager do the firing to make it look like it was their decision not his and then fire that middle manager months later. it’s his modus operandi…… and he thought he was being so sneaky about it.

    when this happened, the whole facility was in shock over the injustice of preston being the scapegoat while thompson was given a free pass. go figure. we expected as much from thompson since he lacks any ethics but for the CEO KATRINA HELMKAMP to approve of this action, it spoke volumes of her FLAWED CHARACTER and her own LACK OF ETHICS. the whole plant lost respect for her that day.

    these things haunt a ceo when considered for a new position. character and ethics mean something.

  25. Dan Webster says:


    NO – Husqvarna, the inventor and creative talented brain trust behind these legendary sewing machines sold the Pfaff an Viking division to a holding company called Kohlberg about four years ago. Husqvarna is gone.
    NO – You will ONLY get support from Kohlberg’s satellite company called SVP Worldwide which knows NOTHING about the sewing machines or market needs. Kohlberg bought them with the hopes to strip it down and sell it off but it’s been a dismal failure so far. In my opinion, holding companies are not in the business to support their customers. They actually could care less about you. They are in the business to “strip and sell” or use it as a way to hide revenue away from the IRS to avoid paying taxes.
    NO – This is the biggie. As soon as the holding company made the purchase from Husqvarna, they immediately shut down and ceased all Swedish operations which included manufacturing, engineering, quality and product development. There is a sales office and some limited engineering but mostly for the European market NOT the U.S. The many many years of fine Swedish craftsmanship that you remember from previous machines no longer exist. Nada. Gone.

    NOWHERE IN EUROPE – Here’s the embarrassing truth. Management saw a greedy opportunity to take these high quality brand name sewing machines AND SOURCE THEM CHEAPLY TO CHINA AND VIETNAM. The intent was to sell a cheap machine but slap it with a brand name like Viking or Pfaff to make you THINK you’re buying a quality machine. Could not be more from the truth. This is why you’re having quality issues.

    NO – For Singer yes, they have Singer manufacturing in Shanghai but for Viking and Pfaff, NO – They are SUBCONTRACTED to existing China and Vietnam manufacturers who were only producing cheap machines for their Asian market. The intent was to make cheap machines with a quality brand name and charge you a high margin to make you THINK you’re buying quality. This is why you are having quality issues and why the machines lack the “feel” and “finesse” from the previous Swedish machines. Asian manufacturers have no idea about the Swedish sewing machine history or their craftsmanship and could really care less. Your Viking and Pfaff machines are nothing more than cheap commodities now.
    NONE! – Ready for this – They are headquartered in BERMUDA. That’s right BERMUDA. Red flags pop up yet? They should. Bermuda has no manufacturing and the address is probably some vacant office with a great view of the Bermuda shoreline so the fat cats from this sham company can smoke big cigars and drink margaritas by the ocean front. Again, this is owned by a HOLDING COMPANY NOT A TRUE SEWING MACHINE MANUFACTURER. In my opinion, they have no intent to truly understand your sewing world. They purchased these divisions to play shenanigan games so they can avoid paying taxes NOT support sewing. They were hoping to be out of the sewing business by now but that plan went up in smoke.

    HUGE EFFECT! – Most manufacturers design their own product and provide prints and specs to have outside manufacturing suppliers MAKE their components for them. They will have a combination of buying service parts overseas as well as setup domestic suppliers as anchors on the SAME CRITICAL PARTS in cases of small demand, demand spikes and quality issues. This means your machine will not be down long because a local manufacturer could provide the same critical part in a pinch so you’re not waiting for parts to arrive overseas which could take up to 90 days. SVP has NO domestic suppliers. They can’t because they DO NOT OWN THEIR UNITS. They have no prints or specs. If there’s any spikes, quality issues, bad inventory counts or parts left out of the sewing machine box, YOU’RE SCREWED. It all comes from overseas which is why they can’t stay supplied with critical service parts. Once they cut a purchase order to the Asian manufacturer, who knows how long it will take. Do they have stock? Does the Asian manufacturer need to go to his Asian supplier and if so, how long will it take? Does that Asian supplier have stock and if not how long will it take them to get the material? Where are they located? Yada yada yada. See how long it stretches out the lead time and it’s a guessing game when they will arrive. Imagine when it’s a quality issue. You waited 90 days for your critical service part to arrive and when it does arrive, IT’S DEFECTIVE. Welcome to the nightmare. You now have another 90 days for good parts and who knows if those are good. They are no longer designed in house. You’re best strategy is “hope and pray”.

    I could provide more but I will stop here. My best advice is to do research BEFORE you make an expensive purchase and KNOW who is making your machine. I’m not a fan of holding companies because I feel they don’t have your true good intentions in mind. Their business model is severely flawed and their strategy to me is to market cheap units at a high price. The CEO and senior management at SVP Worldwide are a joke. They’re all ego, arrogance and phony charisma with no substance. Get’s old doesn’t it? You’ll see through it soon.



    I never realized how ruinous corporate America is to the economic drivers of our economy until you take a closer look at holding companies like Kohlberg who owns these product lines and realize their destructive abilities are ingrained into making a quick buck on the short term at the expense of a well known brand name. Let me explain.

    Most brand name companies usually built their niche by establishing a higher caliber of service, quality, or creative features on their product. This holds true to such well known brands as Harley Davidson and John Deere and they are no different than sewing machine brands like Singer, Pfaff, and Viking. Usually they’re nothing more than high growth Mom & Pop organizations that don’t ascribe to the philosophies of the corporate world in making “cost reduction” the eminent driver of the business. Corporate America would rather cut, cut some more, and cut even deeper to achieve short financial gain but it’s always to the expense of the loyal customer base. This is why they’re always cutting heads, cheapening product, using inferior material and processes, and outsourcing to LCC (low cost countries) because on the short term it will show increased profit margins, the ultimate driver for corporate America.

    Unfortunately, during tough economic times, these Mom & Pop type companies in the sense of the way they operate (not in size or ownership), are one of the first to feel the brunt force of a recession. Customers are still loyal to these brand names but because of belt tightening measures, they hold off making high dollar purchases. This puts the company in financial stress and become easy pickings for vulture type companies like Kohlberg who spot opportunity.

    Now with a normal ethical buy-out, it can be a good thing. A new buyer will come in, adopt the principles of lean manufacturing and eliminate unnecessary waste, reduce head count on unproductive workers but mostly with the fat layered senior management who put them in this spot to begin with but simultaneously increase investment in product development, employee training, beef up the sales staff as well as provide expertise in the operation in key areas as production automation, robotics, and adopt such things as the Toyota methods to achieve unprecedented high levels of quality performance. Harley Davidson Company is a clear example of this and they are flourishing along!

    Holding firms like Kohlberg could care less. They think on the short term only and their strategy is more on the level of a corporate Ponzi scheme of deception and fraud. This is my opinion and I’ll back up what I say.
    When these vultures dive in, they see an opportunity to strip the company out, close the domestic manufacturing center with years of experience and expertise and dump the brain trust of the organization. They want to sell it to an unsuspecting buyer at an inflated price by pandering to the loyalty and trust of the brand name to the customer base that had been deservedly built up for years. To go further with their scheme, they completely gut the product of quality and creative features and just whore out the machines to some low cost country manufacturer in Asia to make cheap inexpensive substandard imitations they can throw out in the marketplace to cook the books with great numbers so they can quickly sell the company to an unsuspecting buyer.
    Why does this work so well? Very basic reasoning. The books are overflowing with great news even though disaster is looming in the horizon. While the recession is subsiding, revenues will naturally begin to recover but now the disposable units that are being sold have been gutted of labor, material, overhead cost and made with inferior material and production methods. As the substandard products hit the market, the customer base hasn’t yet realized this isn’t the same machine that functions like their previous purchases. It doesn’t operate the same, it’s cumbersome, breaks down more often, increased technical and operational issues, and the life cycle of the product went from 10-20 years to no more than 5-7 years if that. Combine that with lag time in getting the machine serviced, the availability of service parts to fix the units, the customers are climbing the walls (sound familiar). The new product has that “cheap feel” and being noticed as nothing more than a big box product with a pretty package and brand name. Normally it’ll take about two years before they wise up and abandon their loyalty and realize they’re getting a counterfeit type product sold at a premium price. To me it’s like buying a fake Rolex and not noticing it until it malfunctions by the time you get home.

    On the financial end, the books couldn’t look better. The holding company looks like geniuses because revenues are up and profit margins have sky rocketed. Secondly, they’re playing the tax shell game by setting up an ill reputable companies claiming it’s “Bermuda based” so they can play hide and seek with the domestic revenue reporting to the IRS (sound familiar ahem). This makes them look extremely attractive to an unsuspecting buyer. Unfortunately there’s no “buyer beware” label on a business acquisition because it’s nothing more than a Ponzi scheme sitting on a house of cards waiting for the tsunami disaster to come crashing down. Add in if the tax man cometh by auditing the books and now you have a double headache for a new buyer. I really feel sorry for them.

    By the time disaster hits, the holding company is long gone counting their $$$ and the new buyer is left holding the bag of frustration. Sound familiar again?


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