Brother Sewing Machines
Or why you should run screaming in the opposite direction!
OK, first of all, let me explain that I have gone through all of the 'proper' procedures for resolution of problems with a product. I have been through the tech support 'contact us' form on the Brother web-site (don't bother. I don't think they even read them, much less respond to them.) on numerous occasions and have NEVER had a response. Not one.
Then, I tried the telephone route. I have had several (in excess of 7) conversations with 'technicians' who wanted nothing more than to help me resolve my problem. Supposedly.
In actuality, what I got was people reading from a script, and they couldn't (or wouldn't) deviate from that script. The gist of their end of the conversation was this: What brand of bobbin thread are you using? Is it Brother brand? What brand of bobbins are you using? Are they Brother? What brand of embroidery thread are you using? Is it Brother? Now, granted, this is Brother, and they DO have a vested interest in whether or not you are buying their products, but when I was told that they do not "support" the product being used with anything OTHER than Brother brand thread, bobbins, bobbin thread, etc. my patience wore a touch thin. I already know the machine will not work with 'generic' memory cards - even those formatted for Brother machines. You can carry brand loyalty too far.
Here is my problem in a nutshell: my machine is a lemon. It hasn't worked right since the day I purchased it. When I called Brother (after waiting WEEKS for emails to be answered), I was subjected to stupid questions about the branding of my supplies. As it turned out, I WAS using Brother brand supplies, but that is beside the point. Next, I was asked what KIND and how many LAYERS of stabilizer I was using on my designs - 'excuse me, but I can't get the machine to thread!' 'Yes, I understand, but I really need to know about the stabilizer you are using and how many layers! It will affect how your design turns out, and that can be a cause for discontent with some people.' 'Look, I haven't even gotten to that point. I can't even get the damn thing to thread!' 'Well! If you are going to use that type of language, I'm going to hang up!' Which he did. OK. Maybe I shouldn't have said damn. I had been fighting the stupid machine for over 4 hours. Then I fought the automated telephone system at Brother (which hung up on me twice), then had this idiot ask me about brand names and layers of stabilizer! Perhaps I can be forgiven.
I bought the SE270D made by Brother. It was designed as an 'entry level' (my emphasis) home embroidery machine. I purchased it to see if I would like it, before moving on to a more expensive machine. By the time I had made up my mind to buy this thing, I ALREADY had my 'big' machine picked out. Yep. Made by Brother. It also costs in the neighborhood of 12,000 dollars. Here is what it looks like:
I figured if I liked what the little machine did, and the items I embroidered sold well, I could justify buying the 'big' machine.
Well, I spent my couple hundred dollars on the SE270D, along with a couple hundred dollars in 'accessories' that you need to use it (thread, additional bobbins, stabilizer - expensive!), not to mention the hundreds of dollars in software (no, I'm not kidding) and the reader/writer you need to transfer the designs to your machine. By now, I've spent 3 times as much on 'goodies' for a machine, that I cannot get to WORK!
I belong to several forums, and online associations of seamstresses, and I pled for help. What was I doing wrong???? I received a lot of helpful advice, along with a bunch of people stating that if I ever found out, to PLEASE PASS IT ALONG! They couldn't get their damned machines to work, either!! And also, no joy from Brother.
The biggest culprit we (all of 'us' sufferers) seem to have located on the machine is the threading cartridge. Whoever thought up this abortion should be stood up against a wall and shot - first in the knees, then up a bit higher.... This is what IT looks like:
And yes, just as it looks, you can NOT use the machine at all without using this contraption. This is how you thread the machine - whether for straight sewing, or for embroidery.
The biggest complaint I've had (and heard from others) is that the blasted thing simply will not "thread" the machine. You go through the motions, and it's 'chunk', "damn" - pull it out, re-thread and re-seat it. And again, 'chunk', "damn" - pull it out, re-thread and re-seat it. Ad nauseum. This can go on until you have quite a pile of 5-12" bits of thread laying next to your machine (each time you re-thread the cassette, you get a short piece of thread snipped off - about 6" or more). I have actually dropped the level on a LARGE cone of embroidery thread a noticeable amount just trying to THREAD the machine!
I found a "Brother Authorized Service Center" that was only 2 hours drive from my house (that was the closest), and took the machine to him. He told me that in over 6 years of doing warranty work for Brother, they have NEVER ONCE paid him for a warranty repair!! You see, there is always SOMETHING wrong with his paperwork... In 6 years, you'd think the poor man would either figure out what he was doing wrong, or GIVE UP! He said he can't bear to turn those poor women away! He did fix the upper thread tension problem I was having, but charged me for it - said that Brother didn't consider it a warranty problem. Even though it was that way when I bought the machine! Ah well. As for the threading problem - nope. When I got it home and decided to give it a try, I was back to the old: 'chunk', "damn" - pull it out, re-thread and re-seat it.
So, I decided then and there that I would NOT buy the PR620C from Brother for $12,000 or whatever they want for it this week (the special prices do NOT include the software, I found out). I will buy a commercial embroidery machine. It just will not be from Brother. And if I can keep any of you from buying Brother, maybe, just maybe - they will wonder "why"? And hopefully, some kind, helpful soul will point them towards this web-page. I'm a small fish - that would have become a medium sized fish. But hopefully, all of you small fish will take this tale to heart! And run screaming AWAY from Brother products!!
I have discovered it IS possible to manually (sort of) thread the SE-270D! You need only be possessed of a lot of patience and 3 or 4 hands. [grin] What I do is use an external thread stand and put my thread cone on that; I use the additional, external thread holder that snaps onto the threading cassette; I run the thread from the thread stand through the normal threading pattern and carefully drop it into the machine. Here comes the 'fun' part: using an angled dental mirror and a long, bent-tip tweezers (from a serger), I gently press down on the threading cassette and HOPE the part inside catches the thread. All the while, I'm watching from underneath with the dental mirror to see the thread coming down inside. As the thread comes down, IF IT COMES LOOSE from the part that is supposed to pull it down, I reach up with the tweezers and catch the thread and pull it the rest of the way down. Continue the downward push on the cassette, because it HAS to seat for the machine to run. Next, I pull the thread through the guides on the needle bar, and thread through the needle. Presto! You have 'manually' threaded the SE-270D! This does not always work! And you will have to re-do the entire process. However, it is still better than: 'chunk', "damn" - pull it out, re-thread and re-seat it repeatedly ad nauseum.
You still take about 5 minutes to thread this machine, when any NORMAL machine takes less than one. Plus, you have to jump through hoops to do it. PPD (piss poor design).
See below for another, happy, satisfied Brother Customer - NOT!
There must be some place and some way we can get the word out to STOP Brothers from literally taking advantage of another customer.
I purchased a Brothers Quattro 6000 sewing and embroidery machine to the tune of $5,000 plus another $1,400 for software, plus another $1,300 for upgrades, plus another say thousand or fifteen hundred in other accessories.....multiple feet, border hoops, threads and so on.
About the same time I got this machine in 2009 I was hit out of the blue with a lung cancer diagnoses. I realize that wasn't Brothers fault, but it did delay me using my machine and getting started. I didn't do much sewing the first year and half and then when I did try I had problems. I was trying to stay alive.
Once I got through five surgeries and various treatments and got my head together enough to sit down and sew my problems with Brothers really started. The thread would shred and break and "birdnest" under the fabric or item I tried to embroidery. Then in sewing "not every time", but enough to let me know there was a problem the entire panel of buttons on the top of the machine would lock up and it would quit sewing. Getting through an embroidery pattern was an act of Congress because of the birdnesting. Then the needle would embed itself into the bobbin case and the bobbin case would start "jumping". The buttonhole function was a joke as you would go down one side and it would lock up and sew in place. Lot's of one sided buttonholes and lot's of totally ruined items of clothing. Buttonholes are usually the last step and once that thread jams especially on batiste you a done duck.
Of course calls to the local dealer were a waste of time. The local dealer gives you a time limit of 4 to 6 weeks to service your machine and she can't understand why you aren't happy being without an expensive machine for that length of time. And you get the same story from them as Brothers International....."customer error" it must be. What kind of thread, how did you put the case in, your fault the case jumped, your fault the thread shreds, what kind of fabric, what hoop and what stablizer. Excuse after excuse.
In November of 2012, after purchasing at least 7 new bobbin cases to the tune of $41.00 each, I took the machine into an authorized dealer. The dealer employees are rude, callous and I can't imagine how they stay in business. They worked on my machine and I gave them the list. Also by this time I was "error messages" that were false on the machine. It would tell me the hoop level was up when it was clear as day it was down. Needless to say it refused to sew when it thought it was right. So this local dealer took a stab at the repairs, charged me around $200 and sent me on my way with a "happy sewing" smirk.
Right after I got the machine back I was hospitalized with pneumonia. That led to a lung partly collapsing so it was a good six week recovery. That explains why I was delayed trying my "repaired machine."
Come the end of January I tackled a pile of sewing I was way behind on and found the machine was still shredding thread and the bobbin (that the Brothers tech had installed) was jumping, thread was birdnesting and we were back to the same old problems of the top panel and false error messages. So it was back to the rude dealer for more repairs. After he worked on it for a week I was told he had no clue how to fix it and it had to be sent to Brothers International in Tennessee. Note my machine had approximately 6 million stitches on, which really isn't a lot considering many designs are 30 and 40 thousand stitches. This fact comes into play down the road.
After five weeks I got my machine back from Brothers International. The nasty dealer told me she was a saint and she would void the repair charges. I would hope so since I paid for them in November. So now I have my "repaired" machine back again and I sit down to sew a design and the very first design I do I get 53 error messages that the level is up on the hoop. Of course the level was NOT UP and it was where it should be, but this costly, thousands of dollar machine refused to sew. I call the rude local dealer. They say not their problem, but to call Brothers International since they were the ones that did the bad repairs.
So I go to the Brothers International Facebook page and I post a complaint. About 20 minutes later a woman named Cindy calls me and wants to help. I explain the problem and in the meantime I try to contact the VP Dean Shalman and I talk to his assistant a nice lady named Jill, who has no authority. I explain the problem to Jill and tell her I don't mind working with Cindy if she can solve the problem. Cindy seems to have her act together and she sends me a via FED X a Brothers box and asks me to put my machine in it and she will have FED X pick it up and bring it to Tennessee to repair AGAIN. I do what she says. About ten days after they have the machine I get a call from her and she says they are not going to cause me anymore delays and they are sending me a "new" machine. I told her I thought that was proper since I've obviously got a "lemon." I wait! About a week later a package from Brothers arrives and I get my "new" machine. The only problem is it is NOT a NEW machine. This NEW machine they sent me has 14 million stitches on it. It is a bad machine that someone else had problems with and returned to Brothers and they claim they repaired it and now they are sending it to me as a "new replacement" for my "bad machine." No there can understand my FURIOUS reaction to them replacing my $9,000 machine with someone else's lemon that they repaired with 14 million stitches on it. Cindy and Jill say they understand, but their hands are tied. I am then given the phone number to Mike Fifick in New Jersey at their other corporate offices. Mike then informs me that is what their WARRANTY says....they have the right to replace faulty machines with other used machines that they have "fixed." Now if someone would have explained that from the get-go I would never have done business with this company. These machines cost almost as much as a new car and that would be like a dealer trying to replace your newly purchased lemon car with a used car another customer had turned in. It is pure INSANITY. If I wanted a USED machine I would have purchased one in the first place and saved myself a ton of money. I certainly would not have paid almost $9,000 between the machine, upgrades and accessories for a USED machine.
Now the battle starts as I have contacted the Federal Trade Commission, and am in the process of filing complaints with the BBB and the Attorney General. Dear Mr. FiFick of Brothers says go ahead and I file I know how to deal with them.....apparently the only things Brothers doesn't know how to deal with is the customer.
Lady Faire please pass my story out along with yours and I will do the same with yours.
A Customer that will NEVER buy from Brothers again....
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