There are many makes and models of vintage and antique sewing machines on eBay. There are many people, including sellers, who know NOTHING about these machines. Often times buyers do not know what to look for, and trust in the sellers listing that what they are buying is actually what they will get- however, this is sometimes not the case.
Here are some key tips to know before buying a sewing machine from eBay, or anywhere for that matter:
1. Know WHAT KIND of machine you need. What type of sewing do you want to do? Most times a heavy duty domestic sewing machine that has both zig zag and straight stitch functions are all you need.
2. KNOW the difference between' Industrial ' and 'Domestic' models. Many times sellers list that the machine they are selling is 'Industrial', and it clearly it's NOT. Do yourself a BIG favor and Google: 'Industrial VS Domestic Sewing Machines' and you'll find a lot of information and will instantly see the difference. Sellers either do not realize the difference themselves or they lie to sell a machine. It's been my experience that even when you tell a seller that what they are selling is not industrial, they refuse to correct the information because they want to sell the machine. That's very dishonest.
Facts to know:
**Industrial machines are at least double the size of a domestic machine.
**The motor on a domestic machine is measured in amps, and an industrial machines' motor is measured in horsepower.
**The motor for an industrial machine is several times larger than a domestic motor.
**Domestic machines were made for home use, whereas industrial machines were made for the clothing manufacturing industry.
Click on the picture to see the differences between an Industrial & Domestic Sewing Machine...
4. Check their feedback. Always read a sellers feedback. Is there a pattern of slow ship? No communication?, etc. Will the seller insure the machine? All of this matters or in the end you may be left with a big headache.
5. Ask the seller to insure the machine. Adding insurance is very inexpensive, literally like a couple of dollars. Of course the higher the value of the item, the higher the insurance but it's still a no brainer to add it. Assume your sewing machine will get thrown around during shipping. A sewing machine must be packed well. Packing peanuts are not enough. Don't be afraid to ask the seller to pack it well.
I recently informed a seller that a machine he was selling was not Industrial, and he left it that way anyway. Very dishonest as he is only looking to sell the machine and figures the words 'industrial strength' will help.
I've been reconditioning vintage sewing machines for years. I even wrote a book about it. Title: How to Select, Service, Repair & Maintain your Vintage Sewing Machine. Available on Amazon.
I believe in honesty and good customer service and it irks me when sellers take advantage of customers. Educate yourself BEFORE buying a vintage sewing machine so you can feel confident in your purchase.