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Longevity needs to be avoided. Be Warned. This unit DOA.
on March 8, 2013
Okay so I have been letting as many places know as I can to avoid Longevity products. Here is my long ass story and I highly recommend you all avoid them and spend your money on a better machine at a more reputable company. (If you don't care about the details skip all the way to the bottom for my solution!) Otherwise grab a beer or coffee and read!
In 2010 I made the decision to by a plasma cutter. I had originally decided on a GiantTech or Longevity machine. I wasn't sure which one. So I sent an email to both of them asking them to please compare and contrast the two machines. Well Larry (Gtech)replied with a response basically saying that he refused to compare the two and it was rude of me to ask him that. His response was if I was so hung up on Long's to go buy one. Simon (Long's) on the other hand provided a response only a few hours later with the laundry list of why he considered Long's machines better, including a 5 yr warranty. (This was the first year he offered this)
So I decided 48 hours later to get the 416D which is a combo machine - TIG/ARC and Plasma. I waited two weeks and finally got the machine. Right out of the box it was DOA. At this point I should have sent it back but decided hey - it has a five year warranty what the hello. So I emailed Simon who said to call him instead. We finally figured out that the large feed coil had bad solder joints so in a few minutes of soldering with an LP torch I was back in business. Now this was $500 DOA out of the box, but Simon promised me that if I had any more problems in the next 5 years with problem he would replace free of charge and I could junk this one and not pay any shipping to avoid me returning it now. I agreed that seemed fair. The machine typically ran pretty nice for about 20 hours or so over the next 2 years as a cutter though I never could weld a damn thing with it.
Now March 2012 comes along (One month over two years of buying it). Went to use the machine and pop, smoke ... dead. Machine would power on but would not arc. I email Simon who sent my email to Nadine who simply answered that I would need to box up my unit and send it to their service center at my expense who then would fix it at my expense and then return it at my expense. I quickly forwarded the emails from 2 years ago with Simon's commitment and they refused saying at that time it only had a 2 year warranty. After I protested Simon's only response was to trade my unit in against a newer one. So let me think about this spend another $500 ($1000 NOW IN 2 YEARS) for another POS machine??? Also what happen to phone support - I mean they didn't even ask to pull the cover and look inside just return it??? That really pissed me off. So I decided not to buy another machine - I ended up pulling the cover pressing the trigger and saw the same coil arcing like when I first got it, it has cooked and melted the solder ... so I soldered this coil again, removed the melted solder mess below it and the unit worked. I then dumped this POS 416 on Ebay as is and some unlucky dude bought it bidding it up to $415! Anyway to be fair I told the guy if he had trouble with it in 90 days to throw the thing in the trash and I'd send him his money back. Never heard any more.
Thing finally brings me to about 2 weeks ago, after having a plasma cutter, you soon realize you don't want to be without one. After a year of sawzall and air grinder discs, I started on the search again. I looked into Long's machines and others and nobody had any nice things to say about any except Long and Everlast. I was looking around forums and saw a bunch of posts where Eric at Everlast was bashing people because they bought other machines and touting his as the best with no tech data to support it... umm next - how unprofessional is that? So I contacted Dan (Long's) to get another plasma and had decided on the 50i. I emailed him and said the Lotos 50i is only $519 including shipping would he match that. (Long 50i right now is sold at $699). He said he would and setup an order for me. I was digging through emails and found the one from a year ago where Simon offered me a 50i for $500 even... so I replied asking to honor that price and I will order. Simon replied that 50i's were no longer being made so I'd need at least a 60i ($899) and to contact Dan for pricing. YET Dan was letting me have a 50i for $519. I replied to the two together asking them what gives and to please figure out what could be done.
At the same time I remember time and time again reading that Hypertherm plasma cutters are top notch, everyone who buys is happy, support and service is reliable. I looked at new prices and saw why, however I thought about used ones... I contact Jim at Hypertherm with my past with Long and what I expected. Can you believe he replied right back on a Sunday night to discuss my concerns and convey his appreciation of giving Hypertherm a chance?
Anyway I finally decided on a used Hypertherm 600 machine and the final price came to $1225 (only $225 more than the POS Longs would have cost me.) So I have purchased the Hypertherm and will never look back. Bear in mind Longevity belongs to Dan and Simon they are Longevity. Jim is just the major man in Service / Support and does not own the company - yet he took better care of me???
My purpose of writing and posting this is to give fair warning against those cheap chinese POS's and these rip-off companies that sell them. My advice is to buy American - support American jobs and leave the Chinese crap right where it belongs - on the shelves or in the trash. At the worst if you do buy Longevity get every detail in writing and make them stand behind their commitments. Also be weary, in my opinion if Longevity doesn't change and start providing quality service and support they once did - they won't be around to honor that 5 year warranty.
I hope my misfortune helps just one other person do the right thing.