Top critical review
15 people found this helpful
Unreliable on a good day. Customer support abysmal.
on December 14, 2013
I have the ESI 3600ie, the previous model without the remote start.
The first one arrived obviously destroyed in shipping, so it was replaced. The second one was slightly damaged, but I didn't want to fight for a third one. Since day 1, it has been a 30 minute project to start. I live in Western Mass, and per Lifan USA, there were no authorized service centers closer than Boston. MY BAD: I should have simply returned it, but it was the middle of winter, and I didn't want to be without a generator, and I needed an inverter generator for my hi-tech furnace.
Over a year an a half, I was sent parts and email suggestions on how to make it reliable. None worked. One day I called back, and everyone I knew at Lifan was gone, replaced by a whole bunch of new folks who would tell me anything I wanted to hear and then do nothing. They suggested several local places that were authorized; all said they'd never heard of Lifan and wouldn't do warrantee work. Finally Lifan suggested a place that said on the phone they covered Lifan ; it cost me $120 when I picked it up because they had never seen a generator like this. It started easily at the shop (so I figured it wasn't worth the fight), and then a week later wouldn't start. Lifan customer support told me to send them the bill, which I did, and they told me they couldn't do anything. I somehow had some other Lifan folks' email addresses, so I copied everyone with my story.
I then got an email stating they would send me a refurb (and it would be the newer model) and I should send mine back. A week later, a unit arrived that looked like it had been rolled down a mountain, covered in oil, with several broken and missing parts, and UPS told me that the shipping case was soaked in oil (and had leaked in their truck) and was a toxic hazard. I photographed everything, sent the pictures to Lifan, stating I now had an unreliable unit and a fire hazard I didn't dare start. I never heard back.
Update (sort of):
I have discovered by taking out the air filter (my original unit), spraying it with a little starting ether, and replacing it, the unit will start and run, but it does not run smoothly and incandescent lights flicker. The oil soaked generator is sitting in my garage until I can figure out what to do with it.
My 4 cycle leaf blower, two lawnmowers, and snowblower always start by the third pull. My 2 cycle leaf blower usually takes 3 pulls. I run all my small engines for ½ hour every two weeks to keep them happy (the neighbors don't seem too thrilled). This is the only unit I've had in 30 years that has been impossible since purchase; again, it was my fault to not return it immediately.
I feel completely taken advantage of. The current plan is to junk both units and buy something reliable and locally supported.
I have attached pictures of the refurb unit that was shipped to me. As you can see, it's covered in oil. For obvious reasons, I don't dare start it (which would be difficult, since it turns out they didn't send me the remote starter. I'd have to use the pull start).
Customer service from the big box store (where I purchased this unit - can't say which but they like orange) looked into this for me since I couldn't get a reply from Lifan. After being contacted by the bix box store, Lifan asked me to ship the two units back to Lifan on Lifan's dime for their inspection. Meanwhile, the big box store refunded my full purchase price. I have now completely washed my hands of Lifan after two years. I bought a Honda inverter generator at twice the price...and it starts and the power is reliable. 5 Stars for the big box customer service!