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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a LOT of Lee and RCBS equip., Some redding,. No dillon.

I just emailed Lee because of a broken handle on my auto prime., about 1 year old. Guarantee'd for 2 years is what I understand. Repair or replace is what I understand.

They just emailed me back and said the best they could do was sell me the new autoprime XR for around $12.50. They said they have discontinued the parts for the autoprime. So, with shipping, that ends up being no cheaper than buying it over at cabela's when they are on special (I know...I have one of the new ones also....I bought on special).

I have just been informed by someone that the new handle and old handles, albeit slightly different, will functionally interchange.

So, in other words. They said "screw you", buy a new one.

I am not sure if I can find enough chat boards to comment on this one enough to cool me off.....but a warranty or guarantee is something I have always taken very seriously. When buying a tool for my business, I buy the guarantee. I've always looked at it that way. . It usually means the difference between buying and not buying something,...especially in the way of tools (I work in a trade during the day).

My Opinion of John Lee (is that his name???) has just went from "innovator" to "innovator and sleaze". I would never ever treat any of my customers like that (unless I wanted to lose them on purpose.)... So I guess the order I did the last week of February was the last one I'm going to be doing from them.

I was warned a couple times about poor customer service from them..which may come with discount territory, but this looks to me like borderline fraud. I wonder if that bas"rd (if I had his home phone) would actually try to tell me he didn't know the new handle would fit the old.?????

I guess if fifteen bucks is what he can be bought for,..I might as well learn sooner than later.
Guarantee not worth the paper it is written on..

That is unfortunate. For me and him. He'll lose a good customer,. I'll be paying more for better products. I suppose it's time anyway.
 

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AFAIK the company's founder, Richard Lee, is deceased. I don't know who is running it these days.

One of our moderators, Papajohn, has had trouble with the same priming tool and has broken dozens of those handles. But as you are aware it has been redesigned. I think he has moved on to the Hornady and is having success with it. I have the RCBS tool and like it well enough. I figure it's just one of the few implements of Lee's design that were poorly implemented. By all accounts it is a good design, it just isn't made with sufficiently strong metal.

With all the other money that Lee has saved people over the years, I wouldn't get too worked up over it or swear off the brand altogether. My single stage press is a Lee Classic Cast and it is outstanding. Buy one die set and you'll save as much money as you were out, etc.

But yeah, I find myself drifting more towards RCBS, Redding, and Dillon these days. My most recent acquisitions were a RCBS Uniflow and RCBS Little Dandy, Lyman Dies (they're alright, I'm not blown away or anything, will probably go green or red from now on), Dillon military crimp swager, Redding powder trickler, Redding competition seating dies, etc.
 

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puke said:
They just emailed me back and said the best they could do was sell me the new autoprime XR for around $12.50. They said they have discontinued the parts for the autoprime. So, with shipping, that ends up being no cheaper than buying it over at cabela's when they are on special (I know...I have one of the new ones also....I bought on special).

I have just been informed by someone that the new handle and old handles, albeit slightly different, will functionally interchange.

So, in other words. They said "screw you", buy a new one.
Just a thought. Have you considered checking to see if those parts actually are interchangeable? You seem to be taking the word of someone and the company has told you the parts are discontinued. Maybe they are being lazy or perhaps the rep was uninformed of the other part or just maybe the parts aren't actually interchangeable. I would at least write them back and ask them if the parts can be substituted.

I would just hate for you to write off a company you have been pleased with over a possible misunderstanding. I could be wrong too, but I would want to be sure. I have had very good customer support from Lee.
 

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I had a similar problem with a Colibri Lighter my wife bought me right after we were were married in 1978. About 4 years ago it stopped working and although it had a lifetime guarantee, Colibri did not have a lifetime supply of parts. Yes they would replace it but postage and such would cost as much as the lighter. So I waited for a deal on a new one on my own and yes I bought another Colibri.
 

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and people keep wondering why I insist on RCBS dies! I like the Lee molds - get what you pay for, and feel they are a value for the money.

But I am going to stay with my RCBS dies...
 

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"I'll be paying more for better products. I suppose it's time anyway."

One must be careful to not start slinging too broadly with one's brush. It's possible to miss out too easily that way. A great many of Lee's products are worth the money; some, in fact, are virtually unequalled. It is not too great a leap to suggest that a few of those "better products" are made by Lee. Not all of them of course, but enough to pretty well confirm they make a lot of things people like.

You say you have a lot of Lee products; presumably you haven't been burnt heretofore in any significant way because, well, you have a lot of Lee products. Maybe that needs mulling over.

Some of Lee's ideas have not been well received; witness the Load Fast; the first iteration of Lee's Loadmaster, and a few other things. Some find their Perfect powder measure imperfect. But by and large, most of the products are pretty effective. I have my gripes, but I've hung in there.

If the parts do, as has been suggested, functionally interchange (I cannot verify this as I don't have a new one) perhaps this was intentional by Lee to service the old users at least to some degree? I am not party to manufacturing decisions, so I cannot know for sure if there is good to go with the bad news.

Perhaps the new tool is indeed better than the old and well worth replacing. Twelve fifty won't kill you, and maybe they now back the new one up fully. The profit margin on a tool sold for that price can't be huge. Bottom line bean counting? I don't know, and of course I'm speculating.

All the reloading manufacturers must undergo some degree of bashing. RCBS got their share when it was stated a number of presses they sell are cast in China. That caused some subsequent damage control press saying it wasn't true, or maybe that it was no longer true or something like that. I am not sure what's reality as of this date.

Their version of a priming tool is around forty bucks; you'd just as well see how your $12.50 new Lee tool holds up now that it's paid for. Heck, maybe you'll even like it!

But then if you're buying guarantee, as you said, spending for that forty dollar RCBS is now mandatory, right? Sounds like your mind's made up.
 

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I am by no means a big Lee fan, but that doesn't mean it's a bad company.

They do make the Lee Factory Crimp dies and Taper Crimp dies, they work very well in some cases, and I have an earlier Lee hand primer tool that I have never had problems with, including priming about 3000 military 7.62mm cases. I suppose one of these days I'll break the handle, and I'll probably go to the Hornady primer, but until then, I'm OK with it.

I've been through the Lee Perfect Powder Measure... as 35R mentioned... I found it Imperfect. I broke my first Lee press (granted, it is their bottom-line model) in the first 3 rounds I resized. OK, so I don't care for their lower-end presses.

Almost every company I've ever dealt with has a bad apple somewhere in it, and, as far as Customer Service, they seem to gravitate there (that, and truck stop waitresses... ) Very often, CS knows nothing or very little about the actual utility of the products they are selling... they are sales/customer reps.

I can think of every manufacturer and their products.... and I can probably find or have found something wrong with every one of them at one time (S&W, Ruger, GM, Ford, Pulte, Hornady, Genie, Pentair, Hayward... the list goes on) but that doesn't mean they are bad companies making bad products.

You could boil it down to the Lee hand prime being a poorly built product, and you would be fairly correct, and maybe you just got hold of the bad apple at Lee trying to find a solution. Enjoy your other Lee products and find a better solution to your hand primer.
 

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I too have broken so many Lee hand prime handles that I've lost count. I quit using it a few years back, so don't worry about it anymore. I like some Lee stuff (like the factory crimp die), but some -- only some -- of what they sell is really cheap junk. I don't see that with most of the other companies; even their entry level stuff is quite durable.

Back when they first came out, I bought a Hornady Projector progressive press. I also bought a bunch of shell plates so I could load for a bunch of calibers. Recently my 12+ year old .41 Mag shell plate lost it's detent ball bearing and spring. Hornady said "send it in"; they fixed it for free, and didn't charge for the return shipping. I can't remember ever having to return anything to RCBS, Lyman, Redding, Forrester, or the other major reloading companies. Even the old Herters stuff I have is still servicable, although much of it wasn't the best.
 

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How loudly and believably can you yell, "I've been screwed!" when that piece of equipment didn't cost very much in the first place?

Answer: Not very!

To some degree, warranty backing is directly related to the amount of profit the seller made on the product. For example, in RCBS's case, they made more than enough on the product, considerably more than some sellers, so they are able to back it unconditionally, or at least as long as parts are available. If they are not available they will offer you an equivalent replacement.

So, you pays your money now, or later. RCBS would rather have your money now. Many don't take offense at this, and consider that good business. Others think they're charging too much, or, said another way, charging you now for the possibility of required service later. It's a calculated risk on their part, and the question is how you feel about it.
 

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I'll also point out that the person who answers the phone is generally NOT the design engineer, repair person, fabricator, or anything else to do with the actual hardware.

It's quite possible the office person hired just DIDN'T KNOW about any possible part interchange. If no one in back had thought to mention it to him/her, they'd have no knowledge of it.

I wouldn't write off their customer service yet. Call back and ask to speak to a plant supervisor/manager or their 'repair guy'. Double check your internet 'facts' with them and THEN see what they'll do for you.

From what I know if LEE, it's a small shop so you might have to wait for a call-back or call yourself a few times.
 

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Well, stick my toe in this pool too.

I bought two of Lee's Autoprimes when I got mine because I'd heard the handles broke easily. Set one up for large and the other for small primers until I had a failure. That was in '87, still have both, both are still going strong. Of course I do stop and take a look at what's wrong when any primer seems harder than usual to seat. I can't help but wonder if those who break them often are maybe using military cases and the crimps haven't been fully taken out.

Whatever, seems the Tim Taylor, "More Power!", method to get something together is misplaced on a small tool that's known to be breakable. ??
 

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I got two auto primes and set one up for 357 and the other for 44-40. That was about a dozen years ago and they're both still going strong. If they were to break tomorrow, I'd figure that I'd got my money's worth out of them.
 

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Every piece of my RCBS stuff is form the 70s & 70s, Redding & Lyman from the 50s.
Never had a problem with any of it.
I bought a Lee perfect powder measure, and wore it out in a year.
 

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And why do you think they owe you anything for something you broke?

Get real, guys. You can't use this stuff and break it, then think a manufacturer should replace it for free. Warranties cover defects only.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It was not about the money.
it was about the guarantee being glossed over (for lack of a softer description). ...or the "lie" in this case.

I've called Germany before to get hardware parts replaced that were 30 years old.
They replaced them free..all they wanted to know was what part, and where to send it. Sure, their english was crap..and my german was non existent...but we got along. They didn't want proof,.etc., And at one point we had some discontinued ones...They offered to replace them with any "current" ones. All I had to do was choose. They believe in keeping their good name and good customers intact. I will always buy their products. The cost of many of the german hardware items (for custom homes) are actually 25 to 50 bucks. But they'll send me free ones all day long if I call them in the the middle of the night (time is nearly opposite over there).
 

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I've been using lee for 30+ yrs and have usually been pretty satisfied. However, the last couple years they have gotten real shoddy in their quality control. The last die set I bought had a problem, and the perfect powder measure should have been recalled, the classic cast turret press does not work as advertised. I will probably not buy any new Lee products in the future, though I will continue to use what I have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Someone Else from Lee just emailed me and apologized and said that the first person who got my email must have misread it. She asked me to send the old one in and they would repair or replace it.
 
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