Thursday, May 26, 2011

The End of Cheatin' Them

This is more a bit of news from the world of flashaholics than anything else.

Lummi flashlights are really beautiful works of art. They are incredibly small, bright on high, and run for a long time on low. They are made of some of the finest materials available. They are reasonably priced. And you have no realistic chance of ever purchasing one from the maker. Lummi is, at least for me and the others that voiced their opinions on the Internet, a scam.

Here is my Jeer from EDCF:

I have always wanted a Lummi Raw. I saw the reviews on the old and since then I had pined for this tiny light. I watched CPF and the site for months as production problems dogged the owner, Rob. There was some seriously bad feedback on CPF. There is further bad feedback elsewhere on the Internet. But the threads at CPF and Rob's responses led me to believe that this was a one time thing and that he had turned things around. Always a fan of a comeback story, I decided to send my funds his way. I am willing to pay for innovation, and his lights are nothing if not innovative.

I saw that the site showed that the Raw NS and SS were ready for shipment, so I emailed Rob to make sure that was true. He said yes and told me that if I bought one it would ship out immediately. That was July 22, 2010. I sent my PayPal payment in the very next day. Rob promised via email that he would send it out on July 23, 2010. He didn't.

He then promised that the order would go out the following Monday, July 26, 2010. It didn't. I emailed him multiple times. On the 26th he told me the light would go out Wednesday, the 28th. It didn't. I emailed him on Wednesday a few times without a response. I was worried because I had never purchased something like this from overseas. After a few unresponded emails I was told the light was sent out on Thursday July 29, 2010. Then I waited.

It didn't arrive the next week, the week after, or the week after that. I contacted Rob and he told me his policy was to wait a month, to make sure it wasn't just slow in transit, before he sent a replacement. I told him okay and waited some more. On the 30th day the light still did not arrive. I sent Rob an email. In the email I asked him to send the light to me with tracking and that I would pay for the upgraded shipping. I also told him that because of the dispute process at PayPal (see here), I would submit a claim for non-receipt on the 40th day. He sent me a long email telling me not to do that. I sent him an email back saying that I wouldn't so long as I either had the light or proof of its shipment before the 40th day. That was on August 17th. Rob did not respond the entire weekend, regarding the shipping or the Paypal. As soon as I agreed not to go to Paypal he did not respond.

That Monday, August 23, 2010 I got an email responding to my weekend emails. Rob told me he could not ship the light because he did not have the batteries or charger. I told him I could buy those from other sources and to just ship the order. He said okay. He then promised that the light would go out on August 24. It didn't. Not on the 24th or the 25th. I then sent him another email, actually three quick ones over the period of two days, none of which he responded to.

Fed up, I filed the PayPal claim. I received an email from Rob 30 minutes later (the time stamp on the email from PayPal is 12:00, on his response: 12:30). He then told me that he would not send my light unless I withdrew the claim. I told him to send the light and then I would withdraw the claim. Paypal's policy will not let you reopen a claim, so if I closed it I would have not option to get my money back. He then told me that if I wanted the light I would have to both close the claim and wait until August 31st (even though he said he could send the replacement immediately on the 23rd). He claimed this time that there was a delay at the machine shop (though on the 23rd his claim was that he didn't have the batteries and chargers). He then offered to send me a refund, which I accepted, wanting to end the games of "hold my money" and email tag. One day later he refunded the money.

Here is the other thing while this whole thing was going on, while he claimed to have a shortage of products, he was selling ones and twos on the BST thread at CPF. Check the time stamp on that sale thread, August 24, 2010, exactly when he was claiming he was out of supplies.

I am not sure he sent or didn't send the light the first time [EDIT: I am SURE he never sent the light]. I have proof I paid. Because he does not use tracking on the first package, he has no proof he sent it. I can tell you this: I have never lost post (that I was expecting) since moving to my current location. Around the same time I ordered an end table from Italy and it came well before one month. Even if you suppose he did, the responses after that were ridiculous. The delays were unacceptable not because they were long, they weren't really, but because he told me the exact opposite of what actually happened every time I emailed him. Also, this light that was allegedly sent has never arrived (I would send it back to him, on my dime, if it did) [EDIT: Still true].

I am sure Rob is nice guy [EDIT: No I am not, I was being nice]. His lights look beautiful and are an amazing technical feat. Mine is just one experience, but the jeers and other bad stuff out there on the internet leads me to believe that this something of a trend. Buying a flashlight should not be this difficult. Don McLeish (McGizmo) manages to send his stuff out with incredible speed. Mac's Customs also has a good reputation. But the endless string of broken promises and hostile reactions to legitimate complaints makes dealing with Lummi impossible in my circumstance. I have no doubt that these are not part of some scheme to steal people's money [EDIT: Again, being nice; it was a scam the entire time]. He wouldn't bother emailing back if it was. But the bungling of order after order (as evidenced by the jeers thread) says something.

Bottom line: AVOID LUMMI

Now the boom came down on Rob Cheetham and Lummi. CPF closed his subforum and posted a warning about his practices there. There have been so many people swindled by this guy. He was a sharp-elbowed jerk when I dealt with him, trying to force me to back off a PayPal dispute with back room dealings instead of going through the procedure. And now I realize it was all a ploy to prevent his PayPal account from being shut down. He had no intention of ever sending me a light. Given my results with PayPal's dispute procedure it may be the only way to get your money back from Mr. Cheetham.

This, I hope, doesn't come off as me kicking a guy while he's down. I am sure, at one time, people were getting great stuff from him. I posted this as a warning to those out there who have yet to get sucked into the never ending delays and withholding of products. Think of it as a public service announcement as well as a bit of news coverage from the custom flashlight community. There are so many great makers out there. My McGizmo came from HAWAII in less time than it took for Rob to respond to my EMAILS.

It is a shame, really. His lights, on paper, look amazing. If you can find one on the secondary market, they seem to be worth the effort, though I would not count on manufacturer support in anyway. Or you could just go to Enrique and get a no-nonsense, no-BS, bad ass light.


  1. Hi
    I ordered one off of rob 10 days ago
    He emailed me 20 minutes later he would ship the next day and I received my lummi wee yesterday
    Sorry bout your luck
    He was really unhelpful though when I tried to upgrade to tritium but still got the light

  2. My experience mirrors the above. Ordered on June 16th and have still not received, on September 25th. I intend to do the Paypal thing tomorrow.

    What HORRIBLE service.

  3. This guy still sucks..
    Date of order: 8th August 2012 via PayPal
    State of order: Germany
    Purchase Details
    Description:Raw NS XM-L, Item no:0003 , Raw NS locator Options: Raw NS 2 Ice Blue H3 , Raw NS XM-L White £70: 40/250
    Unit price:85.00 GBP
    Amount:£85.00 GBP
    Description:USB Charger, Item no:USB Charger , USB Charger: USB Charger
    Unit price:8.00 GBP
    Amount:£8.00 GBP

    Subtotal: £93.00 GBP
    Postage and packaging: 5.00 GBP
    Total: 98.00 GBP

    Payment: 98.00 GBP
    Received: nothing
    last Email contact: 18.09.2012 with the promise of shipment at the end of September 2012
    ..he didnt answer to the following email (20.10.2012)

    So, his customer service makes me gag..
    He is nothing but a thief!

    1. He seems to pop up online and claim that things have turned around once every six months, when, in actuality, nothing has changed. AVOID.

    2. Unfortunately I didn't see this until too late. I ordered last november still not received any thing. Why would he send any thing he makes much more this way. I have reported him to Devon trading standards if enough people do this they might do something. Or perhaps we could all go round his house and ask for them.

  4. AVOID LUMMI, this crack thief is doing the trick again and again + PayPal isn't doing anything against him. He's creating new accounts from time to time which they could find out and lock (by adress or related account).