Always being on the lookout for good deals, I have been occasionally checking Craigslist and ebay for a well priced torch. Finally, I picked up a “new in-box” Smith Little Torch for 56 bucks in the last six seconds of an ebay auction. Normally this set, which comes with tips #3-7, hoses, and a handpiece sells for around $135. It was just what I needed at the right price. What a good little cheapskate I am!
After a long week at my 9-5, my torch arrived all the way from Los Angeles! I was disappointed as soon as I opened the box. The first thing I noticed was the tips. They were size #1-5, not #3-7 as the auction listed. Tips #1-3 are too small for use with propane. Then I picked up the handpiece. It felt too lightweight, and the oxygen knob was blue… it is always green on standard torch outfits. Green means Oxy! What on earth does blue mean???? Also, I noted that the fuel and oxygen knobs were reversed on the handpiece. My deal turned into a rip off! I left a voicemail with Miller Smith customer service and was called back within a few minutes by a very helpful and informed representative, Mike, who confirmed my suspicions that my new “Smith Little Torch” was a counterfeit piece of junk!
“The dead giveaway is the blue knob,” Mike said. He went on to inform me of a few other things I want to share. These are important to be aware of even if you are okay with the fake version, since some of these cheap short cuts can be dangerous.
Smith does not make torches with blue knobs, nor do they reverse the fuel lines.
The handpiece lacks the “Smith Equipment” stamp.
Hoses in these counterfeit sets are notoriously leaky!
The fakes are manufactured in China and are packaged identically to Smith brand.
The knock-offs often have same barcode. Smith actually updates their codes annually.
I went ahead and took a screen shot of the auction I “won” to share. You can see right away that the blue knob is tucked inside the box where bidders can’t see it. Watch out for any listings that don’t have an image with both knobs visible. Be cautious even when things appear to be in good order. The packaging looks pretty legit otherwise.
I should have known that the price was a little too low to be real. At the time of the auction, most new Little Torches were selling at prices within $25 of the retail price.
Through ebay’s Resolution Center, I was able to contact the seller and get a refund on the counterfeit even though he insisted he doesn’t sell fakes. Once I got my money back, I purchased a real Smith Little Torch and am much happier.
Check back soon for a guide on basic torch set up!
PS. I don’t actually remember what the Smith Miller rep’s name was- “Mike” was just my best guess.