Wow, that does kind of stink. My Dad always said a satisfied customer tells one friend, a dissatisfied customer tells "All" his friends. I guess this is the case with this purchase. Now, thanks to FB, forums, etc it's pretty easy to tell all your friends and all your friend's friends.
I know the Claytors are supposed to be top notch and they're priced accordingly. That seems like a pretty sad response. Did your friend e-mail any photos along with the correspondence?
I've had items that had small defects and being the DIY kind of person I am, I'd rather not spend the time mailing items in for warranty work when I can repair them in minutes. Sound like in this case there wasn't an option though. No good!!