At one time, the few cottage industry manufacturers were somewhat insulated from public dissatisfaction since they didn't have much competition. But that is changing as more companies start to market this kind of gear. Given that, these businesses need to pay attention to customer feedback on the Internet... the internet is their main marketing vehicle, and it can be a double edged sword as customers use the Internet to research goods and read reviews.
Ron didn't do himself any favors by engaging in the conversation in a confrontational manner -- he probably did himself more harm than Yang's initial post. Reminiscent of the POE debacle here on BPL, which David Ure pointed out. Had Ron posted here that he had reviewed the purchase and will reimburse the shipping charges the thread would have died, and Ron would have been a hero, enhancing his company. Unfortunately the thread has dragged on and will continue to do so -- all of a big negative for SMD. So Ron won a small battle with a customer, and long term may lose the war for new and repeat customers. Even if he changed his mind today, the damage has been done.
I side with Yang on this. He bought a $360 shelter, not a $79 Wal-Mart special. Given that both the inner and outer had manufacturing defects, why would he want a replacement that might have the same quality control, not to mention the lack of quick communication. We pay premium dollars for cottage goods, and as customers we should demand premium workmanship and customer handling. No "Pass Go Free" cards for them.
FWIW, I have purchased gear from SMD, so I am a customer.