Thanks for all of the replies, they were all pretty much in line with what I was thinking.
Originally Posted by ERD50
Wow, how would you feel if someone bought a product or service from you, misused/misapplied it, and then told you and everyone you knew that *you* were crap?
OP, please don't do this. -ERD50
Don't worry, I'm going to stick with my initial intent of sending a very civil letter to both companies of interest explaining my displeasure both with the outcome, but also with the lack of a middle ground for resolution of the matter.
I'm not out to stick it to the man, I was just anticipating that they would stand behind their product a little more (say split the cost of a replacement, I'm already out $80 for tearing down the engine and shipping it, and all I have is a mower deck to show for it).
This wasn't so much a bitch session as a way to reafirm what I already believed.