Well, just to update this thread some more, I got a message today from Aquariumguys today saying the filter I returned had been modified by me and therefore they will not accept the return. They cited the fact that one of the plastic strainers in the kit was apparently split open and claimed I used a knife to open it. Well, in fact I didn't even bother to mention earlier that the strainers were not glued shut between the two halves and fell apart in my hands. I wondered why they were broken but assumed it was shoddy parts and ignored it. They also don't even know what a correct o-ring should look like, the Vortex factory acknowledged the o-ring was the worng size. And, if they had been in my house when the smoke came out of the motor there would be no doubt it was hosed. These were all the problems I raised with them to begin with!
In any case, they took what could have been a good relationship and burned it. Their approach is to assume the customer is criminal and ignore the possibility that the supplier provided a junk product. I can't imagine a scenario where I want to damage a new product just to battle with them over returning it!
Here is their email to me...
"He didn't include one of the two Eight inch Tubes. The motor does turn over when he said that it wouldn't start. He also claimed that the o-ring didn't fit and it does. Also he used a knife, for reasons I'm not sure, to cut open one of the strainers where the plug is inserted. One of the bags is ripped, and we could have replaced that for him, but not the entire unit. We can send it back to him and he can then go to Vortex.
So again, the returns department is unwilling to give credit on the item.
Let me know how he'd like to proceed. "
How I would like to proceed? Get my money back maybe? Get treated like a customer not a criminal?