Over my long career in the field of procurement for a leading aerospace firm, the importance of quality and compliance to specifications was always a crucial focus point in our business relationships with other firms. Unfortunately, one finds that not all firms have their act together for one reason or another. In trying to work through the problems, one finds out pretty quickly about the integrity and commitment of a firm and its representatives. If a firm ultimately didn't measure up, they were history. Conversely, firms that had their act together, and problems do test that in many ways, became long term business partners we could rely on.
Really, I think one applies the same kind framework and expectations in our personal life, whether its about buying the products we need, or even in our relationships with others. Actually, in all likelihood, its much closer to our core interests, and therefore more important overall.
I can say that I've had pretty good luck with windsurfing equipment, and I haven't often needed to address warranty issues. But not to long ago, I uncovered an odd manufacturing defect in a Maui Sail carbon boom that I bought. I should point out that it took a few months to uncover the problem because it wasn't related to product failure (breakage). I must emphasize how impressed I was with both Barry Spanier's and Phil McGain's personal efforts to completely resolve my problem. These guys were keenly focused and totally dedicated to customer satisfaction. Not only are they designing benchmark products that reflect engineering excellence, they readily stand behind their products.
Contrary to some earlier thought here, it was quite clear to me the highest caliber performance products don't have to be of questionable integrity. Still though, stuff happens, and that's where rubber meets the road and ultimately tests one's dedication and loyalities.