At the risk of committing a "me too" after reading all this stuff, I have to second Dave Bohm: seems to me that Jon made a mountain out of a molehill, and I think the CR list was the wrong place to air this out. Especially in so much detail.
I know Phil Brown, he's a good man and an honest one; this sounds like some bad luck that could have happened to anyone.
If it had been $1000 purchase, ok. Some genuine concern would have been warranted. But 18 bucks? Please. And leave us not get into "the principle of the thing." 18 bucks is not a principle. It's a triviality.