"Hells, yes. I need to talk to somebody that's going to tell me that I got the one defective sander that filtered through the quality control at the ISO-certified factory, and they are going to replace it with one that will work all day."
That's not going to happen because you didn't. There are at least half a dozen reports of the same thing happening on this forum. Enough to start me wondering if the EC sanders are going to turn into a Kapex like epidemic.
"This experience, (sander failure, ineffective repair, bad communication) is eroding my confidence in the brand. "
You are not alone. Lots of people are frustrated with FT these days. From their poor handling of Kapex's motor failures, the capricious switchover to imperial from metric after twenty years, the poor performance of the new Cleantec hose end , and the new communication and computer system upgrades which haven't gone smoothly.
To be fair , much of this is attributable to a maturing business. Growth has its price. Even though I'm critical at times , I think they are doing a pretty decent job of managing it all. It's not like they're GM in the 80's.
Maintaining a domestic manufacturing presence, keeping quality relatively high, innovating new products, finding new customers while keeping old ones happy, growing revenue , all while keeping employees motivated and shareholder happy is a VERY TALL task.