Not too surprising to hear for me. Several stores that I deal with on a regular basis have stopped selling Finecast via mail order due to the large number of defects and a few of them stopped selling GW books via mail order due to binding issues with them. While it is true that the customer can call up GW and complain and have them send a new item out, more often than not they call the retailer first who has to then figure out if they want to sound like jerks and tell them to call GW or pay to have defective product returned (so they can get the credit through GW) or just send out a new item at a loss. Of course, they could inspect each and every item they ship out first - but then that cuts into the cost benefit of doing mail order.
GW is the only company who has such regular quality issues with their "premium" products, and when you pay a premium price...it should be a premium product - not something which isn't worse than any other company out there.