Before going forward, note that as of right now, this issue is still in limbo with Stern and Cointaker, so hopefully they will take care of me. However...
I've had the worst luck with my NIB IM that was purchased. I've had no less than 5 problems with the machine, the worst being a 1 inch crack/ridge which appeared in the machine a few weeks ago (see pics below). The crack/ridge can be easily felt. I've no idea how this happened, but most people I talk to generally agree that the wood must have been flawed from the get go (moisture in it perhaps). To me, this is unacceptable on a machine less than a year old and I worry that it will get worse over time. While I love IM and have no intentions of selling it, I would have a very hard time doing so if I wanted to, and would have to lower the price quite a bit, which is through no fault of my own.
I emailed Patrick Powers 3 weeks ago, and he forwarded it to Stern's "Quality Control". Last week he called Cointaker (who I purchased the machine from) and Chris from Cointaker called me to discuss the problem. It turns out neither him nor Patrick have ever seen such a thing. So, I wait in limbo as to what, if anything Stern or Cointaker will do.
Here are my other problems, that, are minor in comparison, but when taken as a whole, really leaves a bad taste in my mouth:
1. Out of the box the right flipper wasn't going up all the way. I had to pay to have a local guy come and help me with the fix.
2. One of the pop bumpers wasn't firing all the time out of the box. Thankfully this just required a switch adjustment.
3. The Iron Monger toy wasn't registering at least 40% of the hits. After searching on RGP, I found a solution that another IM owner used. However, once again, I had to pay a tech to come out and fix the problem (requiring the Iron Monger to be disassembled and the contacts glued). I shouldn't have had to do this with a brand new game.
4. Last month, the left flipper was starting to stick on the way down. Replaced coil sleeve, but that doesn't seem to solve the problem. This is a HUO game, so I'm surprised to see that I'll probably have to do a rebuild already for a game I've had less than a year.
I'll keep everyone posted as to the resolution of the clear crack issue.