I'm not sure Manfrotto is the best? I use it but I have never considered it the best.
some of us really need our equipment. we can't twiddle our fingers waiting for a repair for months, free or not.
If my tripod was waiting for repair, free or not, I would not be missing photography.
I would be getting a spare or borrowing one, it hardly seems that important.
BUT with crap service like that, free or not, the spare would probably be another make.