i understand your frustration, but this is not just a redcat thing.
i have sent a few traxxas ESC's, and each time i had to pay to ship it to them.
Never once had that happen. They always pay shipping, unless the item is out of date. If it's new they send the part asap with a self addressed return label and an RMA number already on it.
i had 3 VXL speed controls die on me this summer. the 1st one died, and im like " hey, it happens"
the next 2 died 2 weeks later. those 2 i called traxxas and told them what happened. they said send them in for repair and gave me the address.
i spend $5 to mail them priority flat rate.
Traxxas fixxed them and paid return shipping, but never did i get an offer from them to pay to ship the ESC's to them.
Maybe it depends on the item or the issue or how much you complain, I dont know. Just stating what happend in my case.
frankly, it doesnt surprise me for any RC company to want the item shipped to them for inspection. I know it stinks for the customer, but RC companies cant afford to hand out parts without inspecting the damaged ones.
otherwise, people would be calling up and lying just to get free parts. just saying.