A.O. Smith Hot Surface Igniter Life Expectancy?

I have an ~3 year old A.O. Smith 50 gallon water heater which has needed two Hot Surface Igniters replaced in that time period. The first replacement was at 20 months; while the second was at 18 months (expensive -- on average ~$70 each due to price increase between the first and second purchases). Fortunately, the first HSI was covered under warranty, but my bigger concern is from the second HSI on, not only is it my loss, but the only local plumbing supply house to carry the part has discontinued doing so (they alluded to A.O. Smith having too many controller problems -- what a surprise), and the part purchased on-line directly from A-hole Smith is ~ $15 more than the cost was locally!!
Does anybody know if A-hole Smith has known issues with the HSI (any technical service bulletins?), and how I might go about achieving an equitable resolution with these idiots? I've already lost contact with their 'complaint' customer service rep who seems to have fallen off the earth after she was forwarded copies of the receipts for my incurred cost. Anybody have any knowledge of how I can take this higher up? TIA!
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Jim wrote:

They should be lasting a lot longer than that. One quick way to kill one is to handle it with your fingers before installing it. The little oil left on it from your fingers will assure an early death.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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