There is something very fishy smelling about your buddies story. Most HF power tools come with a minimum 90 day warranty. Long enough to know if it's going to last or not. My lathe and mill each had a one year warranty. Lots and lots of their hand tools have lifetime warranty. My drill press from HF is now over 20 years old. In fact, I don't have a single tool from them that has totally failed in service. The only things that have happened was I bought a 12V pump that somehow got put back on the shelf instead of the back room after a first purchaser burned up a motor lead wire. I simply repaired it. I have a 8-in-3 mini machine kit and the power supply went on the fritz. I called HF and asked about returning the power supply and they gave me an RMA number and I shipped the power supply back, and only the power supply. In return I got another complete NIB 8-in-3 machine tool kit. $180 bucks worth. And in the meantime I was already using another powersupply from one of the cheap r/c radios. And now, this item broken inside the box, but it did not fail in service, it was dropped off a pallet or something.
I'm not complaining.