Well mine was sealed so looks like a new policy.
Delivering a component with flat smooth mating faces is a basic fundamental to anything that bolts on with a gasket. If a company can't get that right it doesn't exactly give confidence in their ability to get the other, less visible, things right too. Looks like Airtex is behaving like another "box brand". Buy in components and take delivery ready packed in boxes branded with their logo. Totally dependant on their supplier. Nearest thing to Quality Control probably the sample product inspection when the production contract is issued or renewed.
Its worrying that Island 4x4 are willing to risk their reputation by dealing with a supplier whose products have to be inspected before delivery. Especially when said inspection is to a lower standard than the original requirements which probably included mating surface roughness and flatness specifications along with a catch all "free from scratches and the objectionable surface defects". OK I don't have access to a Laser Talysurf these days, probably overkill anyway, but everything gets held up to a straight edge and often a quick surface quality comparison against a set of Rubert standards. Excessive, maybe. Anal, yup, we established that ages ago. I have been known to re-machine mating faces on hard to get stuff, not P38 related.
Britpart own label is different of course. 50% savings for "how lucky are you feeling today" risk. The fiscal basis for which I've never really understood. With todays manufacturing methods and volumes on rather old tech, not uber precise, components it would seem cheaper to do a decent job in the first place than resort to the slap dash, haphazard systems associated with poorer work of highly variable quality.
Isn't there some sort of legal requirement that branded stuff sold individually packaged, or at least retail, should have the "makers" address and contact details?
Ah-Hah. Pay-dirt. Looks like Airtex-ASC http://airtexasc.com might be the parent company. Contact link on home page gives phone number and separate E-Mail links for fuel and water pumps. Product finder comes up with our P38 water pumps too. Maybe worth an E-Mail, with picture.