People have all sorts of experiences good and bad with everything ordered from anywhere. Posts on CN don't provide enough data to know if ordering directly from China is better or worse than ordering from a retailer closer to home. Similarly I don't know if we have any substantial evidence that retail orders shipped from China to Texas (by air freight or ocean freight) are are more roughly handled than orders shipped inside the US.
This is the ZWO statement on cameras purchased from a dealer. "For customers who bought the camera from your local dealer, dealer is responsible for the customer service." What does that mean? When I had a failure during the warranty the retailer in the US arranged with ZWO to have the camera shipped to China via DHL prepaid. I was not charged for shipping in either direction.
Later ZWO posted that it has some sort of warranty/repair operation in the US. I say some sort because at least one large and well established retailer in the last week directed a customer with a warranty claim to ship the camera to them and to prepay the cost of return shipping. The retailer said it would ship the camera back to China and then when the camera was returned to the retailer by ZWO it would ship it to the customer. This the customer was told would take a month or more.
California law sets forth certain requirements for consumer warranties that are problematic for some companies not just small companies in China. Here is the law (emphasis added)
(a) Every manufacturer of consumer goods sold in this state and for which the manufacturer has made an express warranty shall:
(A) Maintain in this state sufficient service and repair facilities reasonably close to all areas where its consumer goods are sold to carry out the terms of those warranties or designate and authorize in this state as service and repair facilities independent repair or service facilities reasonably close to all areas where its consumer goods are sold to carry out the terms of the warranties.
Further the law requires that,
“Unless the buyer agrees in writing to the contrary, the goods shall be serviced or repaired so as to conform to the applicable warranties within 30 days.” Cal. Civ. Code § 1793.2
It is not completely clear that all provisions of the California law are applicable to an internet purchase from an off shore seller. But they are generally applicable to a US based retailer.
The laws vary by state and enforcement might vary from county to county, but some protection is better than none and my experience has been that a dealer with whom you have a relationship can be very helpful in sorting out problems with at least some manufacturers.