If I could add my.02, 2016 on the outside of the box does not denote when the unit inside that box was produced, it's the copyright date. If you look carefully you will see the lowercase "c" before the date. A date like that is on most Lionel boxes and a host of every other item that is made, I see that all the time. I just purchased a 990 from a forum member and mine has the same date and he just purchased it from Charles Ro. As far as the warranty portion of it, yes I do understand it is a pain in the rump, I've had my fair share of companies doing everything possible to get out of a warranty repair (ASUS for example) but I think you should hold them to their word and make them repair it. You paid good money for a product, and yes your time is worth money, but so is theirs, make them honor it and send it back. I know it's easier said then done, but make them honor their commitment to selling a quality product, after all you didn't give them counterfeit dollars, you gave them real money.