Katadyn Guide Filter replacement leaking coal

I recently ordered a couple of replacement filters for my Katadyn Guide water filter through Amazon. They arrived today (yay! I love getting packages!) When I opened the box one of them looked normal but the other was pretty dirty and appeared to be leaking activated carbon (which is used in part of the filtering process.) When I gently shake it, something is rattling around inside the filter. There is no such noise when I gently shake the good one.

Looks like a defective filter to me. I immediately contacted the 3rd party seller (backcountry.com) through Amazon and Katadyn to see what can be done to resolve this. Obviously, my expectation is that it will be replaced at no cost to me.

I’ll post updates here as things progress. If I were a betting man, I know who I’d put my money on but I don’t want to spoil things for anyone else who may be reading.

Update: 3/3/09 – 10:40am: I just heard back from Katadyn. I’m a bit surprised that they beat backcountry.com in responding. Here’s the response:
It is not necessarily defective. A few loose granules are completely normal. How many are there? If it is a smallish amount, that is ok, but if there is a lot of it, that might indicate a problem.
Please let me know.

My reply:
Hi Sarah,
Thank you for your response.
It seems like more than just a few loose granules. I've posted a picture of it (click on the image to enlarge it.) http://altj.com/blog/katadyn-guide-filter-replacement-leaking-coal
Please let me know what you think.

Update: 3/3/09 – 11:44am: Another reply from Katadyn:

Yes, that is more than a few.
I will send you a replacement cartridge.
Would you like me to use the address in your original email?

Awesome! It looks like this is going to be resolved very quickly.

Update: 3/3/09 – 6:55pm: Received an email from Backcountry.com

Thanks for contacting us at Backcountry.com.
Sorry about that! If the item is damaged just give us a call at 1-800-409-4502 and we will be glad to help you out in returning this product and getting a replacement for it.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to tell us, anytime… we don’t really sleep. Enjoy your day, we’ll talk to you later.

Update 3/4/09 – Called Backcountry.com

Told them about the problem and within 30 seconds they said a new one would be shipped out to me. They also sent me a shipping label to return the defective filter.

Update 3/5/09 – Received replacement from Backcountry.com

Wow, that was fast. I contacted Katadyn informing them that Backcountry.com has handled the problem and they don't need to send a replacement.

Backcountry.com wins! Although their initial response was slower, they took care of things efficiently. I’ll be purchasing from them again!