I recently bought a 28' fiberglass extension ladder (big-name brand from the blue box store), but I found that it's a bit warped. When I lean it against the house, with both feet firmly planted and squared up, the top right of the ladder stands off the house by a couple inches. When I step on, the ladder doesn't feel overly stable and shifts a bit because of this warping. That said, I did actually use it fully extended for a couple hours, and I didn't fall off.
The ladder hasn't been damaged since I got it, at least. And I don't see any evidence of cracks or other failure. I'd like to return it, but I permanent-markered my name on the sides as soon as I bought it, and it seems to have soaked into the fibers so it doesn't come off with ethanol, acetone, or mineral spirits. (If anyone has a suggestion for how to get this off, I'm all ears.)
When it's on the ground, I can stand it on edge, and look down the side. Lining up the two sides at the end nearest me, I can see the warp as the two sides at the far end are skewed by an inch or two. And in fact, the fly and base sections warp in opposite directions, which makes me wonder if this is just a standard thing that I hadn't noticed before.
All ladders must warp some amount. How much is too much? How much warp do other people see in their extension ladders?
Since acetone, ethanol, etc., didn't work, I sanded my name off. I had to go a bit deeper than I expected. It wasn't bad structurally, but it tore up the finish, so there were obvious problematic places. Again, since I wanted to be sure they'd take it back, I just slapped on some polyurethane, and you couldn't tell.
Anyway, I took it back and told them it was warped. They exchanged it without hassle. I checked the new one for warp before I left the store, and it looked perfect. Testing it out again, it feels so much better. Nice and stable. Glad I got rid of the warped one.