Sourcing issues in the Dot com age

I want to see if anyone else is noticing this trend.

I build simulators and have to source a lot of odd parts in order to make up the whole. The internet has been very helpful in finding these odd items, but that is about where the goodness ends.

Latest example:
I found a multi-axis moveable arm to hold a 76 lb object. It took a few emails with a company’s technical person (who was not allowed to call me back during the day, so emails were answered every 12 hours). I needed their standard product but modified. I called the sales person to order these arms (approx $300 a piece) and was told that they could not sell to me and that I had to go to a reseller. They gave me the phone number of a reseller, okay so far so good.

I call the web based reseller and as I am explaining what I need I get the feeling that they are used to only selling standard product. After a couple of calls, I realize I am getting no where.

Finally I have emailed the exact correspondence I had with the factory.

The last email I got had the cost of the customized parts but nothing else. I had laid out what I needed :
A professional document with all costs laid out and full contact info so my company could send a purchase order. Hopefully this time I will get what I need.

Why have I written this much? Because I want to know if others are finding custom sourcing going from a “lets discuss and present you with a quote” to a “please pick everything yourself and enter your credit card” world?

Or am I the only one having this issue and need to treat it as my own problem?

Okay, I ranted a bit and am sorry.

The rewal question is are we better off:

Before Dot coms it was hard to find things but once you found them you got customer service.
Since the Dot coms you can find things quite easily but it is hard to actually purchase them.

Thoughts?