I can't say about Ariens, but in the case of JD, it is true. I have a friend who used to work as a mechanic at a JD dealer. They are forced to support warranty issues on Lowes Depot JD's, which are different machines than that sold at a real JD dealer. Plastic bushings where there should be plain bearings, and plain bearings where there should be ball or roller bearings. They were apparently much more prone to failure than the machine sold by the dealer, creating a real labor problem for the dealers, who get compensated at a rate lower than their standard for warranty repair work.