We are the problem. Corporate America makes cheaper products because the consumer demands them, not for excessive profits as you call it. American Corporations must compete against subsidized factories and shipping and companies with newer equipment paid for by US aid programs, most notably the Marshall Plan. Then you must add in cheaper labor and Ameriphobes, who willingly accept deficiencies in some foreign products.
Just because nobody complained (and that isn't true, because you are not nobody) does not mean it is great design. Besides that, studies show that 2/3rd of all customers who have reason to complain don't do so. In this case many may not make the connection between the metal on metal vibration and rusting.
Another option would be to wrap the hook in sturdy plastic. That could wear off after a while, but that depends on how heavy the vibration is.
It appears like the simplest fix would be a plastic tip covering the bare metal. If you look at most bungie cords, the end of the hook is covered with a small plastic tip. Of course that can come off when you remove the hook from the hole and put you right back where you started. Another solution may be to reform the tab in which the hole is perfed.
I have a Craftsman mower and the tab is far enough away from the deck that rubbibg is not an issue. My problem has been pulling the rubber strap off. At the end opposite the hook, the strap is anchored by a shoulder rivet. As you stretch the strap, the hole for the mounting screw also stretches. I have pulled several off the rivet and have never been able to get one back on. So I stretch a bungee cord around the rivet and put both hooks through the hole. I guess it doesn't look very pretty, but it works. I am sure that makes me one of those that accept substandard work, but to be honest I am really more concerned that the mower starts, climbs the hills in my yard, mows and the bagger works when I want it to.
At the Design News webinar on June 27, learn all about aluminum extrusion: designing the right shape so it costs the least, is simplest to manufacture, and best fits the application's structural requirements.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.