This is always a concern with me buying equipment, or anything for that matter. I am picky. If I pay for a new item, I want to be the one to put the first scratch on it, or leave it outside to rust, or get it muddy.
I am very careful to specify new, "out of the crate" - not that one sitting on the floor. Even at that I have had them try things. The giant fireplace in my new house was installed with 25 feet of chimney sitting on top of it before I got there and realized it was the scratched floor model. It took some yelling, but it was replaced. I ask for new, I payed for new, I want new.
I regularly drive past a Hustler dealer in upstate New York near Malone. At any given time he has a dozen or more new ZTRs sitting out in the field. He does not appear to have a showroom. I watched this summer as they became consumed by grass as they sat there waiting to be sold, all the while sitting in the rain and the sun. That is not at all the way I want to buy a machine. Unfortunately I think it is the norm to some degree. Some machines will look worse than you describe after being on the contractor's trailer for a week, so he may not care, and the dealer knows this.
My Exmark dealer sent me 2 machines to demo a while back. I expected they would be demo machines. When they arrived they were brand new. I called and he said "no please go ahead and cut with them". I put about 5 hours on each machine. Once my decision was made, he took his "demos" back and sent me a brand new 60" 28EFI Lazer fresh out of the crate. That is what I expected, asked for, and got, and so should you.
I am glad he has come clean and corrected the problem. Have fun with the new machine.