But in some cases they are aware that their device will pass at the EMC house but will fail at a consumer installation. They are adhering to the letter of the law but not the intent. This fails the 'due diligence' test.
I've worked in the EMC field for many years and have observed that the aim of many companies is simply to obtain a document saying they are compliant to such-and-such standards while ignoring the real world implications.
I had only worked as a compliance engineer for three years back in the early 90's (before self certification) and I took my duties seriously. As I had "graduated" up into the position from a design engineering position I was also responsible for the redesign to get into compliance. Being in that position, at that point in time in a product development cycle, cost became less of an issue and I was permitted to "do the right thing".
Today I pick up a product off the shelf and am simply appalled by the complete lack of even basic EMC compliance measures but I flip over the device and see a Part 15 sticker. The Direct TV problems is a great example, so are BPL modems and plasma displays. It is pushing us more and more into the role of being an auxiliary arm of the FCC to find these devices but with no authority to go cut the cord off and beat the manufacturer about the head.
It takes an inordinate amount of RFI for it to affect most other consumer devices. As far as sensitivity to RFI is concerned we are only surpassed by radio astronomers. For the unwashed masses we are both geeks and nerds (hams and radio astronomers, not mutually exclusive) and the expediency of pushing new products out the door is the most important thing to them. Look at the squabble with the iPad and Israel from a few months ago when Israel would not allow the iPad into their country as it had not been tested to their standards (good for them). Inevitably they bowed to commercial pressures and relented, allowing folks to bring them into their country.
If a microwave oven didn't have an inherent risk of cooking your brains while in operation those things would not have shielding and doors if they were a new product today.
The standards are they are, suck, but they are supposedly the law of the land. Yes, I would like to see MIL standards for EMC but that is definitely a more difficult design proposition. All I ask for is that the current standards be enforced with penalties for companies that stick a Part 15 sticker on a product without any vestiges of a testing program (or knowing that it will not be in compliance).
One thing I run across all the time is where some company has installed a wireless device that has certain power restrictions ( 36 dB EIRP, etc...) and they install amplifiers to raise the power of the device well beyond any compliance limitations. I am fighting that problem right now for one customer where a local internet provider has put amplifiers on all of their gear, making the use of the band impossible for anyone else. The FCC has been called out there twice and gone through the same process that we did to identify the interference and calculate the power levels. They did an inspection and found the amplifiers and told the customer to remove them. A few days later, after the FCC has taken their white van and gone home the ISP has reinstalled their amplifier. So far there has been no legal action against this user and the FCC treats them like a wayward pre-schooler with no real punishment.
if the FCC would give us the power to do something I would create a small HARM missile that you could launch over a town. It would detect the offending device, zoom down and blow the thing to smithereens.