I owned the scope for about a month and returned it to Bushnell (the refund was here in 3 weeks); however, I cannot agree entirely with your summary.
Few scopes - and NONE in that price range - offer a great image at 24X. With an exit pupil of just over 2, you simply will not get an image that looks great. That said, I had no evident distortion even at 24X, and I thought the glass was pretty good, given what I paid for the scope.
I sent mine back because the project for which it was bought went away. Had there been a heavy, long-range, mid-level rifle around needing a scope, I would have kept it for sure.
I would say yours may suck that badly, but all do not. It is a good scope for the money (or mine was) and was better than anything else out there with that feature set and under $800.
Sorry to hear you had a bad experience; I hate Leupold and most others love them - go figure. I would recommend you call Bushnell customer service and talk with them. There is a "no questions" refund and I can attest to its usability and efficiency.
By the way: I have the new IOR 3-18 and, though better in every way, the image at 18X still isn't amazing. But how often does one really need 18X? The IORs are worth the $$. Then again, I say the Bushnell is worth the $, so maybe you shouldn't listen to me.