Re: User Error
No, it very much is the tool.
Consider the following scenario: web site offers data in CSV format for download. Researcher clicks "download" link - the browser downloads the file and helpfully opens it ... in Excel - at this point the data is now mangled. The researcher clicks "save as" to save it somewhere for import into something else later.
If you don't consider that the software is the problem in the above scenario, then I would suggest you go and listen to J Nielsen and D Norman for a bit - unexpected behaviour is a defect in the software when a sufficient proportion of people find it unexpected.
Honestly, Excel's auto-formatting of dates is a menace - CSV is a perfectly fine data format for data exchange, but Excel's behaviour does make it problematic