This is actually the rule.
T3. If an ALLIANCE wishes to use their TIMEOUT, the ALLIANCE CAPTAIN must submit their TIMEOUT coupon to the Head REFEREE within two (2) minutes of the ARENA reset signal preceding their MATCH. If there is no preceding MATCH, the TIMEOUT coupon must be submitted no later than two (2) minutes before the scheduled MATCH time. The TIMEOUT will begin two (2) minutes after the ARENA reset signal (i.e. at the end of the TEAM TIMEOUT Coupon Window depicted in Figure 12-4)
When using a timeout, you should have your alliance captain in the question box as soon as the match before yours ends. Most of the head refs I know will then stand there with the captain right until the 2 minute mark, just to make sure they have as much time as possible for someone to run up and say “we don’t need it!”.
I’m more interested in the bumper issue, as there seems to be more confusion around them. Do you have pictures of what they looked like (on the robot!) before the changes? It’s possible there were multiple issues, or it could have been poor communication (in which case they need to know about it, because communication is 90% of the LRI’s job!), or they were trying to address the issues one at a time (in which case they should have at least explained everything up front and walked through a plan with you!).
I’ve had to make teams rebuild their bumpers from the ground up before, but I really try to avoid it, if at all possible. I look, as much as possible, for the smallest amount of work that will make them, and keep them, legal. The worst part is when an inspector already passed a team with something that shouldn’t have passed, and I have to deliver the bad news that the ref’s noticed something from 20 feet away that my inspector missed with his nose inches away, and because of it the team now has limited time to get it fixed instead of half of the practice day.
We’ve seen everything - wood backing that’s 1"x4", 3 pool noodles stacked, 3.5" pool noodles that were cut on a bandsaw to 2.5" square, pool noodles that were melted when the numbers were ironed on after assembly, corner coverage that’s not sufficient, bumpers that were built too big and have a huge gap between them and the frame, team numbers that don’t meet the spec, team logo used within the team number, reversible bumpers that show huge patches of the wrong color, reversible bumpers that have black “end caps” to avoid showing the wrong color or dealing with reversing around the edge, bumpers with no fabric on the exposed ends, just pool noodles, bumpers that are significantly outside of the zone, bumpers that are modified from the supplied cross section (cut out on the top to allow a mechanism to move, wood backing that goes across a gap between the noodles, bumper cover that spans a gap between the noodles/wood). Many of these issues lead to significant rework by teams that’s just unavoidable at that point.