I don't know if it's good taste or not to post support progress in public, oh well probably not. These things should be handled in private. But I cannot resist. I'll post if it goes good too, but currently it does not.
To avoid confusion I've shortcut the dealer (which in any case lives very far from here, I have no local dealer) and communicated directly with Phase/Leaf now and they seem utterly uninterested in helping. In a way I understand them, since they are used to customers where money is a non-issue, why care about the others?
They also claim that the repair must go through the dealer, and interestingly enough the dealer have stopped selling Leaf gear. Why would I have to go through a dealer that don't even sell the stuff? Additionally they recommend I should use the back as is, or get an upgrade deal, but they should know that the back is too old, you cannot get an upgrade deal for Leaf Aptus 75, the message is that if you want to be in an upgrade program you need to upgrade quickly. I find it quite interesting that the same dealer actually said before I bought the Aptus 75 (knowing it was an Aptus 75 I was looking into) that it would be good to use as a way to upgrade to new gear later, but now when I ask about upgrading there are no such options.
Finally, if I still go ahead with repair I find it a bit insulting that they claim "will require a full repair and exchange of very expensive parts inside"
as if they would have to exchange the sensor. I'm an engineer goddammit, I know what's expensive and not. What costs electronic component-wise in a back is the sensor, the rest is like any camera. The high back prices comes from low volumes and high development cost, why try to maintain this mythology around using very very special super-expensive components, customers are not idiots. Repairs don't need to be this expensive. Their intention seems to be to rip me off, and it's not much I can do about it.
I'm both surprised and not surprised by how this develops. I'm a bit surprised by how worthless in terms of upgrading a back from 2006 is, MFDB manufacturers often brag about the long life of their products and good upgrade programs, but in practice it seems to be untrue. Upgrade programs are good if you want to stay with the latest all the time, but if you fall behind -- you're out. I'm a bit less surprised with the total lack of understanding of that an amateur may think that 3500+VAT is slightly expensive for a repair. I know I'm a pain-in-the-butt customer, I have bought second hand so they haven't made any money on me and then I make a lot of noise for a lowly 3500 service for a back that cost 20000+ when it was new. I guess they think I get what I deserve when buying into gear I really cannot afford owning
However, I know companies that look at my type of customer like this -- maybe if we provide good service he'll stay with MF gear and our brand, maybe eventually buy new equipment, maybe he becomes a professional photographer in the future etc. Buying a new back in the 10000 range is actually not out of the question for me, but just not now. I've just bought a complete system, the tech cam and lenses cost money too. Before I bought this back I actually had got that impression, that MFDB manufacturers thought about amateur customers this way, but I'm now experiencing the painful way that my impression was probably wrong.
What I've seen of MF support so far is not good. If money is a non-issue and you stay with the latest all the time I'm sure it's great, but if you're a poor amateur like me and use old gear it seems like you're out in the cold. The best support I've got is from members on this forum and getdpi, Yair not the least, and I thank you all for your support, it is really very valuable.
I have some more testing to do myself on the back though. I have not yet tested how it behaves when powered via firewire, it could be some problem with the back drawing power from batteries.