What an interesting thread this has turned out to be into the very opaque world of pricing, dealerships and upgrades. Kind of reminds me of car buying before publications like Kelly Blue Book etc. appeared, which give the consumer an objective insight into the numbers dealers are working with. Maybe we need a Kelly Blue Book for MFDBs, I mean - they cost the price of a (really nice) car after all.
When I was in the market for a (used) P65+ it was like pulling hen's teeth trying to get the price out of the dealer. He uummed, and ahhhed about whether I was for 'real' (I kid you not) - was I going to go through with the deal once he told me his super dooper special price (er, tell me the price and then I'll decide). It was pure torture - if I remember correctly I had to reassure him by pointing out that I'd just bought a Horseman, and that it wouldn't be much use without a MFDB - in order to get the price out of him. Madness, utter madness. If there had been another dealer in the country, I'd have gone. But there wasn't. I guess looking back he was terrified I would use his quote to get an even better deal overseas - perhaps indicating the degree of latitude individual dealers have to set price. Maybe he sold cars before DBs, who knows. It was all so cloak and dagger as to be unbelievable - it simply shouldn't have been that way. In the end, I bought privately (shock, horror) - so much less hassle than continuing the 'relationship' with my local Phase One dealer.
If someone can upgrade from an IQ180 to an IQ260 (and I say upgrade because it's from older technology to newer technology, though admittedly it's in Phase's interest to say, well, the MP count is lower so it's not an upgrade) for $XX then it should be that way for everyone, no matter what path to ownership of the IQ180 they followed (from a dealer, privately, winning it in a raffle, whatever). Adjustments to the price should only vary depending on the condition/warranty of the IQ180 they are looking to move away from, and owning the IQ180 should be all that's needed to get that price, not being on some dealer's Christmas Card list. When I shot 8x10 I never remember having to have a relationship with the place I bought film from. Whilst I understand that the whole mechanics and economics of trade-ins/cross-grades/up-grades/down-grades can be tricky, you do wonder how much say Phase has in the transaction given that the traded-in back will probably (though not always) end up back with them to be refurbished etc. and put back on the market. I would hate to think that Phase will accommodate some IQ180 users moving to an IQ260 because they have 'relationships' with dealers (whatever that slightly stomach churning phrase means), whilst for others they couldn't care less - in effect punishing them for not going through their authorised dealer network when originally purchasing their DB. Bottom line: you own a $40k Phase One digital back, you should be treated equally (and like royalty!) by Phase One and their dealers the world over. Period.