Your history, knowledge, and experience exceeded mine 10fold in kiteboarding. I find it difficult to criticize your take on what is happening and the happenings that lead up to it. And I empathize with your situation as I have been in the position of having a paycheck bounce on me. But I must correct you on some things.
“Do we think the customer service rep decided to flip customers off because he didn't like them and he liked being shouted at on the phone?” - Yes I do. It was my first experience with Best customer support back in 2011 where I received a veiled threat to be sued for slander on a public forum. This was recanted when I confronted B. Scall about it in a roundabout way. I am SURE that he did not receive top down orders to threaten me. That was most assuredly his idea or at least his “voice” of customer service. I have had many other Best customer service incidences like this one, with only one example being a positive experience. I also had many other customer service issues with Best leading up to the latest of where I was simply asking for bridal measurements on a kite that was behaving badly. I am sure the rep in that case simply decided to stop correspondence with me, instead of just giving me a simple measurement to verify.
"Do we think the bar designer decided that customers with defective bars would not get the spare part because he wanted everyone who bought something he designed to hate him?" - Not only were the stopper balls on the 2010-2011 CL releases not chamfered (mfg defect in skipped machining step), the release system was of a faulty design. On the 2010-2012 CL design, a piece of plastic was put into a situation where normal load would cause elongation, and that elongation resulted in a critical tolerance issue. This made the CL release without activation and eventually led to the CL not staying loaded even with light loads. No engineer should keep his job after putting plastic in a position of elongation when that elongation would cause critical tolerances to become out of specification resulting in a complete failure of the safety device. Plastic is never put into a position (by a real engineer) where deformation (in this case elongation) would cause critical tolerances to be exceeded. This is simply the nature of plastics as a material. If the Best CL release system of 2010-2012 was on a system that killed to a single front line, the issue would not have been as severe. But on a release of the back lines to both fronts, no control of the kite’s position could be maintained unless the CL could be again reloaded. The engineer should have been fired and all of those releases recalled. The recall should have taken place, at latest, early 2012. To this date, these releases are still out there causing many “swim in” and unintentionally released kites to “rake” the beach.
“Do we think the warehouse guy decided that he'd not send spare parts out when instructed to do so by customer service and warranty?” – No, it had nothing to do with a wharehouse guy. That person was most likely completely innocent in the mix with no control, no influence, and not even any say, in the workings of the company. Unless he was also a team rider, in which case, his position of team rider should have seen him sounding the alarm that this practice was not right.
“Do we think that the head of customer service/marketing decided that they'd like to destroy the brand's reputation by not serving customers because it would be profitable?” – Straight up quit! If you are given a job that you are not allowed to do, and you keep taking money for doing it? Well, there is no flaw in the human race that seems to slide by with a saying more infamous than “I was ordered to do it.”
“Or do we think some asshat at the very top of the tree made a financial decision to wind back on the expense of customer support either because they couldn't prove a direct statistical links between spare parts funding and increased sales” - Shannon bailed because of this, a long time ago. Eleveight members are getting out of Best just now because you have not received a paycheck.
Again, it is with a heavy heart that I criticize you on these issues. I wish you and Eleveight a fruitful experience and hope you have learned much from the Best experience. Please make an attempt to avoid the above issues in your future endeavors.