Let's keep things in perspective. You started with:
"I modified an existing form created originally with the contact form solution pack."
And you go on with:
"After all these products are marketed as "solutions" and "automatic" and I have high expectations when I buy them that indeed they live up to that billing."
The solutions are designed to work out-of-the-box. If they don't do that, it needs to be addressed. But when you modify them, you share some of the responsibility for the changes. One bad change to CSS can look like a disaster, but it's often just as easy to fix.
"I'm certainly hoping that is happening behind the scenes as we speak", indicates that you missed this message at the top of the forum:
"The WebAssist office will be closed this Thursday and Friday for Christmas. The technical support team will be back in the office on Monday, December 28, by 9:00 a.m. PST and will resume assisting customers at that time. Please be patient as we tend to experience a high volume of threads over holiday weekends."
This is not a lack of support issue, but a support gone for the holidays issue. The best way to learn how these tools work is to try them on new pages before modifications. Once you get familiar with how they work, everything falls into place rather quickly. When you work with modified pages, you never know if the problem ls with the extension, or your code.
Instead of grouping all of the issues into one post that's hard to follow, I suggest you put each issue into a separate post. That will make it easier to track what's going on and people can work on the parts they know the answer to without the distraction of other issues.
It would be easier to help if we knew what documentation you are referring to when you say it's difficult. The more with know about your issues, the easier it is to help.
Have a look at this guide:
10 Tips for getting quick help from a support forum