I have updated my earlier post to include latest developments, which are not satisfying.
I suppose that some number of 2.5-week repair cycles from now I will have a camera that functions as it should. However, that’s small consolation for my missing a number of occasions of the type that in part I bought the camera to record, that are now slipping by. Of course I will use film instead, but film cameras can’t do video, and the renewed prospect of hours of drudgery to scan a few rolls of film is discouraging.
BTW, googling “Sony customer service” yields many pungent links, including one to a complaint that says Sony’s customer support “sucks so much it will sap your will to live.” That seems about right.