Have you tried a different VAR? I know I work in a relatively populated area but I have four different VAR's to pick from.
Legally, no. As Max points out, there may be other VARs in your area that you can switch to.
I agree with the post that there should be a way to get solidworks and releases directly without support for a better price... especially since how the forums have grown.
No, unless you are getting an educational/student version you must buy thru a VAR. You do have your choice of what VAR to use. First choice would likely be based on proximity in the event you/they need to visit. Most important, as you seem to have found out, not all are equal. If you already have a license of SW you must fill out a paper with your current VAR to complete a transfer to a different one. You cannot just decide to pay a different VAR without doing that. The cost will most likely be the same at any VAR so choosing a knowledgeable/responsive one is important.
I wouldn't recommend to get SW without a VAR - If you're not happy with your VAR, switch to another one
Our VAR, Hawk Ridge, provides excellent support - most the questions or issues have been resolved within a day - They even call and get into our computers to work on the issues
I use two vars. Both are very helpful, but I will say that they are like most other businesses in that they have people working for them and sometimes certain people are less than helpful.
Some customer support technicians are much better than others. I've had some that really wanted to help but didn't have the first clue of what I was doing. At that point you have to ask for a different tech.
And give them some direct, constructive feedback. Some people here on the forums are uncomfortable when I bring up issues, but that is the ONLY way to make progress.
In fact, our local pizza house had a lunch buffet that the employees weren't doing a good job keeping the food rolling out. I wasn't the only one who was upset, but I think I was probably the only one that complained to the owners (who were never there or when they were things were different). I even took a picture of the buffet with no food on it to show that the employees needed training. Well, the place is quite different now and I probably saved them a lot of customers despite being "negative".
Anyways, you'd be doing your VAR a favor by letting them know that you don't feel you are getting the "V" from them.