First off I want to agree with 99% of what you've said above.
I also dislike this maintenance thing as just another tax on a losing player.
That being said, I believe you have some.. incorrect if not misleading information.
When you lose a match, you still make credits.. My team just got steamrolled and I still got ~400 credits...
My maintenance cost was 299.. and it appeared to be instant... No time lost, no waiting to que the next game.
Their wording for maintenance is very weird.. you get a dialogue to 'skip' maintenance and a fee cost associated with it... when it should just be 'You lost, here is the fee, pay it to unlock this fleet for action again' (obviously with prettier words)
All that being said, I still MADE credits losing.. it was a pathetic amount (and I think the top 3 on the losing team should be exempt from maintenance fee, not the top 3 including the winning team. That's just dumb.)
So these posts (You're far from the only one) stating the maintenance is somehow stopping them from playing.. is incorrect.
Once we get to legendary stuff, T4-T5 bracket, obviously the maintenance costs will be much more prohibitive... and your statements (if the player goes broke), will be much more accurate/true... but at the same time, if you're up in the legendary bracket with an unlocked T4/T5 ship.. you probably have some credits to burn.
The thing that weirds me out is that there is no monetization on this end of it... eg; Pay credits OR pay GP
Yet there IS monetization on that damned ship xp-->free xp converter (which I REALLY hate and disagree with.. it's effectively saying YOU, the PLAYER, can't have fun on the ship you want without paying us extra money to progress.)
All in all, love your post.