Consider this: “Companies don’t always charge for repairs after the warranty has expired,” says Patrick Griffin, a senior manager of services for Dell, in Round Rock, Texas. Common problems might not require a recall but may be so prevalent that a company will fix the glitch for free.
Try this: Enter the full name of the product (“Brand X digital camera M16”) and the problem (“cracked view screen”) into a search engine to find chat rooms where people have discussed similar troubles and learn what the company has done for them. Call the returns department, not customer service, to talk to someone who can authorize a free repair or a replacement. Tell them you’re loyal to the brand, but that you’ve seen online evidence of widespread issues with the product.