Ms VIlas has a Dell laptop whose motherboard failed only a couple months after her three year warranty expired. The UW Do-It Center said it was a know problem (overheated video chip) and it would cost nearly eight hundred bucks with labor to install a new motherboard. She declined.
At first she was going to email Dell and ask for an extention of the warranty, but the tech center reply forms on their website seemed inadequate. She considered phoning their call center, but speaking to someone in Mumbai didn't sound like it would be productive. So with little googling, I found Michael Dell's email address.
She wrote a firm but polite explanation of the problem and sent it off early one morning. Within a couple hours a Dell representative called and said they would take care of the problem, at no cost. They actual sent a tech right to our home. He just left and the laptop has a new motherboard and is working fine.
Moral of the story, start at the top.