My iPod Touch was having problems. It would randomly crash, displaying a vomit-like multicolor display of failure that was inescapable until the unit ran out of batteries. I restored the software, bought a couple of upgrades. Nothing fixed my problem.
I had another issue. I won that iPod and didn't have a receipt or service contract or anything. Still, I was fed up with the shenanigans so last week I walked into the local Apple store and asked to see someone at the genius bar.
If I'd made an appointment I may not have had to wait a half hour. So I wandered around the mall. Thirty minutes later, back at the store, I was able to go sit up at the bar. There I listened to some poor fellow that was going to have to wait for his custom MacBook Pro to be shipped to the store, replacing the old one that died.
When it was my turn I handed over the device. The tech plugged it in, looked at it with a magnifier and a light (I think he was checking for water damage), then proclaimed that he'd give me a replacement. ...Wha?
That's right. I walked in with no receipt, no warranty contract, no explanation of what happened, and he simply replaced it. He even gave me a receipt this time. His explanation was that he thought it was a software issue but he saw something going on with the hardware and he'd rather give me a new one than potentially force me to come back in two days when it happens again.
That's good service. Actually, that is pretty much the best customer service experience I've had with small electronics. Not only are my problems solved, but the new device is shiny and free of scratches from before I bought an iPod case.