A few weeks ago I tried to hook an external monitor up to my iMac without success. After going through a lot of trial and error with different fixes and using different cords, I managed to figure out that the system did not even see the thunderbolt ports (where I connect the external monitor). It is a bit frustrating because while I am outside the warranty period, I don't know if these ports ever worked because I hadn't tried them before.
So I made my appointment to see the people at the genius bar. The technician starts to run a diagnostic program and before he even gets to the thunderbolt ports tells me that my hard drive is starting to fail and that it will cost me about $250 to repair it. I then learn that indeed the thunderbolt ports don't work, and that the fix requires the replacement of the logic board at over $750. I told the guy that I would probably throw it in the garbage before I spent $1,000 on it. After he went into the back to check something, I realized that continuing to use the iMac without the thunderbolt ports was a vastly superior option to spending the $750+ or chucking the thing in the trash. When the tech returned, he informed me that Apple was repairing the hard drives for free even outside of the warranty.
I thought that I had everything backed up (I run Time Machine), but apparently missed about 6 months of photos. I have copies of most of them, but lost the originals. Frustrating, but completely my fault.
This past week I visited my friends at the genius bar regarding my Macbook Pro. The coating on the screen was worn out in places. It wasn't terribly noticeable when the screen was on, particularly with a bright background. When the screen was off, however, it was very obvious and made the screen look dirty. I had talked to them about it before, but was told that it would cost over $200 to fix it, so I declined. I did a bit of research on it, and found that Apple began repairing them for free starting in October, 2015, even for those out of warranty.
When I arrived at the Apple store, the tech didn't seem aware of the free replacement program, and asked me if I had read it on Apple's site. Fortunately, when he entered the information into their system, it showed that my laptop was covered and they would replace the display for free. They turned it around in two days which was better than the 3 to 5 day estimate, so well done Apple.