DEAR SUN SPOTS: Enclosed please find a letter we have written to Microsoft regarding a problem with an Xbox. Several phone calls have resulted in one response: The item is no longer under warranty, so they will not repair it even though numerous facts indicate it was manufactured defectively.

We feel that since the product was manufactured with an inherent defect, that regardless of warranty status it should be repaired. Furthermore, it would seem completely appropriate that the company issue a recall on this item alerting all customers to the problem that they will eventually have.

Any help you could give us in remedying the situation would be greatly appreciated. — Richard Whitney, Bethel

As she expected, Sun Spots had no luck with this complaint. Major international firms are not impressed with Sun Spots’ clout the way a local company might be.

Also, service for electronics is very difficult. Most of them are made with a very short planned lifespan. In his letter to Microsoft, Mr. Whitney said that the Xbox was over three years old, even though it had not been used for much of that time. Sun Spots would be very surprised to hear of any electronics manufacturer that would provide service under those circumstances, since there is no way to know whether the problem was caused by inherent defect or customer use.

Maine transfer stations are full of laptops, big-screen televisions and other devices that are nearly new. Sun Spots recommends purchasing the extended warranty for most of these items. Once that warranty is up, you will probably have to reconcile yourself to buying a new one (which Sun Spots realizes is very bad for the environment as well as your pocketbook).

Unfortunately, repairing is often not a good option. Mr. Sun Spots, who is a technology professional, was reluctant to part with a favorite laptop when the motherboard went bad and sent it to a company in California to have it fixed. It cost $325 and had to be sent back three times before it was properly fixed. Most people lack his expertise in dealing with these situations and would have lost their repair money, too.

As for recalls, Mr. Sun Spots does not remember ever hearing of one for electronics. Generally, recalls involve life-safety issues, such as the recent automobile recall for a gas pedal that stuck, dangerous toys or other items for children that could harm them. In a situation where a defect is not dangerous, the manufacturer has no motivation to recall the item and broadcast their mistake. It’s easier (and cheaper) for them to quietly fix those brought to their attention.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: My dad is turning broken rosary strands into mini pocket rosaries, then donating them. If any of your readers or local churches have broken rosaries they’d like to send him, they may reach me at [email protected] — Suzanne, Connecticut

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Our Boy Scout Troop 007 from Lewiston will be out Saturday collecting bottles and cans to help raise funds. If you live in Lewiston or Auburn and would like to donate your bottles to us, please call 212-2907 and we would be happy to pick them up. If you would rather make a donation to us, please mail your check to BSA Troop 007, c/o Robert Reed, treasurer, 58 Albert St., Lewiston ME 04240. We thank you for your support. — Carin Lenardis, committee chairwoman.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Did you ever find out where Kate Pastore, the former groomer at the Kennel Shop, can be reached? I look forward to hearing from you. — Debby C. Ring, No Town

Yes, this has been answered. Kate may be reached at 240-4796 or by e-mail at [email protected]

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have acquired a collection of thimbles. I don’t collect or use them if anybody is interested to swap or whatever. A very nice collection of about 37 items and display case. — B.T., Turner

ANSWER: Sun Spots gets many letters from people trying to sell collectibles, but the column is not designed for that purpose. If you want to give your collection away to a worthy cause, Sun Spots will assist with that endeavor.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to [email protected]

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