Western Digital Returns

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Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:08 pm

Hi Guys,

Anyone have any experience with Western Digital customer service? I have to return a failed 1TB Green drive to them, and I'm wondering if they are going to give me grief over it.

Just a weird feeling about this RMA, for some reason. I can replace the drive, but I'd like to use the warranty on this one. I've never returned a drive to WD before, so I don't know how much customer satisfaction means to them, if anything.

Thanks!
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:24 pm

I've generally heard good things about their RMAs, but don't have any first-hand experience.

Completely off-topic: When I saw your subject line, my brain initially interpreted it as "returns to their roots" rather than "RMAs". So what popped into my head was this. Yes, they were actually a CPU vendor back in the day... even produced a PDP-11 clone for an outfit called Alpha Micro. Guess I'm showing my age... :lol:
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:42 pm

Hi Brew!

I finally had to retire that old Abit board you fixed for me. But it still works, even if it's too slow to run much of anything. You are a ninja with a soldering iron, my friend.

I don't understand why the failure rate of modern hard drives has become so high. Across the board, no one seems capable of making a hard drive that doesn't crash in a year, or shorter, and taking all of your data with it. New Egg is nothing but a tale of woe, no matter the manufacturer. The Green drive I'm returning was hardly used before it crapped the bed. But that sounds very typical these days. I've been doing this for decades now, and I don't recall having nearly the failure rates back in the 80s and 90s. Drives lasted for years, and you expected them to. Now, no matter the drive, it's Russian Roulette. And most of the chambers are loaded.

I really hope WD does not give me grief, but I just have a feeling they are going to try to cheat me. May the odds be in my favor.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:58 pm

I had a WD Caviar Blue 1TB drive fail on me not long ago, and the RMA process was mostly painless. I just followed the instructions on their website and sent the drive back, and received the new drive in a couple of weeks. For some unknown reason, maybe inventory, the drive they sent me was actually the Caviar Black version. And I am certainly not complaining. So besides the wait, all in all it's not too bad. Also, I am in Canada.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:06 pm

Glad to hear you got some good use out of that Abit!

I think the perception of reduced hard drive reliability is partly due to hard drives becoming a consumer commodity (which has led to cost-cutting), and the rise in popularity of customer product feedback at online stores (people who had a negative experience are more likely to post a comment). So part of the decline in reliability is real, and part of it is an illusion.

While I agree reliability is lower these days, I don't think it is *drastically* lower.

At home, between my file server, primary desktop, and secondary desktop there are 10 hard drives. Most of them are sitting at 20K to 30K hours of power-on time (just checked the SMART data). It's been several years since I've had a hard drive failure...

We've had a few failures at work, but that's a larger pool of drives.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:34 pm

I had a MyBook USB Drive and an Scorpio Black fail on me (the latter was my fault, but I figured I'd try the RMA anyway) and haven't had any trouble - they've been reasonably quick, took a couple weeks - you can check the status online and they sent two drives that have been working fine for 3 years and 2 years respectively. I've always kept their tolerant RMA policy in mind when buying new drives. I don't know how picky they are about original packaging b/c I've always kept the original boxes and sent them back that way.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:35 pm

I've dealt with WD several times over the years (handling stuff mostly for friends of mine). They replaced even drives that I thought wouldn't be considered damage under warranty. The process has always been quick and painless.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:57 pm

just brew it! wrote:Completely off-topic: When I saw your subject line, my brain initially interpreted it as "returns to their roots" rather than "RMAs". So what popped into my head was this. Yes, they were actually a CPU vendor back in the day... even produced a PDP-11 clone for an outfit called Alpha Micro. Guess I'm showing my age... :lol:


Or perhaps video cards. My very first x86 machine had a WD Paradise SVGA chip integrated into the motherboard. Complete with utterly useless VESA v1.01 (nothing supported VESA earlier than 1.2) BIOS extensions and 512K of RAM expandable to 1MB.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:16 am

I've dealt extensively with WD's RMA process. As long as the drive is actually under warranty I've never had an issue getting it returned, I doubt they even pay much attention to the reasons you list, unless you try to abuse the system with a ton of RMA requests. Generally as long as the serial on the drive indicates it's under warranty, the process is painless.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:12 pm

I dropped off the drive to UPS, so fingers crossed they will send me a replacement that does not fail in 6 months.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:40 pm

I usually get them to ship me the replacement drive before I send the defective one. Just have to pay attention to my credit card records just in case they forget I sent them back the defective drive.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:30 pm

I've had two drives fail in the last year, and one that is threatening to go. It seems 10 years ago it was fairly odd to have a hard drive fail. Now it seems you have to carry data on multiple drives and arrays just to make sure when a drive fails, you don't lose all of the data. Sure, it's always been that way to a degree, but now the quality of hard drives has become so shoddy, you have to plan on losing at least one or more drives once a year, or more. Despite advances in tech, the failure rate just keeps going up. I remember the IBM Deathstar drives. There was a time when IBM drives were awesome. I have no idea what they did to the GPX line that caused such a massive spike in failures. They never admitted to any wrong doing, despite the evidence. It just seems it's time for Western Digital and Seagate to return to the basics, the fundamentals, of hard drive design. They need to go back to what works, because they are making far more bricks now than ever before. It seems now all mechanical drives are Deathstars.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:31 pm

I had a Western Digital Drive (640MB Black) that was dead on arrival from Newegg a couple years ago. Admittedly I had dropped it taking it out of the box from a height of one foot onto the carpet. I was never sure if it had been dead anyway or I had caused it to die by dropping it. I tried in a system I had built, it didn't work, so I put it in the garage for a year or more.

During some time off from work I decided that since it was under warranty for 3 (or 5?) years I would return it. The RMA process was simple. I printed the mailing label, boxed it, brought it to the UPS Store.

A few weeks later a new drive arrived in the mail and, to my surprise, it was a 1 TB drive. So, all in all, I was delighted with the RMA process.

Incidentally, in the past 5 years I have owned 17 WD drives and I have never had a single one of them fail (aside from the one described above).
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:44 am

WD received my drive and indicated in an email they will be replacing it in 5 to 7 days. Great, right?

However...

I checked the RMA status, and it now indicates "No Limited Warranty" under my serial number. Wait, before I sent the drive in, the serial number listed as "Limited Warranty" So huh?

Apparently, No Limited Warranty meant the drive was sold to a computer builder. No, it was not. It was purchased at Best Buy. By me. I am not a manufacturer.

Any suggestions? I'm an attorney and am not afraid to let them know that I am fulling willing to be a PITA for them should they stiff me on this one.

Grrrrr, I hate having to deal with this nonsense.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:50 am

I doubt you need to get all lawyery on them. Maybe it's just a glitch, someone checked the wrong box when RMA'ing? If you don't just want to wait and see, contact them in a nicely worded email asking what the status means and when to expect the replacement drive.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:58 am

Or it could mean that they plan to scrap it, or repair and re-sell it as an "as-is" refurb, and don't want someone trying to RMA it again.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:10 am

I'm hoping I don't have to pull out the big guns, MMO. It's a $50 drive, for heaven's sake. I can't think of any good reason they wouldn't want to just send a replacement drive and keep a customer happy. I doubt honoring a warranty on a $50 hard drive is going to bankrupt the company. Just sayin'.

Brew, I hope that's it, that now the drive is entered as no warranty. The system told me the drive was under warranty before I shipped it off, so it would make no sense that now the drive would be listed as not covered. The system could have easily told me that before shipping it off, yes? And the email did say they were shipping a replacement.

MMO, I did send them an email, but I was not hostile in it. I simply told them I am not a system manufacturer, and the drive was purchased at a Best Buy. And I pointed out to him/her that the drive was shown by their system as covered under warranty until 2014. I did identify myself as an attorney, though, in my signature. Just so there is no confusion that stiffing me may not be wise.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:31 pm

Good news! WD is replacing the drive. So all is well. Thanks!
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:45 am

Yeah I would guess JBI's explanation is correct: The drive with that serial number was downgraded because they likely decided they could fix it instead of just shipping you one from stock. Probably by a simpler fix such as a controller swap.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:13 pm

If that's true, that means it's going to be sent to a system manufacturer as a, gulp, new drive. I didn't know that was permissible.

I'm sure I'll get a refurb drive that suffered the same fate as mine did. As long as it works...
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:43 pm

The Swamp wrote:If that's true, that means it's going to be sent to a system manufacturer as a, gulp, new drive. I didn't know that was permissible.

I'm sure I'll get a refurb drive that suffered the same fate as mine did. As long as it works...


Why does it mean that?
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:17 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:
The Swamp wrote:If that's true, that means it's going to be sent to a system manufacturer as a, gulp, new drive. I didn't know that was permissible.

I'm sure I'll get a refurb drive that suffered the same fate as mine did. As long as it works...

Why does it mean that?

Exactly. Newegg (and others) sell refurbs. They are explicitly listed as such, cost less than a new drive, and do not have the standard warranty (typically it is only 90 days or somesuch). Some cut-rate system manufacturers may use them too, but they know what they're getting (and hopefully are passing that info along to their customers as well).

There's nothing nefarious about it.

Yes, you might get a refurb back. But if you do, they should warranty it for the balance of the warranty of the original drive.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:41 am

The Swamp wrote:I've had two drives fail in the last year, and one that is threatening to go. It seems 10 years ago it was fairly odd to have a hard drive fail. Now it seems you have to carry data on multiple drives and arrays just to make sure when a drive fails, you don't lose all of the data. Sure, it's always been that way to a degree, but now the quality of hard drives has become so shoddy, you have to plan on losing at least one or more drives once a year, or more. Despite advances in tech, the failure rate just keeps going up.

I wonder if there's something in your disk usage profile that's causing this -- bad cables, bad power supply, bad power from the utility provider?

I've lost exactly one hard drive in the past five years, and it was an old 250GB 3.5" Maxtor in a USB enclosure with an auxiliary power supply. Pretty sure the reason it died was that besides being old, I was using it as a backup drive during a period of heavy photo and image editing, and it was getting switched on and off at least two or three times a week for most of a year.

Then again, my only recent mechanical drive purchases have been a trio of Spinpoint F3s, and a Toshiba to repair a relative's laptop, and the oldest one has only been running for about 20 months. So my recent datapoints are not so numerous as they used to be.
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:23 am

I was waiting for an email notice from WD indicating they had shipped my replacement drive, but I never got one. I checked the RMA status screen and saw a UPS tracking number. I had assumed it was the number from when I sent the faulty drive to them, but I copied it anyway and went to the UPS tracking site. The site told me they delivered a package to me and left it at my back door... 2 days ago. Huh? I went out on the back porch, and sure enough, there was a box from UPS there with my new drive in it. Lol, I'm glad I checked, or the box may have been out there another week! So WD made good. Sweet!
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:44 am

The Swamp wrote:I was waiting for an email notice from WD indicating they had shipped my replacement drive, but I never got one. I checked the RMA status screen and saw a UPS tracking number. I had assumed it was the number from when I sent the faulty drive to them, but I copied it anyway and went to the UPS tracking site. The site told me they delivered a package to me and left it at my back door... 2 days ago. Huh? I went out on the back porch, and sure enough, there was a box from UPS there with my new drive in it. Lol, I'm glad I checked, or the box may have been out there another week! So WD made good. Sweet!

Good thing it didn't rain...
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Re: Western Digital Returns

Postposted on Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:15 pm

It's been pretty dry around here since the hurricane, so all was well. The drive is now in a RAID-1 in a Synology enclosure. Very pleased with WD, they were totally cool about it.
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