Seagate clarifies warranty position

— 11:14 AM on December 13, 2004

There's recently been some confusion regarding Seagate's five-year hard drive warranties, specifically with respect to when coverage starts and which drives are eligible. When asked, Seagate offered the following clarification:

A Seagate bare internal hard drive or retail-boxed internal hard drive for PCs or notebooks, sold through authorized channels and by an authorized reseller or retailer, carries a 5-year warranty to the end user. The warranty begins on the date Seagate ships the drive, as is standard practice throughout the industry; in many cases Seagate also adds additional months in warranty protection to allow for the time the product may take to work through channel supply chains before it is bought by an end user.

Seagate also sells hard drives directly to OEMs, under different terms and with a more limited warranty. These drives are intended for integration into OEM systems; the OEM then provides its customer with warranty coverage on its entire system. It is the standard practice throughout the industry to offer warranty protection only to the intended customer. If a hard drive is sold to or is intended for purchase by an OEM but is instead sold by a distributor or reseller to an end user, that product falls outside any agreed contract with Seagate, and its Seagate-backed warranty is invalidated. These types of drives are commonly known as "gray market" products. Gray marketing is considered by the industry to be a deceptive practice. If a consumer has unknowingly purchased a gray market product, he or she should address any claims for support to the distributor or reseller who sold the drive.

Consumers can help protect themselves from deceptive gray marketing practices and avoid buying a product with an invalidated warranty. Consumers should ask their distributor, reseller or retailer to confirm that the hard drive they are buying carries Seagate's 5-year warranty. Before purchasing a drive, the consumer may ask the reseller to confirm each specific product's warranty by entering its serial number into Seagate's online warranty validation system, at this web address.

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