Thursday, December 15th 2011

WD Slashes HDD Warranties By A Third – But You Can Buy Them Back

Way back in 2008, we reported that Seagate was lowering warranties of its hard disk drives from 5 years to 3. This trend quickly spread throughout the HDD industry and unsurprisingly, wasn't something that customers were too happy about. Now, Western Digital is lowering the warranty on some of its HDD lines from 3 years to a mere 2, with the affected lines being the Caviar Blue, Caviar Green and Scorpio Blue. Lines not affected are the Caviar Black, Scorpio Black, A/V drives and externals. Also, as the stock feeds through the channel, there will be a transition period where the same model in a store will have either a 2 or 3 year warranty, depending on its serial number, which can be checked on WD's support site. It will be interesting to see if retailers will clearly differentiate to customers which drives have which warranty, as it might be rather convenient for them not to.

Channel partners have received a letter from SelectWD about this:

This new warranty policy will be effective for drives shipped from January 2nd, 2012. It is important that you take a moment to update your website(s) and collateral to reflect this change for effected drives shipped after January 1st, 2012.

All drives shipped to distributors prior to Jan. 2nd 2012 will retain the current warranty terms. Because of existing inventory in the distribution channel there will be a short period of time when some drives with a 3-year warranty will be sold at the same time as drives with a 2-year warranty.

If you have any doubt about the warranty of a drive you purchased, you can go to support.wdc.com, select Warranty and RMA Services and proceed to the Warranty Check page.
The letter goes on to say "In the near future we will be unveiling an extended warranty offering with special pricing." At this time, there's no explanation why WD is reducing its warranty term.

So now, hard drive prices are very high across the board due to the Thailand flooding, which will be compounded by rubbish warranties that one can "buy back" the missing period by giving WD even more money. Does anyone sense a money grab here? It would be surprising if Seagate didn't follow WD's lead on warranties. SSDs are looking more attractive every day, aren’t they?Source: The Register
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50 Comments on WD Slashes HDD Warranties By A Third – But You Can Buy Them Back

#1
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
I seem to remember WD was the one manufacturer that actually upped their warranties from 3 years to 5 when Seagate and the others dropped theirs down to 3 years standard.
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#2
Fx
DaedalusHelios said:
Thats alright. I live in the USA where we are 30% obese. We need some of our food stolen. :laugh:
lol, sad but true

FordGT90Concept said:
This means is the manufacture quality of the drives is declining. That's a greater issue than warranties being shortened. Hard drives used to be meant to last 15-25 years--a death within 5 years was considered infant mortality. Now, drives probably don't even last 15 years so infant mortality is over in three--and now two--years.

Shame on them for going shoddy. At the same time, it might be a consequence of the technologies implemented (like perpendicular recording).
it could also just be a way for them to save costs of RMA during this period of hardship

saved money is made money
Posted on Reply
#3
wiak
dont ssds only have 2-3 years?
and it seems that cheaper drives and low power drives has shorter warranty than the more performance orientations ones, makes sense as they are cheaper!

btw after law in norway you have 2 years mandatory rma on all electronics and on mobile phones and cars we have 5 years
Posted on Reply
#4
loleafidas
Tks WD Santa 4 a special gift :-*
Posted on Reply
#5
Static~Charge
wiak said:
dont ssds only have 2-3 years?
Consumer-grade SSDs usually have a 3-year warranty, 50% longer than WD's new, "improved" warranty.

When a company shortens the warranty on their products, it means two things to me: their quality control stinks, and the company is too cheap to fix/replace them. The really bad part is that alternative choices for hard drive vendors are getting very thin.
Posted on Reply
#6
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
FordGT90Concept said:
This means is the manufacture quality of the drives is declining. That's a greater issue than warranties being shortened. Hard drives used to be meant to last 15-25 years--a death within 5 years was considered infant mortality. Now, drives probably don't even last 15 years so infant mortality is over in three--and now two--years.

Shame on them for going shoddy. At the same time, it might be a consequence of the technologies implemented (like perpendicular recording).
Yeah, it's really annoying to be going backwards with technological progress, isn't it? :mad: It looks like the reason MM said below could be at least part of the answer. Given the timiing of this announcement though, I can't help feeling that WD are taking advantage of the impact of the flood, somehow.

TheMailMan78 said:
Blame the fact the Fed forced them all to use lead free solder. If you wanna sell in the US then you better have ZERO lead in your solder. Made ALL electronics less reliable.
Oh yeah, don't you get me started on the negative impact that "green" f* policies have on us and the products we buy. :shadedshu Tell you what, it sounds like you know a bit about this, so if you're up for writing an editorial on it, I think that you'd do a fantastic job on it. :rockout:

newtekie1 said:
I seem to remember WD was the one manufacturer that actually upped their warranties from 3 years to 5 when Seagate and the others dropped theirs down to 3 years standard.
How times change, huh? :shadedshu There's probably a TPU news article supporting your post, if we look for it. :)
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#7
ironwolf
Well, SOAB. This is why I moved from Seagate to WD after Seagate started gimping their warranty lengths. Really bad stupid time for them to be doing this.
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#8
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
qubit said:
How times change, huh? There's probably a TPU news article supporting your post, if we look for it.
IMO, lowering the warranty on their lower end drives isn't a real big deal. I think the point that a lot of the people that want to rag on WD for doing this are missing is the fact that they are still offering 5 year warranties on their higher end drives. You'd be hard pressed to find another manufacturer that does that consistently.

Also, while lowering the warranty on lower end drives does suck, I don't think we should single out WD here, or try to find some malicious reasoning behind it. Seagate dropped their standard warranty on most of their drives to 2 years a few months ago. WD is just following suit. And sadly because there is no real competition in the HDD market anymore, thanks to there only being 2 real players, if one lowers their quality of service the other will do the same.
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#9
jsfitz54
TheMailMan78 said:
Thats not true. HD vibrate and become hot. Both of which tear up lead free soldering.
I thought led-free was a harder alloy?

newtekie1 said:
IMO, lowering the warranty on their lower end drives isn't a real big deal. I think the point that a lot of the people that want to rag on WD for doing this are missing is the fact that they are still offering 5 year warranties on their higher end drives. You'd be hard pressed to find another manufacturer that does that consistently.

Also, while lowering the warranty on lower end drives does suck, I don't think we should single out WD here, or try to find some malicious reasoning behind it. Seagate dropped their standard warranty on most of their drives to 2 years a few months ago. WD is just following suit. And sadly because there is no real competition in the HDD market anymore, thanks to there only being 2 real players, if one lowers their quality of service the other will do the same.
It would be fine to lower the price as well for the "secondary" Blue line.
Posted on Reply
#10
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
newtekie1 said:
IMO, lowering the warranty on their lower end drives isn't a real big deal. I think the point that a lot of the people that want to rag on WD for doing this are missing is the fact that they are still offering 5 year warranties on their higher end drives. You'd be hard pressed to find another manufacturer that does that consistently.

Also, while lowering the warranty on lower end drives does suck, I don't think we should single out WD here, or try to find some malicious reasoning behind it. Seagate dropped their standard warranty on most of their drives to 2 years a few months ago. WD is just following suit. And sadly because there is no real competition in the HDD market anymore, thanks to there only being 2 real players, if one lowers their quality of service the other will do the same.
Yup, agree with everything, NT - especially with the highlighted bit. When competition is weak or not enough players, you inevitably get a form of "cartel"-like behaviour, even if they're not deliberately setting out to play that way. :ohwell:
Posted on Reply
#12
Fx
newtekie1 said:
IMO, lowering the warranty on their lower end drives isn't a real big deal.
to me and many others it is. I just finished an RMA for a WD 2TB Green that went bad after 4yrs
Posted on Reply
#13
DaedalusHelios
TheMailMan78 said:
Thats not true. HD vibrate and become hot. Both of which tear up lead free soldering.


Here is a decent write up on it..
http://www.militaryaerospace.com/index/display/article-display/238657/articles/military-aerospace-electronics/volume-16/issue-10/news/trends/lead-free-solder-a-train-wreck-in-the-making.html
There are alternatives that function just as well: http://www.ameslab.gov/files/LeadFreeSolder_Foundation.pdf

Companies just use it as an excuse to go cheap. If they had factories in less dangerous locations like the USA or Germany where our standards are higher they wouldn't have run into these issues and wouldn't have had such a flood risk. Then there wouldn't have even been a HD shortage. They would have longer lasting drives built to better standards. Modern international corporations just prefer to go cheaper no matter what it ends up costing the consumer in the long run. Lead is dangerous and doesn't really need to be used. RoHS is a good thing in my opinion.
Posted on Reply
#14
breakfromyou
I had a pair of WD3200AAKS's that were about 2.5 years old when they both failed. I bought them in retail boxes, which had a 3 year warranty at the time. Western Digital cut that down to just 1 year not long after I bought the drives. When I tried to make a warranty claim to get them both replaced, WD said the warranty was only 1 year and 3 months. How strange! Good thing I had the boxes still laying around, along with the receipts. By the time I got that information over to them and got a response, the 6 months had passed and I didn't qualify any longer. That's how Western Digital lost my business in the future.

Not anything like what they did with my old 120gb. The drive died just a month after the warranty expired, and they offered to replace it anyway. That's what got me to buy them exclusively. I'm going the SSD route when I have any other issues.
Posted on Reply
#15
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
Fx said:
to me and many others it is. I just finished an RMA for a WD 2TB Green that went bad after 4yrs
I just want to get this straight, you just RMA'd a 2TB drive that you had for 4 years? May I ask where you got the time machine?
Posted on Reply
#16
Fx
newtekie1 said:
I just want to get this straight, you just RMA'd a 2TB drive that you had for 4 years? May I ask where you got the time machine?
if you have something to say, then say it
Posted on Reply
#17
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
Fx said:
if you have something to say, then say it
I did.
Posted on Reply
#18
Fx
newtekie1 said:
I did.
so I typed a 2 instead of a 1. no time machine yet. work is still in progress
Posted on Reply
#19
pr0n Inspector
DaedalusHelios said:
There are alternatives that function just as well: http://www.ameslab.gov/files/LeadFreeSolder_Foundation.pdf

Companies just use it as an excuse to go cheap. If they had factories in less dangerous locations like the USA or Germany where our standards are higher they wouldn't have run into these issues and wouldn't have had such a flood risk. Then there wouldn't have even been a HD shortage. They would have longer lasting drives built to better standards. Modern international corporations just prefer to go cheaper no matter what it ends up costing the consumer in the long run. Lead is dangerous and doesn't really need to be used. RoHS is a good thing in my opinion.
It's 2011 and few people want to pay for quality products, hence the market is flooded with low quality, low price and low margin crap that everyone wants.

Also, lead-free solder gets tin whiskers easier, it is nothing new.
Posted on Reply
#20
w3b
WD lacks confidence in their products.

Fine by me WD, I'll just buy and recommend peeps to alternative HDD brands that don't try to shirk customers from decent after sales service (a shorter warranty period does not inspire consumer confidence in your products). :shadedshu
Posted on Reply
#21
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
w3b said:
Fine by me WD, I'll just buy and recommend peeps to alternative HDD brands that don't try to shirk customers from decent after sales service (a shorter warranty period does not inspire consumer confidence in your products). :shadedshu
As I pointed out, good luck. Seagate, the only other player in the game offers a either a 1 year or a 2 year on their cheaper products, and a 3 year on their higher end and maybe a 5 year on a very select few products. WD still at least offers a 5 year standard on all their high end drives.
Posted on Reply
#22
Mega-Japan
qubit said:
Yup, agree with everything, NT - especially with the highlighted bit. When competition is weak or not enough players, you inevitably get a form of "cartel"-like behaviour, even if they're not deliberately setting out to play that way. :ohwell:
That is exactly what I think of the mobile network market in the US. If AT&T ends up swallowing T-Mobile USA, AT&T and Verizon would end up the same way WD and Seagate are, with a bunch of other little guys on the side. Sprint would be in deep crap.
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#23
Halk
There's a load of rubbish being talked in this thread by idiots.

They lower the warranty and they can lower prices. That's how simple it is. You don't get anything for free. If they upped the warranty they would up the cost.

Everybody is chasing cheaper products which means there's a drive downwards on price, something has to give and it's the warranty.

Grow up kids.
Posted on Reply
#24
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
Halk said:
There's a load of rubbish being talked in this thread by idiots.

They lower the warranty and they can lower prices. That's how simple it is. You don't get anything for free. If they upped the warranty they would up the cost.

Everybody is chasing cheaper products which means there's a drive downwards on price, something has to give and it's the warranty.

Grow up kids.
Neither company has said anything about reducing prices and the price of hard discs has actually gone way up recently due to the floods...

So your argument doesn't hold. No, they're screwing the customer, pure and simple. This is what happens when there isn't enough competition in the marketplace.
Posted on Reply
#25
Halk
qubit said:
Neither company has said anything about reducing prices and the price of hard discs has actually gone way up recently due to the floods...

So your argument doesn't hold. No, they're screwing the customer, pure and simple. This is what happens when there isn't enough competition in the marketplace.
My argument holds just fine. They're not screwing the customer. It is simple though.

If they'd reduced the amount of TB in each drive for the same price then it'd be exactly the same thing.

People will now pay a little bit more for a Seagate with 3 years warranty rather than a WD.
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