Weaksauce: Hard Drive Makers to Significantly Reduce Warranty Periods

Weaksauce: Hard Drive Makers to Significantly Reduce Warranty Periods

Word around the Web is that some hard drive makers are cutting down their warranty terms, the timing of which couldn't be any worse (we'll get to that in a minute). Western Digital is dropping the distribution warranty period for Caviar Blue, Caviar Green, and Scorpio Blue drives from 3 years to 2 years (Caviar Black and Scorpio Black will still carry 5-year warranties).

News of Western Digital's reduced warranty terms was first reported by The Register, which got its hands on the following letter:
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.
Reducing hard drive warranties from 3 years to 2 years isn't the end of the world (still a 33 percent reduction), but it still stinks, and even worse Western Digital started a trend. Seagate is also reducing warranty periods, and not just by one year. In a letter sent to its authorized distributors and obtained by The Register, Seagate announces the following:
Effective December 31, 2011, Seagate will be changing its warranty policy from a 5 year to a 3 year warranty period for Nearline drives, 5 years to 1 year for certain Desktop and Notebook Bare Drives, 5 years to 3 years on Barracuda XT and Momentus XT, and from as much as 5 years to 2 years on Consumer Electronics.
The warranty reductions come at a time when hard drive makers look to recover from recent flooding in Thailand. Hard drive prices are up, supply is low, and who knows how reliable new drives will be when they're being produced on restored equipment that sat waterlogged for a period of time.
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This is kinda sad; i know there is a storage, but once the OEMs get back on their feet, they wont raise the warranty back up. We all know Hard drives can and will fail, sometimes within the warranty. Its not the end of the world, but it doesnt look very cool for the OEMs to do this.

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I haven't had a hard drive fail for a long time and the last time it did I started keeping backups of my backups. All my important files are protected but I still appreciate the feeling that a company will stand behind their products and replace a faulty one if need be.

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I guess dont buy a drive after the first of the year... 

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im sure the prices will discourage that as well

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We can only hope that Hitachi and/or Samsung don't follow this crappy trend. Those are the only drives I typically buy anymore anyways.

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Jajuka:

We can only hope that Hitachi and/or Samsung don't follow this crappy trend. Those are the only drives I typically buy anymore anyways.

Hitachi's hard drive division is owned by WD... they will follow suit.

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Not cool, But hard drive do tend not to fail and if they do it's usually soon after you bought it.

Western Digital isn't a brand that id consider buying product from anyway.

I love samsung,

and sony's good to i have some product's of there's and they just keep on running had there ps3 6 ry's and it going great. Usb for 4 years and it should have broke a dozen times. And many other product's. NVR had a Problem with samsung there basically perfect.

Seagate On the other hand I do own a few hard drive's from and woulda considered getting more from them but after this #%@$@#$%.

I think im going stick with Samsung for my hard drive's.

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Seagate owns Samsung's Hard Drive division :)

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Once again the consumer gets the short end of the stick. From 5 years to 1 year, on select drives! Way to help sales after the supply rebounds.

I do have a couple of Seagates, one for about 5 years, and it's still running no problem (knock wood).

Lately I've been leaning toward Samsung, but I heard they were going to sell/have sold their HDD business to Seagate, so I'm not sure if their quality will drop (probably will).

I do see an opportunity for the SSD people to snag some customers, if they can build a track record of reliability for their controllers.

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I've had quite a few Seagate drives fail over the years, so I guess I will just avoid buying them until they improve their warranty again.  I also was contemplating getting a larger-capacity drive since I'm running out of space, so this just may have expedited that decision a bit.

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Kinda saw this coming, but it still rubs me the wrong way. The quality of WD and Seagates drives has been slipping for several years now. This is most evident in the mainstream drives (blue series for WD, Barracuda for Seagate). while i dont use them for my personal stuff, alot of my customers have and do use them. To a big company, who no doubt realizes the quality decline, this is a cost saving no-brainer. (if your gonna make drives the dont last as long, dont warranty them for as long as before). The best way out of this mess is to stick to enterprise-class drives (Seagate Constellation, WD-RE, Hitachi Ultrastar, and Samsung......well, dont get a samsung) or go to SAS or SSD drives, which dont have nearly the price premium that they usually do since drives went up. I personally use 15k SAS hitachi ultrastars, and they do very well.

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I have purchased 7 Seagate Barracudas in the past year. All of them have a 5 year warranty, so I'm good with them as of now.

I've also bought four WD-1TB Blacks in the last year. So I hopefully won't need any drives for a long while.

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I really think this is a sleazy move, they know that hard drives with recovered parts are going to fail sooner, and they are even charging us more for them!

this is just bad business.

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Higher prices, lower reliability, and a shorter warranty. It's like a race to the bottom!Big Smile

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Agreed. It doesn't even make sense as to why they're cutting down the warranty. I wouldn't blame the Taiwan floods, since the supply issue is bound to ease up somewhat.

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I really don't understand this one at all... they basically are admitting to building lower quality drives. SSD's certainly will pick up some sales when it comes to boot drives. But mechanical drives are still the way to go for mass storage :(

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If if one business does it, it will just leak on down to the rest. Not like they have much to lose if all of them do the same.

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I think sales are down because they raised the prices. Now they are lowering the warranty period so people will hurry up and buy HDDs by Jan. 1st while the warranty is still long (while the price is still high).

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It's understandable why they're doing it. I mean the Black series are enthusiast drives not meant for mass public appeal; the blue drives however are shipped to stores on the mass and it's understandable if they don't have the materials necessary to fix it if it passes that new 2 year mark. (The Blue prices are still under $200 BTW)

I really hope the hard drive industry gets back on it's feet, but for now we'll just have to lived with the reduced warranty terms.

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