Hard Drive Hassle

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Hardware' started by seekermeister, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    I just received a replacement drive for a WD5001AALS 500GB Black that had some bad sectors. The "new" drive is a WD1001FALS white label 1000GB. While I'm not very pleased about the label, I thought that the size difference sort equaled things out, but I wasn't sure how it would effect my warranty, so I attempted to register it. It wouldn't accept registration because the drive was already registered to me. I pulled the drive out to check the serial number, and it definitely is the same as the one shown as being registered to me before.

    I've had a number of RMAs over the last year or two, so it is possible that it is a drive that I sent to them in the past, but I'm not certain, because I've not finished inventorying everything. In any case it seems very strange if I got back a drive that I had sent to them before. I'm going to have to check all of the drives in both of my computers and in the closet to see if somehow they duplicated serial numbers.

    I've never been very clear on how they figure the warranty period of an RMA drive, but in this case it actually goes a little beyond the remaining time that was left on the drive that I sent in.

    I was already a bit perturbed with WDC because of them changing their policy regarding the fact that they now require their customers to pay for shipping to them, even though they claim to save a little on cost when buying the shipping label though them. However I've found that they slip in a second charge listed as an IAT fee ($1.00), which should only be charged on some international transactions, and neither WDC nor myself are across any borders except state lines.
     
  2. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    If you had it replaced via RMA directly from WD, I suspect WD pre-registered the replacement too you. WD is a reputable maker and I cannot imagine them sending you a refurbished drive, unless it, or the documentation clearly stated that. And with 100s of millions of drives off WD assembly lines, the odds you received the same drive you sent in previously on an RMA seems extremely remote.

    No company likes to keep product in inventory on the shelf. That costs money just sitting there doing nothing. So returns are tested and either (1) certified good and returned for sale, or (2) found bad and destroyed. It is likely any drives you returned were sent back out almost immediately (thus to someone else) or destroyed.

    And since serial numbers are based on model number, lot number, etc., I find it very unlikely WD would assign two drives the same number either.

    Most drives have a date listed on the label. That might give a clue.

    HOWEVER, according to Newegg, that 500Gb WD and that 1Tb WD are both "Black" and both have the 5 year warranties that come with WD's higher end drives.

    So from where I am looking, it seems WD treated you better than they needed to and you came out ahead - doubly so.
     
  3. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    I agree regarding the remoteness of the idea, but the 1TB drives have a black field around the WD logo at the top, plus a black field at the botton, in which it says that it is a black. The drive that they sent me doesn't have those black field, nor does it say that it is black. To me that says that it is a white label drive.
    Without pulling it out, I can't be precise, but the manufacture date is in December, 2012, which is a bit old for a regular production drive, and would be about right if I had previously sent the drive back to them.
    The bottom line is that they sent me a drive with the identical serial number of one that is listed as registered to me on their website.
     
  4. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    Again, I don't see a problem here. Since this was done via the RMA process which I am sure is tied to their inventory database, I think it shows you got what they sent. A good thing.

    The color of the labels are immaterial. It is what the labels say for model numbers that matter and as noted in the links I provided above, both drives are from the same "Black" line and have the same extended 5-year warranty. Note the same model WD drives are made in several factories around the world and often have different labeling and some times different firmware and revision numbers too. This is common among Seagate brand drives too.

    Not to me. The model numbers tell me what I want to know.

    You received a replacement drive of equal quality but twice the size! Except for having to deal with the inconvenience of dealing with a failed drive, you came out ahead and WD treated you more than fairly. I think your complaints are unfounded.

    Want more proof? How about the horse's mouth: WD Caviar Black SATA Drives.
     
  5. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    I'm not quite sure what that pdf is supposed to prove, other than what those black label drives are originally. Would not a refurbished WD1001FALS still be a WD1001FALS. If so, then the model number wouldn't totally describe the drive.

    Perhaps you are right that the color of the labels aren't always the same, but every WD drive that I have bought in the past, had a label color to match the category of the drive in question...black, blue or green. If a white label doesn't indicate a white label drive, then what does?

    I wouldn't really call this thread a complaint, because I'm still too confused about this to actually squawk. I'll squawk when I'm sure that I know what I'm squawking about.
     
  6. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    Ummm, did you review it? It is a list of drives in the "Black" line and it has both drives listed. That indicates to me both drives come from the same line.

    Same here: http://products.wdc.com/library/matrix/eng/2178-771112.pdf

    Yeah it does. If the engine blows up in your red 2012 Ford F150 XLT 1/2 Ton 4X4 extended cab pickup truck, and they repair it, is it not still a red 2012 Ford F150 XLT 1/2 Ton 4X4 extended cab pickup truck? They don't change the VIN just because it came in for repair. The VIN still describes the same truck.

    The drive is not a different drive just because it came back to the factory and was sent out again.

    Again, the model number. Besides, as best as I can tell, Western Digital does not have a line of "white" drives. They do have white labels with "Black" print, however.
     
  7. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    Somehow, there seems to be some static in our com, and I'm not understanding your point. You agree that a drive would have the same model # before and after being RMAed, yet you say that the model # is how to tell whether it is new or not, that just doesn't seem to mesh.

    As far as whether WDC has white label drives, I can't say for certain, but Googling "WDC white label drives" produces a number of returns that seems to indicate that they do. Of course I've not read all of those listings, so it may be a lot of people like myself that are "misguided". Obviously, WDC doesn't just toss all of their RMA drives in the dumpster, or there would be no reason for them to require their return. That must means that they repair/refurbish them and then resell them. I would hope that they don't sell them as new drives, that would be worse than what I'm talking about.
     
  8. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    I never said anything like that!

    I used the model numbers you gave us to determine both drives were from the same line of drives - Black. That's all. You said you felt the model numbers should change, not me. I said there is no reason they should change - which means you cannot tell if new or refurbished by the model number.

    You cannot interpret search results that way - ESPECIALLY hits from users who rarely know, or take the time to determine proper terminology, or in the case of hardware, complete model numbers.

    When it comes to technical specifications of hardware, you MUST go by published specs, preferably from the maker. If not the maker, then from reputable retailers like Newegg, TigerDirect, or BestBuy. Places that keep track of their products.

    Also, note that "white label" is often used to describe products destined for OEM makers, and not directly to consumers. Exact same product, but one comes wrapped in fancy labeling and pretty box with cables, mounting screws and glossy documents, and the other comes with a plain label in a "white box" with no screws, no cables and no documentation. One retail version destined for BestBuy store shelves, the other identical drive destined to a PC builder for one of their factory assembled computers.

    There is nothing out there that I can find that says WD has a "line" of White drives, similar to their Black, Blue or Green lines of drives.

    Go by the model numbers and information obtain from the source, not from users posting about problems.

    There is no profit in returns - even if they did resell it at full price (and again, WD is not that kind of company so let that go). It costs money for processing and handling so they want to avoid that. And the best way to avoid that is to make the products reliable.

    Any reputable company, and again WD is a top-tier company, wants to constantly improve their product. But to improve reliability, they need to determine which part or parts are failing prematurely.

    So even if they did end up in the trash, it would only be after a complete analysis of the failure was conducted. And then they need enough samples to determine if the failed component was an isolated case or indicate a trend. They they need to determine if the problem is a design flaw, bad/impure raw materials, shoddy assembly, or whatever.

    But there's a problem. The vast majority of returns for electronics is due to (1) obvious damage during shipping or (2) buyers remorse/users changing their minds, or (3) ordered wrong part/not really what they wanted. That is, for the vast majority of returns, there is nothing wrong with the product.

    Throwing it in the trash would be a total loss of profit. Re-issuing via RMA gives them some return. And something to consider is this - a refurbished drive has gone through rigorous testing before certified as good. Extensive testing that likely did not happen the first time it left the factory.

    You got a drive of equal quality, twice as big, and you have a new drive warranty. I don't see a problem - and I'm a hardware guy.
     
  9. Joe S

    Joe S Excellent Member

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    When WD does a RMA they use refurbished drives not new ones.
    Joe
     
  10. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    And that is pretty common practice, with all companies, not just WD.

    If you don't want a refurbished, go for a refund and not a replacement, if possible.
     
  11. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    Digerati,

    Hmm, it definitely seems that we have a "failure to communicate". You seem to misinterpret what I say, as much as I may your statements. So I can't see any point in prolonging this discussion, because we are going in circles.

    Just out of curiosity, what do you mean when you say that you are a hardware guy...an enthusiast, a hardware vendor or ? No offense intended, but one might get the idea that you are connected with WDC by the manner in which you defend them.
     
  12. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    No offense taken. In fact, it is wise to understand where someone is coming from before you accept their advice.

    What I mean is, by profession, I'm a certified master electronics technician who has been repairing and maintaining communications, computing and networking "hardware" systems for over 40 years. I am not a "programmer" for example, or a used car salesman with computers as a hobby.

    If you follow the link in my sig, you will see what I mean, and also note I am retired Air Force. That leads to your next comment about how I defend WD. Understand I will defend all who may be wrongly accused or come under scrutiny based on untrue or inaccurate information. Whether that be WD, Intel, AMD, or Microsoft, or Joe Blow. Intentional bashing or not.

    I feel that you have some misgivings with WD over this replacement drive when clear evidence is showing you came ahead. The two drives clearly come from the same line of drives, have the same 5 year warranty, but the replacement is twice the size. You should be happy but it seems like you keep looking for reasons to doubt the fair treatment you got.
     
  13. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    And you should understand that even though I was not career military, I am an army vet. However that isn't the reason that I say what I think, I come about that naturally. As far as you believing that I made "false" accusations against WD, that is not even close to true. I stated the facts as they are, even though the facts may have been accompanied by some speculation. Fact - the drive that they sent me is already registered to me. fact - the drive has a manufacture date over a bit over a year ago. Fact - They snuck in an unjustified and hidden charge for my shipping label.

    Actually what may have appeared to be speculations was more a matter of considering or exploring possibilities. Therefore I find your assessment of this thread somewhat off base, but that doesn't mean that I don't appreciate your insights.
     
  14. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Sometimes contacting the company about this kind of thing does result in a rebate, or at least, a credit down the line. If there was no reason to stick you with a fee for the shipping label, unless it was for handling, you may just find a "good guy" on the phone, so to speak, to whom to address your grievance. With the economy in the shape it is, this does happen less and less, but the possibility is there. I was unable to make it to Washington state this year for the MVP Global Summit and my airline waived the cancellation fee for booking a new flight. This was all because I took the time to contact the airline and explain to them that there was confusion with customer service. Similarly, companies like NewEgg have been known to just credit you back for broken or missing parts, especially if they were a part of a big order, and you have a good purchase history with them. Companies that put customer loyalty ahead of profits often times find that their customer-friendly nature makes up for it way down the line.

    That's all I can recommend is that you bring these issues to WD's attention, to someone that is willing to hear about it, and work your way from there. Few people, if any, will care about your interests more than you do, and that it is why it is sometimes better to be vocal directly with the company you have an issue with. You may get more milk with honey, so to speak, and this rule generally applies if you get someone who has the authorization to credit you for what may be changes you should have generally been made aware of during the process you went through.
     
  15. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    Mike,

    I agree with all that you said, but just for clarity, the extra charge that I mentioned is not for handling, at least not in the manner it was charged. IAT fees are strictly for international transactions, not for anything that a person may dream up. I know that I should call WD about this, but as much as it perturbs me, I haven't been able to bring myself to do it. Partly because it is only a dollar and partly because I dislike the hassle.

    What makes it worse is that they made a point of speaking of the savings over buying directly from UPS. but with the extra dollar tacked on, the actual savings was perhaps a quarter. There was a time when I would have quickly got on the phone or sent an email about something such as this, but I guess I'm getting old. I think that they count on the fact that most people wouldn't notice the charge, because the only place that it appears is on one's checking account, and also that many would be like me and wouldn't make an issue out of it...at least with them.
     
    #15 seekermeister, Feb 21, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  16. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    FTR I was not trying to "accuse" you of any intentional false accusations. But I did want to dissuade you, and others reading, of any false impressions about WD you appeared to be hanging on to.

    I do sympathize with you about the tacked on fees. While a dollar is not a budget buster, it does sort of add insult to injury considering the drive failing was not your fault. Sadly, as I noted before, many returns are not because the device failed.

    And I forgive you for choosing (assuming you are younger than me and were not drafted, but volunteered) Army over Air Force ;) thanks for your service just the same.
     
  17. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    I feel that any "false impressions" that may have been portrayed in this thread were those in which you painted. I stated the facts, but our conversation began to stray to the point that I'm not certain the picture remained true.

    No, I did not volunteer, but was drafted. I would have enlisted in the Air Force, except that I didn't qualify for being an officer, which is required for flight training, which was my primary interest in any service. As far as age goes, I'm no spring chicken either.
     
  18. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    Well, I am not trying to point fingers or make any accusations. I am just trying to ensure you and other readers have the correct information.

    You started this thread raising doubts about Western Digital's integrity, suggesting they replaced your drive with an inferior product. And after much input (with supporting links) from me and others, you still appeared to question their integrity.

    If you believe now that WD did NOT rip you off with an inferior drive, then we are good to go. If you still feel you got ripped off (other than the $1 fee) then we still are not on the same page.

    ****

    Yeah, the Army has Warrant Officers pilots - typically for non-fixed winged, autogiros (helicopters).
     
  19. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    I already said previously that I had no interest in prolonging our discussion of this topic, and that has not changed. How I feel is personal, and how I think is public only so far as I choose to express. Whether we agree or not has never been the topic of this thread, and despite your drum beating, I don't really see that anyone has jumped on your bandwagon, because there have only been posts by two other people, neither of which was singing quite in harmony with your tune.

    I am not saying that your song is disagreeable, but that it is not what I tuned into this station to hear. Therefore I shall repeat...this discussion is over, let's change the channel.
     
  20. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    ??? You came to this "station" with complaints about (1) WD sending you a drive you suspect you had previously returned to them, (2) Multiple drives you thought had the same serial number, (3) confusion over the label colors - incorrect assumption of the quality of the replacement, and finally, (4) dissatisfaction with the added fees.

    There is no evidence to show you got back the same drive you sent in previously. There is no evidence to show multiple drives have the same serial number. You did not state "facts" to suggest either was true.

    We showed where the model numbers indicate both drives are from the Black line.

    As for the tacked on fees, I still agree with you on that.

    Bottom line, you got back a bigger drive of equal quality.

    I am sorry that is not what you wanted to hear from this "station" but those are the facts and I agree, they don't require further discussion.
     

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