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Western Digital and Seagate are leaders in mechanical hard drives to be sure, but I think we can all agree this time they are leading the industry in a very negative direction. Back in 2008 Seagate lowered the standard HDD warranty from 5 years to 3, and as expected, just about everyone followed suit shortly after. Now they are dropping the coverage period on some products to as little as one year depending on the model.
Here is what we’ve hammered down so far:
Caviar Blue, Green, and Scorpio Blue – Drops to 2 years.
Caviar Black, Scorpio Black, and external drives – Stay at 3 years.
Constellation 2, Barracuda XT, and ES.2 – Stays at 3 years.
Barracuda, Barracuda Green, and Momentus – Drops to 1 year.
In addition to the consumer backlash retailers are also now put in the awkward position of, at least in the short term, stocking the same drives with two different warranties depending on serial number until old disks sell through.
Interestingly enough however Western Digital claims they will be offering an extended warranty program which will allow customers to buy back into the old three year warranty, but no pricing has yet been announced.
Below is a copy of the letter received by channel partners from Western Digital on the issue:
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.
With sky high pricing due to the flooding in Thailand, and now warranty cuts, these guys are doing a great job pushing users over to SSD’s these days.