Seagate and Western Digital announce reduced warranties for hard drives

By on December 19, 2011, 2:30 PM

Seagate and Western Digital have both announced that they are slashing warranty coverage on many of their consumer-grade hard drives. Seagate drives are taking the hardest hit with the company shaving as much as four years off select drives.

In a letter to an authorized Seagate distributor, the company announced that they will begin new warranty policies effective December 31, 2011. In summary, Barracuda and Barracuda Green 3.5-inch drives and Momentus 2.5-inch drives will now ship with a one year warranty. SV35, Pipeline HD Mini and Pipeline HD products will come with a two year warranty and Momentus XT, Barracuda XT and Constellation 2 and ES.2 drives will have a three year warranty.

On the Western Digital front, the company is cutting the warranty period for Caviar Blue, Caviar Green and Scorpio Blue drives from three years to two years. Caviar Black and Scorpio Black drives will retain the same five year warranties as before. WD’s new policy goes into effect for drives shipped after January 1, 2012.

Seagate claims their warranty reduction is being implemented to be more consistent with other companies in the consumer electronics and technology industry. Reducing warranty overhead will effectively give them more money to funnel into future product development. Western Digital didn’t provide a specific reason for the reduction but explained that they will be unveiling an extended warranty offering with special pricing in the near future.

Hard drive prices in general have shot through the roof as a result of the catastrophic flooding that plagued Thailand earlier this year. Given the high prices that available drives are commanding and the reduced warranties on the horizon, now might be as good a time as any to consider a switch to a solid state drive – at least for an OS drive.




User Comments: 16

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Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

wouldnt they love to start selling people extended warranties. Just another way to make a buck off of people.

Guest said:

Well that means hard drives are getting to be more unreliable. ssd makers should really take advantage of this and lower their prices - i bet a whole lot of people are tempted into buying ssd as a result of decreased hdd warranties.

Anyway i find it unacceptable for a hard drive to have less than 3 years warranty. 2 years seems insulting and 1 year is like they are saying "don't expect the drive to last more than a year."

The question is do they really expect people to buy hard drives with less warranty and higher prices ?

bad move on their part.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

what a load, they made better then forecast profits but still they need to gouge the consumer. SSD's here I come. Screw em both.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Well that means hard drives are getting to be more unreliable. ssd makers should really take advantage of this and lower their prices - i bet a whole lot of people are tempted into buying ssd as a result of decreased hdd warranties.

Anyway i find it unacceptable for a hard drive to have less than 3 years warranty. 2 years seems insulting and 1 year is like they are saying "don't expect the drive to last more than a year."

The question is do they really expect people to buy hard drives with less warranty and higher prices ?

bad move on their part.

Correlation does not imply causation.

Often, if a drive is going to fail, they tend to do so within the first year of ownership, so having at least a year is still acceptable (though agreeably unnerving). It just so happens that the loudest people who complain about warranty coverage are the ones where the standard warranty expires JUST before the failure. Whether it be 1 year, 3 year, or 5 year warranties. I have hard drives that had 1 and 3 year warranties that are over 10 years old now, and they still spin on. I also have had a couple Caviar Black drives fail, both failing within 1 year of me buying them.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I wanted to buy myself some hard drives in the last month, i took the plunge and got an SSD, will never go back for a boot drive, EVER!

TJGeezer said:

Two huge HDD makers suddenly lower their warranty periods at the same time? Since, as competitors, they'd never collude in a free-enterprise marketplace, it is quite an amazing coincidence. Unless someone can think up some better explanation.

oranuro said:

TJGeezer said:

Two huge HDD makers suddenly lower their warranty periods at the same time? Since, as competitors, they'd never collude in a free-enterprise marketplace, it is quite an amazing coincidence. Unless someone can think up some better explanation.

Goes along with their strategies of price-fixing.

altecmayank said:

This just horrendous. Not only because TJGeezer has very rightly pointed out out that how come two giants, supposedly fierce competitors come out with similar long term strategy at precisely the same time. Is this supposed to mean that their Senior employees are hand in gloves while fixing future strategies ? And If this is true, are there no law bodies looking into such Nexus?

Personally, I have a black,green caviar & MyBook all 2Tb. While, Black is 1.5yrs old, mybook is like 1 year old and green was born just 4 months back. All intact till now.pray remains the same.

Guest said:

maybe they have factories in thiland and are worried about mud in the butts of their HDs

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Since WD and Seagate have lost faith in their drives, I think I will let everyone else be Ginnie Pigs. At current pricing, I couldn't see purchasing an HDD unless absolutely necessary anyway.

I can only speculate that once they have recovered from the flooding and failures have not increased, warranties may return to what was normal before the flooding.

Guest said:

Im sure its just because water damaged disk platters dont last as long !!

And yes i think this should be considered similar to price fixing when the 2 biggest HDD manufacturer take common decisions. Cmon Sharp,LG,Samsung just got beated to the ground for LCD price fixing !!

Guest said:

Big Money makes the world go round. Now we have two major manufacturers of hard drives. Seagate and WD. With that said the price on storage has doubled and the warranty has been halved. Imaging that.

Guest said:

And let me guess, The price will go up and not down ?

Guest said:

basically , now that there's a shortage of components due to flooding of their supplier's factory , these guys are willing to accept any type of quality from their suppliers in a bid to increase the supply . hence, quality will suck big time for a period of time.. and hence again , the reduced warranty period .

altecmayank said:

These are established and well reputed companies. I do not believe that they would compromise on quality any day.

Guest said:

> Often, if a drive is going to fail, they tend to do so within the first year of ownership

You could not be more wrong. MTBF depends on usage, i.e., the number hours, not length of time. At the risk of stating the obvious, businesses and heavy PC users will experience failures quicker than the average home PC user. As an IT company and oem System Builder, we've seen a dramatic spike in HDD failures in the last 2 to 3 years, as compared to previous 10.

Given the fact the more and more PC users are turning to smart phones, iPads, etc. and using their PCs much less today than just 4 years ago, this is remarkable. With PC sales way down, one can only consider the reduction in warranty a purely profit motivated move.

The bottom line is WD, as well as others, have lost control of their QC; especially given that today's PCs are far more energy efficient than ever, run a lot cooler, and have a lot more RAM pre-installed (less disk caching).

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