Sodding Seagate

Grrr @ Seagate.

  • w/b 4th September 2006. I suspected the hard disk in my Meeja Box was dying. It failed to mount partitions on boot, with fairly typical CRC kernel error messages shown. The Seagate SeaTools diagnostic CD and floppy disk reported bad sectors and the box locked hard during testing. I checked all the cables and tested the hard disk in a different box with the same results.
  • 10th September 2006. I went to the Seagate Warranty Check tool (which doesn’t show its stylesheet in Firefox for some trivial reason) as a precursor to requesting an RMA. On entering the serial number and model of the drive I was presented with an error about the serial number not being found and the warranty status being “Unknown”. I went back and double checked the serial number on the drive, as instructed. It was correct. So, following the instructions on the website, I e-mailed Seagate customer service using their web form, saying that the warranty tool can’t find the serial number of my drive and can I get an RMA please?
  • 11th September 2006. I got a reply from Seagate saying that the warranty status of the drive is “Unknown”. They asked for a photo of the drive label. Fortunately I have a digital camera with a macro mode so I took a photo of the label and e-mailed it to them.
  • 12th September 2006. Seagate e-mailed me to say that the status of the drive is still shown as “Unknown”. E-mailing them a photo of the label has just been a method of them ensuring I was entering the right characters in the web form. The issue has been escalated to the “concerned department” who, I am assured, will be in touch “very soon”.
  • 16th September 2006. The concerned department aren’t all that concerned, as I still hadn’t heard back from them. I e-mailed Seagate again, asking when I was likely to hear from the “concerned department”.
  • 18th September 2006. Seagate replied that the concerned department would be in touch “soon”.
  • 21st September 2006. A representative from the concerned department at Seagate got in touch, asking me to send her all the details I have on the drive, where I purchased it and when etc.
  • 22nd September 2006. As I purchased the drive online from I was able to forward all the e-mails I had saved relating to the order. Being an online order, I didn’t have any paperwork I could forward. (I said I would look for the delivery slip, but couldn’t find it. Not surprising as the drive was delivered over a year ago.)
  • 23rd September 2006 – 29th September 2006. Silence. Not a sausage.
  • 29th September 2006. I sent a tentative e-mail enquiring if there was any progress on the matter.
  • 30th September 2006 – 7th October 2006. The rest was silence.
  • 7th October 2006. Sent another e-mail enquiring if there was any progress on the matter.
  • 12th October 2006. Still nothing.

When the drive first started playing up, I pondered going and buying a replacement one whilst the RMA happened. But as the drive cost over £100, I didn’t want to pay that money out and then end up (hopefully) with a replacement drive I didn’t need. So I refrained, thinking that the issue would be resolved by now. I’m starting to wonder if I made the right choice, as 6 weeks later I don’t seem to be any closer to getting the drive replaced.

It’s particularly annoying as the fault seems to be fairly obviously in their database of serial numbers. The only other possible cause is sending out cheap knocked-off versions of Seagate hard disks and Seagate are planning a daring midnight SWAT raid (no pun intended) on them to uncover their malpractice. Either way, the customer, I am suffering this extended period whilst they look into it. It’s bad enough with a home system, but if it were one at work, I would be disgusted. And I have a lot of systems with Seagate hard disks at work…

Update: Got a reply on 13th October, which gave me further information on the status of the hard drive and that Seagate were essentially unlikely to replace it under warranty. I replied asking for some further clarification on the 13th and again on the 18th October. I have yet to receive a response. I’m pretty unimpressed to be honest.

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    2 Responses to Sodding Seagate

    1. mrben says:

      One of the possibilities (which is surprisingly common) is that the drive was original sold by Seagate under an OEM contract. What happens there is that the drive manufacturer sells to a hardware vendor at a reduced price on the understanding that the drive will be placed in a machine, and warrantied back to the hardware vendor rather than to the disk manufacturer. These drives don’t hold any warranty on their own, but quite often get out into the ‘free market’ and sold on to unsuspecting consumers.

      When I worked on a HDD helpdesk, this was a common predicament. Although we normally would have advised the customer immediately, and advised them to return to the shop who provided the drive.

    2. Tony says:

      Interesting comment mrben, although I’ve heard back from Seagate and it looks as if I might be closer to the truth than I thought in this case…