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Seagate drops warranties to three years

Seagate drops warranties to three years

Even before Seagate reduced its warranty offering to three years on consumer products, this particular drive was probably past it.

Hard drive manufacturer Seagate is to reduce its standard warranty period on consumer-grade drives from five years to a mere three to bring them “in line with industry standard [...] offerings.

First spotted on Friday by techPowerUp, the move comes in to effect on 3rd January 2009 and affects all consumer-oriented products including the popular Barracuda 7200 range of desktop drives, the Momentus range of notebook drives, and all “personal storage" drives sold via Seagate Authorised Distributors.

In its rather low-key announcement on its product warranty matrix the company says that that the move doesn't represent a change of confidence in the reliability and quality of its products, stating that the “product quality remains excellent” and that “95 percent of all returns take place during the first three years” anyway, so why are you complaining?

The good news for anyone with a Seagate drive in their existing system is that the company will be honouring the longer warranty period on any drives shipped prior to the new terms coming in to force on the 3rd of January. Seagate has also reassured business customers that enterprise-class storage products will keep their five-year warranty intact, as it considers that “based on available market data, the standard industry warranty for enterprise-class products is 5 years.

The move to a three-year retail warranty marks the end of a blanket five-year offering from any hard drive manufacturer. While some competitors offer five-year warranties on certain product lines – such as Western Digital on its Raptor series – most cheaper consumer drives are provided with a three-year warranty. Whether the move will cost the company customers who had previously used the extra warranty period to differentiate similar products remains to be seen.

Any Seagate users looking elsewhere for drives after January, or is the reduction to a three year warranty a non-issue? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

17 Comments

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bubsterboo 15th December 2008, 09:19 Quote
I thought the reason why a lot of people liked buying seagates was because of the 5 year warranty.

Now what's going to convince me to buy a seagate over a samsung, hitachi, or WD for consumer drives?
Kúsař 15th December 2008, 09:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bubsterboo
I thought the reason why a lot of people liked buying seagates was because of the 5 year warranty.

Now what's going to convince me to buy a seagate over a samsung, hitachi, or WD for consumer drives?

Hmm...perhaps reliability? None of my Seagate HDDs failed me yet. It's always better if you don't have to RMA your HDD. Losing warranty on HDD is one thing. Losing data on HDD another.
steveo_mcg 15th December 2008, 10:27 Quote
None of my Maxtor drives ever failed (in their useful life time) and my deskstar deathstar only failed after 4 years of home server use. Every one has tales of unreliable hard disks for every brand but few have the experience of lots of different drives from lots of manufactures to actually show one brand is more reliable than another. TBH i'd rather have the silence and speed of the spinpoint.
Pookeyhead 15th December 2008, 10:56 Quote
Despite what they may give as the reason, they clearly feel a need to reduce the period to 3 years, and there must be a reason for it. If they perceive no demonstrable reason for doing so, they would not have done so, as a 5 year warranty is a clear reason to buy one (all other things being equal). Every decision of this nature ever made is driven by costs, and cutting the warranty period will save them money. You don't have to be a genius to work out that the 5 year warranty was costing them too much - so they got rid of it. Simple.


Having said that, the 7200.8s in my wife's PC are still absolutely fine after nearly 5 years.
mclean007 15th December 2008, 10:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kúsař
Hmm...perhaps reliability? None of my Seagate HDDs failed me yet. It's always better if you don't have to RMA your HDD. Losing warranty on HDD is one thing. Losing data on HDD another.
But the shortening of the warranty period could be seen as Seagate degrading its confidence in its consumer drives. Personally I think this is a mistake - how many consumers actually RMA a drive between 3-5 years after purchase? I would guess not many - most will either have junked the entire machine by then or will just take the opportunity to replace the drive with a higher capacity one. HDDs are not expensive to replace - I know I would never be able to dig out the receipt for a 5 year old disk to send it back, and I wouldn't bother anyway - just pull it and drop in a new, faster, larger disk for about £50. The thing that would bother me (if I didn't have a proper backup regime) would be data loss, which is invariably excluded from warranties anyway.

My only thought is this is an accountancy exercise - if the drives are in warranty for 5 years, that is a potential liability on Seagate's books that has to be carried for 5 years. If instead they can write off that liability after 3 years, there may be some benefit.
devdevil85 15th December 2008, 15:22 Quote
I bought my mom a Seagate Momentus 7200.3 laptop drive because of the 5-year warranty. Considering it died 4 months afterwards, I can only say I'm happy that it came w/ a 5-year warranty. As for them dropping it, I think they did it because they aren't confident that their drives will last that long, and they will be losing customers because of it.
mclean007 15th December 2008, 15:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by devdevil85
I bought my mom a Seagate Momentus 7200.3 laptop drive because of the 5-year warranty. Considering it died 4 months afterwards, I can only say I'm happy that it came w/ a 5-year warranty. As for them dropping it, I think they did it because they aren't confident that their drives will last that long, and they will be losing customers because of it.

But if it died after 4 months, it would have been covered by a 3 year or even a 1 year warranty, right? Chances are there was some latent manufacturing failure that manifested after 4 months. From my experience, electronic equipment is far more likely to break in its first month than at any later time, and if it lasts a year, chances are it will last until it becomes obsolete because the technology has moved on. This is part of the reason why consumer electronics stores make SO much money out of extended warranties - if the thing dies within a year, it goes back to the manufacturer; if it lasts a year, it is likely it will outlast the overpriced extended warranty.

Personally, I don't mind much - chance of me returning a defunct drive after 3-5 years is slim - I'd be much more inclined just to put a nail through it (in case anyone fancied reviving it to steal my oh-so-important personal information), junk it, and buy a new one. I'd be much more concerned about any data lost (hence why I back up zealously), which wouldn't be covered by warranty anyway.
salesman 15th December 2008, 16:30 Quote
Actually I just replaced my seagate HDD a 7200.9 250gig which I bought back in 2006 and all I had to do was go the the seagate website, pack it up, pay like $8 something for shipping and I got my replacement in less than 2 weeks. I don't think dropping it back to a 3 year warranty is going to burst my bubble. I knew it was about to die too vista keep telling me there were problems with the drive so I didn't have important on there unless I had it backed-up.
devdevil85 15th December 2008, 16:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
Quote:
Originally Posted by devdevil85
I bought my mom a Seagate Momentus 7200.3 laptop drive because of the 5-year warranty. Considering it died 4 months afterwards, I can only say I'm happy that it came w/ a 5-year warranty. As for them dropping it, I think they did it because they aren't confident that their drives will last that long, and they will be losing customers because of it.

But if it died after 4 months, it would have been covered by a 3 year or even a 1 year warranty, right? Chances are there was some latent manufacturing failure that manifested after 4 months. From my experience, electronic equipment is far more likely to break in its first month than at any later time, and if it lasts a year, chances are it will last until it becomes obsolete because the technology has moved on. This is part of the reason why consumer electronics stores make SO much money out of extended warranties - if the thing dies within a year, it goes back to the manufacturer; if it lasts a year, it is likely it will outlast the overpriced extended warranty.

Personally, I don't mind much - chance of me returning a defunct drive after 3-5 years is slim - I'd be much more inclined just to put a nail through it (in case anyone fancied reviving it to steal my oh-so-important personal information), junk it, and buy a new one. I'd be much more concerned about any data lost (hence why I back up zealously), which wouldn't be covered by warranty anyway.
If that's the case, then why not continue with the 5-year warranty to differentiate your product from the competition especially if the risks are so small?

I mean, the warranty was the reason I bought their drive over the competition, and would've probably been the same reason for a later PC build down the road....either way this looks bad IMO....
HourBeforeDawn 15th December 2008, 16:50 Quote
ehh I never based my purchasing decision on warranty but on performance, noise, and feedback so ehh this doesnt matter to much to me.

Also ha lol I have that exact same hard drive being shown in that picture, its displayed on my shelf, awesome. ^__^
samkiller42 15th December 2008, 19:05 Quote
As Pookey pointed out, it's due to costs. I'm sure you have read the news Devdevil that the world is in a global credit crysis, companies are cutting back on things, some are cutting jobs, others are finding other ways of reducing their costs, Seagate have chosen to reduce the length of the warranty on it's HDD's over cutting jobs, It has nothing to do with the reliabilty of it's HDD's, Seagate is a well known brand, like WD, and with that, people spread the word regarding the reliablity and dependability of the brands and their products. Personally, it's a move i would prefer, because loosing a job at this time of year is a real bummer.

Sam
Mr T 15th December 2008, 19:55 Quote
Mechanical disks will probably be only a small %age of the market in 3 years let alone 5. Maybe they don't want to have to give you a SSD in 5 years time ;)
bubsterboo 15th December 2008, 20:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kúsař
Hmm...perhaps reliability? None of my Seagate HDDs failed me yet. It's always better if you don't have to RMA your HDD. Losing warranty on HDD is one thing. Losing data on HDD another.

Yes, but who's to say samsung, hitachi, or WD don't have equal if not greater reliability on their modern lineup?

Ive personally found samsung to be my #1 choice for reliability based on my experience.
Anyways it's hard to judge reliability on HDDs. Any hard drive you buy could fail within a year, or last many many years. Thus a nice big warranty is very favorable.
The_Beast 15th December 2008, 22:56 Quote
Ehh couldn't really careless
Sparrowhawk 16th December 2008, 01:31 Quote
Well, I'd heard rumors that some of the Chinese-made Seagates were not as reliable as older Seagates. But like all rumors, a small dosage of NaCl is required to be administered orally.
MasterCATZ 25th June 2009, 03:02 Quote
I have never had an Faild seagate
(I do not count anything below 20 gig those Drives where **** :P) ( I have had failed WD after a few days )

but always got seagate because of the 5 yr waranty so I could re sell the drives 2-3 yrs later with waranty still attached

With cheaper Brands Avail I might switch after my last 5 yr batch of 1 tb drives ( WD has 2tb HDD's where are Seagates :S )

WD Greens are looking tempting and about 5% Cheaper
( Home File server need low power usage The Raid Arrays give me the speed I need :P )

... but I do have a pile of el cheapo Samsungs (10% Cheaper) floating about from the Desperate need of quick space
(only thing the local shops sell .. damn cheap ass's :P )
sui_winbolo 25th June 2009, 03:54 Quote
Eh, I don't think I'll buy Seagate HDDs. Dropping warranty by 2 years is a big deal. Just kind of puts it in my head that Seagate might be cutting corners. :(
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